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: stained glass windows

In Blarney

In The Garden of Europe, Listowel in July 2022


Churches in Blarney

When I was in Blarney recently I visited their churches. For me visiting a new church is like visiting a gallery or a museum.

The Church Of Ireland church was closed when I was there but the churchyard was particularly well kept and, given its central location in the town, it was great to see it obviously appreciated.

The Catholic Church is at the top of a hill too. On the way up to the entrance there is this lovely Lourdes grotto.

Lots of stained glass here.

There was much mosaic work in the sanctuary.


A Few More Irishisms or Mammyisms


I’m a Proud Nana

Tennis doubles partners, Killian Cogan and his Papa, Bobby, won the first round of their tennis tournament on their first outing as a team.

I’m dead proud of these men.


Perfect Weather for a Wedding

Summer wedding in Ballydonoghue. Photo: Barbara Kissane


Historian in Residence, A Generous Maloney, Stained Glass Windows

When there was a phone box on every corner


Tom Takes up a new post

Ennismore native, Tom Dillon is a passionate historian. He is an expert on North Kerry men who fought in two world wars. He has recently been appointed as Historian in Residence by Kerry County Council.

Tom has always been a busy man and now he is about to become even busier. I heard him recently with Frank Lewis on Radio Kerry’s Saturday Supplement telling the fascinating story of one of Kerry’s most notorious faction fights between the Cooleens and the Lawlors at Ballyeigh.

Tom is on the far right with Jim Dunn, Mike Lynch and Rose Wall Volunteering at a Graham Norton event at Listowel Writers’ Week.

Tom is among North Kerry history lovers, Martin Moore, Declan Downey, Michael Guerin and myself in Ashe Hall where Tom gave an excellent lecture on the Fitzgeralds, Knights of Kerry.


A Duagh Philatropist

William Maloney was born in Duagh County Kerry, Ireland, in 1828, and died in Pittsburgh, Dec. 28, 1870.

All affairs bearing on the public good interested Mr. Maloney, and the weight of his influence and his moral and financial support were always forthcoming in aid of such activities. Charitable cause made and unfailing appeal to his warmly, generous and sincere nature, and he was especially friendly to St. Paul’s Orphan Asylum. He was a member of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, then at Fifth and Grant streets, and there was no branch of its work that did not owe a large part of its comfortable ease in financial relations to his never-failing donations. He was known for his ever-courteous manner and was a musician of accomplishment. His religious convictions were strong, and, practical man of affairs the he was, he believed that they were worthy of the best of his means.

William Maloney married Mary B. Mullin, daughter of Thomas and Mary Mullin, her father a linen manufacturer of note at Carrickmacross, a famous linen center of Ireland. Her mother, Mary Mullin, came to the United States a short time after her son John, Mr. Maloney’s partner, had made Pittsburgh his home. Mrs. Maloney, a devoted mother, and active charity worker, an accomplished home maker, died Aug. 25, 1914. 


Listowel Convent Windows in their new home

A Corkman, Eddie Hyland has been studying stained glass windows from the Harry Clarke studios in Dublin. His research brought him to two windows in Presentation Convent chapel  in Listowel.

The chapel was deconsecrated and the windows dispersed. Eddie started a search that brought him to sources like Listowel Connection as well as the Presentation archive.

Here is his latest letter bringing the news that his search iOS over and has been successful

Dear Mary

I’ve located the Saint Patrick window; it is in the parish church [named Saint Patrick’s]

in the tiny village of Knockavilla near Upton in Co Cork.

I’m sending to you as attachments photos of both windows. As you can see the Saint Michael

window has been reworked somewhat to make it fit into the opening in Blackrock Church, Cork.

The Saint Patrick is however unaltered. It is not however fitted into a wall opening but instead

is located in a custom made wooden frame and artificially back lit

Again thank you for all of your help and encouragement


Ed Hyland 


Stained Glass Windows, Switching on the Christmas Lights 2017and a few more trains

Mallow Camera Club Member’s Blue Photo

Photographer; Deborah Cronin


Scully’s Corner, December 2017


Stained Glass Windows

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I am a great admirer of stained glass windows. It is an art form that is fascinating, colourful and detailed and some great examples of this artwork  are available for free in every town in Ireland.

Recently I was in Saint Mary’s and I went into the sanctuary to view the Famine window. Until Vatican 11 the sanctuary in a Catholic church was out of bounds to the laity and I still felt a bit uncomfortable going into this sacred space to take photographs.

It is a pity that this inaccessible space is the location chosen for some of the church’s fascinating artwork.

I had always presumed that church art depicted Christ and the saints. It was a revelation to me that a window was made depicting a local man and some local women that everybody knew. The man was the parish priest, Fr. Darby O’Mahoney and the women were the local nuns. The window was commissioned by the people of Listowel in recognition of the unselfish work done by these people to help alleviate the suffering of Listowel people during the Great Famine of the 1840s when close on 7,000 people perished in and around the parish.

Above is the Famine window. While I was about it, I went across to the other side of the sanctuary and photographed the window there and the plaque which commemorates Canon Davis.


Switching on the Christmas Lights 2017

There was a huge crowd in Listowel Town Square for the switching on ceremony 2017. Aidan O’Mahoney did the honours. We had singing and dancing, face painting, Disney characters, balloon shapes, sweets and goodies and everyone was in great form. There is a real sense of the whole community coming together this Christmas.

Listowel First

Make Listowel Great Again


A Few More trains

This cute one is in the foyer of The Listowel Arms.

Hartnett’s Pharmacy has taken the polar theme a step further. Polar bears, penguins and snow is everywhere. Even the elf has left his shelf for a swing on a snow covered branch.

All part of Listowel polar magic this Christmas 2017.


Woodford Pottery

Pat Murphy of Woodford Pottery, Listowel has recently found a whole new seam of inspiration. Here are his latest Christmas creations.

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.

Knocknagoshel, Travellers and June Races

Arise, Knocknagoshel and take your place among the nations of the earth.

These old milk churns say “small farmers” to me. Small farmers are the backbone of this lovely rural Kerry community. I had occasion to visit Knocknagoshel recently and I liked what I saw.

“Arise Knocknagoshel, and take your place
among the nations of the Earth!’, was a slogan on a banner which was carried by
local men at a rally addressed by Charles Stewart Parnell in Newcastle West in

The banner is today commemorated with a
plaque in the centre of Knocknagoshel village.

Knocknagoshel has a lovely church in the heart of the village.

The church has some really fine stained glass windows.


Presentatation Convent May 2007

I took this photo shortly after the imminent closure of the convent was announced.



Traveler culture is now often  associated with big weddings, ostentatious grave memorials, disco clothes as daywear and sulky racing. Once upon a time in the 1940s and 50s travelers were poor people. They lived a nomadic life in squalid conditions, had large families and poor life expectancy. In the Cork Museum there is a permanent exhibition of artifacts and photographs associated with the traveller lifestyle.

In 1971 and 1972, two Ph.D. students of anthropology, George and Sharon Gmelch lived for 13 months with travelers in a site called Holylands outside Dublin. They studied their way of life and their interactions with the settled community. The Gmelchs’ photographs capture a way of life that is now but a fading memory. George is now Professor of Anthropology at the University of San Francisco. Some of their photos are on display in Cork Museum.

A bed in a typical barrel top caravan

These pockets or aprons covered in beads, buttons and medals were worn by traveller women

 An open cart

 Trading in scrap metal was a way of life for many of the menfolk.

 A tinsmith at work outside his home. Travellers often made tin cups or saucepans and sold them to country people on their travels.

Traveller encampment in the early 1970s


The Races are coming

Next weekend, if you are worn out from all the culture, you might dander down to the Island on Sunday and Monday for the June races.

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