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: Tadhg Kennelly Page 1 of 2

Old photos, Spanish Flu and Some More of Mike O’Donnell’s Covid Cartoons

Photo: Poshey Ahern


Some Old Photos

Photo shared on Facebook by BPM.   A young Tadhg Kennelly at the Muster Colleges Athletics in


Charles Street Neighbours, Nellie Moloney and Mrs Stack share a cuppa and a chat.

Photo shared by Patrick Godfrey…. no date


A Spitoon

I am old enough to remember spittoons in pubs. (Children were allowed into pubs back in the day.) In my young days TB was the greatest scourge around. People lived in fear and dread of contracting it. There were no hand sanitisers, or disinfectant wipes and people didn’t think of staying home as a way of curbing the spread so it was not unusual to see a sign on buses and on public places asking people not to spit.

This was also  one of the instructions given to people during the great flu of 1918 and 19. Here are the other instructions for how to conduct yourself

In case anyone should be inclined to try eucalyptus by mouth- it is not safe to take it orally as it is poisonous! 

We’re back in the same boat again.


Some More Mike O’Donnell Covid Cartoons


A Poem of Family Love

Jim’s Last Goodbye

By Noel Roche

(Noel and Jim grew up in O’Connell’s Avenue in a large and happy family. Noel finds comfort in poetry. He wrote this one after his brother’s funeral.)

And so the family gathered

To partake in Jim’s last race,

Led off by the lone piper

Who played Amazing Grace.

He was flanked by Tom and me,

We stood proud and bold,

Followed by a guard of honour

Of the Gaels in green and gold.

Behind the hearse came brothers and sisters,

Nephews, nieces and the rest.

Dick Walsh controlled the traffic

He was like a man possessed.

And in the church that evening

There was not a dry eye,

As, in the back, on his accordion,

Jerry Walsh played Danny Boy.

Next morning at the funeral

I couldn’t believe my eyes

At least five hundred people

Came to say their last goodbyes.

Out comes the priest

His name was “Fr. Jack”.

I thought it was really cool

That Fr. Jack was black.

It seemed to me that everyone

Who knew Jim was there.

And I got to hear a new rendition

As Mike said his Lord’s Prayer.

As Tom gave his tribute,

It had us spellbound from the start.

You could see that every word he said

Came from deep inside his heart.

And then we gave Jim

His greatest last goodbye

As five hundred people raised the roof

Singing The Fields of Athenry.

I can see you up there now  Jim,

As you sit upon a cloud,

Telling all the angels

How your family did you proud.

An Rás leaves town, Busking Day and some gathering events

Photo by Denis OCarroll of Listowel’s Big Bridge and the River Feale taken on May 23 2013. Superb!


These are some of the musicians and volunteers who worked so hard to make Friday’s MS fundraiser such a hit.


On May 21, as The Rás came through, the boys from Scoil Realt na Maidine were safely positioned behind the wall at The Slua Hall.

The following photos are of local people out in the sunshine to enjoy the excitement. It was great to see such a positive buzz in town and everyone forgot about recession for a day or two.

Some people were working; John McCarthy is welcomed home by his daughter after the finish in his hometown, Listowel. Press photographer, John Reidy was snapping some local colour.

Some local media and local supporters.


The Gathering

Dont forget tomorrow night Tuesday May 28 RTE will repeat The Gathering Homeward Bound with Tadhg Kennelly.

In conjunction with The Gathering there are lots and lots of Clan and family gatherings taking place.

On the left is Martin Griffin. He, along with the Lartigue crew, is planning a gathering of descendants of people who worked on the monorail. This is planned for later on in the year. I’ll keep you posted.

Junior tells me that he is Griffin from both sides of his family. Both Griffin sides are planning a family reunion .

This is Damien Stack’s photo of his family shop which was established in 1910. The gathering of the Stack clan back to their Listowel roots promises to be a great hooley.

The Stack Clan and all its branches and adopted sons and daughters will make their way to Listowel  from July 19 to July 22 for a packed weekend.

Meanwhile in Dingle all this week a week of events to welcome scattered descendants of Corcha Dhuibhne emigrants is taking place.

I read all about it here:

Find your Kerry Ancestors

“The Dingle Peninsula has a unique and complex history.   A lot of
damage was inflicted on the Peninsula during the
course of the Second Desmond Rebellion,
the Nine Years War and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Its remoteness and
isolation may have protected it from the worst excesses of the Williamite War and the 1798 Rebellion.  

 It is one of the
places in Kerry thas has experienced the highest level of emigration over the
past  three hundred years.   

 It was particularly
devastated during the Famine, with up to 5000 people dying in the Dingle
Workhouse alone.   The Kerry Examiner of 8 February 1847,
records ‘The state of the people in Dingle is horrifying.  Fever, famine
and dysentery are daily increasing, deaths from hunger daily occurring. 
From all parts of the country, they crowd into the town for relief and not a
pound of meal is to be had in the wretched town for any price’.   

Thankfully all these wars and famines are behind us and the Dingle Peninsula has

This year, the year of The Gathering, the people of the Dingle Peninsula are
taking the opportunity to welcome back our diaspora from all over the world so as
that they too might experience The Corca Dhuibhne Peninsula, the Gaeltacht, the
friendliness of our people, the goodness of our food and the wealth of our
culture, language and heritage.  

Corca Dhuibhne – one of the most
beautiful places on earth. 

 23rd May to 30th May 2013.”


Joanne Dillon sends us this link to a very poignant article from Irish Central.  It tells the fate of many Irish immigrants who died in quarantine.

Odds and ends from Christmastime 2012

I hope to resume normal blogging on Monday, after my Christmas holidays.  Today I’m giving you a few photos that I took during the 12 days of the peaceful season.

This is Tia. She was at work meeting and greeting the customers in Changes on Christmas Eve.

I met Listowel’s golden couple, Tadhg and Nicole Kennelly, home for the holidays and looking forward to the launch of The Gathering on New Year’s Eve.

Christmas for me was  a family time. Here, my grandson, Killian, performs a magic trick for his family. Happy, innocent days!

Lots of fun and games.

We visited the live crib in Duagh. It has a real donkey, 2 sheep called iPad and iPod, a goat, 2 hens and a cock and it’s all housed in a real stable. I recommend you visit before it is all dismantled after the weekend.

Minister Jimmy Deenihan posed for a photo with the Knitwits ladies in Scribes.

I enjoyed the fireworks display in The Square.

Seán McKenna and Clíona Cogan in The Square.

 The folk group in fancy dress enlivened a wet and gloomy day in town.

Mary Moylan and Evonne MacGillicuddy get us into the party mood.

Helen Moylan and Paddy McGillicuddy. Will you look at the state of him in those tights!

Tina Enright.


The story of last Sunday’s drawn North Kerry Final in photos on Eabhnait Scanlon’s page.

 The replay is on Sunday in Listowel. It promises to be a cracker! 

May the better team win!


Minutes of December Town Council meeting:

Fathers and sons and an extraordinary teacher

This is Rory McIlroy as a boy with his dad.

This is his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniachi pictured after her latest triumph.


A young Billy Keane and his dad.

Will you look at the state of that tie?



I searched the web and couldn’t find a photo of the father and son team of the moment, the Hartys of Dairymaster. I’m sure there is no prouder Dad in Kerry this morning than Ed. Harty of Causeway founder of Dairymaster. His son and technical director of this marvelous success story, the very hard working Dr. Edmond Harty was announced last night as Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, a well deserved accolade.


Another man who idolized his father is Tadhg Kennelly. If you missed our TV encounter, here it is

Now the inside story for my blog followers.

The first I heard of The Gathering:Homeward Bound was when a lovely young lady called Doireann O’Hara emailed me. She had found me on this blog and she was researching this 6 part series for The Gathering 2013. Listowel was one of the chosen towns and they were to choose a well known local person who lived abroad to centre the programme around.


The next time she emailed they had found Tadhg and enlisted him to be the “well known local person”. He was actually an inspired choice, in my opinion, because he is very media savvy and very natural  around cameras and stuff.

Next  Doireann  comes to town for a week to line up all the people and stories for the show. She and Vincent drive to Ballybunion to meet Boysie Gleasure’s widow.  Doireann sets up loads of meetings, organizes venues and people etc.

Then the big week came,  first week in September 2012. The cameraman, sound man, producer and director hit town. They shot hours and hours of footage. They spent an afternoon in St. John’s where lots of Kerry organizations pitched their Gathering ideas. The producer decided not to go with that in the end even though the town meeting had been part of the three previous Gathering programmes.

At editing stage they obviously decided to go with four stories, The Stack Clan Gathering,  Cathy Buckley in The White House, The Gleasure Letters and The Orphan Girls.

The programme was very well received at home and abroad.

I have been in touch with the Naylors who are the custodians of the Gleasure letters and with Julie Evans in Australia and they are thrilled with the programme and they both said that they now feel even more connected with Listowel.

One question I am being asked.

What was Tadhg like once the cameras stopped rolling?

He was the same affable charming character  off camera. He has no put-on TV persona. What you see is what you get. He was genuinely interested in the stories and his empathy with the family who suffered a huge bereavement while miles apart was spontaneous and heart felt.

He had no idea of what he was going to hear until he actually arrived in my house. As he read the letters from the young Joseph Gleasure, begging his brother to bring him out of this “hole”, Listowel, Tadhg identified with the young lad’s desire for adventure. He read the letters where Joe outlined his plans. He was working hard at school and going to the gym in the evenings in order to prepare himself for the good job he envisioned in the U.S.

Tadhg’s shock was palpable as he read the letter from George Gleasure detailing how bereft and tormented he felt on hearing of the death of his beloved son only 6 months after arriving in the U.S. Tadhg was immediately back in Sydney on that awful night when he had a premonition that something was wrong at home only to be woken from a troubled sleep to learn that his beloved father had suddenly passed away. It was a great TV moment but Tadhg’s pain was genuine.

It was part of the modus operandi of the Animo crew that everything was spontaneous and unrehearsed. Giles did not know that he was going to be put in touch with an American cousin he did not know he had, until he arrived in The Arms and was told that he was going to make a Skype call. Ben did not know that the call was going to be part of the programme.

The programme has had a great reaction locally. And didn’t the town look lovely?


Extraordinary teacher is honoured

(from The Irish Times)

A deaf-blind music teacher who developed a unique method of teaching others has been recognised for her inspirational work.

For the last 20 years Orla O’Sullivan, from Frankfield in Cork, has taught scores of students, from beginners up to diploma level.

Ms O’Sullivan, who started teaching deaf children at a local primary school in the mid-1990s, now uses a purpose-built classroom in her home for hearing and non-hearing pupils.

She believes all schoolchildren should be given the option to learn music, regardless of disability.

“I teach music in a standard, normal way. The difference is in how I prepare,” she said.

“I memorise everything, even the questions that are normally asked by students at the various levels. With my hearing aids on and with close lip-reading I can usually make out what is being said.

“As regards the music, again, with my hearing aids on, I can hear/feel some of the notes. The notes I cannot hear, I hear in my imagination. As regards sight, what I see is normal for me. I can only imagine what a person with perfect vision can see.”

Ms O’Sullivan was among nine people with hearing loss commended at the Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards in the Alexandra Hotel in Dublin.

The workplace award winner was left profoundly deaf and vision-impaired when given a drug after she contracted double pneumonia at six weeks old.

She said her mother noticed that, as a young baby, she reacted to certain kinds of music, including vibrations from piano keys. After her first music lesson at six, she spent most of her childhood playtime practising on her piano.

Ms O’Sullivan said teaching music to deaf pupils is much more difficult and demanding for both the teacher and the pupil, but as a deaf-blind teacher she feels she is the best qualified to do it.

“I can sign [ISL] and relate to them [pupils] in ways that a fully hearing and sighted teacher cannot,” said the mother to six-month-old John Amadeus.

“And with the aid of enlarging technology, for reading, and better hearing devices, and amplifiers, it will get easier and more effective. Many deaf and deaf-blind people believe that music is impossible for them to understand and appreciate. That is not true.

“I, and others like musician and therapist Russ Palmer, the Finnish rapper SignMark, pianist Mark Pampel, Paul Whittaker, and Evelyn Glennie are examples of what can be achieved.”


 More on Callaghan’s Cross

Callaghan’s Cross, Vincent tells me, is so called because the family that lived there were called Callaghan.

The original house was a timber structure with a tarred roof. It was build by The Lartigue Company for the switch keeper. Where The Lartigue line ran across a junction a keeper was employed to operate the switch. He swung the line out of the way to open the junction and when the train was due he swung the line back into alignment.

Ned O’Callaghan had this job and he lived in this house with his wife, Madge Enright from Tarmons in Tarbert. In the 1950s the house was upgraded and extended. The O’Callaghans had 6 children.

Joanne Dillon, Fred Chute and a few small changes

Joanne Dillon of NY got an opportunity recently to spend time with some cousins and she sent us these photos.

Tommy Larkin, who hails from outside of Ballybunion, Joanne and Tom Dillon – at O’Hara’s Pub, near the World Trade Center Memorial, Lower Manhattan, NYC.

In this photo are (seated) Beverly & Tom Dillon from BunburyWestern Australia. Tom is Joanne’s first cousin. His father, John Dillon was originally from Dromerin, Listowel,  Tom’s mother was Catherine Nolan (originally from Coilbee, Listowel). John & Catherine emigrated to Western Australia roughly in the late 1930s.  They were with Joanne at John’s Italian Restaurant, East 12th Street, in Greenwich Village.


Fred Chute, master painter, did a lovely job of repainting at Altered Images on Church St. His work throughout the town has contributed hugely to the much commented on charming appearance of Listowel today.


I took this at the bridge on Tuesday last. There appeared to be  bit of reconstruction underway.


The cinema seems to be getting a bit of an overhaul too.


James Kenny sent me this picture of Tadhg Kennelly dancing a jig on the platform  in Listowel to celebrate Kerry’s All Ireland win in 2009.

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