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. Michael’s 1979

Signs in The Square, Sheahan’s Cottage Finuge; Seán MacCarthy Festival and a hard working postman

Beautiful snap of a colourful kingfisher by Christopher Grayson


Believe it or Not

I found this on the internet. Could it be true?


A Seán MacCarthy Festival  Memory

Tom O’Connell sent us this great photo. No year but the musicians are

L to R

Richard Allen,  Eddie Brown, Brendan Hartnett, Michael Hayes who was recently 80. 

 In case you are wondering about the wellingtons, the session was held after a bog walk.


Were you in Second Year in St. Michael’s in 1979?

Photo from centenary commemorative book


More from Listowel Town Square in lockdown in May 2020

These big signs on the bus shelter outside the church were later changed to advertisements for the charity, Alone. Alone looks after the welfare of older citizens.

Covid 19 has been particularly hard on older people like me. We have had to stay home, and shun all human interaction. Many of our friends in nursing homes have become very ill and many have died. It was a feature of the last pandemic, The Spanish Flu, that it killed many young people. Covid 19 took the elderly.

Social distancing guidelines make funerals very hard for the bereaved. Only 10 mourners are allowed to attend the funeral mass. Grief, for so many, has to be postponed.


Intreo Office

ETB at The Butler Centre

Two notices on  Marshall Macauley window

Bank of Ireland

Horgan Properties

This business, Fealeside Financial Services is new to me. Maybe it had just opened when it had to  close.

Bike Shops are allowed to open.

Postman, Pat Hickey is very busy these times delivering all the online orders and he is also now a paperboy as many people chose to get The Kerryman and Kerry’s Eye delivered by An Post.

St. Michael’s, Ballybunion, St. Mary’s in Lent and a Covid 19 poem

Peppercanister Church, Dublin

Eamon ÓMurchú took this great photograph recently


“All you that have your eyeballs vexed and tired

Feast them on the wildness of the sea”   Keats

Marie Moriarty took these photos in Ballybunion yesterday


St. Michael’s staff 1979

This photo was published a commemorative book to celebrate the centenary of the school.

May all of those who have passed away rest in peace.



While we are in partial lockdown due to the global pandemic, Covid 19, people may not have been visiting the church as much as usual. Here is the lovely display for Lent 2020.


Hard Times in North Kerry in 1881

Kerry Sentinel 06.05.1881, page 3 (Edited Version)

Important Meeting of Lord Ormaithwaite’s Tenantry in the parishes of, Listowel, Ballydonoghue, Newtownsandes, Lixnaw, Irremore and Ballybunion were at a meeting in the Land League Rooms in Listowel. They decided that 25% over Griffith’s valuation was a fair rent. Mr George Sandes the landlords agent refused the offer and offered an abatement of 15%, he agreed to meet Lord Ormaithwaite and let them know his reply in a few days.

The cases of the eviction in Gunsboro of Broder and Kissane, who were uncharitable put out on the road at the end of their working life, had the sympathy of all tenants.

Priests in attendance Rev. M O’Connor , P.P. Ballybunion; Rev James Burke, P.P. Newtownsandes, Rev James Casey C C. Listowel; Rev F Cremin, C.C. Lixnaw; Rev. M. Godley, C.C. Ballybunion; Rev F. Carmody, C.C. Newtownsandes, and the rev B. Scanlon, C.C. Duagh.

Priest of the Listowel Deanery held meeting and deplored the evictions on the property of Mr. Gunn Mahony and absentee, a dying man, father of large family was flung on the roadside without any shelter. North Kerry was tranquil, but it is with horror they contemplate the future, if  the evictions of law abiding and industrious people, continues.


An Ode to St. Patrick in This Time of Crisis

St Patrick’s Day 2020

By Mary Mc Elligott

Please come back St Patrick

And bring us loads of bleach,

Soap and disinfectant

And sanitizers, yes, one each.

Back then, we thought snakes were bad,

For the Irish, a pure curse

But now in the year we have

The story is much worse.

Corona is the reason,

A scary dangerous Virus.

It’s in all the Televisions,

The papers and the wireless.

It spreads with a cough or sneeze

Or even talking to a person

And forget about a handshake.

It will only make it worsen.

If you can bring supplies,

Include some kitchen rolls

Don’t bring any toilet paper

As we all have loads and loads.

Also to be safer,

Leave your cloak and staff at home.

We’ll provide a set of scrubs

‘You’d get destroyed in bleach and foam.

We’re not out this year

But we’re not too far away.

We’re indoors and we’re praying,

That you’ll kill the bugs with spray.

We’ve even closed our Pubs,

Paddy’s day, a disaster

But we’re willing and we’re able,

If the Virus goes much faster.

You saved us many moons ago.

You’re held in high esteem.

Irish eyes will all be smiling,

When we’re out of quarantine.

We’ll be dancing and a lepping,

Down the streets, with marching bands.

Oh, a little reminder when you’re coming,

Don’t forget to wash your hands.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the 1980s, St. Michael’s Centenary in 1979 and a Clay Pipe tale

The Square, Listowel Co. Kerry


St. Patrick’s Day

Among the trove of great photographs that I was given by Danny Gordon are a few from a St. Patrick’s Day sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

I’m going to post them here and see if they spark joy and happy memories in some of you my blog followers.

(more tomorrow)


Building the wall

Ballybunion Road 2014



I remember it well.


The Clay Pipe

Seeing this artefact on Listowel Connection the other day put our friend, Mattie Lennon in mind of a piece he wrote involving a clay pipe and he sent it to us.



In fact and in fiction every area in Ireland has at least one character who has the dubious talent of being able to get the maximum amount of alcohol with the minimum amount of money. 

The Bird O Donnell in The Field would be an example.

We had one up our way . . .no. it wasn’t me but you’re close. It was a neighbor of mine******.

Two Dubs who took a No. 65 to Blessington on a Good Friday. For some unknown reason they thought Licensing Laws would be less strictly applied there. Still, they had no desire to be stranded in outer suburbia should it turn out to be a “dry run”. So they didn’t alight but remained on the platform while the bus was turning. One of them addressed a question to the solitary figure of “The Mouse” Carroll standing at Miley Cullen’s Corner; “Do you know anywhere two lads might get a drink?” “Begob I don’t” says “The Mouse”, equal to the challenge, “But I know where three lads would get a drink? .

During election he would manage to get numerous libations from each candidate through a system that I won’t go into here. Let’s just say that it involved giving the candidate some lesser known facts about the pedigree of his or her opponent.

At Christmastime, he would get his hands on a stray dog, make an improvised lead from a length of binding twine and go from house to house enquiring if they had “lost a dog.” 

But to my mind the time that his alcoholic acumen came into its ownwas on one Tuesday morning . It was after a Bank holidayweekend and he was badly in need of a hair of the dog. (As faras I can remember that was the morning he said to his owndog, “Bite me if you like but don’t bark”) On the morning inquestion his total finances amounted to one solitary Englishtruppeny bit. Do you remember them?. Anyway the Englishtruppeny bit was brass and twelve sided. There’s a word forthat. An oul schoolmaster told me once. It’s Dod . . dod . . . meoul head is goin…Dodecagonal. Dodecagonal.  Where was I? Ohyes. The mouse an’ the trupenny bit. Now, even though thingswere cheap at the time it would take five shillings, or a half acrown at the very least to make any impression on a hangover.  So what could a man do with a trupenny bit? I couldn’t doanything with it. An’ I bet you couldn’t do much with it either.  But the mouse had a plan. The price of a clay pipe, at the time,was truppence.  So . . He went to Burke’s shop, in Lacken, an’he purchased a new clay pipe.

Head splittin’ . . . mouth like the inside of a septic tank andthe nerves in bits . . and now . you are going to ask me whatgood a clay pipe . . even a new one . .would be to alleviate sucha condition. Well . . .at the time it was believed that a clay pipe had to be seasoned. (or saysoned as they say up our way). The favoured method was to fill the pipe bowl with whiskey . . . something that even the most parsimonious publican couldn’t very well refuse to supply.

Armed with his new pipe, the mouse headed for Blessingtonand into Hennessy’s where he asked the barman to fill his purchasewith the necessary amber liquid which he promptly suckedout through the stem. He visited Miley’s, Powers and Dowlingswith the same request. And then he crossed the street to Mullally’sand the Gunch Byrnes. He got a bonus in the Gunches . .he managed to get a fill in the bar and the lounge. You with themathematical turn of mind will know that the bowl of a claypipe would hold approximately 8 ml and if you were paying attention

you’d know that he got it filled seven times which wouldamount to a sum total of 56 millilitres of whiskey. I won’t boreyou with the exact conversion to imperial measure; you went toschool longer than I  did but . . the total alcohol involved amounted

to slightly more than a small one. Hardly enough to make inroads into a severe, seasonal, hangover. But it was a start.. . and . as luck would have it the Mouse got a lift to Naas where . . at the time there were thirty seven pubs.”


The Michael O’Connor Graphic Art Collection

I was excited last week when Daniel Murphy alerted me to an exhibition of this great Listowel artist’s artwork and collected posters that I may have sent you to the wrong place to view it. The exhibition is on in The Limerick Art Gallery which is near The People’s Park.

Kay Caball went along and she took a few photos for us. She was very impressed and recommends anyone who can at all to visit.

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