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Tag: The Ball Alley

Jack Nash Remembered, A 2004 Memory and a Strange Fact

Gurtinard Walk in February 2020



Lots of roadworks hoping on in town recently

Listowel Ballalley before it was painted

Listowel Ball Alley in February 2020


This man is the late Jack Ashe/Nash

Vincent Carmody sent us this email in which he tells us more about this local journalist/poet

I will try to explain the origin of the street names later, however today, I would like to share with

 your readers some insight into that great man of ‘letters’ Sean Ashe of Convent Street or 

The Gleann, as he preferred it to be called. 

The Ashe family originated in West Kerry, arriving in North Kerry in the mid 1800s and 

finally to Convent Street  Sean and his sister Nora had a small sweetshop in what is now 

22 Convent Stree., On a plinth over their door and window Jack had his name proclaimed 

in Gaelic, Sean Aghas. One night a few smart young fellows went busy painting and 

as the day broke, a name was added and read, Sean Aghas Nora. 

Rather than refer to him as Jack Ashe, many locals referred to him as the more easy 

pronounced, Jack Nash.

For many years Jack was local correspondent for the Kerry Champion newspaper, in which 

among other things he composed ballads about local events, always signing his work by his

 initials, S.A.

He penned a lovely 12 verse poem, ‘The Place we Call The Gleann’ in memory 

of the street of  his youth, the first 2 verses read


I now retrace the path of years

And see a picture bright.

No faltering step or memory lapse

Can dim the pleasing sight.

No wind of change can disarrange

The thoughts I first penned down.

Of happy days and boyhood ways

In the place we call ” The Gleann”


Ah ! There’s the lengthy line of homes

Along the riverside. 

Across the roadway many more

Line up with equal pride. 

The white-washed wall of one and all

And the thatch of light-hued brown. 

Bring picturesqueness to the scene

In the place we call the Gleann.

He was equally adapt at penning lovely verses regaling the fortunes of teams 

playing in the Listowel Town League, 

2 of these ballads remain and I’d wager few places or few ballad writers could

 produce words or lines that would compare with Ashe’s composition.

The first 2 verses of his 1935 effort went


The world and his wife were there to see the contest played.

The ploughman left his horses and the tradesman left his trade.

Excitement spread, like lightning flash through every house in town.

The night the Boro’ Rovers met in combat with the Gleann. 


The father and the mother, yes, the husband, wife and child.

Were there in great profusion and went mad careering wild.

Said the young wife to her husband: “Sure, I’ll pawn my shawl and gown

And I’ll bet my last brown penny on the fortunes of the Gleann”

In later years, 1953, once again those great rivals met in the final, well known All Ireland 

footballer, Jackie Lyne was the referee, afterwards Lyne remarked, that the match 

was as exciting and the play as skillful as any inter-county match he had ever played in. 

Once again Ashe’s 2 first verses were classic in their descriptive lines.

T’was the thirteenth of August and the year was fifty-three,

And the bustle and excitement filled expectant hearts with glee, 

So we all stepped off together to the field above the town,

To see those faultless finalists, Boro’ Rovers and The Gleann.


The game began at nick of time, the “Ref” was Jackie Lyne, 

The whistle held in master hands was an inspiring sign,

It was an epic struggle and to history ’twill go down,

An eventful, epic final twixt the Boro’ and the Gleann.     



From Listowel Contributors to the Schools Folklore Collection

17. Frank Hoffman who was killed in the troubles in Tralee was a great concertina-player. After his death his comrades were planning an ambush in a barn and they heard his tone played outside on a concertina. They put off the ambush and ’twas well they did as a trap was laid for them and they’d all be wiped out.

(T. T. Doyle Tanavalla)

18. “The men who crucified Our Lord have to roll barrells in heaven as a punishment. Thats thunder! (Hickey Ballybunion).

(19) There was a churchyard in Behins long ago and men ploughed up bones there and never buried them again so they got the sickness and died.

There was also a churchyard in Listowel at the back of Feale View (Sweetnams) now the property of Mr. Foley.


The Kerryman 2004


A Little Known Fact

King David 1 of Scotland gave tax rebates to people with good table manners.


Look What Nicholas Found

Mary, I came across the website ‘Old & Interesting’ which is a delightful, informative and entertaining site.
All items shown here are from Old & Interesting – Text ©  
It seems that the hygienic and elusive, and ghostly Kerry 
‘bittler’ was in fact a washerwoman with unfinished nocturnal business, of a ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ sort, on this earth.

“…The names of the wooden beaters varied from region to region: washing-beetles, clothes-beetles, bats, paddles, beatels, bittles, battledores, battling-sticks, battling-staffs. Other names for washing implements were washing-dolly, dolly-legs, dolly-peg, peggy, maiden, possing-stick, poss-stick. The tub was sometimes called a dolly-tub. The beetling-block could be a beetling/battling-bench, or battling-board…”

“The young washerwomen beetling clothes on a beetle-stone in the picture (above right) were an “amusing” and “quaint” illustration for an 1891 book about Ireland.”
(probably the book mentioned below). 
“Katty took a pailful of soiled linen to the spot where the stream formed a little pool, and where the villagers had fixed a broad and flat “beetling” stone.
Patrick Kennedy, Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, 1891”

Text and Photo from Nicholas Leonard

The Ball Alley, christmas is coming and a Lyre path is relaid

The Ball Alley

This is the old ball alley today. Listowel people, particularly men of a certain age, remember this place with great warmth. I have gleaned Junior Griffin’s memories of the place already and you can read them if you put Ball Alley into the search box on the blog. John Fitzgerald’s poem about the great handballers he watched in this spot is worth a revisit.

The Alley

Standing on the dead line

Face the pockmarked wall,

it hides the bridge above me

fond memories I recall,.

The side walls mark the theatre,

the concrete floor the stage,

four players take their places

the finest of their age.

The cocker’s hopped and

Junior’s feet fix solidly

he contemplates the angle 
of the
first trajectory.

His swinging arm begins the game

the ball’s hit low and fast,

a signal to John Joe and Tom

this will be no soft match.

Dermot standing by his side

sees his neighbour win first

a simple game to twenty one

ace is easily lost.

I watch them from the grassy

behind the dead ball line

hear the cries of older boys

cheer each one at a time

and in the space of half an hour

the ball has weaved its way

through every nook and cranny

in this battlefield of play.

The long ball to the back line

the close one to the wall

the deadly butted killer 

to hit no wall at all

and in end the four of them

take leave just as they came

and beckon us to take our place

and learn more of their game,

the game that gave such

the game I got to know.

when I was young and full of fun

in the Alley years ago.

The foursome mentioned in the
poem are Junior Griffin, Tom Enright and Dermot Buckley from the Bridge Road
and John Joe Kenny from Patrick Street.


Listowel Garden Centre is the Place to Come to for Christmas Decorations this Christmas

Sections of the shop are divided according to colour. These are some of the white  decorations. They look really impressive.

These two photos are of the same tree.


Healyracing Get to Work in some beautiful places


Lyreacrompane, a Living Community

A meitheal of local men came together to relay the path which was damaged in last month’s storm.

Photos Lyreacrompane Community Development

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