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: Upper Church Street

Fr. Harnett, A Curse and the Lartigue Theatre Company

All Changed

Upper Church Street, Listowel July 2007


Looking for Old Photos

Can you help, please?

Hi there,

I am in search of some old photos of a public house that used to reside at 35 William St, Listowel. The Pub was called mulvihills and i cannot find any evidence of it online.

The pub was sold in the 80’s.

If you can shed any light on this bar will you tell me and I’ll pass on the information.


A Dementia Poem


From the Schools’ Folklore Collection

Fr Harnett

Long ago there lived in the Parish of Newtownsandes and old woman. One morning she went to her dairy for a pan of milk. When she was returning from the dairy she slipped with the pan of milk and fell. Just as she was falling the pan struck her in the side, and injured her, and the milk was spilled. When she went in home she had a very bad pain in her side, and she had to go to bed.

She spent three weeks in bed, but after the three weeks she was as bad as ever, and her side was greatly swollen. When she saw no improvement coming on her she sent for the doctor. But when the doctor saw her he said that he could find nothing wrong with her. At last she sent for one of the neighbours.

The neighbour was an old woman who was supposed to be with the good people. When the old woman looked at her she shook her head and said, “When you were coming in from your dairy that morning a woman from a fort asked you for a cup of milk. Now you did not hear her and she threw the cup at you, and it went in through your side. So it is not in the power of any doctor to cure you”.

She spent about another week in bed. At that time she heard that there was a priest in Duagh named Father Harnett who used to cure a lot of sick people. Her friends took her to the priest soon after that. When the priest saw her he took a book from his pocket and he kept reading over her for about ten minutes. Then he told her to go home and that she would be better. The woman went home, and the pain was as bad as ever. The next day her side broke out and glass began coming out of it. The glass was coming out of it for about a week. After a week all the glass of a cup had come out of it. Then her side healed up as good as ever.

Joe Walsh

Told by

Mrs Mary Walsh, Leitrim East, Newtownsandes, 54 years

Collector- Joe Walsh. Informant- Mrs Mary Walsh, Age 54, Address, Leitrim East, Co. Kerry


The Lartigue Drama Group

I dont have a date for this happy gathering but at a guess it’s the 1980s

Mike Moriarty gave me the names.

FRONT ROW; Denis O’Mahony, Gertie O’Keefe, Sean Moriarty, Peggy Brick, Danny Hannon, Noreen O’Connell, Damian Stack, Joan Stack, Donie Finucane (R.I.P.), Mairead O’Carroll.

SECOND ROW; Martin Griffin, Jackie Carmody (R.I.P.), Miriam Carey (R.I.P.), P.J. Broderick, Helen Walsh, Maurice O’Sullivan, Louise O’Shea, Jack Joyce, Jackie McGillicuddy, Kay Ryan, Anthony McAuliffe.

THIRD ROW; Cathal FitzGerald, Jerome Murphy (R.I.P.), Batt O’Keefe, Ursula O’Connor, Michael O’Neill (R.I.P.), Anne FitzGerald, Louis O’Connell, Oonagh Harnett, Cliff Gore, Danny Moriarty.

BACK ROW; Mike Moriarty, Gillian Hilliard, Jed Chute, Paddy Walsh, Noreen O’Mahony, Pat Scully, Toddy Buckley (R.I.P.), Bernie Dalton, Johnny McElligott, Angela Hayes.

Johnny Barrett film in St. Johns, Love in an Oil Can and some old ads

St. Michael’s Graveyard, Listowel


A Love Poem

Today’s love poem is about the practical side of love.

Atlas      by UA Fanthorpe

There is a kind of love called maintenance

Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;

Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget

The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way

The money goes; which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,

And postcards to the lonely; which upholds

The permanently rickety elaborate

Structures of living, which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love,

Which knows what time and weather are doing

To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;

Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers

My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps

My suspect edifice upright in air,

As Atlas did the sky.


Johnny Barrett remembered in film

The late Johnny Barrett of Dromina in North Cork was a local legend. He had a one man band doing weddings and socials in my part of the world when I was a young girl. In later life, Johnny turned to entertaining in old folks homes and day centres. His unexpected death in 2008 left many of his loyal fans bereft.

He is the subject of a film in St. John’s on Friday evening.

Fri 23rd

On The Road With Johnny Barrett

A film presentation on one of the best known entertainers in the south west.  Join Johnny on the road to Lisdoonvarna, Killarney, Charleville and Nenagh.  With Kay and George Devlin – Irish and international ballroom dancing champions, Irish dancers and musicians.


Upper Church Street, Listowel in February 2018


Newspaper advertisements in the 1980s


Another library story

Today’s library remembrance comes from Vincent Carmody.

The Library has special memories for me, the large upstairs room, the full length of the building, housed our babies class, when we went to school first. 

On a personal note, I often think how amazing our particular senses are to us, many times in the past, even as late as last year, I have had occasion to climb the beautiful original stairs to the upper floor, every time I have done so, the same type of smell and empty sound the building emits comes flooding back, identical to the smell and sound of nearly 70 years ago. 

Our teacher was Mrs Pidge Scanlon (Bean Uí Scanláin, Eleanor Scanlon’s mother) from Scanlon’s pub on Market Street. She was (to me anyway) a very kind woman, as my story will tell.

 Mrs Scanlon, over the years, had built up a very sizeable collection of toys. Among these were a lot of little tin soldiers and cowboys and Indians. These she would keep on display on the many window sills, facing on to the street. On many a day, when she would have her back turned, I would stuff as many of these as I could manage, into my pockets and take them home. When at home I would take them out and start playing with them. Invariably, my mother would see them, ask me where they came from, and when I would say the school, she would put them back in my bag the following morning, warning me to hand them back to Mrs Scanlon.  This happened on many occasions, and I would hand them up. Mrs Scanlon would never say a word, only take them and put them back on the windows. Years later, she had retired, and had filled me a drink in the pub, I reminded her of the robberies and asked, why did you never give out or beat me. She put my drink on the counter, looked at me and said, “To tell the truth, I was very fond of your father and mother.” 

A Famine Commemoration, the new pharmacy at Upper Church St. and my visit to Santa 2017

John Kelliher’s lovely photo of St. John’s in Winter 2017


Widening the park gateway

When this essential work is complete we should see a big improvement in traffic movement on Bridge Road.


A Famine Commemoration in Listowel

John Pierse makes it one of his life missions to make sure that Listowel remembers its Famine dead. His latest deed to keep the horrors of The Great Famine before our minds is a plaque at the hospital chapel. This plaque was unveiled on Saturday November 18 2017

The convent chapel is the last remaining piece of the old workhouse that is still in use.

The plaque was commissioned by Listowel Tidy Towns Committee and was executed by Darren Enright to John Pierse’s design. We also received a booklet on the day with valuable information about the Famine in Listowel.

John Pierse is a very painstaking historian. He left no stone unturned in his efforts to locate a photograph of the flower of the lumper potato. The lumper was the potato that everyone grew in Ireland in the nineteenth century. It was softer than today’s potatoes and was eaten raw by the people in the workhouse. Unfortunately it was very susceptible to blight.

Jimmy Moloney was the very able M.C. for the ceremony.

Julie Gleeson, chair of Listowel Tidy Towns, John Pierse, Kay Caball, John Lucid, Bryan MacMahon, Jimmy Moloney and Mary Hanlon.

Julie spoke on behalf of Listowel Tidy Town who organised the event.

Sr. Margaret spoke on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy in whose chapel the plaque was erected.

The blessing was an ecumenical one with Fr. Hegarty and Rev. Harding performing the prayerful dedication.

Some local people among the large attendance.

Ballybunion Tidy Town Committee were invited.

These four Mercy sisters came from Killarney


A Corner of Town is Changing

Refurbishment at Doran’s continues. Soon Upper Church Street will have a whole new aspect.


I met Santa Yesterday, November 26 2017

Folks, if you are familiar with the Lartigue, you won’t recognise it and if you’ve never been, you’ll think you are in Wonderland.

These are just some of the elves who have made this Listowel Santa experience happen.

The North Pole Express

will run every weekend from now until Christmas. Click the link above to book. There is a trip on the Lartigue, a visit to Santa, a cookie decorating and Christmas tree ornament decorating workshop. There is hot chocolate, story reading with Mrs. Claus and a Christmas movie in Santa’s own private cinema.

Listowel singers are singing carols live and there are goodies to take away. These goodies include a lovely Christmas story book written and illustrated by Olive Stack and visiting artist Jennifer Walls.

There is great credit due to everyone who worked hard to make this happen. I am particularly delighted to see the baton of volunteerism passed to a new generation.

1980s stars, Turfuel and I’m literally exasperated

Memories of summer;           photo: Chris Grayson


Gone but not Forgotten

This photo of John B. Keane and Mick Lally was shared by Eric Luke. He took the photo in the pre digital age, sometime in the 1980s.


Ever hear of Turfuel?

McHenry Brothers from North Brunswick Street, Dublin were well known fuel merchants, founded in 1925. They began delivering turf on behalf of Bord na Móna from the 1930s and especially during the war war years, when they delivered turf to Dublin. Their trucks were coloured blue and during the 1970s they also used a fleet of blue AEC trucks to haul turf and briquettes to Dublin, making their deliveries throughout the city with a fleet of blue Bedford “flat tops”. This above is a Leyland lorry from the 1970s.

McHenry Brothers of Dublin also supplied turf around the country and this ad for turf probably dates from the 1940s. It’s for Turfuel, the name they gave machine turf from Lyrecrumpane, Co. Kerry. This was one of our earlier works opened in the 1930s. McHenrys also sold briquettes from Lullymore and they were baling our briquettes with flat wire straps long before we started. Due to the decline in long term contracts and the ban on smokey coal in Dublin, the McHenry firm was liquidated in 1990 after 65 years in business. They were also general hauliers, transporting cattle, sheep, pigs, building materials and timber during their time in business.

(text and photos fromBord na Mona Heartland)


Upper Church Street in Autumn 2017


I Literally Give in

In a previous life, when I was a teacher of English, one of my pet hates was the misuse of the word “literally”.

Well, my chickens have come home to roost. All of you who literally die of embarrassment or literally kill someone have won.

The Oxford English dictionary has, like me, accepted defeat and added a new meaning to the word “literally”. It is now accepted as a expletive, used for emphasis.

“This newer, disputed usage (describing something non-literal, as a form of exaggeration) has become more frequent over time, and is now sometimes used quite deliberately in non-literal contexts. ” (OED)


Only in Kilkenny

Photo from Twitter

The annual blessing of the hurls at St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny. Have we hit upon their secret ingredient?


A Laugh to Start the week

A witty piece of smart aleckery from Twitter

Adare, Ballybunion, a chance meeting on a Dublin bus and some people up for the match

Photo; Ita Hannon


Upper Church Street in Summer 2017



Recently, on my way home from Limerick I decided to stop to stretch my legs in the beautiful village of Adare, County Limerick. Adare is a martyr to traffic congestion. That is perfectly understandable as it is one of the prettiest villages in these parts. I met the two lovely ladies below in the local café. They are volunteer Adare ambassadors. They just chat to visitors and answer any questions you might have. They were very welcoming and friendly. Every town should have ambassadors like these.

I decided to take a stroll through the park which is in the heart of the village.

The site for the park was donated to the people by the Earl of Dunraven. Above, at the end of the path, you can see a gate into the Dunraven estate.

I’d highly advise a stop in Adare if you find yourself with a while to spare on the way to or from Limerick.


Ballybunion Sculptures

This lovely floral boat adorns the Doon Road in Ballybunion. It is the work of the Ballybunion Tidy Town’s Committee

Nearby this sculpture to past Doon families has been unveiled.


Well, be the hokey!

When I went to Dublin for the Horse Show recently I travelled to and from the show by public transport. I took a No. 4 bus from O’Connell Street to Ballsbridge.

On my return journey I again boarded the No. 4. Just to  be sure to be sure I was on the correct bus, I asked the lady beside me if the bus I was on would return me to O’Connell St.

To cut a long story short, this lovely lady turned out to be none other than Betty Given, a lady with a very strong Listowel connection. Truth is often stranger than fiction.


Up for the Match

John Kelliher was in Dublin for the match on Saturday August 26 2017. He wisely took his camera with him and here are a few of the great photos he shared on Facebook

Lovely day for the rematch

The hope before and the desolation afterwards well told in these two pictures.

Will you look who John caught on camera on their way to the match: None other than Jimmy Deenihan with Elizabeth, Sarah and Mary Kay Marince of Florida  AND could that be the Rose of Tralee escort still in attendance on the Rose?

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