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 workhouse

Charles St., Women in Media 2019 and Teampall Bán

Easter in St. Mary’s


Charles Street/ Sráid Uí Chonghaile

Here is another example of a street with a name in English, by which it is known and a name in Irish which no one uses. I have also discovered that not only does no one I know use the Irish name but most of my friends  are unaware that there is an Irish name that is not a translation of the English.

In the case of Charles Street, local lore has it that the street was named by Lord Listowel after one of his sons.


Women in Media 2019

Here are a few of the local people I photographed in Ballybunion on Saturday April 28 2019


Teampall Bán

I had visitors for the weekend and, as well as going to two productions in St. Johns, a few panel discussions in Women in Media conference, and a brilliant seminar in Lixnaw I found a minute to bring them to Teampall Bán. They absolutely loved it and vowed to return.

They thought this gable mural by Maurice Pierse was both moving and prayerful.

They loved the little oratory and the stations of the cross.

They appreciated that there was somewhere to sit and contemplate all the history that is gathered in this place, a whole swathe of Listowel’s population wiped out by the Great Hunger.


The Workhouse

from the Dúchas Folklore collection

The Workhouse was built in 1841. In the famine years it was full up of people who had no food to eat and other houses were used as workhouses. One of these was the college and another Dowd’s house. The People who died in the workhouse were buried in Teampall Bán. In the year 1920 the workhouse was closed and the poor people were removed to the county Home in Killarney. 

The house next to the workhouse was turned into a convent in 1891. The mercy nuns lived here. Before that this house was occupied by a party of British horse-soldiers called the Scots’ Greys. They lived there from 1880 until 1883. One of these was drowned in the river and the place is now known as the Corporals’ hole

In 1922 the workhouse was burned down by the Republicans and at the present time a new hospital is being built.

Maurice Bambury

Christmas in the workhouse, photos from Vincent’s launch

  Both Junior Griffin and Michael Lynch, county archivist, sent me accounts from newspapers of the time (very early 20th. century) of Christmas in Listowel workhouse. Here is the first of those accounts from The Kerryman Jan 5 1907 and I will bring you the others over the next few days


nature is so selfish that the great majority of us never think of the miseries
and misfortunes of our poorer brethren. 
We are so much engrossed with our own little affairs that we rarely go
out of our way to give a helping hand to those who most need it.  And for that reason we doubly value the
generosity and kindliness of heart which prompted Mrs. Foran, lady guardian for
Listowel and vice-Chairman of the Board to institute an annual Christmas treat
for the workhouse children. 

We were present at the entertainment on Tuesday
night at the Union schoolrooms and one would require to be present to
thoroughly appreciate the happiness which was brought even for a few short
hours into the lives of the little ones which cruel destiny has decreed to
spend their youth in the Workhouse.  For
weeks the children look forward with pleasure to the entertainment and it would
be no exaggeration to say that it is their happiest hour in the whole long
year.  Smiling faces everywhere and it
was an inspiration to watch the gleam of pleasure in the children’s eyes as
they received one of the toys from the Christmas trees artistically placed at
the head of the school room, which was turned into a veritable fairy land.  And then the playing of the Brass band – the
members of which who, so kindly and generously attended – sent a thrill of
delight through the little ones which found expression in a joyous cheer for
their fair benefactress.

  Truly the few
hours, fading and evanescent though they may be brought joy and gladness into
the lives of the little ones.  The first
night of the New Year was to them a pleasurable one, and no matter what their
lot may be in after years, their annual Christmas treat will be a sweet and
pleasant memory.  We would wish that all
the other Unions in Kerry would follow the example given by Mrs. Foran and her
lady friends and bring happiness into the cheerless lives of the children.  To Mrs. Foran particularly, the originator of
the Christmas entertainment in Listowel, the best thanks of the community are
due for the charity and warmth of heart which prompts her to bring so much
happiness into the lives of the poor little waifs who are compelled to spend
their innocent youths in the cheerless surroundings of a workhouse.


From The Advertiser


Very, very nearly there!


Joanne Dillon, a good friend of this blog discovered this Facebook page

It has all kinds of interesting historical stuff including a piece about this man;

The O’Rahilly


Sunday Dec. 9 2012 in the ballroom of The Listowel Arms

A few more photos from the launch

Billy Keane, Jerry Kennelly and Jimmy Deenihan

Ann and Oonagh Hartnett

Vicent’s sister, Maura and his wife, Kathleen

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