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: The Coffee Nook

Corpus Christi procession 2014, painting and Abbeyfeale Hall

This year the procession left St. Michael’s after 11.00 a.m. mass, travelled up Cahirdown, down the John B. Keane Rd. and ended with hymns and benediction in Ballygologue Park. The weather was glorious.

Sunday masses are celebrated in St. Michael’s while St. Mary’s is undergoing floor repairs.

Canon Declan O’Connor carries the monstrance up Cahirdown on Sunday June 22 2014.

The people of Cahirdown made a great effort, erecting altars and coming out to stand and show respect.

Charles Nolan was at the island by the roundabout, capturing wonderful memories of the event.

Seán Moriarty and grandson making every effort to get there on time.

(more photos tomorrow)


In the park on Sunday I met Lilly taking her grandparents for a walk.


In the Emmetts pitch,  Captain Jack Sparrow was twisting balloons into animal shapes and Mickey and Minnie Mouse were posing for photos. I have no idea what it was all in aid of.


The Coffee Nook is next to be painted.


Abbeyfeale Hall

St. Ita’s Hall was originally known as the Parochial Hall, Abbeyfeale  It was officially opened on New Year’s Night 1928.  Fund-raising for the Hall was organised by Canon Jeremiah Murphy, who had been appointed P.P. of Abbeyfeale in  April 1924.  The building of the Hall was a co-operative effort, all involved giving their services free.  This new Hall replaced the Temperance Hall, which was burned by The Black & Tans.  In the downstairs area the late Mr. Jim Kelly and his sister Anna commenced their Post Primary School, later to become St. Ita’s College in a new location.

Presently the Hall is a hive of activity – Legion of Mary, Bereavement Support, West Limerick Community Development, Parents’ & Toddler Groups and many others. In recognition of Abbeyfeale’s proud association with the Irish Language the name over the main door reads “Halla Íde Naofa”

(source: Abbeyfeale newsletter)


Memory lane

Mrs. Crowley’s class 1954, Listowel Boys National School


Lovely video memories of June Bank Holiday weekend 2014 in Listowel

Sunset in Bromore, 60’s Listowel boys and New Orleans Irish in 1800’s

Boat in the Shannon Estuary, photographed from Bromore Cliffs by Mike Flahive in November 2013.


Another one from Dan Doyle

Dan is third from left at the back.


St. Michaels’ extension under construction…not sure of the year.


Back to Listowel. Ontario. It would appear that we were twinned with that town and a delegation came to Listowel, Co. Kerry in 1967.  They dressed in traditional costumes as they were celebrating their town’s  centenary. There are photos in the Kennelly Archive. Tom Fitzgerald found them here

Anyone among you readers remember the event? The late John B. Keane and Michael Kennelly are recognisable in the photos.


Then and Now


Norwich council taking delivery of its first computer!!!!!


This next story comes from a great website; Irish Central.

Helen Lagasse is an award winning author based in New Orleans.
She is currently researching her latest book on the Irish who died while
building the New Basin Canal. By the time the canal opened in 1838, 8,000 Irish laborers
had succumbed to cholera and yellow fever. She is appealing for anyone with
information about their ancestors who may have been involved in the
construction to get in touch with her. She can be reached at   

In 1832,
in the Second Municipality, sometimes called the American Sector, an area
upriver from Canal St., the arduous task of digging the New Orleans Navigation Canal, later known as
the New Basin Canal, began.

slipped into the swamp to dig with pick and shovel the mosquito-infested ditch
that would be the new 60-ft. wide 6.07 mile long shipping canal. There was no
dynamite, nothing but wheel-barrows with which they’d haul the sludge out of
the ditch on inclined planks. And there was no way for them to drain the
relentless seepage but with pumps invented by Archimedes in 287 B.C.

builders of the city’s New Basin Canal expressed a preference for Irish over
slave labor for the reason that a dead Irishman could be replaced in minutes at
no cost, while a dead slave resulted in the loss of more than one thousand

in hip-deep water, the Irish immigrant diggers, who had little resistance to
yellow fever, malaria, and cholera, died in inestimable numbers. Six years
after construction began, when the canal opened for traffic in 1838, hundreds
if not thousands of Irish laborers would never see their homes again. It was
the worst single disaster to befall the Irish in their 
entire history in New


This is
the preface and focal point of my work-in-progress, working title “Bridget
Fury,” a novel based on the building of New Basin Canal and of the tragic
consequences for the Irish immigrant laborers, many of who died from disease and
exhaustion and were buried in shallow graves alongside the fetid ditches.


Listowel Ontario and the Listowel,Kerry connection

Maeve Moloney pointed me in the direction of Wikipaedia for this;

Settler John Binning arrived in 1857 and was the first to create a permanent residence in the area. The community was originally named Mapleton, but the name was changed when a post office was established. The new name was chosen by a government official and refers to Listowel, Ireland. The majority of early settlers were of Protestant Irish origin (Ulster Scots Planters, or English Planters). Incorporated in 1867 as a village and in 1875 as a town, Listowel is now part of the town of North Perth.[2]

Listowel has a large Irish festival, called Paddyfest, which is held over the two weeks surrounding St. Patrick’s Day. The festival was first started in 1977 from an idea put forth by Dave Murtha to honour the large numbers of persons of Irish ancestry present in the Listowel area and is largely maintained by the Kinsmen and Kinette clubs of Listowel.

The official spokesperson for Paddyfest is chosen yearly in the Paddyfest Ambassador Competition. Contestants must perform a speech, impromptu question and interview with the judges and receive the overall highest score to be awarded this position. A separate award of Talent is given out to the contestant with the highest score in the talent competition. Runner-up and Congeniality are also awards which are available. Although the Paddyfest Ambassador Competition changed its name and official status from being Miss Paddyfest when first created, a male has yet to win the title.

(Now wouldn’t it be interesting to find out who that Listowel man was.)

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