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 Square Page 1 of 6

Some of the Old Stock

Photo Credit; Una Murphy, Mallow Camera Club

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Some of Listowel’s Old Stock

This marvellous old snap is one of the great photos shared by Mike Hannon on Facebook.

In the centre of the photo is the late Ned O’Connor of Convent Street.

Ned was the first Listowel man I met on my first visit to town. The year was 1972 or 1973. I was a very young teacher and on my first big assignment. I was to examine the Leaving Cert. class in Presentation Secondary School in oral Irish.

I had never been to Listowel before.

I looked up the Bord Fáilte book for a suitable Bed and Breakfast for the week. (There was no internet in those days)

I think it was the Convent Street address that prompted me to choose Ned O’Connor’s premises. I figured it was surely within walking distance of the school. It was.

I arrived on the Sunday evening, to begin work on Monday. Ned welcomed me and showed me to a very comfortable room. He told me that the week before the “Padre Pio priest” had stayed in that very room.

The next morning after my breakfast, Ned gave me an orange to bring with me to school. He told me that he thought my voice would be sore from all the talking and oranges were great for relieving a sore throat. I had never stayed in a B and B before but I knew that this level of caring couldn’t be the norm.

As an ambassador for Listowel, Ned did an excellent job.

May he rest in peace.

By the way, the Leaving Cert girls did excellently well in their oral exam.

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It’s Done and It’s Lovely

And who are the two men enjoying a chat and admiring the newly unveiled area?

Billy Keane and Aidan ÓMurchú were relaxing in the sunshine in the new facility.

Necessary but a bit unsightly in our lovely new meeting, performing and eating space

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From 2002/03 Pres. Yearbook

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Dáithí Óg

Back in the day Dáithí ÓSé used to be a weatherman on TG4

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Mallow and More

At Scoil Realt na Maidine, April 2022

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In Mallow

Recently I made a brief pit stop in Mallow and I photographed a few landmarks there.

Mallow clock House
The Nation

Mallow is a strange mix of architectural styles.

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Big Changes in Town in 1920

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From the Pres. Yearbook 2002/03

School staff 2002/03

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Moya Festival 2022

Let’s go fly a kite

Up to the highest height.

This was the scene in Ballybunion on the Saturday of the May bank holiday weekend 2022. MOYA goes from strength to strength.

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Danny Hannon’s Shop

This was Hannon’s newsagent’s and book shop back in the day.

It’s now Gamourous.

I told you the other day that I bought my Frances Kennedy cd in that shop.

Mike Hannon is sharing marvellous old photos on Facebook. This is one of those, Eileen and Danny in the shop.

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The Creamery

Bring flowers of the fairest,

Bring blossoms the rarest….

It’s May folks

Photo credit: Jim McSweeney

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Wouldn’t you miss Weeshie?

They’ve named a roundabout after him in Killarney.. The roundabout is near Fitzgerald’s Stadium where Weeshie spent happy days as a player and official and later as a broadcaster.

I think a roundabout is a fitting tribute to him too as he often shirked the modh díreach in his questioning as he wandered into other topics or memories. He interviewed me once and I found him to be a lovely, kindly man. He loved to discover a connection and he found one with me. Weeshie has relatives in Kanturk and he had happy memories of the town.

He was born to broadcast on local radio. He was one of a kind.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Weeshie’s family at the dedication of the roundabout on Thursday April 28 2022 Photo; Radio Kerry

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A Blast from the Past

Jim Halpin and a garda I can’t name at the door of Jim’s shop in Church Street in 2015.

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The Creamery

There is a Facebook page called The Vintage Lens and recently it posted this photograph. Only people of a certain age will know what this is.

It’s a seperator. The picture was taken at a creamery in the 1950s or 60s. Men, like these in the photo brought their milk to the local branch creamery. Ours was Banagh, a branch of North Cork CoOperative Creameries.

The milk was taken in by the man on the landing and tested for butterfat content. The price you got for your milk depended on this test. Then the milk was separated and the skim milk was sold back to the farmers. You delivered your milk at one side of the building, drove or led your horse around to the other side and filled your churn with skim milk. This was used to feed calves and pigs.

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On a Listowel street

Beautifully finished windows and doors are a feature of Listowel’s streetscape. These striking ones are on Upper William Street.

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Badminton from the 1983 Pres. yearbook

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Progress

The lights have gone up and the pavement is being restored. It looks lovely, very modern and as unobtrusive as it could be. I look forward to meetings, dining and performances here in the future.

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Tarbert

Photo: Jim MacSweeney, Mallow Camera Club

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Tarbert

I spent a very pleasant time exploring Tarbert on Saturday last.

I met Kim Heffernan who recognised a fellow Listowel woman and came to welcome me to Tarbert. Kim is a great supporter of Listowel Connection.

Coolahan is a Tarbert family name and Tarbert people are justifiably proud of their town’s long association with this family.

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Mystery Solved

By our very own sleuth, Jim Ryan

I’ll post in a minute the link to the site Jim found explaining the reason behind putting animal heads on gentlemen’s, often in military uniform, bodies in portraiture.

Distinguished men were often painted wearing their medals and the pictures displayed with pride in drawing rooms.

It was only a matter of time before some animal lovers thought it only fair that animals who had given distinguished service to their country should receive the same treatment. The Dickin medal was the distinguished service medal awarded to animals and in these portraits many of the animals are depicted wearing it.

The medal was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949 – to 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, 3 horses, and a ship’s cat – to acknowledge actions of gallantry or devotion during the Second World War and subsequent conflicts. It is often referred to as the animal’s Victoria Cross. (Wikipedia)

This trend caught on and family pets and others were immortalised in portraits. They were portrayed as other members of the family in their best clothes.

This makes fascinating reading;

Animal Heads on Human bodies

Here is an example;

Rip is a mixed Terrier who would help the air raid warden and his team sniff out people hidden under the debris during the Blitz. He saved over 100 people and received a medal for bravery in 1945.

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Ardfert at Easter

Here are some lovers of everything vintage at their annual get together in Ardfert on Easter Sunday.

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Listowel’s Reimagined Town Square

Work in the outdoor seating and performance area has resumed. I have it from the horse’s mouth that the canopies are due to be installed starting on Sunday.

Yesterday, April 21 2022 in Listowel Town Square

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Listowel Square is changing

Jim MacSweeney

This rural image is part of the collaboration between Mallow Camera Club and Kanturk Community Hospital

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A Mighty Leap

This gem is from Beale School in the Schools’ Folklore Collection.

A Local Hero
The best hurler the oldest people ever remember was James Moriarty.He lived somewhere around Kilconly. One Saturday he and his wife removed to the border of the County of Cork. After going to bed that night his wife said it was better for him to be there than to be going to the “Moneens.” The moneens are in Flahives farm, Bromore. “What is in the Moneens” asked the man. The woman told him that she had received a letter that he should go and attend the hurling match which was to be held there. He made up his mind to go and jumping out of bed he went off to Bromore. When the ball was thrown up he was the first man that struck it and after striking the ball he leaped thirty three feet. There is a mark to this day on the place where he jumped. The place is pointed out above at Dan Flahive’s field of Bog.

Nora Griffin vi
Beale, Ballybunion
June 24th 1938
Information from people at home.

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Outdoor Dining and Performance Area

While I turned my back very briefly, work continued apace in The Square.

We got a lovely new standard light with two lamps.

Of course there is a bicycle rest. The people we imagine using this are tourists on The Greenway.

The tables and seating will be put back and then it will all be covered with three tent type structures.

Imagine yourself sitting in the sun, eating your ice cream from the new ice cream kiosk and listening to whatever performance is on offer.

If such pleasure becomes all too much for you, the defibrillator is at hand to jolt you back to life.

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Danny would be Proud

In 1972 Danny Hannon fulfilled a dream . He set up The Lartigue Theatre Company. In April 2022 the company celebrated it’s half century with a production of John B. Keane’s Sive.

I was in St. John’s on Sunday evening and I couldn’t have picked a better evening’s entertainment for my return to the theatre. After two years I had almost forgotten how enjoyable an evening of local theatre can be.

(All the photos are from St. John’s Facebook page)

The old hands were excellent, as always. If I were to single out one actor it would have to be Laura Shine Gumbo. Laura played an excellent Mena, with a mixture of good and evil. She brought out the painful conflict within this character, whose awful betrayal of Sive is motivated as much by her misunderstanding of the vulnerability of the romantic teenager as by her desire to improve her own lot in life.

There were new faces among the cast as well. A revelation to us all was Jimmy Moloney who played a blinder ss Mike Glavin. Mike is at heart a good man . He is tormented by the three women in his care. What we in the audience can see and poor Mike can’t is that he has married his mother. Nanna is the mistress of the hard word. She is as devious and manipulative as Mena, full of resentment and bitterness, bullying and taunting where she should lend support. It is a deeply unhappy household.

The final moving tragic scene is played with great pathos and empathy. Sive is let down by all the adults in her life. Such innocence could not survive in a hard mercenary world where love is lost in the hard realities and the poverty of 1950s Ireland. Everyone who should have protected her has a hand in her death.

Sive is a tragedy. Playing it out again in our times shines a light on an unhappy era, thankfully now behind us.

Thank you, Lartique Theatre Company for a great night.

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