This blog is a personal take on Listowel, Co. Kerry. I am writing for anyone anywhere with a Listowel connection but especially for sons and daughters of Listowel who find themselves far from home. Contact me at

Tag: St. Mary’s Page 1 of 8

Signs of The Holy Season

Listowel Town Square, November 2023

The first sign of local festivity is the putting up of the Christmas street lights.

Kerry is still high and wide but from now on will be even more handsome. This was the scene on Charles Street on November 21 2023.

A Restored Window

In the grounds of St. Mary’s I met Glynn Palmer as he was just arriving to restore the refurbished stained glass window.

Over the adoration chapel, you will notice the boarded up section of the beautiful window.

The window in question was donated by Thomas McAuliffe. Does anyone know anything about him?

The panel on the right is already renovated and restored.

A Christmas Poem

The unvarnished truth about Christmas from John McGrath

Our Wildflower Garden in Winter

Where have all the flowers gone? Some have gone to seed and will bloom again next year. Some of the annuals are gone never to return’

A Fact

This is the beautiful Reggie, a rescued lurcher. Larger dogs are harder to rehome for various reasons but this one found a great welcome in Ballincollig.


November in Church

Trant’s Pharmacy, Market Street


November 2023 in St. Mary’s

Seats and kneelers at the front of the church have now been upholstered. Tried one out and I must report that they are very comfortable indeed.


Irish Traditions

by Kathleen Jo Ryan and Bernard Share

Below is an extract from an essay by Bryan MacMahon on the Irish people he knew.

Book Launch

We had a great time in St. John’s on Saturday, November 11. Vincent’s latest book is probably his best and most important book yet.

Kathy Buckley, a humble Listowel girl, daughter of Lar, the local cooper, ran the White House kitchen under three US presidents. Vincent has done a marvellous job of research on this one and the beautifully presented book is full of information, photographs and interesting stories from behind the scenes.

Finbar and Cathy Mare were in charge of sales.

Some of Vincents old Listowel friends gathered for the launch

John Cahill, Anne Crowley, Owen MacMahon, Elizabeth Moriarty and Kay Moloney Caball.

Katie Hannon launched the book for her childhood postman. She caught up too with Canon Declan O’Connor, a fellow Duagh native.

Photo; Tidy Town

Just some of the Tidy Town stalwarts at the presentation of local prizes last week.

Fact of the Day

With delight I bring you today’s fact, sent to us by Vincent Doyle


A Stained Glass Window, A Poem and An Irish Nightie

The Square


Repairing Stained Glass

This beautiful stained glass window in St. Mary’s is in the aisle on the left as you face the altar. It is a fabulous depiction of The Last Supper.

This is the window on the other side. The panel on the right and the rose window at the top have been restored. They too were blackened by harsh weather and the grime of urban living. The panel second from the right will be restored and refitted before the end of the year and the other two are a project for 2024. A job well worth doing.


Dan Keane, Poet of North Kerry

I came across this treasure during a bit of a clearcut recently.

A lovely lament for The Races and “that canvas village of fun” gone for another year.


Gaeltarra Eireann

This lovely presentation package comes from my friend, Margaret’s treasure trove.

“Gaeltarra Eireann was an Irish state industrial development agency set up in 1957 specifically for the Gaeltacht areas. It had the twin fold aim of preserving the Irish language and bringing industrial employment to Irish speaking areas. The scheme had limited success. It was replaced by Údarás na Gaeltachta in 1980.”


No Words!


Ardie Savea showing Johnny Sexton the ultimate respect as he finishes his rugby career.



There is a town in Texas called Earth. It is the only place on earth called Earth


Changes in The Square

William Street, April 2023


Changes in Listowel Town Square

Some things in The Square have remained the same for centuries. Somethings are very new.

We have free Wifi.

We have a defibrillator

We have an outdoor public seating and dining area.

And we have 2 EV charging points.


St. Mary’s at Eastertime


Shortlist announced

These are the novels shortlisted for the prestigious award of Kerry Book of the Year at Listowel Writers’ Week 2023. The Kerry sponsored prize is a very generous €20,000. The winner will be announced on the opening night of the festival on May 31st 2023.

You can pick up a quick taster of this year’s programme in shops around town or on the website. The full programme will be available shortly.

Visit the website to book tickets for events or to volunteer to be part of this year’s festival.

Listowel Writers’ Week


Listowel Pitch and Putt Club celebrating 50 years


A Doting Grandad

My Aoife’s grandad is a gardener and an outdoor person. He found a new use for his wheelbarrow recently.


Coming to Writers Week 2023

Joseph O’Connor’s latest book tells the story of a Kerry World War 2 hero, Fr. Hugh O’Flaherty.

At 3.00 p.m. on Sunday June 4th you can catch Joseph O’Connor in a Writers’ Week 2023 event with Richard Ford.


A Fact

In 1945 a computer at Harvard malfunctioned while it was being tested. When the lady who was working on it at the time investigated she found a moth had got into one of the circuits and she removed it. Ever since, when something goes wrong with a computer, it is said to have a bug in it.


Public Seating and Memories

Office of The Revenue Commissioners Mill Lane Listowel Feb. 2023


Some Public Seating in The Park and Garden of Europe

This bench under this massive tree which has obviously lived a long time is a memorial to those whose lives were cut short by suicide.

I don’t know who Liz was but I know she was loved.

I knew Hugh. He helped me publish my book, Listowel Through a Lens. He was professional, kind and gentle with a complete novice nervously dipping her toe in the book publishing waters.


The Shop on the Corner

Horans Healthstore today has an interesting history, as told to us a few years ago by Vincent Carmody.

(Remember you can hear more Listowel stories from Vincent in Listowel Library today Feb. 17 2023 at 11.00 a.m.)

From the late 1800s and running well in the 1900s William and Florence (Haughton) Woods had a drapery shop. William put his name up before the people on the occasion of the 1899 local U.D.C.elections. It must have been a lonesome experience for him as he only received 14 votes and came last of 26 candidates fighting for one of 12 seats. 

For a short time after the Woods the shop was taken over by Tom Walsh from Lyreacrompane.  He operated there until he moved across the street and opened his new drapery in what had been Gibsons. Tom Walsh went forward was elected several  times as a member of the Listowel Urban Council. In this regard it is worth recalling an unusual occurrence in the local elections of 1928. Up to closing time for the acceptance of nominations, the then Town Clerk and Returning Officer, Mrs Annie Gleeson had received no nomination. 

The Council which at that time have consisted of 12 members had since the previous local election of 1925, through resignation, disqualification and other causes dwindled down to only three members, i.e. Thomas Walsh, Edward J. Gleeson and Patrick Brown. So in 1928, Mrs Gleeson in accordance with her powers, published a notice stating that as no candidates had been duly nominated for election, Messrs. Walsh, Gleeson and Brown would be declared elected. They afterwards became known as the Holy Trinity. None of the three put their names forward in the 1934 or subsequence elections.  

Michael Fitzmaurice was next, having served a hardware apprenticeship in the town, after which he got married to Bridget Buckley and they had a stationary and newsagency in the house.

The house  had a new tenant in the 1920s, John Scanlon opened it as a grocery and hardware establishment, also catering as a cycle agent. His billheads advertised it as ‘The Corner House’.  

The house reverted to a drapery establishment again during the 1930 and 1940s when it was occupied by a Stack family. 

In the 1950s it converted into a shoe shop when it was bought and run by Paul Shanahan. 

Today it’s Horan’s Heathstore.


Mosaics in St. Mary’s

Mosaic art is absolutely fascinating. The firm who did the beautiful work in St. Marys were Oppenheimer.

The firm of Ludwig Oppenheimer was founded in Manchester in 1865 and operated until 1965. Ludwig Oppenheimer was born in 1830 in Brunswick in Germany. His family were merchant bankers in Hanover and he was sent to Manchester to improve his English. He lodged with a Scottish couple and fell in love with their niece Susan who was from Montrose. He was an orthodox Jew but converted to Christianity and his family cut their ties with him. He spent a year in Venice studying mosaics as an apprentice. On his return to England he married Susan and started the mosaic workshop.

They had six sons, five of whom eventually worked for the firm. The eldest Lehmann was born in 1869 and went to art school and won a scholarship for a year’s study in Florence.

On his return he married a fellow student, Edith Newton, in 1892. He worked in his father’s firm from a boy and was the main designer. On his father’s death in 1900 he took over the firm and ran it with his brothers.

His younger brothers Louis, Albert and William all worked in the business. They travelled in Europe and Ireland seeking and gaining commissions including many prestigious projects.

In Ireland their main work was done in conjunction with the architect George Ashlin. Between 1856 and 1860 he was articled to E.W. Pugin whose sister Mary he married in 1860. In 1859 Pugin received a commission to build the church of SS Peter and Paul in Cork and he made Ashlin a partner with responsibility for their work in Ireland a position he retained until 1870.

The most important Irish commission they received was Cobh Cathedral. You can see their work there to this day.


The following mosaic pieces are in St. Mary’s Listowel. They are only some of the many mosaics in our church.


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