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: Tullamore National School

Dromin Well, some old advertisements and Tullamore National School

(photo: Timothy John MacSweeney, wildlife photographer)



(photo;Ballybunion Prints)

Scairbhín is the time of year from mid April to mid May when the weather vacillates between balmy and baltic. The old people used to say, ‘Don’t shed a clout ’til the may is out.” The may in this case referred to the flower of the blackthorn bush often referred to as “the flower of the may”.


Count Your Blessings

Our ancestors lived through tough times. We are so lucky to live in a prosperous Ireland.

Dublin tenement 1940s

Blitzed London street

Our poor misfortunate ancestors evicted from their homes


Dromin Well

Our amateur folklorists in 1937 took upon themselves to research stories of holy wells. One girl heard a story about Dromin well outside Listowel. According to the story, a girl called Depra, who was deaf and dumb was brought by her parents to the well and left there for three days. When her parents returned after the three days they found “to their joy” that their daughter could hear and speak. She told them that during their absence a beautiful lady had appeared to her and told her to drink from the spring. Depra did as she was told and immediately she was cured. She could hear and speak. The beautiful lady smiled sweetly and disappeared.


1916 /2016

( photo: 1916 Commemoration)

In the aftermath  of the 1916, several booklets were published. This collection is in the Capuchin Archive.


Some Great Old advertisements

Kay Caball of Kerry Ancestors lend me this recently.

I bring you today some ads from this publication, most of them for businesses long gone from the town.


Who, Why, When?

Antony Hegarty (formerly of Tullamore) sent me this photograph from New York. It was published in The Ballydonoghue Parish Magazine. Antony is anxious to find out the provenance of the photo. Does anyone know who is in the photo and what was the occasion?


Tar Abhaile

Julie and Glyn Evans

Mary Cogan, Kay Caball and Evelyn O’Rourke

“Don’t forget , TG4 , This Monday night. A night of Genealogy with North Kerry Reaching Out. This week’s programme of the “Tar Abhaile ” series comes from Listowel and other locations around North Kerry and West Limerick.

The first descendant who features this weekend is Julie Evans, a teacher from Sydney Australia who discovers the mystery behind how her grandmother’s grandmother, Bridget Ryan, ended up leaving Listowel Workhouse in 1849 and on a ship to Australia as a 16-year old girl as part of the Famine Orphan Girl Scheme. 

The second is Angie Mihalicz, a retired teacher from Beauval, Saskatchewan, Northern Canada who comes back to discover what she can about her grandfather’s father, Peter McGrath and his mother Ellen, who emigrated to Canada at the height of The Famine and after a long search finally gets to stand on the land of her ancestors.

This programme is a repeat.

Miss Walsh again, 1950s girls and the latest from Craftshop na Méar

Retirement presentation to Miss Bríd Walsh in 1972.

This photo was prompted a few emails. I am going to share this lovely message from one of Bríd’s grateful past pupils, Elizabeth Brosnan.

The teacher was Bridgie Walsh who lived in Courthouse Road in Listowel. She taught me from Junior Infants to Second Class. 

There is only one of the people in that picture alive now and he is in his mid eighties. I think the parents in the picture were in the then Board of Management. They are as follows from left to right: Michael (Mikey) Kennelly, Coolaclarig, (grandfather of Tadhg and father of Timmy etc.) (Rip), Gerald Mulvihill, Shronowen (Rip), Fr. Michael Stack, Ballydonoghue (Rip), Miss Bridgie Walsh (on occasion of her retirement) (Rip), Thomas Flaherty, Coill, (alive and well) & Jeremiah O’Carroll,Tullamore (Rip).

 I cannot remember what year Miss Walsh retired, but I will find out. She lived well into old age, and spent her final days in the Kennedy Nursing Home.  She wrote me a lovely note every Christmas, as I always sent her a Christmas card. She was a very nice teacher. 

One of my classmates was buried today, following a car accident and we were reminiscing on our Tullamore school days (the awful days in particular), then I came home and saw your e mail. How fitting!


Another old one

This group of girls attended the convent primary school sometime in the 1950s. Bernie Carmody who gave me the photo is not so great on names and dates . This is the best she could do but maybe someone else will fill in a few more.

Back: Patricia Tatten, ,Carmody, .    , Kathleen Rohan, ..     ,.Flavin

Front: Marie O’Sullivan,, Ann McGrath,. Carmody, Geraldine Trant,..   ,..


This is Charles St. last week. Every street in town is being dug up to install water meters.


St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching and the crafters in Craftshop na Méar are getting ready. 

If you are in town you should drop in and pick up something green for the national holiday.

Dr. Michael O’Connor on cigarettes, Bob Dylan on weather and Galvin’s shopfront

Bryan MacMahon said that a teacher leaves the track of his teeth on a parish for 3 generations. I think the same is true of a doctor.  Certainly, this man pictured above, Dr. Michael O’Connor of 24 The Square, Listowel keeps coming up in folk memory here.

Today my titbit is an old letter that my good friend, Anne Moloney, unearthed for us. The quality of the copy is poor so I’ll transcribe it for you.

It is dated  13.12.’22 and the address is The Square, Listowel and it goes:

Dear Sir (or Madam),

It has been brought to my notice by a tobacconist in this town that some soldiers in Listowel Barracks have been using my name as their excuse for refusing to buy Irish made cigarretes, stating that the Doctor said, “Irish cigarettes caused skin disease”. This slanderous allegation is, of course, entirely untrue and was never uttered by me. Indeed there is nothing, as far as I know, in Irish or any other cigarettes likely to cause skin disease.

It is a poor specimen of a man or a soldier who has not the moral courage to say, when purchasing cigarettes made by Irish girls, that he prefers those made by foreigners.

                                                                                                       M. O’Connor M.D.


This photo appeared in The Advertiser a while ago with the caption. Tullamore School. It looks like a retirement.  Any further information welcome.


Mike Enright’s lovely photo last week of a calm Cashen inclines me to think that Spring may finally be on the way after this oh so inclement winter.

Our recent fascination with the weather sent me to my copy of Brendan MacWilliam’s Weather Eye .

Here is a fascinating piece of useless knowledge for you all:

“Dr. Alan Robock of Rutgers University, new Jersey has examined 465 songs performed over the years, by rock singer, Bob Dylan, and dicovered that the word “sun” appears in 63 of them; “wind” turns up in 55, “rain” in 40, “sky” in 36,  “cloud’ in 23, “storm” in 14, “summer” in 12 and “snow” in 11. Other weather words occurring but scoring less than 10, include hail, winter, lightening, thunder, flood and, of course, “weather” itself.

According to Dylan, the answer to many vexed questions is “blowin’ in the wind” and ” You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing”.


Market Street premises then and now


The Frank Lewis Saturday Supplement on Listowel is available here;

One of the many great Listowel stories you will hear on the programme  concerns this building. During The Troubles it was forbidden to have a shop sign in the Irish language and for years this shop had Galvin’s name in English over the door. During a much later refurbishment, this beautiful mosaic sign was uncovered. Apparently, some master tilers who were in town working on mosaic work in St. Mary’s were employed by Galvins to do this magnificent shop sign. Luckily it was not destroyed to comply with regulations.  The wily owner just covered it up for future generations to enjoy.


Listowel girl honoured

Savannah McCarthy ( Listowel Celtic)  was chosen as the under 17 Player of The Year at the recent FAI Player awards.

Somethings old, somethings new

This is Martin Griffin’s house at 14 Charles St.

This is the same house in 1911 with Mary and Pauline Scanlon at the door. This photograph is one of the many beautiful old photos of the old stock of the town, collected over many years by Vincent Carmody and shared with us all in his beautiful book;

Listowel; Snapshots of a Market Town 1850 -1950


Mary Broderick’s fifth class in Presentation Primary School, 1986


The Listowel branch off The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul do great work locally. Marie MacAulliffe gave an interview to The Kerrymen this week in which she said that the church gate collection at Christmas brought in €17,000. This, along with profits from Bingo and other fundraising ventures  meant that the local branch had €57,000 to spend in local businesses.

The work of the branch in alleviating poverty and loneliness locally is  immense. Listowel is a better place to live because of the work of this vital society.

Maybe the town council, before it disbands for ever would recognize these unsung heroes with a civic reception.


 This is the new commemorative coin in honor of Ireland’s greatest tenor. It is available from The Central Bank.


Friends in low places…   This is the picture displayed on the Twitter feed of Ticketmaster on Thursday as the tickets for Garth Brooks “were flying out the door”


Dunbeg  (photo by Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society)

One of the great losses due to the destruction wrought by the recent storms was Dunbeg Fort on the Dingle Peninsula. It was an ancient site of huge historical and geographical significance. Alas, part if it just fell into the sea in the past fortnight, a victim of years of sea erosions and the recent windy and stormy conditions.

photo; Fionnuala Hernon, Bungabhla, Inis Mor

This photo appeared in The Cork Examiner…..Inis Mór after this weekend’s storm.


This is a link to a great blog called The Irish in America:

The latest post is from Vincent Carmody remembering where he was when he heard of the JFK shooting.


P.S. Old school rolls from Tullamore National School have been located.

Emigration then and now, Dr. Eamon OSullivan and lost records from Tullamore National School.

The following is an extract from an Irish Times article in its excellent Generation Emigration series. It is written by Anya O’Sullivan. It will strike a chord with many of my blog followers.

Although being at home filled me with a very specific sort of sadness, leaving Ireland left me just as broken hearted, in a very different way. It is as if I am having a tempestuous love affair with my country. I cannot, and do not want to, break away from her. Yet, she leaves me broken hearted each time I visit, and each time I must leave. She is my home. My quiet, my strength and my blood. She is my sense of longing when I am away, and my sense of belonging upon my return. It pains me deeply to see such waves of our young folk flocking to other nations, for the opportunities they cannot find in Ireland. It is absurd that the key figures responsible for the country’s descent into the financial dregs, have not been held accountable for their actions. Like they were in Iceland, for example. The bright young minds Irish families took such time nourishing, and encouraging, are not feeding the development of our own nation. We are mainly abroad, contributing to the greater good of a different economy. We are the generation of Skype relationships with our families and friends. The long distance flights, the jet lag, the tearful goodbyes. They are all intrinsic parts of our lives.

I am back in the sweltering Brisbane heat now. The Australian summer is in full swing. When I look out my window all I can see are blue skies. But, there is something missing. An ache in my heart that no communication via technology will cure. A hug from my Mum, a spontaneous visit from a friend, a train ride to see my niece and nephews. It’s the little things you miss.

Ireland, you may not be in a position to give me everything I want from life right now. But, I hope to be back. Please, sort out your economic situation so those of us migrants that want to return home, can.


This is what brought many of our forefathers to the US particularly Oregon and Idaho in the 19th. century.

(Source: Erin go Bragh Facebook page)

There is an interesting study on the Irish in London here:


Long shot!

Weeshie Fogathy posted the following letter on his Terrace Talk page; Maybe one of listowelconnection blog followers could help.

Dear Mr Fogarty,

I am leading a research project on the history of occupational therapy in Ireland at the University of Limerick (I think that you might have spoken to my colleague, Dr Katie Robinson, briefly a year or so ago). A couple of years ago one of my PhD students, Brid Dunne, “stumbled” across the work of Eamonn O’Sullivan (whose early contribution to the development of occupational therapy was previously unknown in contemporary Irish occupational therapy). Since then we have being undertaking research on Dr O’Sullivan’s work (this includes an analysis of his book as well as archival research in the St Finan’s archive in Tralee Library). We are of course familiar with your book (which sits on my desk) and with the material in the Croke Park archive. I am contacting you at this point as we are wondering if there are any other sources that we should contact/examine in order to gain greater insights into Dr Sullivan’s life and his influences. For example, we are especially interested in the fact that one of the international pioneers of occupational therapy, Dr William Rush Dunton (who continues to be revered in American occupational therapy, unlike O’Sullivan who has been forgotten) wrote the forward to his book. We have no idea how they met/knew each other. We assume that they might have met at international psychiatric conferences and/or perhaps when O’Sullivan and the Kerry team visited the US. We would also like to know about some of Dr O’Sullivan’s other early influences which led him to develop one of the first occupational therapy departments in Ireland. We are wondering, for example, if you have contact with any members of his family (we know that one of his sons was/is living in the UK). We would greatly appreciate any suggestions you might have.

You may be interested to know that we have given several presentations (both national and international) on Dr O’Sullivan’s contribution to occupational therapy and hope that in the future the full extent of his pioneering input to our profession will be acknowledged and appreciated.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,



Another long shot…..

Would anyone have any idea of the whereabouts of the old roll books from Tullamore National School? This is Tullamore outside Listowel and the records we are looking for date back to the mid 1870s. The man behind the enquiry has looked in all the obvious places e.g. Dept of Education, County Library, nearby schools….


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén