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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: The Dandy Lodge

Memories of snow, of Lixnaw children and a Listowel couple

Dandy Lodge March 4 2018

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The Snow in 1947


Printed in The Irish Times March 1 2018


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Remembering the MacSweeneys

Seeing Billy MacSweeney’s old photo of his mother with her parents, Vincent Carmody was taken back to his days as an altar boy in the convent chapel in the 1950s. There was a tradition of altar serving in Vincent’s family. His father and his brothers had served mass and now Vincent and his brothers did the same.

Vincent remembers Ned Gleeson and as wife as always arriving first into the convent chapel. They always occupied a seat near the top right hand side.

It was part of Vincent’s duties to hold the paten at communion time. Given his later interest in local history, Vincent marvels that he was so close at the altar rails to a man who played a very momentous part in Listowel’s history. Ned Gleeson from the window of The Listowel Arms gave the address of welcome to Charles Steward Parnell when the great man came to town in 1891.

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Lixnaw Convent School 1914




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Yarn bombing in  The Square for International Women’s Day 2018



Photos by Elizabeth Brosnan









Christmas in Maine, Athea in the 17th Century and Library in Bridge Road

Rossbeigh, January 2018


Photo: Chris Grayson

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Christmas in Arizona and Maine




Patty Faley who is very proud of her Irish roots and is a frequent visitor to Listowel answered my call for news of how some blog followers spent Christmas 2017.

Here is what she wrote…

“John and I spent a wonderful Christmas in Mesa, Arizona with our son and his family. We took an evening walk around the neighborhood and took some pictures. A few day after the holiday, we flew home to Maine. We had to dig the car out of the snow around the parking spot and we have had over a foot of snow since then. It has been very cold since we returned with a temperature last night of -20°C. “


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Athea in the 17th. century



(Yesterday we learned that during the Cromwellian period in Ireland, Athea was relatively safe because its people were poor and its terrain virtually impenetrable.)


That English soldiery did pay occasional visits to the place, however, is certain. One summer day a body of troopers, under the command of a renegade Irishman, rode westwards from Rathkeale to Athea. At that time a church stood where the graveyard at Temple Athea is now situated, and it was in this building that the people for miles around used to attend divine worship. As can be seen from the ruins, the walls of this structure were of stone, but it appears the roof was of thatch. On seeing the approach of the troopers, a number of people fled for safety to the shelter of the sacred edifice, and perceiving this, the officer ordered the door to be fastened on the outside and the building put on fire.

The crucifix at the graveyard at Temple Athea as it is today

This appalling and barbarous crime, the commission of which is regarded as authentic, was of frequent occurrence in those evil days throughout the land, and it serves to furnish us with a sad illustration of the savage methods adopted in the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. The people were without a church for a long period after this, for during the penal laws the celebration of Holy Mass, or attendance thereat, was regarded as a crime, punishable by death. In the Iong years that ensued after the death of Cromwell, when priests were hunted like wolves and had a price put on their heads, the people of Athea heard Mass in glens and woods.

The affable Fr. Bohan whom I met with my granddaughters in 2016 when i visited the church at Athea.

During this woeful period of our country’s history, it is known that nunbers of youths were quietly sent abroad to be educated for the priesthood. When these were ordained, they returned secretly to Ireland to minister to the spiritual needs of the poor people at home. Among them was the son of a lady named de Lacy, who resided near Bruff. This lady, who was a widow, owned considerable property in Eastern County Limerick, but on account of her faith she was obliged to abandon everything and flee with her life to Athea, where she found refuge in an humble hut in Coole or Knocknaboul.

Eventually, this lady’s only son was ordained priest abroad, and after the lapse of some time, owing to his great sanctity and talents, he was created Bishop. Bishop de Lacy then returned to Ireland, where he took up his residence in the humble home of his mother, from whence he looked after the spiritual interests of his scattered flock and discharged the duties appertaining to his sacred office.

(Continued tomorrow)



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Saturday, January 13 2018



This group of fair ladies were gathered at Garveys for their Saturday morning walk.

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Correction



Last week when I posted Barry O’Halloran’s photo of The Dandy Lodge I said that it had once been a library.  

Not so according to Vincent Carmody’s Snapshots of Listowel in he 1850 to the 1950s

The library was further up the street where the Tyre Centre is now.


Old Listowel photos, the Oscars, a Listowel Connection and sport in Tralee

Listowel in Bygone Days from Denis Carroll’s photos

At Convent Cross

The Dandy Lodge in its original location in Bridge Road



The foundation for the Community Centre being dug.

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A Successful young man with a (very tenuous) Listowel Connection





This young man is Will Collins of Kanturk.  He is in the news because he wrote the script for the Oscar nominated film, The Song of the Sea.

Now the Listowel connection; Will is the son of my old Kanturk neighbours, Peggy and Willie Collins.

People my age and older will remember Bill and Pat Kearney of this parish. Bill was very involved with the Listowel Drama Group. After Bill’s death, Pat lived on in Listowel on her own. One evening she was driving home from Cork when she got a puncture. In the days before mobile phones, the done thing in this instance was to call to the nearest house. Pat did. This house was the home of Willie and Peggy Collins, my lovely neighbours. Being the kind people they are, they brought her in and gave her a cup of tea and some of Peggy’s legendary delicious baking. They changed her wheel and ascertained that it would have to stay in Kanturk overnight for repair. Peggy and Willie would not hear of Pat driving home alone with no spare wheel so they drove to Listowel with her. Pat never forgot their extraordinary kindness to her and she mentioned it often to me. There would be none more delighted than Pat Kearney to hear  that the son of her Kanturk friends is now a famous scriptwriter and if she has any influence above, that Oscar is in the bag for The Cartoon Saloon gang.

This photograph of Will with his family was taken (not by me) at Kanturk Arts Festival two years ago. Peggy and Willie Senior are on the right.

I saw the film, in French, during my recent visit to Ciboure. It is a lovely film suitable for all the family. I laughed and cried and was charmed by the story. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you the story but, believe me, it’s a good one.


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A Proposal to bring joy to the hearts of many of our diaspora


A report recently in the Irish Times outlined a proposal that was presented to Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for the Diaspora. Jimmy is looking into it before bringing it to government as part of a package that includes voting rights for emigrants in presidential elections.

It is proposed that American Irish young people between the ages of 18 and 26 be offered an opportunity to spend 10 days in Ireland immersing themselves in the culture, language,  history and modern day living conditions of the country to which they claim ancestral allegiance. The trip, which would be free to the participants, would be paid for out of a combination of philantropy and government funding. 

A similar “Birthright” scheme is in place for young adults of the Jewish faith. This scheme is in place for 15 years and is very successful, creating a strong bond between the diaspora and the homeland.

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All is forgiven

I took this unlikely picture fro Joe Brolly’s Twitter feed. He is pictured here among some of the greats of Kerry sport at a recent fundraiser for Austin Stack’s GAA club.

He was brought onto the stage for a “surprise” confrontation with Kieran Donaghy. The whole country knows that Joe, in his role as a football pundit, had famously written off Donaghy in a season when he went on to win an All Ireland and an All Star.

When asked if he would apologise for the article, Brolly laughed it off saying that it was, in fact, a motivational exercise and it worked. “Didn’t I win him an All Star?” says he. No one could argue with that.

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