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: Una Hayes

Craftshop the Méar, Scoil Realt na Maidine

The River Lee, Cork in January 2020

Photo: Chris Grayson


Feeling Nostalgic

Today Im back in 2013 in Craftshop na Méar in Church Street. Happy Days!

We used to have this mascot pig in the window. The shop owner, Robert Corridan, brought him all the way from the U.S. where he used to be blue and was the mascot for one of Robert’s favourite restaurants,  The Blue Pig. The late Dan Green, who was a great supporter of the shop, named him Crubeen.

Mary Boyer and Una Hayes were looking after the shop on this day, which, judging by the stock, was near Christmas time. The beautiful crochet work on the top left is the work of Brigitta who now runs Scribes.

Maureen Connolly is sitting by the range working on one of her crochet rugs Beside her in his bawneen is Dinny.

One day as we were having a Christmas event, Alice Taylor dropped in to listen to the songs and stories.


Scoil Realt na Midine 1960

Cork Summer Show, Irish Clippies in Birmingham and Sonny Bill

The Old Order Changeth

I hope you are able to read the above letter. Even if you cant read it here, you will probably have heard its contents from mass goers in Duagh and Lyre. Fr Pat Moore is retiring from his post as parish priest of Duagh.  Fr. Pat is still very  confident of a return to full health but in the meantime, Bishop Ray needs to make arrangements for the future administration of the very big parish of Duagh and Lyrecrompane. The bishop spoke at masses at the weekend to explain how the new arrangement will work. Duagh Lyre will be part of a cluster of parishes sharing priests and administrative personnel.

I trust that Fr. Pat will soon regain his health and will continue as he has always done, to contribute to North Kerry life in so many ways.  Sláinte!


Cork Summer Show 2016

Saturday June 18 2016

Cork Summer Show has had bad luck with the weather in the past but this year the sun shone and, even though it clashed with a vital Euro match, people chose to spend Saturday in the open air at the show. There were the usual competitions for poultry and farm produce, needlework and baking. But these form a very small part of the show now and the word agricultural has been dropped  from the title. It’s actually a big sales floor, with a big stage for the continuous music, cookery demonstrations, best dressed lady competition and even a bit of jousting thrown in.

 John Spillane was giving it wellie when we arrived.

 A few drops of rain threatened as we were tucking in to our picnic but not enough to ruin a great day out.


That was Saturday. Twenty four hours later I was back at the show again. This time to lend support to Sonny Bill, my family’s horse. Buoyed by his recent success at Clonakilty he was coming to Cork with hopes high.

The weather did its worst. Rain of biblical proportions deluged down one us.

One of my favourite things to watch at the show was the farrier competition. This man below was my favourite. If he didn’t win I’ll eat my hat. He was an absolute perfectionist.

These are the judges inspecting how the hoof is prepared.

There are marks gained and lost at all stages of the process.

This was the first fitting.

Isn’t this clever? a magnet on the side of his apron holds the farrier’s nails.

Finally the shoe is fitted, nailed in place and everything filed smooth. It was fascinating to watch.

Now to Sonny Bill. You can see from my wet lens that he was showing in the worst of the bad weather. Showing is like a beauty pageant for horses and, as is the case with human beauty, not everyone sees beauty in the same way. In our eyes he was the most beautiful horse there but the judges placed him second.


Irish Girls who worked on the Buses in Birmingham

This photo and story surfaced in The Harp News in Birmingham recently and a friend sent it to Una Hayes in Listowel. Una is the lady on the far right of the photo. She is pictured with her fellow clippies on St. Patrick’s Day 1972. She was then Una Duggan. The photo was taken before she married Liam Hayes of Tannavalla.


Newcastlewest Pin In The National Museum

This 6th or 7th century bronze pin was dug up in Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick.


Sonny Bill Triumphs in Charleville

I chose to stay at home and watch the big match. You can see from the above that they could have done with a photographer.

Elizabeth’s message read…”Great day out today at Charleville Show. SonnyBill did the business in a very competitive small hunter class, followed it up with a win in the draught class and put the icing on the cake when winning the Champion Ridden Hunter of the show!!”

(Looks like red, white and blue were the colours of champions yesterday.)

“In service”, the trees project and NKRO

I have a friend called Una Hayes. She lives here now with her Listowel husband, Liam. This photo is Una’s picture of her mum, Winifred Sheahan from Bruff in Co. Limerick. Winifred, like so many young Irish emigrant girls  in the 1930’s, worked “in service”. The house where she worked was actually called Downton House.

This is the same lady in April 1937 when she had moved to a new position in Kensington in London.


John Corridan sent us these beautiful pictures of Ballinruddery, the seat of the Knights of Kerry. He says:

“Here are some photos of interest; Taken by Robert French for William Lawrence at the “Knights of Kerry”, Ballinruddery c1890-1910 (will contact NLI to establish a more accurate date). When photos are combined with Bertha Beatty’s description of Ballinruddery of a similar time it enriches the photos all the more. 

Regarding the Lawrence Collection photos note what Bertha Beatty (Nee Creagh) wrote in her book Kerry Memories penned 1936-1938 about Ballinruddery.

“The latter place had a lovely avenue leading from the main road and extending for a couple of miles through lovely overhanging trees and shrubs. We had permission to go there and I loved the place. There is a ruin on a height about mid-way in the estate. It is possibly where the old chiefs lived at one time………I remember being frightened of a herd of Kerry cows which grazed just around the famous ruin. I have vision of blue-bells growing down to the edge of the river. The other side was wooded. Beautiful Rhodendrons and ferns of many kinds flourished in the cool shade , also foxgloves, known to us as Fairy Thimbles. We enjoyed popping the buds on the back of the hand. Little streams played about and made a happy, gentle music.”

Thank you, John.


NKRO on tour

The gang on NKRO’s first outing to the National Library on Monday April 30 2012.


An American view of Irish children….nice.

My friend, Una

This is Una from Tanavalla. Una did not always live in Listowel. In fact she was born in Wales but she spent most of her life in England.

Una and I belong to the same knitting group. On any given Saturday when we come together to “stitch and bitch” there are usually 8 or 10 in our group. Five of these ladies have spent most of their lives outside of Ireland. It gives me hope that some of our young people who are leaving our shores in droves may one day find their way back.

Back to Una!

This is Una in her younger days when she worked as a ‘clippie”; bus conductor to you and me, in Birmingham. I suppose our young people do not know what a bus conductor was. She went on to be a bus driver before leaving it all behind to raise a family with Liam. They now live in happy retirement in Ballygrennan.

Una has shared her old photographs with NKRO. Why don’t you come along and share some of your old snapshots with us too. We are  in Greaney’s Spar tomorrow from 10.00a.m. until 2.00p.m. We look forward to meeting you and sharing memories and stories.


 This picture and text were taken from  The National Archives. The National Archives releases one picture every month.

“This photograph dates back to 31 December 1942. It
illustrates ploughing in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin. With the advent of
rationing during the Emergency, parts of land around the Áras were farmed to
boost food production.  “


N.N.B.  Set your machines to record Nationwide on Monday night next. Mick Finucane of Urlee, Lisselton is set to be the star of the show.

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