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: T.F. O’Sullivan

Oliver Plunkett, Killarney, a great escape and a few St. Vincent de Paul Volunteers

Festive bike outside Eleanor’s Flowers in Tralee


Blessed (now Saint) Oliver Plunkett

I came across this recently. It’s a relic of a relic; “a piece of linen that touched a relic…”

This prayer for his canonisation worked.


Killarney, Christmas 2016

Killarney looks very Christmassy this year.

This is a brilliant idea. They have used the old phone kiosks to house defibrillators.

The key to access the life saving device is housed in a little box with  glass door.


Smart Boys

26 May 1877 Freeman’s Journal

CLEVER ESCAPE FROM A BRIDEWELL. An incident of a novel nature occurred

at  Listowel on Monday, in connection with the cleverly planned

escape from the bridewell. A lad named Mulvihill, aged 13 year, had

been convicted about five months ago at Tarbert Petty Sessions, of

stealing a dog, and sentenced to five years in the Upton Reformatory.

On his removal, after leaving Tralee gaol, he succeeded in giving the

gaol officer the slip, and managed to elude the police until last

Saturday, when he was apprehended at Ballylongford, and lodged in

Listowel bridewell preparatory to being sent back to the reformatory.

His younger brother, aged about 11 years, visited him on Monday, and

while in the cell with him the prisoner exchanged clothes with him ;

and thus disguised, he was allowed to pass out by the official, who

naturally believed he was the brother who had passed in some minutes

before. The mistake was of course soon discovered.  but the escaped

culprit had a good start, and has not been recaptured. The brother is

kept in custody, having been remanded to next petty sessions.


Listowel Humans

Christmas is a busy time of year for these ladies, Kay, Nancy, Hannah and Eileen. I met them at the BOI Enterprise town expo but they are usually to be found with their fellow volunteers in the Second Time Around shop in William Street or at bingo or Meals on Wheels at The Plaza or out visiting and quietly helping the less well off at Christmas time and throughout the year. 

They are the salt of the earth.


Seán McCarthy’s Christmas

Christmas is often a lonely time for someone who has lost a life’s partner. Seán McCarthy puts it sadly and poignantly in this old song which I photographed from an old book among Junior Griffin’s treasures.


Thomas F. O’Sullivan Update

Mark Holan contacted me to alert me that he has recently updated his blogpost about T.F. O’Sullivan of Listowel.


I heard from Vincent Carmody of Listowel, a local historian and author. He writes that Thomas F. O’Sullivan and his book are not forgotten. Story of the GAA received at least five mentions in The G.A.A., A People’s History, a 2009 book by Mike Cronin, Mark Duncan and Paul Rouse.

Carmody continued:

When in Listowel, [O’Sullivan] was the driving force, both as a player and administrator of the local G.A.A. club. He later served as an administrator at both County and National level of the Association. He is credited with the proposal of Rule 27, of the G. A.A.s rule book. This came into force in 1902 and it read, ” any member of the association who plays in any way, rugby football, jockey or any imported game which is calculated or injurious affect our national pastimes, is suspended from the association” . This rule was commonly known as, The Ban. It was for a long time rigorously enforced, indeed in 1938, the then President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, was banned from the G.A.A. , for his attendance at an International Soccer match in Dublin. The rule was deleted in 1971.

T.F. O’Sullivan, Enterprise Town Expo and a Memento of the Roadworks

Robin photographed by Chris Grayson


The First History of the GAA…..the Listowel Connection

Mark Holan writes a very interesting internet blog. A recent post which spiked my interest was all about T.F. O’Sullivan of Listowel who wrote the first history of the GAA.  This man seems to be largely forgotten except for Vincent Carmody’s references to him in his historical walking tour of the town when he points out where he was born and mentions his fame as the first to record the history of the GAA.

Below is the text of the blogpost. If you go to Mark’s site, you will also be able to see a photos of the book’s cover.

“A journalist’s book about
the early decades of the Gaelic Athletic Association this year quietly reached
the 100th anniversary of its publication. T.F. O’Sullivan’s Story of
the GAA
was based on an earlier series of newspaper articles.

The book’s 1916
publication has been lost amid all the attention to the same-year Easter
Rising. Even the 1916 entry of the special 1913-1923 centenary
section of the GAA’s website overlooks the book, written by one of its own
members. You can read the organization’s 28 May 1916 official statement after the uprising.

Michael Cronin of the International
Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University, Leicester,
England, briefly noted O’Sullivan’s book in a larger essay on “Historians and the
Making of Irish Nationalist Identity in the Gaelic Athletic Association.”

O’Sullivan was a GAA
official and the book presents a highly simplistic notion of the Association’s
past beginning with the seven pioneers who met in Thurles in 1884 to reawaken
the Gaelic nation through sport and taking the narrative up to 1916 by
recounting details of major personalities, decisions taken by the Central
Council and recording the results of matches.

Although there is no
explicit mention of the Easter Rising as such an inclusion would have meant
that the book would not be approved by military censors, there is an implicit
celebration of the Rising as those GAA men who took part are included in the
list of GAA personalities.

Although not a widely
researched history, as it is more of a contemporary account, O’Sullivan’s book
is important as it sets out an accepted chronology that is rarely challenged by
subsequent authors. This chronology, while celebrating the games of the Gael,
primarily revolves around the role of the GAA in reawakening the national

O’Sullivan’s book does
receive several mentions in The GAA & Revolution in Ireland 1913-1923,
edited by Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, a 2015 commemorative publication specially
commissioned by the GAA.

O’Sullivan was a Kerryman,
born in Listowel, according to a short History Ireland bio. He wrote for the
Freeman’s Journal.”


Saturday November 26 2016 in Listowel Community Centre

As part of BOI’s enterprise town initiative, we got to see a number of local clubs and charities in the community centre. Below are some of the people I photographed on the day.

Members of Listowel Tidy Town’s Committee cut the ribbon to perform the official opening.

Dawn Thomas had a beautiful display of crafts, all handmade by herself. Dawn’s work is for sale in Craftshop na Méar and at local craft fairs.

Denis O’Carroll of Fealegood Productions was there.

Eabha Joan’s Restaurant was there on Friday and Saturday.

Edel O’Connor of JK Sports made a sale to Sheelagh Dillon of BOI.

Eileen O’Sullivan is a multi talented crafter. Eileen’s ceramics and knits are available at Craftshop na Méar.

Lorraine O’Hanlon runs Listowel’s very successful play therapy business called Anam Saor.

Sand in Our Boots is a History of Beale GAA Club.

The Lixnaw area has a new Facebook page from Pride of the Parish

Christina was minding the Little Lilac Studio stall.

Imelda was taking Tom on a trip down memory lane at the Comhaltas stand.

Croí is Lyreacrompane’s Gym


Humans of Listowel

Matt Mooney and John McGrath share an interest in writing.


Party at Áras Mhuire

If you have family or friends at Áras Mhuire they invite you to join them for their Residents’ Christmas party


We’ll Remember the Road Works


Listowel Badminton Club held their annual Christmas Party in John B.Keanes  on Friday Night last and on the night the presentation of Club Person of the Year Award took place.  This Award was first inaugurated in 1987 and this year’s very popular recipient was Norma Leane for her commitment and dedication to the Juvenile section of the Club.  Norma works closely with coach Roly Chute who himself was one of the recipients of the Award in 1993.  Norma is seen here with Club Chairman, James Sheahan on the left and President/Secretary John (Junior) Griffin on the right. 

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