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Tag: Tarbert Bridewell

Market Street, Tarbert Bridewell the Convent Chapel and The Big Fight at Ballyeigh in 1834

Market Street, Listowel in June 2019


Tarbert Bridewell, the Keepers Quarters

The family who looked after the bridewell lived upstairs.

They kept the prisoners locked up except when they were allowed into the exercise yard.

They cooked their meals and swept the floors and kept the jail in good order.

This is a selection of their cooking pots and irons.

A Bath

A settle bed

I think children would really benefit from a visit to Tarbert Bridewell to see for themselves history brought to life and to give them an insight into life as it was long ago.


Memories, Memories

Do you remember the lovely convent chapel?


A Faction Fight

from the Dúchas Schools Folklore Collection

On the 13th of May fair in Listowel some time previous to 1830. some Magheragh men (Ballyduff, Causeway, Ballyheigue, Killanhan, etc) were selling potatoes. A discussion arose as to the comparative merits of the potatoes between the Magheragh men and the cúl-na-lín (Culeen near Listowel) men. The discussion ended in a fight, where the Magheragh men got off the worst as they wouldn’t have the backing in Listowel that the others had. At the Whit Monday fair in Ardfert the fight was renewed. Practically every man in North Kerry took one side or another and for years after whenever people assembled at fair or market on Sunday after mass the fight was renewed.

The biggest fight of all took place at (Ballyduff) Ballyeigh on the 24th June 1834. The North Kerry race meeting was then held in Ballyeigh Strand (opposite the Cashen School) but was eventually transferred to Listowel (1870). The races were held on the right hand side of the River Cashen on the strand where the school is now and when some of the combatants tried to escape by crossing the river in boats and swimming, they were attacked by their opponents with stones, bottles, sticks and so on at the left side of the river. A terrible fight ensued in which about thirteen people were drowned and very many injured.

As far as I know there was only one man arrested for it, a well to do man named Leahy of Ballinorig near Causeway. Many others went on the run but were never arrested. He was tried and sentenced to be transplanted to Freemantle.

For three quarters of a century afterwards the people in this district and in North Kerry generally recorded events from the year the boat was drowned” or from the night of the big wind”. After the tragedy the faction fight slackened and died down and the famine helped to put an end to it altogether.
Even some old people take pride in the fact that their ancestors took one side or the other in the faction.

Murtie Dowling, 


Denis Lawlor, Address, Causeway, Co. Kerry


Listowel Tidy Town People

The trophies are gone back but the good folk of the Tidy town are working as hard as ever to present Listowel’s most beautiful face to the visitor

Photos from Listowel Tidy Town on Facebook of some of the volunteers at last Tuesday’s cleanup on the Tralee Road.

Flowers, Crime and Punishment, Plastic at Glastonbury and Launch of the Dualist

Carmody’s Corner in June 2019


Floral Listowel

Everyone is making a big effort with the flowers for summer 2019. Here are a few lovely displays in town right now.



This is Tarbert Bridewell where I was on Saturday learning about crime and punishment in the 19th century.

The following story from the papers will make you glad we live in a more compassionate age.

Leinster Express 1831

EXECUTION.—On Saturday last Patrick and Bridget Howe were executed in front of the county jail Ennis, for the murder of the late Mr. Arthur O’Donnell, of Knock. Neither of them made any public confession of their guilt; and the wretched man was so overcome by the fear of death, that It was necessary to assist him up the ladder to the drop. The woman, on the other hand appeared quite firm and resolute, and endeavoured to cheer her brother by saying that it would be all over In a few minutes. An immense concourse of people assembled.—
Clara Journal.


Glastonbury….The Price!

These pictures have appeared online  in the days after the Glastonbury Music Festival. It was a plastic free zone!


Anna Guerin, the next Don O’Neill?

Don O’Neill is the biggest clothes designer to come out of Kerry in a while, but I think Listowel may have raised someone to rival him.

Anna Guerin launched her Donegal Tweed collection, The Dualist, in Brown Thomas on July 2 2019.

Here are a few photos from last Sunday’s Sunday Business Post article but I’m hoping for more exclusive snaps in the next few days.

Anna in her studio

Cork’s Denny Lane, Tarbert Bridewell and some Bird Stories from Dúchas

Summer 2019

Aisling and Molly in Ballincollig Regional Park in sunny June 2019


Cork’s Denny Lane

I spotted this on South Mall in Cork last week.

This is the elegant doorway to the Lane house


Tarbert Bridewell Relaunch

Here I am with another visitor and our guide, Mary O’Connell at the relaunch of the Tarbert Bridewell project on Saturday June 29 2019. If you want to give your children an easy history lesson or if you just want to find out something about rough justice in the 19th century this is a great place to come.

We follow the story of Tom Dillon who is accused of leaving his cow to trespass on his neighbours property. His defence was that the cow wandered through an open gate and he entered the field to retrieve her. The policeman who attended was having none of it and Tom was brought before the court sitting in The Bridewell Tarbert.

This is Dillon. Members of the local Tarbert drama group have recorded the story in dramatic fashion which we listened to as we went from room to room.

This is the maligned Mrs. Ahern whose grass Tom’s cow was eating.

The judge was a bit harsh I thought. You’ll have to visit to find out the sentence.

In another cell is this poor prisoner, emprisoned with her young baby.

Tarbert Bridewell visitor experience is located on the road to the ferry. It’s well worth factoring in a stop there if you are going to Clare. There is a lovely coffee shop and souvenirs as well.

Bird Lore from the Dúchas Folklore Collection

There was once a middle aged man who had little or no money. Then it was coming near Christmas his shoes became worn and he began to collect all his money a few days before Christmas she found he had twelve shillings so he went along the road to the nearest town to buy a pair of shoes. When he had gone little way he heard a black bird on a bush saying “Spend and God will send”. He went on and he heard a thrush saying “Be merry today to-morrow you die.” He went on to town and spent the twelve shillings on drink and as he was coming home he heard a wren saying. “Have it yourself or be without it.”

Some people go torching. They light a candle and having the bottom of a bottle knocked out, they put the candle into it. The lighting side of the candle should be stuck up the jowl of the bottle. You must follow the wind always. When you see a bird you must strike him on the head with a piece of stick and kill him. A stormy night is the best sort of night to go torchhing. The How pigeons build their nests. The hen goes into and box and the cock lungs straw in and the hen fixes it and after about two says the nest is made and in about a day or two the hen lays an egg and the next day she lays another egg. Then the cock hatches in the day and the hen hatches at night and about three weeks the young ones come out. Then you should get crushed corn and give it to the pair. Then the pigeons fill their craws and throw it up into the young pigeons mouths and in about three week they come out of the nest and in about five days they can fly.

Collector Pat Mc Elligott, Address- Bedford, Co. Kerry
Informant Tom Halpin- Age 27 Address, Bedford, Co. Kerry.


Lyre Concert

Tarbert Bridewell, Celebrations at the convent and the Garden of Europe

Photographer Chris Grayson


Tarbert Bridewell

The bridewell in Tarbert is a restored jailhouse. It is a brilliant visitor experience. My young visitors learned much about justice in times past. The story of the criminal, Thomas Dillon, is well told and very informative.

Here is Thomas contemplating his fate in his prison cell. His crime; allowing his cattle to graze in his neighbours’ land.

The jailer kept the records.

This is the courtroom scene with Dillon in the dock.

These are the injured parties, owners of the land on which the cattle were allowed to trespass.

In the same Bridewell building there is a wealth of archival material relating to a local manThomas Mac Greeey. This is what the guide says of him.

 Thomas MacGreevey  was born in Tarbert. A Poet, Art & Literary critic and Director of the National Gallery of Ireland. A Video, Rivers of Words on the life of Thomas McGreevey was produced for Tarbert Bridewell in association with RTE and can be viewed in this exhibition. 


Good Times at the convent in 1960

If anyone remembers this or has any photos, the people behind the forthcoming 75th anniversary book would love to see them.

Kerryman  June 04, 1960; 


LISTOWEL has an attractive programme fourth annual Musical and, Dancing Festival at the Presentation Convent Grounds on Sunday next.

The Festival will open at the Square at l. 30 p.m. with a parade to the Grounds, The parade will be led  by combinations of musicians and the Festival will be officially opened in the Grounds at 2 p.m. Speakers at the opening will be the two local T.Ds . Mr. D J. Moloney and Mr. P Finucane. On the platform during the day there will be many events. Among these will be items by pupils of the Presentation Convent, Dingle. From this Convent there will be singers who came out prize-winner’s in the West Kerry Festival recently and also dancers who almost took all the prizes at the same festival. From the Presentation Convent, Tralee, there will be girls who came out prize-winners at the recent Gael Linn contest for singing and there will also be a scarf drill display by the same pupils. From Lixnaw Presentation Convent there will be singing and dancing competitors and also a dumb bell drill display from the secondary pupils of that Convent.


From the Presentation Convent, Castleisland, will come competitors in singing, dancing and a drill display.

The Mercy Convent, Abbeyfeale, will be represented by singing and dancing competitors and will provide a display of Indian club drill.

From the primary and secondary schools, Presentation Convent, Listowel, there will be chorus singing and a monster drill display by the secondary girls of that school,

Mary Teresa Flaherty, London, step dancing champion and winner of many medals both In Ireland and England, will treat the audience to an exhibition of step dancing competition for musical combinations for a beautiful shield. In addition to the shield there will be an award of a special medal to the best solo musician in these groups. Note Eamonn Tarrant erected platform and McElligott provided loudspeakers.)


Garden of Europe


The Best Dressed Lady thing

This is the very stylish Listowel contingent who headed off to Galway for Ladies’ Day. These are some of the ladies who are bitten by this dressing up and looking your best bug. They do a great job in highlighting Listowel as a centre of fashion.

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