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: Stags

Willie Whack, Tarbert Comp, Cats will be Cats and the Friday crew in the St. V de P. shop

Locking Horns in The National Park

Photo: Chris Grayson


Willie Whack

John B. Keane in The Limerick Leader

One venerable reader of our column on communications was none other than my great friend, Willie Whack Gleeson, dean of Limerick’s typesetters and a great man to utilise big words as well as small.

He is a man to whom I am greatly indebted this many a day for his priceless insight into the character and background of his fellow Limerickmen.

“Sir,” he opens in characteristic fashion, “in recent contribution of yours to the Leader, you referred to the use of long words by yahoos, gombeen men, TDs and long-winded buffoons.”

“If I had my way, I would apply the following as a fair reading test for all drunken motorists and self-styled intellectuals and comprise city and county councils.”

“Promulgating your esoteric cogitations or articulating your superficial sentimentalities and amicable, philosophical or psychological observations demonstrate a clarified consciousness, a compact comprehensibleness, no coalescent conglomerations of prejudical garrulity, jejune bafflement and assinine affectations. Let your extemporaneous verbal evaporations and expectations have lucidity, intelligibility and veracious vivacity without rodomontade or Therspian bombast. Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous propensity, psittaceous vacuity, ventriloquial verbosity, and vaniloquent vapidity.”

Shun double-entendre, obnoxious jocosity and pestiferous profanity, observable of apparent.”

“In brief, say what you mean, J.B. Don’t use big words.

Yours till Niagra Falls

Willie W. Gleeson”

How does one react to a letter like this from a man, who as far as I am aware, was never once intoxicated by the exuberance of his own verbosity nor given to inflated or fustian tumidity?

I imagine the sensible thing to do would be to have a shave a haircut, and if practicable, a shampoo, after which a refreshing bathe in the milk of ass mares is to be recommended.

American papers, please copy.


Sometimes at race meetings, I stand aside to watch the passing scene.

At the dog tracks, it’s different.

One is at once caught up in the proceedings such is the nature of the sport.

Recently at a well-known race meeting, I stood near to the owners’ and trainers’ bar.

From time to time, men and women with binoculars draped across their shoulders came and went.

Occasionally the doorkeeper would extend his hand to stop people who did not show proof of ownership.

Some of these were somewhat disgruntled and argued their cases heatedly.

Sometimes the doorman would reconsider his decision and admit them.

With others, he was adamant.

He held them firmly at bay; a cross look on his face, his shoulders belligerently squared under his white coat of office.

There was one particularly noisy exchange during which a couple of young bucks attempted to push the doorman aside.

They moved off, however, when the doorman threatened to call the Guards.

Next to arrive was a North Kerry publican with a party of friends.

None of the group had ever owned or trained an ass not to mention a horse.

The publican in question shook hands with the doorman and entered the bar.

Then, with the magnanimous gesture, he indicated to the remainder of his party that it was alright for them to enter.

The doorman made no attempt to stop them

Immediately after the last of the party had entered a decent-looking man with a pair of binoculars was held at bay by the doorman.

Puzzled, he retreated and sought another bar.

Nothing like this applies at dog tracks nor at football matches have you a special bar for players and trainers. I am tempted to ask who are owners and trainers above everybody else that they should be given a special bar?

I saw some of them in a special enclosure in the stand, and there was nothing about them to indicate that they were different from other race-goers.

This story first appeared in The Leader on October 2, 1976.


Down Memory Lane in Tarbert

This photo from the opening of Tarbert Comprehensive School was posted  on Facebook by 

The Swanky Bar

Click on the link and you will find some of the people named in the comments.


Bird watching

This predatory cat waited for ages but that bird knew better than to come down from the tree.


My Friday friends in St. Vincent de Paul shop

Helping the customers on Friday October 4 2019 were Nancy, Liz, Bina and Eileen.

Belling Stags, Clounmacon GAA 1966 and Stained Glass Windows in Tralee

Belling Stags

Remember this gorgeous fellow in Chris Grayson’s photograph. Well, he is not “braying” like a jackass.

I got it wrong. Mea culpa, mea culpa. Someone who knows about these things tells me that stags don’t bray. They bellow. Their sound has been described in literature as the “belling of stags”. This great picture was taken in The National Park recently by Chris Grayson.


Clounmacon GAA

Noreen Keane Brennan shared this photo from Clounmacon GAA.


St. John’s Tralee

While I was in Tralee recently I went to see the new stained glass window I had heard about in St. John’s. It’s unusual now to hear of a new stained glass window in a church. Well I was a bit too early to see the new one. It was just being installed. So I took the opportunity to photograph the other windows. St. John’s has them in all shapes and sizes.

I’ll be back when this one is finished. It looks to be more modern than the others. I’ll be interested to see how it fits in.


Every Bank is now the “Bank of You”

My bank is literally pushing me out the door. I am now being asked to lodge and withdraw on the street and I’m being encouraged to do as much banking as possible on the internet.

This is not a good development. Banking is an area where lots of people need help and advice and most of all security.

As anyone who has ever booked a flight online for the wrong day or from the wrong airport will tell you, there is many a slip twixt the keyboard and the website.

We are moving into a world where face to face transactions are being phased out. Young people don’t phone one another any more.  They shop online. I’m even reliably informed that we will soon order our meals online and have them delivered to our doors. Oh dear!


A Shoutout to Listowel Molyneaux from an American Cousin

Hi Mary,

I’m originally from Holyoke, MA, birthplace of Volleyball and me but I now live in Hudson, MA. I love your blog…I saw the name Molyneaux and I have an interest in that surname as it connects to my Barrett family of Listowel and surrounding townlands…

Anyone whose surname is Molyneaux and who may know something of their family history is someone with whom I’d like to make contact..

Thanks for all that you do…

Ed O’Connor

If you can help Ed. email me and I will give you his details.

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