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. Patrick’s Day 2014

Paddy Drury remembered and St. Patrick’s day in South Carolina; The Listowel Connection

The Times they are a changin'”

The clocks went forward one hour at the weekend. We have always used this phrase but it struck me on Sunday that it is now true. I woke up on Sunday morning to find that all the clocks in my house had adjusted themselves to the changed time. They had “gone” forward literally. The twice yearly ritual of going round the house and manually resetting the clocks will be another story to tell the grandchildren. Woe betide you if you forgot to reset the time on the video recorder!


Paddy Drury

A poet and wit who is remembered in many of the best Listowel stories and anecdotes is the late Paddy Drury. One Sunday recently, my good friends, Anne and Liam Dillon invited me to lunch, and, to complete a very pleasant afternoon, they took me to see Paddy Drury’s resting place in Knockanure graveyard.

His grave lies within the walls of the old Knockanure church.

The graveyard is an old but very well maintained one in an absolutely beautiful rural location.

The late Dan Keane  wrote a poem to Drury and here it is for you:

Drury’s Ghost       Dan Keane

Down Farran by the old

One night I took a stroll

As bright aurora’s crimson

Flashed upward from the pole.

From the red wine of

To the dead I drank a toast,

Then what appeared beside me

But Paddy Drury’s ghost.


At length I uttered, “Drury

What brings your spirit back?

Is there anything you’re
needing? “

He answered, “Not a whack!”


“But the friends I loved are

And the scene is not the

There’s a dozen homesteads

Down along my own Bog Lane.

How I loved each thatched
white cottage

When their silent signals

Like a fleet of ships in

Belching out their morning

“I’ve met all the friends in

Drurys, Dores, the Nolans,

Fiddler Creed and Dancing

With his legs as loose a

Tade and Jim and Dick ,the

Dan the Bucko from the Lane,

I’d a pint in Peter’s parlour

With my old friend, Daniel


“I have toiled with many

When the grub was really bad.

I’d never live for ninety

But for the teeth I had.

But the frame was getting

And the teeth were getting

So I found my stimulation

In the stuff I couldn’t chew.


So I said, “You are in Heaven

And what more can mortals

Do you know you’ll soon be

With a headstone o’er your

He betrayed no foolish

Gave a jovial exclamation

In the quaint old Drury

“Hope ‘twont raise my

“ Let the human fad be

It will do no harm there

And some pilgrim might, in

For the Drurys say a prayer.

Otherwise, above my ashes

I’ve no asset to my soul

And if Drury still was living

They’d begrudge him draw the

The poem is a very long one so I have edited it a bit but I kept the references to Drury’s neighbours in Bog Lane, the reference to his legendary grumbling about bad grub, his capacity for drink and the fact that his headstone was paid for my monies raised by his friends, among them  John B. Keane.


St. Patrick’s Day in South Carolina

This is Maeve Moloney Koch taking part in her local St. Patrick’s parade in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. Maeve is carrying a Kerry flag.

Maeve with her local congressman, Joe Wilson


If you live or have ever lived with an Irish Mammy this will give you a good laugh:

St. Patrick’s Day parade 2014, Joanne O’Riordan

Images of St. Patrick’s Day in Listowel 2014

recording a maemory
Dromclough’s St. Patrick
Matt Mooney, grand marshall
Billy Keane, M.C.

Some of the Polish contingent
Dromclough brought livestock
and some very handsome farmyard fowl
John Lynch recorded it all
Tim O’Leary
musicians on the platform

Nine year old Daragh Hudson danced The Brush Dance:


Meanwhile, in Sydney


This is a photo of yours truly with Joanne O’Riordan. I was in Kanturk for the annual Arts Festival and Joanne was doing the official opening. Joanne is a star and like all stars she had a “rider” in her contract. She asked that the Kanturk hurling stars, Anthony Nash, Lorcán MacLoughlin and Aidan Walshe all be in attendance at the opening. Such is Cork GAA’s appreciation of one of the team’s most passionate supporters that all three of the hurlers attended.

On the following day, I watched Stephen O’Riordan’s film about his famous sister, No Limbs, no limits.  It was an honest documentary, sad, uplifting and life affirming. We saw a very ordinary family in a rural Irish community responding with admirable determination to the arrival of a beloved child with enormous disabilities into their family. From day one the emphasis was on Joanne’s abilities and she has grown into a vocal well adjusted advocate for the rights of wheelchair users.

Read one of Joanne’s articles in The Examiner here;

What I hate about being in a wheelchair

and as soon as it hits the cinemas go see the film. You’ll be glad you did.


We have a new business in town; Emilia’s Café

St. Patrick’s Day 2014, St. Patrick’s Toledo and Sr. Brendan O’Connell

Billy Keane and Mayor of Listowel, Jimmy Moloney at the official start of the 2014 Listowel St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Liam Brennan as St. Patrick

Seán Moriarty was a marshall and Noel Kennelly attended the parade with his family.

One of the treats for us who watched the parade in the Square was Jimmy Hickey’s dancing display;

(more photos tomorrow)


It never ceases to amaze me how the ripples from some little story I post resonate around the world and evoke a response in people far away from Listowel who still harbour an affection for our little town.

Two such responses came to me by email this week:

“Good morning Mary.  Wising you a happy St. Patrick’s.

Your photos of the tiles at St. Mary’s brought to mind our Historic Church of St. Patrick here at Toledo.  Here are photos of the tiles.  I am sure the Irish in Toledo made many sacrifices to have this church built.  There is a complete history in  The Church is well loved.”

This came all the way from Toledo, Ohio from Kathy Taylor and this is the St. Patrick’s church she refers to;

Kathy took the following photos of some of the tiles in the church featuring shamrocks, a testament to the Irish in the congregation who contributed to the rebuilding of the church.

 Would you believe that St. Patrick’s in Toledo was officially dedicated in 1901 by Archbishop Ireland?  I kid you not.


The second email came in response to this photo of Storm Darwin damage in St. Michael’s graveyard, Listowel.


Hi from NZ,

Your recent blog post shows a picture of storm damage done to the burial plot of the Presentation Sister’s grave. The fifth name on the marker, the one with the crack right through it, Sister Brendan O’Connell belongs to my great great grandfather’s younger sister Anna O’Connell who died 4 November, 1904.

Taken from Kerry Sentinel Nov. 12th 1904.

Sr. Mary Brendan O’Connell a native of Ballybunion died at the Presentation Convent Listowel. Her brother Capt. Chevalier Michael O’Connell had command position in the Papal Army and her other brother Fr. James Hennessy O’Connell a priest in the Melbourne Diocese. Cousins in Ireland:

•Mr T Kissane, Lacca.

•M Byrnes, Inch.

•Mr and Mrs Maurice Keane, Main Street, Listowel.

•J. O’Connor, Coolkeragh.

•Mr and Mrs W. Keane, Ballygrennan.

•Mrs O’Connor, Lisselton.

•Miss Keane, Lisselton.

•Maria Kissane, Lacca.

•Mrs O’Shea, Tullamore.

•P. Grady, Glouria, Lisselton.

•Mrs Murphy, Cool, Ballylongford.

•Miss Fitzgerald, Greenville, Listowel.

•Mrs Cremins nee Hennessy, Glin.

•Mr E. Hennessy, Lahard.

It would be nice to know that it will be fully restored and who will have to foot the bill as I would like to make a small contribution if possible.

Sister Brendan’s family is the subject of the Kiwi O’Connell website at

Sean O’Connell


New Zealand


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