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

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Listowel in Covid 19, Teampall Bán and St. Michael’s in 1970

Mayday, Mayday

Tom Fitzgerald took this photograph in an almost deserted Listowel Town Square at the May Bank  Holiday weekend 2020.


A Curlew

Ita Hannon took this spectacular photo of a curlew near her home in Beale.


Teampall Bán

On May 6 2020, I took my permitted walk as far as Teampall Bán. It seemed fitting to visit the mass graves of our ancestors in this time of pestilence.

The sight of mass graves in New York reminded me of the horrors of The Great Hunger. 

Teampall Bán is a famine graveyard, many of its dead tipped into mass graves without benefit of shroud or coffin. Now it stands as a beautifully designed and preserved shrine to a lost generation.


Leaving Certs. 1970

St. Michael’s boys just before their Leaving Cert in 1970. 

Photo shared by Tommy O’Flaherty on Facebook


Today’s Lesson

Nowadays we scuttle away quickly if anyone near us sneezes. But it may not be Covid 19. It could be a reaction to the sun.

This type of sneezing reaction is called photic sneeze reflex and 18 to 35 % of the population suffer from it. It’s an inherited trait.

Apparently what happens is that, confronted with very bright light, the messages to the brain get scrambled and the brain thinks that the signal is coming from the nose rather than the eyes so it tries to expel the light by sneezing.

Today’s lesson is brought to you from

Teampall Bán, Danny O’Mahony, UCC Artist in Residence and Hurling in Cork, Wexford and Kildare

 Ballybunion Castle Green with flags in July 2019


Sean and Killian in the Square

On a break from Irish College on Sunday July 28 2019, Sean and Killian returned with me to the scene of so many happy summer photos from their childhood.


Everyone Should Visit Teampall Bán

Lest we ever forget

This peaceful, prayerful spot should be a place of pilgrimage and reflection for everyone.


Danny O’Mahony, UCC Artist in Residence

It has been announced that button accordionist Danny O’Mahony is the new Traditional Artist in Residence at University College Cork for 2019/20. The residency, which is supported by the Arts Council, begins this September, with O’Mahony delivering a series of concerts and workshops over twelve months. The School of Film, Music and Theatre at UCC will host O’Mahony for the duration of the residency. 

O’Mahony grew up in Ballyduff, County Kerry. In 2011, he released his debut album In Retrospect, followed by a duet record with concertina player Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh, As it Happened, in 2012. In 2009, O’Mahony reestablished The Shannon Vale Céilí Band, which has since won the All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. O’Mahony also presents a weekly traditional music show on Radio Kerry, called Trip to the Cottage.

Speaking about his new appointment, O’Mahony said:

It is a great privilege to be supported by the Arts Council and University College Cork in being appointed Traditional Artist in Residence for 2019/2020. To engage in this creative and integral position within the Music Department of UCC is an honour. My vision for this residency will be to stimulate new interest in the music and traditions of North Kerry. The creative space and energy within UCC will also provide the ideal platform for my own arts practice.

Source; The Journal of Music online


Hurling 2019

My travels at the weekend took me to four hurling mad counties.

In Kent station in Cork they have these Irish Examiner ads up on the walls in the waiting area. They serve as a useful glossary of hurling commentary.

I took the  below photo in Bunclody, Co. Wexford on the day Paul Galvin was announced as Wexford’s new football manager. Galvin, a skilled dual player might be a good fit for a county which seems to love its hurling a little more than its football at the moment.

My journey home took me through Thurles. The tidiest best kept train station I have had the pleasure of stopping a while in was flying Tipperary flags from every available point. Spot the hurler on the platform.  From the logo on his kit back it would appear that he is a Cork hurler.

Flowers in Listowel, a Trip to Teampall Bán, Radio Kerry’s Opening Day and John Lynch’s Funeral

Listowel Parish Presbytery, July 2019


More from A Book of Ignorance

My book (above) is English but this following applies equally to Ireland.

People asked to name three species of mouse will probably get House Mouse, Harvest Mouse, Field Mouse and maybe Wood Mouse. No marks for Dormouse though. The dormouse is more a squirrel than a mouse.

The dormouse is much furrier than a mouse. This is because it hibernates, the only British rodent that does. The “dorm’ part of its name refers to this. The dormouse has been known to sleep for seven months of the year.

You’ll thank me if it ever comes up in a quiz.


Halo Health

Elaine Dee Worth’s great health food shop and café in Upper William Street.


Listowel Awash with Flowers in July 2019


Teampall Bán

I took my visitors to Teampall Bán. They were moved and impressed. This is one of Listowel’s treasures. Everyone should visit and pray.


Radio Kerry Opening

Photo and text from MacMonagle Photography on Facebook

Happy 29th birthday 📷🎼🍾🎂to Radio Kerry on Sunday. Our historic photograph looks back to the opening day on July 14th 1990 when Dan Collins was presenting the programme with Liam Higgins on sport, dj Paul Sheahan and the one and only Sean Hurley from Killarney, who still presents his ever popular programme on the station. How many original staff are still with the station?

Photo: Don MacMonagle 


Don’t Forget!


Good News from Talkabout on Radio Kerry

Yesterday’s Story

Today’s Story

“On today’s show, we hear how the Kerry community in London turned out in force yesterday, for the funeral of John Lynch, originally from Ballylongford, who died with no living relatives. Pictured: left to right: Tommy Flaherty, Martina O’Gorman, Gary Noone, Amy Canavan, Trish Madden, Noreen Buckley, Dermot O’Grady, Vince Harty and Gerry Rochford.” Deirdre Walshe on Talkabout


Since I posted this I have had an email from Martina OGorman which I am posting below. The North Kerry contingent did themselves us all proud.


I notice that you posted the death notice for John Lynch.

We attended the funeral yesterday and it was a great turnout.   Attached is the photo I sent to Radio Kerry, which they published.  Names as follows :

Left to right

  • Tommy Flaherty – Listowel
  • Martina O Gorman – Listowel
  • Gary Noone – Ballycastle, Mayo
  • Amy Canavan – Listowel
  • Trish Madden – Ballydonoghue/Ballylongford
  • Noreen Buckley – Keel, Castlemaine
  • Dermot O Grady – Tralee/Ballybunion
  • Vince Harty – Ballinskelligs
  • Gerry Rochford – Ballyduff

I was made aware of the call out by Radio Kerry at lunchtime Tuesday and by the power of facebook and emails I was able to get the message out to a lot of local Kerry people to see if they could attend the funeral.    It was magnificent because almost 100 people turned up and gave John a great send off.   I took a spare Kerry Flag that I had and draped it over his coffin as he was an avid Kerry supporter.   Also a few of us wore our Kerry Jerseys as a mark of respect for John.

Unfortunately a lot of the younger kerry people here in london could not attend due to work commitments.

Thought I would share this with you as you have a lot of followers all over the world.

All the best for now

Charles St., Women in Media 2019 and Teampall Bán

Easter in St. Mary’s


Charles Street/ Sráid Uí Chonghaile

Here is another example of a street with a name in English, by which it is known and a name in Irish which no one uses. I have also discovered that not only does no one I know use the Irish name but most of my friends  are unaware that there is an Irish name that is not a translation of the English.

In the case of Charles Street, local lore has it that the street was named by Lord Listowel after one of his sons.


Women in Media 2019

Here are a few of the local people I photographed in Ballybunion on Saturday April 28 2019


Teampall Bán

I had visitors for the weekend and, as well as going to two productions in St. Johns, a few panel discussions in Women in Media conference, and a brilliant seminar in Lixnaw I found a minute to bring them to Teampall Bán. They absolutely loved it and vowed to return.

They thought this gable mural by Maurice Pierse was both moving and prayerful.

They loved the little oratory and the stations of the cross.

They appreciated that there was somewhere to sit and contemplate all the history that is gathered in this place, a whole swathe of Listowel’s population wiped out by the Great Hunger.


The Workhouse

from the Dúchas Folklore collection

The Workhouse was built in 1841. In the famine years it was full up of people who had no food to eat and other houses were used as workhouses. One of these was the college and another Dowd’s house. The People who died in the workhouse were buried in Teampall Bán. In the year 1920 the workhouse was closed and the poor people were removed to the county Home in Killarney. 

The house next to the workhouse was turned into a convent in 1891. The mercy nuns lived here. Before that this house was occupied by a party of British horse-soldiers called the Scots’ Greys. They lived there from 1880 until 1883. One of these was drowned in the river and the place is now known as the Corporals’ hole

In 1922 the workhouse was burned down by the Republicans and at the present time a new hospital is being built.

Maurice Bambury

Kimberley Mikado and Coconut Cream and a chapel at Teampall Bán

Sunset through a celtic cross; Photo Mike Enright


Someone You Love will Love Some

This story starts here.

This is a new  business on the corner of Church Street and The Square. I photographed it during Listowel Races 2018 when it opened and I posted the photo on this blog. 

I often take a few photos from the day’s blogpost and post them on Facebook with an invitation to read the full story on Listowel Connection.

I know, because they’ve told me, that many people who read my blog regularly are not on Facebook. Let me tell you, if you are one of these non Facebook people, what happened with this photo.

It started with Liam Murphy (U.S. and Lyreacrompane). Liam/Bill used to live in the flat over this shop many moons ago.

Marguerite Wixted remembered the trips to the shop when it was Leahy’s and she remembered especially acts of generosity.

Then Liz Chute and Frankie Chute Phillips went on a ramble down memory lane remembering the biscuits they loved in their Listowel childhood. 

Eventually Marie Nelligan Shaw called a halt to the chat as everyone was getting hungry.

Here is a flavour of the reminiscence;

 In the early 60’s I roomed at the corner house, second floor overlooking the square. While working on a project with Fitzpatrick Contractor , laying underground cable in the town .

God be with the days I used to get a free packet of Rolos from Mrs. Leahy 

Is it still called Leahy’s corner?

 A nice Italian restaurant was there a few years ago.

Many colours, food rated as good. Hope he is successful. We don’t want another derelict building.

When we went home one time, it was a Indian restaurant.

 My mum would give me two pennies and I would go buy two Coconut Creams biscuits ( big fluffy biscuits ) from Bridie . There were pink ones and cream ones lol

i remember going into a shop and asking for a pack of Mickie DO wondered why every one was laughing

Sounds delicious. She used to give me free Rolos & then we’d go up to Amadie Crowley & I’d get more free sweets. Bless

the Mikados were the jam down the center. I can only get Bolands here. Not as good as Jacobs. The puffy ones were coconut creams. It was marshmallow covered with coconut. Wouldn’t mind a few now!!!

So, just for you girls, here is the full selection and you can hear the advertising song here;

Kimberley Mikado and Coconut Cream song


Remembering our Famine Dead

Teampall Bán is a burial ground on the Ballybunion Road near Listowel Town where thousands of North Kerry’s famine dead were buried. It has been beautifully restored and maintained by Listowel Tidy Town Committee. John Pierse of the Tidy Town Committee wrote the definitive book on the graveyard and its part in North Kerry’s Famine story. I took these photos in the little chapel on the grounds. The chapel is full of pictures and religious items like those I remember from my childhood.

This depiction of Our Lady is new to me. Our Lady of Limerick. It’s a very strange picture with children at her feet where we used to see snakes. I went in search of the story and here it is from the Irish Dominicans website.

Our Lady of Limerick

The statue of Our Lady of Limerick first came to that city in 1640 as a gift from Patrick Sarsfield and his wife Eleanor. Patrick had purchased the statue on the continent and gifted the statue in reparation for the martyrdom of Sir John Burke of Brittas, Captain of Clanwilliam.  It was Patrick’s uncle, Judge Dominic Sarsfield, who had sentence Sir John to death. Sir John was a member of the Rosary Confraternity connected with the Dominicans of Limerick City. He loved the Order and promoted the Rosary in his family and locality. Each year he invited the Dominicans to celebrate Mass in his ancestral home, Brittas Castle and for having the Holy Mass celebrated in secret, he was condemned to death and his estate confiscated in the Act of Settlement in 1653.

Patrick Sarsfield donated the Statue and a silver chalice dated 1640 to the friars of Limerick and he inscribed it with his wife’s name and his own in reparation for the sin of his Uncle, Judge Dominic Sarsfield. They were presented to Fr. Terence Albert of Brian, O.P. who would later become Bishop of Emly and die for the faith in the city of Limerick on October 30th 1651.

During the siege of Limerick in 1651, the statue of the Virgin was removed and according to tradition was buried alongside the remains of the Martyred Bishop O’Brien.

In 1780 when the days of persecution had passed the Dominicans built a small chapel in Fish Lane to replace an earlier church destroyed by anti-Catholic forces. The statue was recovered from its earthly grave and given a place of honour alongside the main altar. When the Dominicans opened St Saviour’s Church in Perry Square in 1816 the statue was brought in procession and enthroned on its own altar surrounded by images of the Dominican saints. In 1954 the Virgin and Child were crowned with a tiara of gold, pearls and diamonds all donated by the women of Limerick, with the result that rich and poor alike had some share in the graces that flow from the treasury of Our Lady of Limerick. The statue of Our Lady of Limerick is almost life-size. On her arm rests the Infant Jesus; while a long silver rosary, with an ancient tubular cross, stretches from the right hand. Our Lady of the Rosary of Limerick, a gift in reparation for the sins of man, watches over her beloved city and its people to this very day. A Mother’s love never ends, and we pray her intercession over God’s children in this modern and changing world.


Ballybunion to Ourselves

The visitors have gone and the beach is ours again.

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