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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Christmas Tree Lighting 2015, Lucozade, Craftshop na Méar and Listowel Volunteers in 1916

Sunday December 6 2015 in Listowel Town Square

photo; Listowel Tidy Towns

Listowel partied last evening as the Listowel Tidy Town Committee switched on the Christmas Tree Lights. We gathered in The Square, we bopped to the music as we ate hot dogs, mince pies and goodies from Lizzie’s Little Kitchen. The children waved their balloons and munched sweets and treats from Spar Express and the adults drank mulled wine and mulled cider.  Santa and Mrs. Claus sauntered over from The Seanchaí where they had been working hard all day, Billy Keane did a great MC job as usual and the Listowel Marketing Group and Love Listowel people were justly proud of a job well done.

Storm Desmond had necessitated the postponing of the shindig from Friday night  but the word of the new date had got out and we had a great crowd and people were delighted to be outdoors on a balmy night in lovely Listowel.

I’ll have lots of photos for you in the coming days. Here is one to give you a flavor of the atmosphere and below it is a link to Denis Carroll’s video record of the evening.

Listowel Christmas Tree Lights 2015


A Taste of the Past

Photo: Irish Abroad

Do you remember this? Everyone who was ever in hospital in the 60s and 70s got lots of these. After the bag of grapes this was the favourite present of hospital visitors. I never figured the reason for the orange cellophane wrapping.

All good things come to an end and Lucozade too was rumbled. It really was no better for you than any bottle of fizzy orange and, in fact, was much worse for you than plain drinking water. The product is still around but gone are any claims that it has healing properties and gone too is the picture of the nurse from its advertising.


Christmas shopping

Bernie Carmody was minding the shop. Mary Boyer had called to drop off some hats and scarfs for the homeless. The other 2 ladies were on their way home to Annascaul from a badminton tournament in Moyvane when they popped into Craftshop na Méar for a spot of impromptu Christmaas shopping. They all kindly posed for me beside the Christmas tree.


East River just got easier to find


Sign in a shoe repair shop

Thank you, Liz Dunn for sharing this fromFred Nelson


Seeking information on Listowel people involved in 1916 Rising

Information is being sought on those from the Listowel area who were involved in the events of Easter Week 1916. 

A new book edited by Kerry journalists, Owen O’Shea and Bridget McAuliffe and Dr Mary McAuliffe of UCD, will feature details of over 150 Kerry men and women who were arrested following the Rising. 

These biographies will be accompanied, where possible, by photographs of the participants. The book, which will be published early next year, will contain essays by historians on Austin Stack, Roger Casement, The O’Rahilly, Thomas Ashe, Fionán Lynch, Thomas MacGreevy, Cumann na mBan, the Kerry GAA and revolution, the drownings at Ballykissane Pier, and the Irish Volunteers in Kerry. 

If anyone has information about, or photographs of, the following members of the Irish Volunteers, they are asked to get in touch with editors Owen O’Shea (087 7870070) or Bridget McAuliffe at

Pat Griffin from Listowel who worked in McKenna’s Hardware

Servelus Jones, a tailor from Listowel

Patrick (Paddy) Landers from Listowel, a blacksmith and footballer

Joe Mahony from Listowel, a solicitor’s clerk

James Sugrue from Listowel, who worked as a drapery assistant


Christmas Fun at The Seanchaí


Christmas in Ballybunion

This is Jason who brings us our daily pictorial update from Ballybunion on Facebook. Here he makes a rare appearance at the other side of the camera as he helps to erect Ballybunion’s tree in Super Valu carpark. They switched on their lights last night (Dec. 6 2015)

Feale Monument, People at Pride of Place and a Listowel Graveyard

Early Autumn in Listowel


More from Pride of Place

 After The Lartigue, I headed to The Seanchaí where Cara had assembled an Arts and Cultural presentation to wow the judges

The best of North Kerry music was to be heard as Comhaltas pulled out all the stops.

The Vintage Wireless Museum was represented and a colorful display of old broadcasting and recording machines were on show.

The story of the Fleadh in Listowel was there too.

Matt Mooney and young musicians showed the way forward for North Kerry’s great musical tradition.

Jim Halpin does trojan work in preserving the memory of those who gave their lives in war. His Military History Museum is a must visit for young and old visiting Listowel. Here he is chatting to Cathy Walsh of Gurtenard House


John Paul 2 Graveyard

Listowel people look after the graves of their dead. John Paul Cemetery on the Ballybunion Rd is always ablaze with flowers and a very hard working committee keep the communal areas looking neat and cared for.

There is now a good footpath all the way so that people who want to walk to visit a family grave can do so in comfort


The Next Generation


Welcome Back

Something different for the punters at the Races…. Bingo in the Plaza on Weds and Thursday

Drop in and see the newly refurbished hall.  All in aid of a good cause…Listowel SVP.


R.I.P. Brendan Daly

Brendan Daly (second from right) will be remembered by many as Listowel Race Company Secretary. He is pictured here with McKenna’s Hardware colleagues at a Christmas Social. May he rest in peace.

The Seanchaí, Writers’ week 1981and rich Galway men with a Listowel Connection

In the John B. Keane room at The Seanchaí


Front and back covers of Listowel Writers’ Week brochure 1981

And the inside pages


Galway Millionaires with  a Listowel Connection

Galway brothers Luke and Brian Comer
are among the richest men in Ireland, with an estimated wealth of €675 million. 

They are among fourteen individuals
and families either from Galway or currently living here, who have a combined
fortune of just under €1.4 billion.

The Comers are former plasterers from Glenamaddy and
featured in 16th place in the ‘Ireland’s Rich List 2014’, published by the Sunday

The Comer brothers – the main backers
of the  Galway FC League of Ireland team
– earned their fortune by developing properties in the UK in the 1980s, before
buying an extensive portfolio of office blocks, almost 30 shopping centres and
hotels in the UK and Germany.

The proceeds from selling-off some of
their assets have been pumped back into Ireland over the past two years, and
their purchases in Galway include the ‘Odeon syndicate’ site in Eyre Square,
the Connacht Hotel on the Dublin Road, the former Corrib Great Southern Hotel,
the Kingston Hall and Silver Seas apartment developments in Knocknacarra, Bun
na Leaca in Newcastle and Howley Square in Oranmore.

In 2014 they were now valued at €675m – that’s up €300m on
last year.

 (Story and photo: The Connaught Tribune)

The Listowel Connection? Luke and Brian are married to Listowel sisters whom they met when working in Listowel on an extension to Kerry Ingredients in the late 1970s.


St. John’s from the steps of Listowel Castle

John B. Keane, Listowel Credit Union and Tarbert 1990

As we face into Autumn, here is  a lovely Ballybunion sunset to remember Summer 2015  (photo:Ballybunion Prints)


Old Photos of John B. Keane

If you have never been in the Seanchaí Writers Museum, this photo will mean nothing to you. This is the shy singer and you’ll have to take the tour to get the full story. While I was in the John B. Keane room I took a photo of some of the photos under glass on the tables.

John B. Keane with Fr. Seamus Linnane.

Mary and John B’ Keane with their granddaughter, Anne.

Noelle Campbell Sharpe with John B.


Listowel Credit Union Repainted

This is the old colour scheme


Down Memory Lane with The Kerryman

How wrong can one be?  Dr. Diamuid OSuilleabháin got his predictions for future growth in Tarbert’s Catholic population fairly wrong in 1990.


Dates for the Diary

Living Literature at The Seanchaí, a Football Team at The Six Crosses in 1954 and Ballybunion in the 70s

Living Literature at The Seanchaí

Last week I took the Living Literature Tour of the Seanchaí. It was brilliantly entertaining and informative. Heritage Week 2015 would be a good time to visit if you have not done so already.

We were lucky to have Denis Hobson as our guide. He is an excellent interpreter of the playwrights and poets of North Kerry. Here he is in the John B. Keane room playing John B.’s Chastitute. He had stories and memories of the late John B. and everything was delivered with great appreciation and respect for the work of the writer.

Here is Denis in the Bryan MacMahon room. He painted Mac Mahon as a man of enormous learning  who loved learning for its own sake. Denis once came upon him in a snug in Listowel having a conversation with 2 friends in classical Greek. Apparently to keep their Greek from growing rusty they used to choose a topic for next week and then prepare what they wanted to say  on the matter.

Bryan MacMahon was comparable to Frank O’Connor as a short story writer, he was a great collector of folklore and worked hard to preserve Shelta, the Traveller language, now lost except for words like pavee and buffer. But locally it was as a teacher that MacMahon left his great legacy, nurturing young imaginations and always encouraging creativity in all its forms.

This is the great Maurice Walsh who wrote the story of The Quiet Man. Denis read from his works and no doubt he had a great way with the English language. He lived in relative luxury in Dublin. He is now almost forgotten. It was good to hear about this writer whom we all know so little about.

George Fitzmaurice is depicted looking out over The Square. He had the strangest back story of them all, one of 12 children, none of whom had issue. He died in poverty in Dublin despite having had a run of several successful plays at The Abbey. Some of his plays are strange and enigmatic, but The Country Dressmaker and The Magic Glasses are still relevant today.

We took the 12.00 noon tour on Thursday and Denis took a well earned break before his next tour at 2.00 p.m.

The Living Literature Tours take place at 12.00 and 2.00 on Wednesdays Thursdays and Fridays. I’d highly recommend it. Great value at €5.


Six Crosses Football 1954

Jack O’Donoghue from Pittsburg found this photo among his father, Tom O’Donoghue’s possessions. He obviously treasured it all his life. Tom’s brother Mick is also in the photo and ironically it was taken in the year that Tom emigrated to the U.S. 

Could the Six Crosses field a football team today, I wonder?

Jack also sent me all the names of the young men in this 1954 photo;

Back Row left to right:

T. McKenna, V. Carey, B. Browne, M. Barry, D. Broderick

Middle Row:

T. Fitzgerald, B. Quinlan, M. O’Donoghue, G. Joy, M. O’Connell

Front Row:

M. Browne, T. O’Donoghue, P. McKenna, G. Browne, G. Fitzgerald


Ballybunion Church

St. John’s church in Ballybunion is a lovely building, recently restored to its former glory.


Ballybunion in the Seventies

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a great fan of Jason of Ballybunion Print‘s photos. He photographs Ballybunion daily and posts his beautiful shots on Facebook. 

This photograph is a departure from his usual work. A friend sent him this photo of the beach in the 1970s. Bring back memories?

Do you remember the changing huts?


Louise Galvin, Great athlete and One of Our Own

photos: Irish Examiner

Louise Galvin of Finuge is in the news because she is a star of the Ireland Sevens Ladies Rugby team. Since I knew her as a pupil in Pres. Listowel, Louise has learned many life lessons in the school of hard knocks.

She was the subject of The Big Interview in Saturday’s Irish Examiner. Read and admire this exceptional young lady.

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