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 email@example.com
In Kerry Writers’ Museum I met the brilliant Angeline in costume for her tour. During Writers’ Week 2023, you can book a guided tour for Saturday June 3. Booking for this is directly with the museum.
This year lots of events are taking place in our lovely library. What better place to launch a book than in this dedicated place of books. Page 13 of your brochure or Listowel Writers Week website for details.
Yes, It’s Adare
Bob Jewell wrote to us from Marietta in Georgia in the U.S. asking our help in identifying the town where he took this photo in 1980. He thought it might be Adare. I thought it was almost definitely Adare. Then David O’Sullivan and Jim Ryan did the research for us. Google street view confirms it is Adare. The signs are gone but the distinctive house in the background of Bob’s photo is still the same.
Another Innovative Event
This year Listowel Writers’ Week programme is being curated by a lovely young man, Stephen Connolly, who has fallen in love with our town.
Stephen looked at Listowel with the fresh eyes of an outsider and he has come up with new ways of bringing writers to new corners of the town.
Our performance area in The Square will be the location for Lunch Poems, a brilliant new event in association with Poetry Ireland.
Every day during Writers Week, June 1-3 there will be free poetry and a spot of lunch at 1.00 p.m. Each day we will hear two young emerging poets, we will get a short pamphlet of the poets’ work and we’ll get “a light lunch” from Dough Mamma. Their pizzas are delicious.
That’s lunch sorted for a few days.
More Busking Photos
Photos from the annual MS fundraiser in Main Street Listowel on May 19 2023
Sciath na Scol
My granddaughter Cora is the last of her family in Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin in Ballincollig, a school with a Kerry Principal, Gabriel ÓChathasaigh and a fine cohort of teachers, many with Kerry links. It’s a school steeped in the GAA. This year for the first time the school won all four competitions in its section of Sciath na Scol, football boys and girls and hurling boys and girls.
Here Cora is showing her medal to her little cousin. Better than an All Ireland to the little ones!
Paul Galvin is in The Listowel Arms Hotel on Saturday June 3 at 3.00p.m.
On Friday May 19 2023, Main Street came alive with music. The concert was in aid of an association very close to my heart. I apologise that I can’t include some clips of the great music here but video clips just take up too much of my precious storage space. I have pictures though.
This is a group of morning collectors and musicians. A new crew took over in the afternoon. Some of the morning people were involved in the afternoon as well.
I’ll include a few more tomorrow.
This epic cycle fundraiser in aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind paused in town on Monday May 22 2023.
This is Alice Curtayne’s panel in Kerry Writers’ Museum. She is the only female writer among the great men of letters.
Alice was actually an extraordinary lady, writing on lots of subjects, many of them religious in nature. She has written on Dante (She lived for a time in Milan in the 1920s) St. Brigid (She lived in Kildare too) and she has written one novel, House of Cards which her family think is largely biographical. She wrote many articles for newspapers and periodicals like the Capuchin Annual.
She was born in Tralee. Her father was a coach furnisher and he had his business in what is now Benners Hotel.
She lectured in America before settling down and marrying a farmer whom she met when he wrote her a fan letter.
Her husband, Stephen Rynne was a romantic. They married in Tarbert on Valentine’s Day. In their garden in Prosperous, Stephen planted snowdrops in a formation which every Spring spelled out Alice.
Alice passed away in 1981. She is under appreciated even in her native Kerry. Her grandson, Niall, is doing much to bring knowledge of her to a wider audience. Some of her books have been republished by an American publisher. I bought the one on St. Brigid. I’ll review it here at a later date.
Listowel Writers’ Week, Opening Night 2023
What links these two places to opening night 2023?
Special guest on Opening Night will be acclaimed singer /songwriter Jack O’Rourke.
Jack is a storyteller in song. He was fascinated by the story of Michael O’Connor as told to him by Aiden on one of his visits to Mike the Pies.
Michael O’Connor, uncle of Aiden, was an extraordinary man. He was a talented artist, a collector of posters, an opera lover and a book lover. He was also a very private person. His family left his apartment over the pub very much as he left it. A visit to this place of music, art and literature inspired O’Rourke to write the song.
“…And that opera on the top floor No one knows, it’s under lock and key The needle hits the vinyl, I’m away on the wind Every secret needs a sanctuary.”
I hope he sings it for us on Opening Night.
Another treat in store for us at this year’s Writers’ Week is a chance to see some of Michael O’Connor’s great collection of international graphic art in Mike the Pies.
I Love Paul Galvin
Maybe not Paul himself. I don’t know him but I love, love, love his book.
People who know me here know that I love a good anecdote or story and I love random facts. Paul’s book is full of these. I’ve only dipped into it so far. I’ve only just got it.
Spear throwing! sword fighting!
If, like me you love these little stories, Paul Galvin has lots of them in his great book. He is a great researcher and a great story teller.
Do come along to hear him in
The Listowel Arms at 3.00p.m. on Saturday June 3 2023
Dolly Day in Listowel is on June 24 2023 and it promises to be a good one. The lady herself has been invited to attend and she is checking her calendar.
You can be part of the fun by buying your wig online Here
There are a few instructions laid down by the Guinness Book of Records people about how you should be dressed. Nothing major.
Catching Up with Friends
I met my old friend, Dolores O’Connor in The Flying Saucer on Monday. She was enjoying a hot chocolate with her sister, Eileen. When they see me with my camera they know that I will connect them with their family in the US and England. Great Listowel people and supporters of this blog.
I had a great chat with my lovely friends, Liz and Jim Dunn, in Thyme Out café yesterday. Liz is going to be our hostess at Opening Night of Listowel Writers’ Week on May 31st. No better woman for the job.
When I came to Listowel first I found local people had quite a few phrases we didn’t use over the border in my part of the country.
“Will you walk to town or will you carry the car?” asked a new friend.
The image this conjured up came back to me when I read Brian Bilston’s amusing poem:
you took the last bus home
i still don’t know how you got it through the door
but you’re always doing amazing stuff
like the time when you caught that train
The English language syllable “ough” can be pronounced in eight different ways. The following sentence includes all eight.
A tough dough-faced ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing thoughtfully.