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: Twin Tub

Listowel Town Square, Washday in 1960, Ballybunion’s New Toilet

Feale Sculpture with St. John’s in Listowel Town Square in June 2020.


Jim and Betty Beasley out for a walk in June 2020


A Poem for our Time


Progress Report from Danny McDonnell

Public toilets are closed at the moment for health and safety reasons. Meanwhile Ballybunion’s new convenience is coming along nicely.


Did your house have one of these?

Servis Supertwin twin tub washing machine, mid-1960s.

‘I can always remember my mother saying, “this is heaven, this has to be heaven…because it took the drudgery out of the hard work people had to do. – Maureen Gavan, Interviewed February 2017

The first phase of Electricity Supply Board’s (ESB) rural electrification programme began in 1946 and ran until 1965 with a post-development phase running into the 1970s. Although many rural women worked in offices and shops, as well as on the farm, the marriage bar and prevailing cultural attitudes meant that many women’s experiences of rural electrification were at home, where the kitchen was the focus of domestic work.

Kitchen Power: Women’s Experiences of Rural Electrification – National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Castlebar, Mayo.



The new regulations allow us to travel anywhere in our own county. My first trip outside the 5km. limit wa to Ballybunion.

As I walked along the cliff walk I met my friend, Mary Moylan, and two of her friends taking a welcome breather from their roles as front line nurses in KUH.

It is very hard to see mobile home parks cordoned off in the height of the tourist season.

The Cliff House is preparing to open  for what’s left of the season.

Twin Tubs, Crafts and 1960s Charles Street

Ita Hannon’s Béal

Another great photograph from Béal’s own photographer, Ita Hannon.


Do you Remember This?

For those of you too young to remember this machine, it is a twin tub washing machine and it was the state of the art in laundry machinery in the 1970s and 80s.

The machine was top loaded. In our house it was stored in a room we called the back kitchen but nowadays is glorified with the title, Utility Room. It had to be hefted out to the kitchen on wash day…always a Monday. Then a hose was run from the tap to the wash tub and it was filled with water. We only had cold water on tap so a kettle of water, boiled on the range, was added to speed up the heating process. The lid was put on and the water heated. As soon as the water was hot enough, (this could be tested with your elbow!!!!) the clothes and the washing powder were added. The machine then “washed’ away like billyo, i.e. swirled the laundry hither and tither for what seemed like ages. Then the water had to be drained off. This was another labour intensive job. The machine had to be hefted to the back door, a hose attached and the dirty water drained off. Then the machine had to be filled again and the clothes rinsed of the dirty water. Then that water had to be drained off.

Now comes part 2. Before the twin tub we had a washing machine with a mangle. Do you remember the mangle? This vicious implement stood on top of the washtub and you had to spear a piece of washed clothing from the boiling hot water and push it into the mangle, which was two rollers with no room whatsoever between them. You turned a handle and the rollers turned, mangling the clothes and squeezing the water out of them. 

The twin tub was a huge advance, for the second tub replaced the mangle. It was, in fact, a spin dryer. Nowadays we are only used to the gentle tumble dryer. A spin dryer was a horse of a totally different color. It extracted the water from the clothes by spinning the bejasus out of them. They usually ended up inextricably entwined in each other and clung to the sides of the “dryer”. This was after the machine had done a performance to beat Daniel O’Donnell on Strictly around the kitchen floor.

You are now beginning to realize why it was called washday. By the time the clothes were on the line the day was gone and you were too exhausted to do anything else.

Happy Days?


A Few More Lovely Gift Ideas from Craftshop na Méar


Upper William Street, Listowel in October 2015


Outside No. 60 Charles St. circa 1960

Photo: Noreen Carroll on Facebook



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