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: Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly, Bridge Road, Brosna, Halloween Parade and the passing of another London Kerry publican

Timothy John MacSweeney


Strictly, Before the Event

I was in The Listowel Arms on Saturday October 24 2015 on a family mission. The whole place was a hive of excitement as last minute preparations were being put in place for Kerry Parents and Friends Strictly Come Dancing. I snapped a few of the nervous dancers and two of the organizers as they headed for the ballroom.

This last picture is of Julianne Galvin who, with her partner, Ian Liston, were declared the winners.

A great night for a great cause.

Pictures here:  Kerry Parents and Friends Strictly


Dursley Boys

Recently the Dursley Male Voice Choir sang at mass in St. Mary’s Listowel. I took these photos with members of our own church choir after mass and before the choir headed up town to perform at Áras Mhuire.


Bridge Road, Listowel, October 2015


New Shop breathes life into Brosna

Noel Laneshared the great news on Facebook. There is a renewed buzz about the village of Brosna with the opening of a bar and a new shop. It’s marvelous to see these green shoots of recovery in rural Kerry.


Halloween Parade Back for Another Year


A True Blue Kerryman has passed Away in London 

The late Christy Kissane is third from right at back

“It is with deep regret that we have learned of the death of legendary Kilburn publican Christy Kissane, a towering figure in London’s Irish – and Kerry – community.

The owner of Kerry’s flagship pub in Kilburn, the Kingdom, which was itself a testimony to Christy’s love of GAA as he frequently hosted the Kerry players and the Sam Maguire Cup.

Christy’s proud boast was that he had been to every All Ireland football final since 1962 except for the one in 1968 when construction work kept him in London.

He lived in Dollis Hill.

His first pub, in the mid-1970s, was the Windsor Castle on the Harrow Road which he built into a chain of pubs and taverns across west and north west London before eventually concentrating on his pride and joy, the Kingdom in Kilburn.

As can be seen in this photo was a welcome and lively presence at last Friday’s Kerry Association London dinner in Cricklewood. He was Life President of the Association. He was also chairman of the Kingdom Kerry Gaels football club.”

(photo and text from The Irish World

Listowel Rebranding, Christmas Shop and Sitting on Window Sills

Lots of Rebranding Going on

Rebranding is not about changes of ownership. It’s more a change of ethos and business model. Listowel is seeing a fair share of this lately. It started with Stacks changing to Number 21 and on Saturday night, Oct 10 2015 the last pint was pulled in Sheahans of Upper William Street.

Listowel Community College has two new brands, Coláiste na Ríochta and North Kerry College.

What we knew as Esso is now Topaz.


This is not an ad. for Listowel Garden Centre. If, like me, you love this stuff you need travel no further than Listowel.


Nobody sits on the window sills anymore

Listowel people remember a time when ladies used to sit on the window sills outside their houses in the evening time and chat. The day’s work done, the children in bed, the women took a welcome breather and availed of a chance to catch up with the news in the neighbourhood. People moved from one window to another but nobody left their perch for too long in case a crying child or a baking cake needed their attention. There were no televisions and no phones, mobile or otherwise, to bother them. The only sounds above the chatter were the happy sounds of children’s games or the chirping of the caged birds that hung outside the doors…….Happy days!


Saturday Night’s Entertainment Sorted

Daniel may be out, but our own Daniels and Kristinas are all set and rearing to go on Saturday night, October 24 2015

Cobh, Co Cork, an art exhibition, a protest march, a wedding and Strictly Come Dancing

This is Cobh, Co. Cork and I visited there recently to see an art exhibition by Rory Tangney, who is my nephew in law.

The art exhibition is called

My photographs do not do justice to Rory’s work, but I’m trying to give you a flavour of the pieces. It’s all about sound and wood and things new and old, technology and progress. There is also a sound track to listen to and its all housed in a beautiful pace in the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh.

Here is what the people who know say about it all;

Dublin based Cork artist Rory Tangney combines found and new materials with sound in a body of work that poses the question – can science provide us with what we need in a post-religious world? Ideas about obsolescence; of technology, people and ideas, emerge through sculptural objects, sound and drawings that are carefully imagined and skillfully made.

This Way To Enchantment, is essentially a search for spirit within the machine. Through works which engage with technology, old and new, relying on conventional, modern materials as well as salvaged materials that would normally be found in other contexts.

Tangney’s history as a furniture maker informs his sculpture, sound and drawing works relying on a process of making to create aesthetically potent and formal works. He focuses on the idea that manual skills provide a rootedness in the physical world, as if to say we are still physical beings walking on solid ground.

One of his large sculptures Consensus, is composed of a forest of salvaged reel-to-reel audiotape of random radio recordings from the past 40 years. The salvaged tape, before being cut up for the sculpture work, was harvested for its audio content. Some of these sounds, along with manual tape effects, re-emerge in the sound work, which also uses field recordings and extracts from YouTube clips.

Recordings taken in a hospital MRI booth provide an explosive background to the second work When All Is Said And Done. Here, the voice of Peter Higgs, the scientist who proposed the existence of the God Particle, recounts his life’s work along with an unidentified piece of music taken from one of the old tapes.


While I was in town I did a bit of exploring and I found Cobh fascinating. I’d recommend a visit.

This is The Emigration memorial. Cobh or Queenstown as it was formerly known was the point of departure for Irish emigrants to the U.S.

Pretty houses with convent in the background

Interior of Cobh Cathedral

The Lusitania memorial.

Below is the Wikipaedia account of the sinking of the Lusitania

On 7 May 1915 Lusitania was nearing the end of her eastbound crossing from New York, as she was scheduled to dock at the Prince’s Landing Stage in Liverpool later that afternoon. She was running parallel to the south coast of Ireland, and was roughly 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale when the liner crossed in front of U-20 at 14:10. It was sheer chance that the liner became such a convenient target, since U-20 could hardly have caught the fast vessel otherwise. Schwieger, the commanding officer of the U-boat, gave the order to fire one torpedo, which struckLusitania on the starboard bow, just beneath the wheelhouse. Moments later, a second explosion erupted from within Lusitania’s hull where the torpedo had struck, and the ship began to founder in a much more rapid procession, with a prominent list to starboard.[54][55]

Almost immediately, the crew scrambled to launch the lifeboats but the conditions of the sinking made their usage extremely difficult, and in some cases impossible due to the ship’s severe list. In all, only six out of 48 lifeboats were launched successfully, with several more overturning, splintering to pieces and breaking apart. Eighteen minutes after the torpedo struck, the bow struck the seabed while the stern was still above the surface, and in a manner similar to the sinking of Titanic three years earlier, the stern rose into the air and slid beneath the waves.

Of the 1,959 passengers and crew aboard Lusitania at the time of the sinking, 1,195 lost their lives that afternoon in the waters of the Celtic Sea. Just as had been seen with Titanic, most of the casualties were from drowning or from hypothermia. In the hours after the sinking, acts of heroism amongst both the survivors of the sinking and the Irish rescuers who had heard word ofLusitania’s distress signals brought the survivor count to 764, three of whom later died from injuries sustained during the sinking. By the following morning, news of the disaster had spread around the world. While most of those lost in the sinking were either British or Canadians, the loss of 128 Americans in the disaster, including American writer and publisher Elbert Hubbard, outraged many in the United States.

I took this photo from the lovely park beside the children’s playground.

 This piece is called The Navigator. It looks to me like a very big man in a very small boat.

People were embarking to take a trip to Spike Island.

A big protest march against the government’s proposed water charges was taking place.


I attended a lovely Humanist wedding ceremony recently

What a lovely sentiment!

All of these ladies have a Pres. Listowel connection:

Diane Flavin, Sarah Buckley, Margo Spillane, Deirdre O’Connor, Maria O’Connor,  Mary Cogan and Maria Keane.


Strictly….the DVD

A huge bualadh bos is due to the brave people who gave up weeks of their time and all of their inhibitions and tripped the light fantastic for Kerry Parents and Friends association.

By all accounts we missed  great night. I can’t wait for the DVD which will be available shortly. Great Christmas present….great cause.

There is a taster on Changes page

November, graveyards and remembering our WW1 fallen


This is the time of year when we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. I took these photos in a very old churchyard in Kilbrin in Co. Cork, where some of my paternal ancestors are buried. The local committee have done a great restoration and preservation job on the old graves.

Obviously different laws applied in the 18th century as to size of burial plot.

Many of the inscriptions are illegible but this one from 1769 was in great nick.

My parents and older sister are buried here.

My grandfather is buried here.  As far as we can make out, his wife, my grandmother, is buried with her own people. She died at a very young age, leaving my poor grandfather with six very young children to raise with the help of his kind neighbours. It is a great credit to him that he kept them together in very tough times. They and all of us, their descendants,  are a credit to him and to the community who helped him to survive this awful tragedy. I pray with thanks for Philip Ahern of Knockalohert, Kilbrin this November.

Sign at the entrance


This is Lyre churchyard in Co. Cork where my maternal ancestors are buried.

This is my great-grandfather’s grave in Lyre. My grandmother is  buried here

Lyre is a little village near Banteer in North Cork. My grandmother, Mary Cronin, was a lovely kind  strong woman, who played a big part in my childhood. As a young girl she saw most of her family emigrate to the U.S. to a little town called Attleboro in Massachusetts. In the way of the times, people from a certain area emigrated to the same area in the U.S. so they had a little home away from home in the new country. Some of today’s citizens of Attleboro have roots in this little North Cork village or its nearby neighbour, Banteer.

This sign at the entrance is an unfortunate sign of the times we live in.


Listowel Military Tattoo remembers

There will be a short Remembrance Service at the rear of St John’s at the Remembrance Stone on Sunday 9th Nov. AFTER 11 o clock Mass to remember all those from North Kerry who died in WW1. A list of names will be read out. If you would like to check if your loved one’s name is on the register, then you can call in to Jim Halpin’s Museum in Church St..



Tonight’s The Night

The very best of luck to all the brave participants. It promises to be a blast!

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