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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Church Street, Listowel


Listowel in the 1930s

Main Street, Listowel

This photograph was taken by an unknown photographer in the 1930s. It is included in digital format in the collection.

Photos of Munster

In the great website, Tipperary Studies which has a huge collection of local history and memorabilia. Well worth a visit.


Christchurch Cathedral

Photo; Éamon ÓMurchú


Dromin Well

From the schools folklore collection (Presentation Primary School, Listowel)

There is a Holy Well in Droman, some miles from Listowel. It is said a girl called Depra, who was deaf and dumb, was taken to this well by her parents and left there for three days. When her parents retuned, to their great joy she was able to speak and hear. She told them during their absence a beautiful lady appeared to her, and told her to drink from the spring. Depra did so and immediately she was able to speak and hear. The beautiful lady smiled sweetly on her, and disappeared.


Bridge Road these times

In a few months time this will be a cycleway.


Some St. Patrick theme Windows


SACRED FOREST TREE PLANTING:  In Templeglantine beside the school Saturday, March 19.  Come and help us to plant Irelands first micro forest. 1,150 trees in a third of an acre with EcoSikh, Reforest Nation and Templeglantine Community Development.  Bring wellies and a spade!  Refreshments will be provided.

  1. Earth has more than 60,000 known species of tree.
  2. A tree thought to have went extinct 150 million years ago was recently discovered growing in a valley near Sidney, Australia For reference Dinosaurs like T. Rex died out 66 million years ago.
  3. Before trees earth had fungi with grew 30 feet tall. Ok not really a tree fact but so cool I thought I had to include it
  4. Trees in a forest can ‘talk’ and share nutrients through an underground internet built by soil fungi. Sometimes called the wood wibe web, each tree acts like a neuron in the human brain giving a forest intelligence.
  5. A large oak tree can consume about 100 gallons of water per day, and a giant sequoia can drink up to 500 gallons daily.
  6. Trees help us breathe — and not just by producing oxygen. Trees in city’s remove air pollution and save lives, each year 4.2 million people die each year from air pollution.
  7. Adding one tree to an open pasture can increase its bird biodiversity from almost zero species to as high as 80. Even more of a reason not to cut down fairy trees!
  8. Trees can lower stress, raise property values and reduce crime rates.   A large oak tree can drop 10,000 acorns in one year. So adopting just a few trees  will one day become tens of thousands!( Reforest Nation).


Meat and Veg.

Brendan Mahony, The Square


Gardening Time

Onion sets and certified seed potatoes are now in the shops. I took the phot in McKenna’s.

It’s important to buy certified seed potatoes. Memories of the Famine are ingrained in our DNA.

I remember cutting sciolláins long ago. We had too be careful to have an eye in every one.


Finding Santa Claus in June

Eamonn Dillon found this old one for us.

Kerry Sentinel, Wednesday, 28 July, 1915
Listowel Petty Sessions
CONCEALING A DESERTER. Mr James Kenny, and subsequently Mr H R Jones, R.M, presided and the other justices present were—Messrs P Healy, J C Harnett, Wm Collins, V.C, U.D.C, J MacAulay.
Mrs Mary Bunce and Mrs Kate Lee were charged by the King, at the prosecution of Sergeant Michael Costelloe, with concealing Wm Lee (better known as “Leo”), a deserter from the R.M.F. The first named defendant is the mother-in-law of Lee and the latter his wife. Mr H J Marshall, solr, appeared for the defendants.
Sergt Costelloe, in reply to Head constable Larkin (who represented the Crown in the absence of Mr M J Molloy, D.I) stated that on the morning of the 20th June, about a quarter to four, he went looking for Private Lee, who had deserted from the army. He went to the house where the defendants lived at Ballygologue, and after a search found Lee up the chimney (laughter). He charged the defendants with concealing him and they denied any knowledge of his being in the house. Lee was a soldier in the 3rd Batt. R.M.F.
Mr Marshall submitted that there was no case made out by the Crown, in as much as it was not legally proved that Lee was in the army at all.Head-constable Larkin—The witness said he was a soldier.
Mr Marshall said the magistrates should give the benefit of every technicality and doubt to the prisoner, as under the Army Act of 1881 the only punishment in such cases was imprisonment. It should be proved that he was a deserter, as be might have been absent with or without a just cause or excuse. If the man was absent for good and sufficient cause he was not a deserter and together the defendants should have been aware that he was a deserter when they sheltered or concealed him, and, of course, if he were on leave the most natural place for him to go was to his wife
Witness—But not up the chimney (laughter).
Mrs Lee—He was not up the chimney. That’s a lie.
Head-constable Larkin said it was at the present time regarded as a very serious thing to desert from the army, but as that was the first case of its kind in that district the Crown didn’t wish to be very severe. It was more of a warning to others than anything else that the prosecution had been brought. Chairman (Mr Kenny)—Of course such an offence at the present time is a very serious one, and it- would be well that the public should know that and that such cases can only be dealt with by imprisonment. On this occasion we dismiss the case, as we believe the defendants didn’t understand the seriousness of their act.


A Thought


We’ll be dancing again

What fun we had at Writers week once upon a time when we rubbed shoulders with the great and famous.

Richard Ford, Maire Logue, Liz Dunn and Colm Tóibín dancing on Opening Night W.W. 2018


Doomed Tree

This is one of the trees ear marked for the chop. If you are in any doubt that trees like this should be spared, look for a minute at the damage to the bole of this tree.


Trees, Handball and Shops Then and Now

Listowel Pitch and Putt course with new flower bed June 2021



Have you noticed how trees, woods and groves feature in place names and house names around Listowel?

Here are a few I observed on my walks


Handball Tournaments

(Information from Junior Griffin and Charlie Nolan)

In 1963 Listowel Handball Club lost two of its stalwarts, when Joe James and Frank Sheehy passed away.

At the AGM that year it was decided to purchase a shield in commemoration of Joe James and his huge contribution to the game in Listowel. There was already a shield in honour of Frank Sheehy.

And thereby hangs a tale. The shield was only played for once and it was won by Charlie Nolan. He still has the shield and the smaller replica he got to keep.

Charlie has many many happy memories of good times in The Alley. If you haven’t listened to him talking to Caoimhe from Coiscéim here is the link again

Handball memories in your own words

Máire Logue of St. John’s, Charlie Nolan and Caoimhe Coburn Gray of Coiscéim in Listowel handball alley in summer 2021

Charlie showed us the hooks on the wall of the bridge that he and other youngsters used to climb up on to the road to retrieve a ball.

Like Junior, Charlie found that skills learned playing handball transferred to other sports, in Junior’s case badminton and in Charlie’s Squash.


Some Listowel Shops Then and Now

Ladbrokes was Acc Bank

O’Hannáin is Glamourous


Trees, Handballers Fundraising for an upgrade

Carrigafoyle Castle by Breda Ferris



Listowel is home to hundreds of beautiful trees and this leafy environment is reflected in many of the housing estate names. Here are two.

Cluain Doire literally means meadows of oak.


A Carpet of Daisies in Listowel’s Garden of Europe

Our new awareness of the role of wild flowers has led to sights like this, hundreds of daisies and buttercups among the grasses.


If we only had a four walled court

(Junior Griffin)

Scoil Realt na Maidine as we know it today was opened in 1959 and Halla Bhriain Mhic Mhathúna, the school hall. was built on the site of the old school and opened in 1961.

The Handball Club was one of the first customers to use the hall. They ran a series of Whist Drives on Sunday nights. They also secured a Sunday night to run a “monster” whist drive in Walsh’s Super Ballroom during the season of Lent. The committee of those years was very active in fundraising with the burning aim of raising sufficient funds to build a four walled handball court in Listowel.

Between 1961 and 1965 the club held 27 meetings and 5 A.G.M.s. They also held one EGM.

The one recurring theme in all of these meetings was the hope and ambition to build a a four wall championship handball alley in Listowel.

The minutes of these meetings record many details of fundraising, deputations to the the local government T.D. , a meeting with Listowel UDC, letters to the National Handball Organisation and to the GAA.

Promises were made and encouragement given but the heartfelt dream of a new alley for the members of that time was never realised.

The sale of membership cards to player and “social” members continued.

In 1961 124 cards at 2/6 each were sold, 77 in 1962, 103 in 1963 and only 63 in 1964 as the dream of ever achieving the championship court was fading.


Greenway Bridge

Emma O’Flynn took this photo for us of the new bridge at Kilmeaney.


One to Ponder


The Loo Hullabuloo Part 3, Some Wild Flowers, A Tree Planting Project and a Horse Fair

Cherry Tree in Blossom

On the John B. Keane Road, Listowel in March 2019


Looking to The Future

Photo: Listowel Tidy Towns

Friday April 5 2019 was a very significant day in Listowel’s history. In an initiative from Kerry County Council and facilitated locally by Listowel Tidy Towns Group, young people from Listowel schools planted 420 saplings in and around Childers’ Park. All the trees are native Irish species. Future generations of Listowel people will enjoy this important legacy.

Hard working Tidy Towns’ volunteers Imelda and Bridget are the school liaison officers. They are pictured here with some of the Junior Tidy Towns’ Group before the tree planting.

Photo credit: Listowel Tidy Town’s Group


Listowel’s ‘s  Public Toilet

For those who have been following this story which began back in 1942 we are now in the 1970s and the headline writers are having a field day. Everyone seems to be about to lose patience with the saga when eventually a solution is reached , a site acceptable to everyone is secured and the toilet built. 

Thanks to Dave O’Sullivan for the research.


Flower Miles

Flowers on the right travelled many miles across Europe to a hall table in Knockanure. The flowers on the left came from outside the window.


April Horse Fair 2019

The traditional horse fair has morphed into a street fair. You could buy just about anything from a needle to an anchor on Market Street on April 4 2019.

Here are a few snapshots of the fair.

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