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Tag: St. Michaels Page 1 of 3

Writers Week, Horses and More

Convent Street Clinic, June 2022


Listowel Writers’ Week Opening Night 2022

Catherine Moylan was an excellent M.C. for Writers’ Week Opening Night. She told stories, entertained, thanked and presented. Opening Night can easily slide into a long list of names and presentations. Not so on June 1 2022.

Dominic West brought a bit of Hollywood glamour to the occasion. He wasn’t in Listowel as a big star though. He was here as one of our own. We were left in no doubt that he was hugely honoured to open a festival once headed up by his father in law.

There was a great variety in the entertainment offerings on the night. We had traditional music and dance from Celtic Steps.

At the other end of the scale was this mellow voiced local singer


More from 1970s St. Michael’s

Morning has Broken by David Kissane continued;


It was rare enough in our Leaving Cert Year to have classroom visitors but one notable visitor was Bishop Eamonn Casey. He was a man with an huge presence and a confidence and twinkle in his eye which was hugely influential. He didn’t stand at the top of the class: he came down the middle and sat on our desk, with a “push in there a bit, lads!” to Michael Carmody and myself. He rolled up his sleeves and I remember his hairy arms swimming in animated gestures as he enthralled us with his wisdom.

“Take stock every now and again, lads!” he advised as he closed his mighty fist enthusiastically. We would have followed him to the end of the world at that moment and we would be into our adulthood before we heard of his affair with a woman and its subsequent domino effect. Many of us still remember him as an outstanding human being. The paradox of Irish life. The paradox of life.

Another visitor that final year was the examiner from the primary teacher-training college to evaluate our singing abilities. We had been receiving voice-training from a kindly nun at the Convent (we treasured those visits to the Convent!) for some of us it was asking the impossible. In fairness to her, she never told any of us that we couldn’t sing. On the day of the test, in I went to the little room at the top of the stairs while a few students waited outside for their turn. “Now sing “The Harp That Once Through Tara’s Halls”’ the prim examiner requested. The walls were thin and my voice was thinner and I started in a key that was above the door and I could hear the boyos tittering outside and I forgot the second line and I made up my own words with a hint of rap to the age-old Thomas Moore song and it was like trying to take a goldfish for a walk and the examiner sympathetically asked me to “please stop”! If he had only asked me to sing my version of “Morning Has Broken” or “Without You” by Neillson or “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash! All big at the time. 

The test confirmed that I would never top the charts! But many of my classmates did pass the test on their way to careers in primary teaching. I would have to stick with my always-number-one-choice of secondary teaching where I could sing whatever I liked in and out of class.


The sporting pages of my dreams were wiped bare those last months in St Michael’s. The last action for me as a footballer was for the College senior team earlier in the spring. Honoured to be appointed captain for the first Munster Colleges competition. It was also the last action. We lost by a point in Tarbert GAA pitch to a Clare side. Possibly Kilrush CBS. Annoyed as I had scored two goals for the first time of my life in a competitive game. I was no Páidí Ó Sé who was to star for the college later. Most of the team I had soldiered with for the previous two years, bringing two county medals, had gone their destined ways: Jerry Kiernan, Jimmy Deenihan, Mick O’Connell, Tim Kennelly, Tommy Flaherty and more were not easily replaced. Good teams were to follow, though. Johnny O’Flaherty and John Molyneaux were to create winning sides again after we had been scattered to the four winds. 

Worse was to gallop like a wild horse towards me six weeks before the Leaving Cert. It happened on a Saturday evening when I was flattened in a junior football game. I got a good feel for the Moyvane GAA field that evening, especially when my face was left smelling the grass after a clash with a man older in years and stronger physique. Broken collar bone bent ribs and I discovered what it was like to have no power in my preferred right hand. A drive to hospital in Tralee in Johnny Bunyan’s (soon to star for Kerry hurlers and footballers) car and a lift home after midnight from Seán Hilliard and the Leaving Cert on the horizon. After a few days I realised I would be well able to write ok but sport was finished for the summer. A comeback after three weeks in a lunchtime fun soccer match in St Michael’s, still wearing the “sling”, did not help at all and delayed the healing process. Didn’t know it at the time, but there was to be no active sport for two years.

Didn’t change the history of sport but a massive gap had been bulldozed in something I enjoyed. I did feel side-lined on those dreamy late May evenings when I would look due south down the hill to the Ballydonoghue GAA field, two miles away to the right of Lisselton Cross. Moss Joe Gilbert’s Field where our generation had played the game on Sundays and every buzzing evening if we could. My injury ostracised my chances of playing and my parents wouldn’t allow me leave the house anyway. I could see the players moving to and fro around the field from my hill doorway with the sweet-scented air of early summer in my brain from the dancing wild flowers in our fields nearby. Even still the regret haunts, but of course it is allowed to do so. The awful regret that those precious evenings of early summer could not be fully enjoyed. Bryan MacMahon, a past pupil of St Michael’s himself, wrote in his novel “Hero Town” of  “the dynamism inherent in the torture of spring: spirit ok, body not ok”. The recollection of that feeling would drive me wild every other May month of my life to ensure that May was fully embraced. 

The Kerry Colleges athletics championships were held in the Town Park (Cows’ Lawn) in Listowel (our training ground) on a Sunday in mid-May and had no Jerry Kiernan for the first time in years. The impetus behind a star athlete had been lost and only John Hartnett from our Leaving Cert class won an individual medal (in the triple jump). John was also top of our class in all the term exams. (We were always placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc in those exams.) St Michael’s did make a mark in the younger age-groups on that green and sunny Sunday and won the best school award in the junior category with J Stack collecting the best athlete trophy while a certain B Keane was prominent also.

I heard about the performances on Monday but it was a case of “non, je ne regrette rien” as the study train had to be inhabited and embraced. 

A sporting birth in 1972 escaped the notice of our class. It was the first Kerry Community Games athletics finals and no one suspected then that it would rock the country in the years to come. It brought athletics to the parishes where clubs did not exist in the years following and when the history of sport in Ireland is completed, Joe Connnolly’s Community Games must surely have a chapter of note.

Many of the children of the class of 1972 would benefit from the movement that originated in Kerry when we were stuck in the books that month of May.

One teacher who wasn’t a class teacher with our group but who made a big impact in sport was Brian O’Brien. Always a character, he lit up athletics and football trips and was noted for borrowing our sandwiches as he never seemed to bring his own! 

Just as I complete this section on sport, the news comes through that one of our class-mates and sporting colleagues, Eamonn Carroll has passed away. Eamonn was a flyer in the sprints and often lent me his spikes for the middle distance when I had no pair of my own. He was a flying half-forward in football also and he helped us to a couple of county championship medals in Inter Cert and Fifth Year. He always had a smile on his face. When we lose a class-mate, we remember. Rest in peace, Eamonn.


I Love this one


Charity Fundraiser

The Corinthian Challenge has a Listowel Connection.

Fiona Dowling from The Six Crosses, who now lives and works in Kildare has been chosen as one of 14 riders to compete in this year’s Corinthian Challenge.

The Corinthian Challenge is a series of three races, the first of which will be run on July 17th at The Curragh. The next two races are at Gowran Park and Leopardstown. The purpose of the challenge is to raise money for the Injured Jockeys Fund, a cause close to the heart of all who are connected with this dangerous sport.


Marching on

Ballybunion on March 17 2022


Setting the Spuds

Raymond O’Sullivan has a great knowledge of gardening and the old traditions. Here is what he says about potatoes.

St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for planting spuds. Maybe because the saint protects them and the devil has no power over them on that day. But more likely because it is within a couple of days of the Spring equinox, 20th March this year, when there is a good chance that soil conditions would be suitable. Lunar gardeners believe potatoes should be planted in the week following a full moon, and the moon was full on Friday night. We got a couple of fine days and everything seemed to be right, so I took the chance. Potatoes can put up with a bit of hardship. Fingers crossed!! Not so with many seeds though, the soil needs to be much warmer for germination. An old gardener gave me a trick to test the suitability of the soil temperature for seed germination: you take off your pants, and if you can sit comfortably on the ground on your bare backside, then it is time to start setting seeds outdoors.


Some Local Sports Clubs on Parade

St Michael’s basketballers
Listowel Emmetts
Listowel Celtic


A Strange Happening at a Holy Well

In the schools folklore collection of 1937 three are many stories about holy wells. Clandouglas children had many wells to choose from and their elders had many a tale to tell.

Margaret Shanahan collected this story from her father.

Sunday’s Well is in Oak Park near Tralee on the Abbeydorney side. Wether’s Well is in Tubrid near Ardfert village + I wish to tell the following story, which I heard from my deceased father (R. I. P.) who is dead 19 years + was 75 when he died. From early times people paid rounds at both wells + still continue to do so.

In Wether’s Well there is a mound , an altar, + a well but in Sunday’s Well there is only the well + a lone bush. When the Sandes were Landlords of Oak Park, one of them got a mason to remove the altar with its three effigies from Tubrid or Wether’s Well to Oak Park + erect it over Sunday’s Well. The next morning it was back again in its own place at Wether’s Well + signs of the fresh mortar could be tracked as the crow flies from one well to the other aCdistance of about 5 miles in a direct line.


Sport and Writing…….Where did Tadhg learn his love of these

You can take the man out of Kerry but….

Tadhg has found success a long way from Church Street. He has never forgotten his roots and is literally and metaphorically flying the flag for his native traditions.


R.I.P. Noreen Holyoake- Keese

Listowel Connection has lost a great friend and supporter. Noreen always took time to tell me how much she appreciated the work I do in connecting people like herself who loved Listowel so much.

Noreen passed away peacefully at her home in the U.S. on March 22 2022. She is mourned by her dear mother and her family, here and in her adopted home in New York.

Bernard O’Connell, the only boy in the photo, posted this photo a few years ago. Noreen is in the centre of some Listowel childhood friends.

Mary Brosnan, Katrina Lyons, Bernard O’Connell, Noreen Holyoake, Mary Lyons, Mary Carmody, Maura Moriarty.

I was thrilled to meet Noreen in person in 2019. She was a lovely lady.

May Noreen rest in peace. Braithfidh mé uaim í.


Aisling Ghéar do dhearcas Féin……

The first marquee event of Listowel Writers’ Week 2022 took place in The Listowel Arms Hotel on Saturday evening, March 26 2022.

Picture shows Catherine Moylan , chair of Listowel Writers’ Week with Deirdre Walsh of Radio Kerry who interviewed Emer McLysath and Sarah Breen, authors of the Complete Aisling series.

It was a very enjoyable event, a great start to this years exciting festival.


Bromore Cliffs, Thomas Moore and Covid Queueing and last Week’s just a Thought


Listowel Credit Union Building in Church Street in May 2020


Good News from Bromore Cliffs

We are open again since Monday 18th of May ! the Seapink and Vetch are in full bloom.  The Bromore Fox had three cubs. The Ravens fledged two chicks and all the other birds and wildlife are busy high and low on the Cliffs


Róisín Meaney is on Song

Earl Grey in the garden for me,

Or maybe a large g&t;

I won’t let this jazz

Steal my razzmatazz,

To covid I won’t bend the knee

Róisín Meaney


Are you Right there, Thomas, are you right?

Boston Pilot (1838-1857), Volume 1, Number 47, 15 December 1838



It having become known to the inhabitants of Fermoy that the high-minded and disinterested patriot, Moore, was sojourning at Convamore, the seat of Lord Listowel, a meeting was held in that town on the 22d ult. to frame an address to him on his visit to the land whose wrongs, whose sorrows, and whose sufferings he has immortalised in song. It was intended that the address should be presented by deputation, but the sudden departure of Mr. Moore having prevented the adoption of this course, Counsellor O’Flanagan (author of “ Impressions at ‘Home and Abroad,”) who acted as secretary to the meeting, forwarded it to his residence. We insert, with much pleasure the address and answer, confident that every Irishman must feel proud of any tribute paid to the writer of Those songs whose every tone, When bard and minstrel long have past, Shall still in sweetness all their own Embalmed by fame undying last.



Bowood, October 5. Dear Sir —Owing to my absence from home, your letter and the flattering address from the inhabitants of Fermoy which it enclosed, did not reach me till this morning, and I lose not a moment in endeavouring to express to you how truly sensible I am of the value of the high compliment thus conferred upon me. I should feel too vain could I, for a moment, persuade myself that my own deserts were in any degree proportionate to the generous estimate set, upon them by my fellow-countrymen. Such tributes, however are not less gratifying for the kind excess of praise over merit in which they indulge ; and, for myself, I can only say that, accustomed as I am to such overflows of heart from my countrymen, I still feel them with all the freshness of my first gratitude and surprise. Wishing every happiness to you and the other unknown but kind friends who have thus honoured me, I am, dear Sir, your

Obliged servant,

To J. R. O’Flanagan, Esq., Fermoy.


Follow the Yellow Brick Road

We are becoming familiar with yellow markings like these on the pavements. They mark where we are to stand while queueing.


Leaving Cert 1970; a few more names

By email;  Re the St Michael’s photo.. I think Stephen Stack in middle of second row.. And myself John Hynes  second last in middle row.


Covid Thoughts

My last week’s reflections are at the link below

Just a Thought

Dublin Kerry Association, St. Michael’s boys Survey and NKRO in 2000

Photo; Liam Downes


The Dublin Branch of the Kerry Family

in happier times


Remembering Schooldays in St. Michael’s

From a cocoon in New York comes John Anthony Hegarty wrote

Hi Mary,

I just found this article from the Kerryman newspaper from my days in St Michael’s. 

 It definitely has that Listowel Connection.

My class was what was considered a diverse class in those days, 

Apart from those us in the photo below , there was one American (Yank) Mike Regan, one English (Cockney)  : Kevin Summers they were both exempt from learning Irish, we had Fitzell from Ballylongford. Alas I forgot his first name, he was Church of Ireland so he was exempt from the religion class. John B’s son, Conor Keane, was also in my class , I must say even though his father was famous Conor was down to earth , there certainly no airs and graces about him, he was a regular person. Louis McDonough was also in my class.
That first year we spent in the prefab class room behind the main college building Our teachers were : Margaret Savage from Bedford :PE ( a new concept back then) and Civics ,  Mr Cody :Science, Mr Harman : Math: “the square of the hypotenuse of right angle triangle is equal to the sum the squares of the other two sides” has stuck with me, he said that phrase quite a few times back then, the Regans husband and wife team: Mr Regan :Commerce, Mrs Regan : French, Mr. Molyneaux ( Junior ) :  Irish and History /Geography,

Mr Given :English, Fr O’Sullivan : Music and Religion and he was headmaster of the College.

Teachers were all allowed to use the cane back then and they did use it.

Lunch break we used to go down to a shop called (I think) Crowley’s for an ice cream wafer. 

The biggest crime back then was cigarette smoking.

John-Anthony pointed out they were already practicing social distancing in this photo.

These are the names of the boys in the order in which they are standing.

First row : Tony O’ Carroll, Jim Hannon , John-Anthony Hegarty, 

 Second row: Tony Barrett, Thomas O’ Connor,Joe Walsh, Patrick McElligott, 

 Back row: Edward O’Connor.

So in regard to the survey below , it wasn’t  very scientific because the people were very reserved in that , they didn’t want to say the wrong thing so  the most the common answer was ” well what are rest of the people putting down”

The photo was taken in front of then Cash and Carry ( Walsh hall) across from the Astor.I have met Paddy MacEligott and my neighbor Joe Walsh a handful a times since those days.


Looking Back

This photo was taken during a North Kerry Reaching out event in Greaney’s Spar Listowel in 2000.

Brenda Sexton was sharing photographic memorabilia with Ger Greaney and James Kenny.


River Feale

Mike Guerin has shared some lovely and many never before seen photographs of the river and its fishermen

Stolen Waters

Old Listowel, St. Michael’s, A Sonnet and a lLocal TV chef.

St. Michaels’ class of 2019 (from Facebook)


Listowel 1824

Kay Caball found this treasure for us.

This picture from The National Library of Ireland must be one of the oldest watercolours of Listowel.

Street view of Listowel dated 3rd April, 1824. A row of thatched houses is seen across the street. The scene includes two figures are by the door of the first building on the right, one standing, the other seated on a bench placed beneath an architectural feature resembling a niche. Near a cart with solid wheels a horse is being led in through a door. The upper part of Listowel Castle, with a pointed arch and imposing walls, looms up behind the houses, in the centre of the image.

from Journal of a tour of Kerry Tipperary and Cork

Friday Ens. [April] 2nd – after hard driving arrived at Tarbert on the banks of the Shannon – a very pleasant drive & fine prospects. Mrs Mary McManus – the only Inn in the Town – very indifferent. No regular conveyance to Tralee – obliged to get out of bed to force a Driver into his seat. Weather clears up at Listowel – after pass 9 axle deep in Bog arrive at Tralee.


St. Michael’s College July 7 2019


A Sonnet from Bob Boland


Still Doing Listowel Proud

Lizzy Lyons of Lizzy’s Little Kitchen is a popular regular on Weekend AM.

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