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: Tommy Murphy

Castleisland, Dublin phone boxes and lights in Listowel’s Childers’ Park

Deirdre Lyons took this photo recently in The Garden of Europe. Isn’t it beautiful?



Last week I had occasion to pass a few hours in Castleisland. It is a really interesting town. I sometimes feel that Castleisland people are closer to their rural roots than other Kerry people. I overheard these gems on the street;

” Let me tell you now while I’ve a holt of you…..”

“75? She is in her eye. She’s 85 and she looks every day of it.”

This great likeness of Con Houlihan, one of Castleisland’s most famous sons, stands in the town centre.

This premises is currently idle.

A native of Castleisland informed me that this landmark is called The Fountain. This confirms my belief that people are different in this town. To me this is a pump. I can’t see anything that makes this column a fountain but if Castle Island people want to call it a fountain who am I to differ?

A reminder of Castleisland’s dark history


Phoneboxes on Connell Bridge, Dublin in the 1970s

Photo: Stair na hEireann on Facebook


Lighting our Way through the park

If, like me, you were walking in the park on Thursday March 23 2017, you might have wondered why all the lovely lights that are such a great addition to the park in recent years were still on in mid morning. Wonder no more. On my way through the park I met Conor Moriarty whom I knew would be a likely man to know the answer. He did. It was he who had turned them on in order to identify which ones were faulty. They are all now in full working order.


A Wedding Video from 1962

Wedding of Tommy Murphy and Olivia Featherstone

Paul Murphy sent me this great old video to share. Here is his accompanying email:

My mother was manager of the Arms, hired by Joe Locke, got married in Dublin because she knew people up there.

Listowel people in the video include my Dad’s sisters, Mossie Walsh down the square, with his wife Kats who still lives there, other Walshs, the guy sitting next to the old lady is I think Stephen Stack, the  pharmacist, where The Gentlemen’s Barber is now.

The old lady is my Gran Aunt Ciss Perryman from Beale who ran Mountain View in Ballybunion up until the 80’s. Also from Ballybunion is my uncle Paddy Dowling, who is doing the toasting, his daughter mames was well known in Ballybunion, who died tragically in a freak accident a few years ago. Feel free to ask any questions.


In London on Friday last 

Nancy and Derry Kelly, both from Listowel, celebrated 50 years of happy marriage.


Wedding with Fireworks

John Kelliher just happened to be in The  Square on Saturday April 1 2017. He just happened to have his camera with him so he got a shot or two of the firework display which was put on to celebrate a local wedding.


Don’t Forget

Mary Kennedy in Listowel, A Christmas Window, A Photo of some of the old stock and War Dogs

Up Close and Personal

T.J. Mac Sweeney


 Mary Kennedy in Listowel

When Mary Kennedy of RTE was in Listowel for the filming of the piece on the Military Weekend she popped into Easons to check on how her book was doing.

(Photo: Easons Listowel)


A More Recent Photo from Paul Murphy’s Album

Tommy Murphy, Frank Enright and John B. Keane


Christmas at Listowel Florists

Betty McGrath is getting ready for the festive season


Unusual Casualties of War

The above advertisement was reproduced in Woman’s Weekly recently.

During WW2 some 3,000 household pets helped at the front, side by side with the British soldiers.

Here is how it came about.

Food was rationed and there was no ration allowed for pets. It was forbidden to give meat or biscuits to dogs and many owners found they couldn’t keep their dog, particularly if it was a big breed. The war office set up a dog training school and urged people to give over their family pet to be trained for work  at the front. Dogs carried messages, patrolled and, most valuably, detected mines. Inevitably many lost their lives but they did, as well, save the lives of many.


A Message of thanks from Jim Halpin

Jim Halpin works harder than anyone to make sure that the sacrifice of the North Kerry men who gave their lives in war will never be forgotten. He is passionate about commemorating them and ensuring that their names will live forever in these parts.

With the help of his colleagues in Listowel Military Tattoo he organized a touching commemorative ceremony on Sunday in St. John’s. I was privileged to be there to witness it and I wrote about it here on Monday. Jim wrote to record his thanks to everyone who took part.

“Thank you, Mary, for your kind words and may I say a thank you also to the schools and their pupils,  their teachers and their parents to Rev. Joe Hardy and Fr. Hegarty, the Killorglin pipers and drummer, our bugler from Mallow and  Joe Murphy for pulling out all the stops to help us in St.Johns at very short notice, the veterans, the wreath layers, the committee and the public who made this a very memorable and solemn day in Listowel.  Jim Halpin”

You can listen to some of the music from the ceremony HERE

William Street neighbours, Visiting Artist in Olive Stack’s and more from Athea

Photo; Mike Enright


A Photo from Paul Murphy’s Album

This photo, which Paul Murphy sent to me, was taken on William Street outside Murphy’s Butchers

Tommy Murphy, on the right, and  Berkie Browne, in the centre, were both butchers who had shops next door to one another and Danny Kelliher on the left, worked in Murphy’s. Tommy, judging from his attire, wasn’t working on this occasion.


Deb Aldo is Excita and Delira to be in Listowel

Deb Aldo is a mosaic and landscape artist, who is currently in residence in Olive Stack’s Gallery in Main Street. When I called into the gallery she was chatting to Kathy from Gurtenard House.

My photos are of some of Deb.’s work in Olive’s window. She is blogging her trip at Excira And Delira

Deb took this photo outside the gallery on Friday. The Cinderella carriage was on its way to a wedding in St. Mary’s.

 Deb followed it and managed to get a short spin. You can read all about this, her trip to Gurtenard House and lots more in her really interesting blog.


Athea’s Fairy Trail

Since I was last in Athea someone has put a commemorative plaque to Con Colbert and Bobby Sands near the entrance to the Fairy Trail.

My boys thought the place looked very bare since last time. Back then the trail was very overgrown.

 We are always anxious to see if there is anyone in residence in the bug hotel.

 Yipee, this is the first time we spotted a bug on holiday in the Bug Hotel in Athea.

The boys did not have too many worries to leave behind with Cróga but they posed for my picture all the same.


Lest we forget

Today on November 11 2015,  100years on from WW1, we remember all those who died in conflicts everywhere.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

May the sod rest lightly on all their souls.

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