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 Page 2 of 4

St. Patrick’s Day shop windows, 1920s Kerry and La Place now Coco Kids

William Street in February 2019


More St. Patrick’s Day Photos

Listowel shop window displays sometime in the 1980s photographed by Danny Gordon


A Sad and Troubled Time

In the 1920s  Kerry was a violently divided place. Here the civil war was truly a war of brothers and the War of Independence left scars that are only slowly healing today.

Last week The Irish Times published the following article.

‘Pray for me’: The last letter of an RIC officer executed by the IRA

Ronan McGreevy

The poignant last letter of former Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) officer who was executed by the IRA for being a spy has been released as part of the Brigade Activity Reports. 

James Kane, a fisheries protection officer in Co Kerry, was executed on June 16th 1921 on suspicion that he gave his former RIC colleagues details of eight IRA men who were  involved in the shooting dead of the constabulary’s divisional commander. 

Detective Inspector Tobias O’Sullivan was shot dead on January 20th, 1921 outside Listowel barracks in Co Kerry. Some time later men from the 6th Battalion, Kerry North Brigade, kidnapped Kane. They did so on instruction from IRA General Headquarters (GHQ) and interrogated him. 

After a prolonged period of interrogation he was executed on June 16th, 1921. His body was left by the side of the road with a note, “Convicted spy. Let others beware. IRA.”

Before he died Kane composed a letter to his family which is in the newly-released Brigade Activity Reports files of 1 Kerry Brigade. The letter is addressed to his children, one of whom is said to have cried out as the coffin was lowered into the ground, “Daddy, daddy”. 

It beings: “My dear children, I am condemned (to) die. I had the priest today, thank God. I give you all my blessing and pray God may protect you all. Pray for me and get some masses said for me.” 

Kane goes on to list the financial provisions he has made for the family and the money he owes to people locally. 

It is clear that his children will be left as orphans as he requests that he be buried next to his “loving wife if possible”. 

He concluded: “Don’t go to too much expense at the funeral and have no drink or public wake. I am told my body will be got near home. I got the greatest kindness from those in charge of men. 

“Good bye now and God bless you and God bless Ireland. Pray for us constantly and give my love to all my friends and neighbours and thank them for all their kindness.”


Then and Now

The Square, Listowel

Knock in 1885, the parade in 2017, Halo reopens and Clounmacon in the Listowel parade in the seventies

Dancing With the Stars;  Kerry is behind its favourite to win

A Kerry friend’s phone. Need I say more?

She’ll do it all over again on Sunday night.

When he was better known as a footballer, Aidan O’Mahoney brought the Sam Maguire to Pres. Listowel. Here he is with the late Sr. Nuala.

Photo: Breda Ferris


Knock, Co. Mayo 1885

(Photo shared by Billy Austin on Facebook)

The Story of Knock began on the 21st August, 1879 when, at approximately 8 o’clock in the evening, fifteen people from the village of Knock in Co. Mayo, witnessed an Apparition of Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church.The witnesses watched the Apparition in the pouring rain for two hours, reciting the Rosary. Although they themselves were saturated not a single drop of rain fell on the gable or vision. There were fifteen official witnesses to the Apparition, most of whom were from the village of Knock and surrounding areas and ranged in age from just 5 years old to 74 years old. Each of the witnesses gave testimonies to a Commission of  Enquiry in October 1879. The findings of the Commission were that the testimonies were both trustworthy and satisfactory.


 More Photos from a very wet Listowel on St. Patrick’s Day 2017

I think these children were from Killocrim. Apologies if I’m wrong.


New Trees at St. John’s


Halo is Back on Church St.

 Elaine has taken a leap of faith and reopened her very popular Halo Health and Gift Shop across the road from her old location on Church St.


A Treasure unearthed by Liam O’Hainnín


St. Patrick’s Day in the 1970s

Tony Guerin shared some great old photos (mostly Clounmacon ).


Mothering Sunday

Mothers’ Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent.  This year, 2017 that is next Sunday, March 26th.

The tradition began in England over 400 years ago when, once a year people visited the church in the parish where their mother was born. While visiting the church they also visited their mothers. This visit was special all that time ago because there were no cars and no public transport and making any journey was a big undertaking. This day became known as Mothering Sunday.

The USA and other parts of the world celebrate it on the second Sunday in May.

St Patrick’s Celebrations 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day  2017 to everyone in the Listowel connection community

Photo and sand art by Mario Perez


Noreen O’Connell sends us this sad poem which was written by her emigrant great grand uncle, Paddy Histon

 The Dear
Little Shamrock

The shamrock you sent me

Fond greetings it brings me,

From the green hills of Ireland,

Far, far away:

And when I hold them

With care I unfold them,

For they grew near my home

In the hills of Athea.

The leaves were once green

Mow they are dried up and withered,

The tears from my eyes

Will refresh them like dew:

They recall to my mind

The long-cherished memories,

For it’s often I trod

On the spot where it grew.

Oh, could they but speak

What stories they would tell me,

Of the heroes who fought

To set our land free,

The martyrs who fell

By the sword and the  scaffold,

Are fondly engraved in my sad memory.

Here’s to the shamrock,

The flowers of St Patrick,

I will wear it to honour

The Saint’s blessed day:

But my footsteps will tread

On the shores of Columbia,

But my heart is at home

In the hills of Athea

Composed by Patrick J. Histon

In Conn. U.S. A . circa  1930


St Patrick’s Day in 1909

This lovely old photo was sent by Margel Soderberg. She tells me that this is her grandfather and she says

“His family lived in Chicago but his grandparent’s emigrated from Listowel in the 1860’s. In the photo, he is a young boy of 10, dressed as an archer and the date is given as St. Patrick’s day.  I have posted it to the Chicago Genealogy page but it didn’t sound familiar to anyone so I wondered it there was some type of celebration that was familiar to you.  He was Catholic.”

Does anyone in Chicago have any idea why this little Irish boy was dressed like this on the feast day of our patron saint.


Today is St. Patrick’s day so I’ll be busy with my camera.

They have already celebrated our national festival in other places. Here are a few photos from abroad.

Far from his native Lyreacrompane, Liam Murphy  celebrated the feast in New Jersey before the storm struck.

His friend Jule Spohn told him in a message of the plans for St. Patrick’s Day in Newark:

Hi Liam. Here is a little bit of St. Patrick’s Day news from Newark for you and your “Irish” friends. On St. Patrick’s Day morning our “New Cardinal” here in Newark, His Eminence Joseph William Cardinal Tobin, will be the principle celebrant and homilist at the “2017 Memorial Mass for Deceased Members and Investiture of the Grand Mashall and Deputy Grand Marshal.” The Mass will be at St. Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral on Washington Street and Central Ave at 9:15 am and will feature the Newark Firefighters Pipe Band and the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Color Guard. Newark’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place that same day – March 17th – starting over by the Pru Sports Center on Mulberry Street at 1 pm. HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY to all.


And in Sarasota, Florida

Pat del Savio writes;

As there isn’t a St. Patrick’s Day Parade nearby, I am sending you some photos of my town’s Irish Gaelic Festival, a small, but enjoyable event.

Dancers with gray costumes are from The Drake School of Dance.

Dancers in multicolor costumes are from the  Irish Dance Academy of Sarasota Three of the dancers are competing in dancing competitions in Belfast and Dublin this year. Gillian McCormick is the teacher and she is in the photo with the dancers.

 The local weatherman is Bob Harrigan who was part of the entertainment on the day.

 Cathay Dunne had a fairly successful career in Ireland and Germany before turning his attention to the U.S.,

These costumes were hand made by the dance teacher’s mother and the crochet collars hand made by her aunt in Ireland.

Behind this man is an inflatable pop up Irish pub.


We’re ready for the off

Guerins, The Lartigue opening and St. Patrick’s Day

Beautiful Kerry

Even after all the heavy rains of recent weeks, The National Park, Killarney looks beautiful. 

Photo: Chris Grayson


Mike Hannon posted these photos of Convent Street and Guerins.


I Got it Wrong

I’m always delighted to get an email from a blog follower. Mark Holan, who writes a very informative and entertaining blog about things Irish, wrote to me last week to keep me on my toes and to correct a big boo boo on my blog.

“Your March 6 post says the Lartigue monorail opened Feb. 24, 1888. In fact, the line opened on Feb. 29, 1888–a Leap Year Day! The museum uses March 1 on its website, but author Michael Guerin and others reference Feb. 29.

The Kerry Sentinel of March 2 (Friday), 1888, reported: “On Wednesday (Feb. 29) the formal opening of the single rail line from Listowel to Ballybunion took place under the most favorable auspices.” Of course, there was testing on the line prior to the opening ceremony. General traffic began the next day. 

I’m a big fan of the Lartigue. I think it’s perfect that such an odd railway opened on a Leap Year Day.  If somebody ever invents a way to travel back in time, I want to be at the Ballybunion station as the Lartigue wobbles into town the first time.

Hope you’ll take my correction in a friendly spirit. I really enjoy Listowel Connection. Best wishes,”

Thank you, Mark. Of course I accept your correction in the friendly spirit it was offered.


Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day

Some photos from other years

Something old , Something new and somethings that never change

Beautiful Kerry

Chris Grayson took this in Killarney National Park last week


Snooker Players

This is another of Mike Hannon’s old photos I found online. I’m presuming it was taken in the bands room/ St. Patrick’s Hall


 ‘Twas Rough in These Parts in August 1825

“A barbarous
outrage was committed on Sunday last, on the person of an elderly man, of the
name of Neligan, near Listowel, at one of those gaol(sic) matches which usually disgrace
the Sabbath. He was a spectator on this occasion, when some of the contending
party struck him with hurlies on the head; he fell and was trampled on, while
repeated blows put an end to his existence. The only pretence that can be
assigned for this murder is that he was connected with a party against whom
his assailants cherished a hostile feeling from some old recontre.”—Limerick


St. Patrick’s Day

Not long to wait now until our patron saint’s day and a big parade is planned.


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