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

Listowel, Kanturk and Finuge

Photo: Chris Grayson


Another Unusual Shop Front

Con Dillon’s, William Street
First floor window

The text is from the Streets of Listowel book .


How the Other Side Worshipped

Remember last week I brought you the lovely old Protestant church in my native Kanturk.

Quite far away on foot but no distance as the crow flies is this gate into the same church.

It is located right beside the side entrance to Egmond House, a short cut for the gentry to their Sunday service.

Lots of little titbits of history to be learned in the new heritage trail.


Finuge GAA reliving the glory days

I spotted the following on Facebook.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Paul Galvin…photo Finuge GAA on Facebook


It’s coming up to the 10 year anniversary of our club’s appearance in the All Ireland Intermediate final in Croke Park.  Time flies!

This piece below captures Éamonn Fitmaurices reflections in 2019 on what was a hectic and fun time for our club…


Eamonn Fitzmaurice on Club Glory and Defeat

04 Feb 2019 Club , Kerry GAA and County


Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s case is not an unusual one. He grew up dreaming of glory with club and county, but then out of the blue came the two buses at once.

He had already lifted the Sam Maguire as a player. But for 2013, the Kerry county board appointed this managerial novice as successor to Jack O’Connor, as the locals expected.

All the while, Fitzmaurice was one of the veteran players on the Finuge team in hot pursuit of an AIB All-Ireland IFC title. Two ambitions coming into view, with one complicating the other. As if that wasn’t enough, Fitzmaurice was also managing Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne in the Corn Uí Mhuirí.

“The month of January in 2013 was completely mad,” Fitzmaurice tells AIB GAA. “I was involved with Finuge, with Kerry, and with the school as well, so I had three gear bags going! I remember one weekend we had a match on the Friday with the school in the Corn Uí Mhuirí, which we won. Then on the Saturday, we played against Tipp in the McGrath Cup, and won. On the Sunday then, we played the All-Ireland semi-final against the Kildare side Monasterevin, so it was a crazy weekend but brilliant because we won all the games.”

If only every weekend could be so easy. As it turned out, Fitzmaurice would lead his school to Munster glory in the Corn Uí Mhuirí, but spring would not run so smoothly for the Kingdom, as they lost four league games in a row and the pressure mounted.

While all of this was happening, he had to prepare for a February 9th clash with the Tyrone champions, Cookstown Fr Rocks, led by Owen Mulligan. Heading into the game, all the talk centred around the rivalry between the two counties over the previous decade; of Paul Galvin and Fitzmaurice going toe-to-toe with Mulligan and Raymond Mulgrew (who had just returned from two years in Australia) once more.

“My last game at Croke Park had been with Kerry in 2006, the All-Ireland final (win over Mayo),” says Fitzmaurice. “I didn’t think I’d be back playing there, and here we were about six and a half years later.

“We had gotten to the junior club All-Ireland in 2005 and beaten Stewartstown Harps but that was the year before it was moved to Croke Park, so we had played that final in Portlaoise. We lost a few intermediate finals in Kerry but finally won it in 2012, and then made it to the All-Ireland. It was fantastic to get back to Croke Park after so long.

“We trained very hard for that final. I remember the last hard session that we had before the final, it must have been a week out. But we had this training game where you got the ball and four or five lads would tackle you, just trying to condition ourselves for what we expected against a Tyrone side. It didn’t turn out to be the best idea, because Jack Corridan ended up with a broken nose and there was a bit of a row! I think I’m still getting blamed for it to this day, but it wasn’t me.”

In contact sport, anything can happen, and Fitzmaurice is able to look back and see the funny side of it now. But the stories didn’t end there.

“For the final, we decided to travel up the night before and stayed at the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel which is outside Dublin (near the Red Cow roundabout). We had a bit of time to kill on the Saturday, so we were out in the car park having a kick-around, but there were balls flying out on the M7 (motorway), and lads dancing out trying to retrieve them.”

Unfortunately for the north Kerry side, the big day didn’t go as planned. Finuge trailed by just a point at half-time but Mulgrew and another returning Cookstown player, Barry Mulligan, would help inspire the Tyrone men to a 1-9 to 0-6 win.

“We had always been a physical side, but we felt it wouldn’t suit us against a Tyrone side,” says Fitzmaurice. “We worked on discipline and maybe that took the natural edge off us. They were cuter on the day.”

It turned out to be Fitzmaurice’s final game for the club, and though he was disappointed to miss out on playing senior with Finuge, he needed to focus on his duties as Kerry manager — to give it his full attention. He may have missed out on All-Irelands with his club and ultimately as county boss in 2013, but he would lead the Kingdom and Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne to the promised land in 2014.

As with most GAA careers, it begins and ends with the club for Fitzmaurice. He grew up just outside Lixnaw and was an accomplished hurler, but ultimately football took over when an under-16 tournament in Limerick proved he could compete with the best footballers around. Three miles separate his two clubs, and the two co-exist in harmony.

“Finuge is a small place, there’s a shop, a pub, the field, and a teach siamsa — a thatched cottage which is a centre for traditional music and dancing. Lixnaw then, to the west, has four pubs, two or three shops, and a church. Paul Galvin and Trevor McKenna would be out that way too. There’s no rivalry between the two clubs and a lot of lads played both codes.”

He explains that he started out as a centre-back in hurling but ultimately made the move out to midfield for his biggest days with Lixnaw. “I enjoyed the hurling and I was centre-back but when I was away playing football, I found it hard to get my touch back. Paul got his touch back a lot quicker. So, they put me out at midfield to be a workhorse and I played there for the three county finals we won.

“GAA is a huge part of the community and it’s unusual in a way because I come from the west part of the parish, and it was all hurling when I was younger, but I got more attached to the football over time,” Fitzmaurice adds. “I was in Finuge recently and I was looking at a tribute wall of club honours, and prior to our group, we had just two North Kerry championships won in the late ‘60s and ‘80s.

“Then we went from Division 5 to Division 1, like going from Junior B to senior. In the middle of it, we didn’t take much notice and you expect to win more, but it really was a golden age (winning county and Munster titles at junior and intermediate).”


Yondr in St. Michael’s

Photo John Kelliher for The Kerryman

Boys in St. Michael’s pop their phones into a locked pouch for the duration of the school day.

There was Tommy Tiernan thinking he had came up with something revolutionary when St. Michael’s had it all the time.

Tommy says he paid a fortune to an American company for these pouches that he used for the first time in Vicar Street last week. If you have booked for his gig you will be contacted to say that it’s a phone free event. Tommy hired extra staff to implement this. He bought 1,000 of the Yondr pouches and everyone who enters the bar is given one and their phone is locked into it by a staff member, to be released only when the gig is over.

If you need your phone for a medical reason you will be given a wristband identifying you as a special case and your phone will be unlocked instantly if necessary.

Great idea!


More from Opening Night Writers’ Week 2022

Listowel Arms Home, Listowel Town Square in June 2022


More People at Opening Night, Writers’ Week 2022

These two lovely ladies were out in support of their friend, Catherine

Because it was so long since we had been out at an in -person event, Catherine Moylan, on Opening Night asked us to introduce ourselves to the people sitting next to us. I was sitting beside these lovely ladies who , like myself, have worked at the chalk face.

Eilish Wren
Con and Catherine Kirby


My Trip to Cork

The Cork branch of my family are very sport orientated. On my recent trip, for the first time since she was a teenager, I watched Anne play a tennis match She was taking part in an open competition in Sundays Well.

Sunday’s Well is a bit more posh and aware of its history than her own club, Lakewood. Lakewood is the old John A Woods Sports and leisure Club. No boating here but soccer and pitch and putt as well as tennis.

Anne and her partner, Kevin won their match, beating the top seeds. I took the photo after their tough match when Anne was not looking her most rested!

Poor Cora sustained an ankle injury at her soccer academy and is hobbling in a boot for a while.


From Pres. Yearbook 1991


You Have to Laugh

This lady bought a robotic lawnmower. It is scheduled to mow the lawn at a given time every day, hail, rain or shine. She took pity on it on the first wet day.


Memories, Memories

David Kissane Remembers happy days in St. Michael’s.

David Kissane pictured recently after he had won a silver medal in the British Masters 3K walk in Derby.

Thoughts of one of the Class of ’72 in St Michael’s, Listowel

                                            By David Kissane

It all happened on the way to the toilet. An outdoor toilet. Well it was 1972 in an out-of-the-way place on a North Kerry hill. It was one of those early May mornings. Crisp air on my face as I went out the back door. A look up at the hill to the north to say hallo to the spring of my life. So far. A promising sky. Hedges of fuchsia with baby blossoms between the hill and me. Blackbirds and thrushes and robins making their music all around. A cow lowing in Neleen Brennan’s field to the left with Ballybunion clearly outlined against the shining Atlantic Ocean to the west. Down the hill to the south, the world and St Michael’s College were waiting.

My mother had turned on the radio as I went out the door and the words of Cat Stevens wafted out of our Pye radio into the Lacca air after me: 

                                   “Morning has broken

                                   Like the first morning

                                   Blackbird has spoken

                                   Like the first bird

                                   Praise for the singing 

                                   Praise for the morning

                                   Praise for the springing

                                   Fresh from the word…”

And fifty years later on, this very week I am still awed by the song. I didn’t know at the time that it was a hymn published in 1931 and adorned later by a traditional Scottish air. That May morning it chased me out and tackled the brain and heart. It was to become for me the anthem of 1972. The year of our Leaving Cert in St Michael’s College, Listowel.

Come walk in my shoes for a few paragraphs and recall your own last days of Leaving Cert. See what your journey back will do for you. 

Later that morning I would cycle down the steep hill past Neleen Brennan’s house that once housed a World War 1 soldier who was blown to pieces in an orchard in France after only a fortnight of the war, past Ned Kennelly’s on my right and then down the lethal Fahas bends, where I had once lost control of a bike and spent a week picking furze bush thorns out of bodily nooks and crannies, past Roger Kissane’s house, turn left at the “bridge” over a small stream that drained a hillside and over to Gunn’s Cross and right turn down Gunn’s Hill, past my old primary school on the left, 1815 steeple and graveyard on the right and on to Lisselton Cross. Two morning miles that I had covered out and back for five years of my second-level schooling. Then on board the yellow school bus after a short chatty wait in Jeremiah Behan’s shop door and off then the long route to Listowel, Convent girls, College boys and Vocational School boys and girls coming on board at various stops. Gerard Neville from Inch would join me in the seat as he had done for years. Down the narrow road to Dromerin and Jerry Riordan and neighbours would join the bus near his parents’ shop. Over the River Gale then and eventually to our destinations.

Walk up town to the college. Check out the Convent girls going the opposite way. Say hallo to the Tech students on the left. See who was coming out of Roly Chute’s shop on the corner. Chat and news from the newsicians. Turn right into the college lawn with the budding apple trees in front of the three-storey building. One storey underground. In the door. Up the marble stairs. Sit down. Open books. Leaving Cert a month away. The year of our lives.

More tomorrow….


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