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 William St.

Ard Churam Official Opening, Upper William Street, Siamsa in London in 1991and WIM 2016

Mallard duck photographed by Chris Grayson


Some More Local People at the Ard Churam Opening


Siamsa in London 1991

From the archives of The Kerryman


Correcting a Mistake

Upper William Street, early April 2016

County Council workers are replacing the window in the house next to St. Patrick’s Hall and restoring the streetscape to its original beauty.

This is how Upper William Street has looked as far back as anyone can remember. Then in 2014 when the council bought and refurbished the house next to St. Patrick’s Hall they replaced the upstairs window with a tiny one.

How it looked up to the mid eighties. Photo: Vincent Carmody

You can see in this photo how in 2014 they bricked up the lower half of the window and installed  a window half the size of the original.

The window ruined the uniformity of the streetscape. Vincent Carmody who is a lifelong resident of the street was determined to have the situation remedied. He complained to all the relevant bodies and singlehandedly fought a battle to have the historic panorama of the street restored. Last week he was thrilled to see that his perseverance was vindicated and a new window of the original shape was installed. Harmony is restored on Upper william Street.

Follow Vincent Camody’s very interesting Living History posts on Facebook to learn all about this street and its residents.


An Invitation for You

Among the Listowel people featured in the book are;

Patrick ‘Sonny’ Griffin

Servelus Jones

Patrick (Paddy) Landers

James Sugrue

And the book also has an essay by Fr. Antony Gaughan entitled Austin Stack, a portrait of a Kerry separatist.


I was in Ballybunion at the Weekend

Once again the Women in Media Weekend was a Great Success. I’m sorting my photos for you. Check back here during the week for my account of my trip.

Military Tattoo 2015, Upper William St. Prince George and Enda Kenny

Listowel Military Tattoo 2015

Today I am sharing the first of my photos from this weekend’s military event.

Jim Halpin’s transport for the weekend was parked outside his museum door on Friday.

The Stars and Stripes fluttered from a sign post in The Square.

 It was Friday May 1 2015. Market Day and gathering day for the now annual Listowel Military Tattoo

 Jimmy Deenihan did the official opening.

 The first event of the weekend was a lecture on Kerrymen in The Dardanelles. The Seanchaí was packed. This presentation set the bar very high for the weekend. Tom Dillon gave us an excellent talk, well researched, well illustrated with photos, letters and anecdotes and beautifully written and delivered with just the right balance of information, fact, myth, anecdote and humour.

On Saturday evening we had James Holland, historian and BBC broadcaster give us a lecture on DDay. His style was very different to Tom’s; animated, seemingly off the cuff easy delivery but laced with hard facts. His talk was excellent, different from Tom’s, not better.

It’s Saturday morning and things are  hotting up in The Square.

A real guard chats to some local stewards for the event.

 The air corps sent a very handsome contingent. They were happy to pose for a snap for me.

Life goes on. This limo passed by on its way to collect a bride.

These reenactors were making sure no one parked in the closed off street.

I hope the wedding party are history buffs.

 Soldiers, some real and some dressed up for the day were everywhere on the streets  and in the shops of our town.

Our own man in uniform was looking well.

Parking in the square was restricted.

(More from this event tomorrow)


Presentation Convent, Listowel

The following photos I took from the advertisement for the sale of the convent on


Patrick Street from the roof of the old post office

This old photo comes from It was taken from the top of the old post office in Upper William St. St. Patrick’s Hall looks a bit shabby. This description of the scene in the picture is also from Boards.

“The photo taken about 1970, shows ( I think ) Sonny Carroll. He worked with M.A. Hannon, who were the main contractors. Looking across the street is St Patrick’s Hall and two houses, no’s 17 & 19, which originally were owned by Mike Joe Hennessy, formally of this street and Ballyduff. When the photograph was taken, number 17, was occupied by Tony and Marie Fealy, number 19, had stood derelict for some years previously, and would remain so, until both houses were eventually bought, and renovated by the Listowel Urban Council. St Patrick’s Hall, built in 1893, was at this stage (1970) also showing its age and a badly needed face-lift. Happily, the two houses were rebuilt when the council took ownership and both looked resplendent until May/June 2014 when during a change of tendency in number 17, the council or engineer, for some outlandish reason, more than likely, only known to themselves, decided to put in a new window. This box like window, ( more suited to an outhouse) is half the size of the original, and completely at variance with all the upper story dormer windows of this unique terrace of houses. 

However, I have been assured, that after nearly a full year, of kicking up an ungodly fuss, the council have at last relented, and I have been assured, this hugh mistake is to be corrected and a replacement window of similar size to the rest of the houses, will be reinstated in the very near future.

As I said St. Patrick’s Hall, through the great work of a hard working committee under the chairmanship of Michael O Sullivan had a wonderful refurbishment between 1999/2003, well over 100 years after another hard working committee under the chairmanship of Lar Buckley built it first as a Temperance Hall.

The house at the lower side of lane-way had been the surgery of Doctor Timothy Buckley ( whose home was the house being knocked). Alongside the house was a wall and high railing with gateway from the street giving access to rear of the house.”


Two men whose waving broke my heart this weekend

See a camera….wave. Royal infants like little George learn this early. This is big brother, George, accompanying his dad to see his new sister, Charlotte. Isn’t he sweet? He has the art of waving to to the camera down to a T.

I was in The Listowel Arms on Sunday when who do I see but our taoiseach. He was in town in a private capacity to attend a funeral. As I see him leaving,I whip out my camera and, sure enough, what does our Enda do? He waves.

But he is not born to it like George and completely conceals his face.  But it is Enda alright. Don’t you recognize the tie?

Silage and a window in Upper William Street,

Silage 2014

My friend, Denis MacSweeney is a photographer. He lives in North Cork next door to a farm. He took these photos of silage work on the farm in May 2014.


Drama Trail during Writers’ Week 2014

This very popular event was again blessed with good weather in 2014. Abbeyfeale Drama Group provided the entertainment and everyone had a great time.

A queue for one of the many popular St. John’s events  (photos; Ann McNamee)


A window to wonder at

Vincent Carmody drew my attention to this upstairs window in the house next to St. Patrick’s Hall, Listowel which is currently being renovated. This little window is at odds with the architecture of the street and breaks the line of rectangular windows chacteristic of this corner of town.  I have taken some photographs of some of  the neighboring windows, varied and individual but all rectangular and symmetrical.

This is how the street looks now.

the new window and an old one



Bank of Ireland is being repainted. I preferred the old colour. It’s now a bit too grey for me.


Listowel born cleric

BISHOP: Bernard Mahoney was born 24 July 1875, in Albany, New York, to Daniel and Honora (née O’Connor) Mahoney, both parents from Duagh Co Kerry. He left school early to support his family, worked  as telegraph messenger boy.  After attending St. John’s Academy in Rensselaer, he entered September 1895, Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1899 and a Master of Arts in 1901.He worked through college as a telegrapher for Albany and Troy newspapers. Bishop Thomas A Burke of Albany sent him to the North American College in Rome , where he was  ordained to the priesthood on February 27, 1904.Returning to America  in 1905 He  served as a curate at St. Peter’s Church in Troy until 1909, Fr Mahoney again went to Rome  and  became spiritual director of the Pontifical North American College there. In 1912 he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology.On May 24, 1922, Bernard J  Mahoney was appointed Bishop of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 29 from Cardinal Gaetano de Lai, with Bishops Giovanni Maria Zonghi and Giacomo Sinibaldi serving as co-consecrators, in Rome. He was Bishop at Sioux Falls for the  sixteen years, until his death at age 63 on 20th March 1939. He was popular at conducting retreats for priests.

Bishop Mahoney died at Rochester following and operation. His funeral services were held at St Joseph’s Cathedral.

Published: June 25, 1883

Copyright © The New York Times

No. 24 Upper William St.

Vincent has provided us with a final chapter in the Lar Buckley story for now.  

Number 24 Upper William St.,the premises where Lawlees have their flower shop was also built (along with number 26 where he lived and had his cooperage) by Lar Buckley.  He had moved to Upper William Street from Upper Church Street to continue his trade as a cooper. For a good number of years he had no. 24 rented to various people. From Sept.1895 the tenants were Michael and Kate (Mulvihill) O’Connor, newly returned North Kerry folk. They had been in America for some years and were now anxious to start a business in Listowel. In the agreement their rent for this house was £14 per year, to be paid in two instalments, £7 on both the 3rd of March and the 3rd of September. The agreement also stated that Lar. Buckley would pay half of the yearly poor rate, with O’Connor paying the other half along with the county cess and town rate.

The O’Connors soon had a good business. They sold groceries, flour and meal. To supplement their growing family’s income, Kate, started baking and selling mutton meat pies especially on Market days and at race time. This was the time the name Mike the Pies became synonymous with Upper William Street. The O’Connors’ business continued to grow. When the Mc Elligott family, who ran a multiplicity of businesses out of the house two doors up (these busineeses included, grocery and public house, funeral undertaking, general contracting and joinery)  decided to seek further fortune in faraway California to help in the rebuilding after the earthquakes in 1907, the O’Connors were immediate purchasers of this property. The rest is history, with the family having a presence in the street since then.

Another family renting Buckley’s after this, was a Sheehy family, The father, Edward was an insurance agent, a son also Edward (nicknamed Sac) was involved with the Free State forces during the Civil War. He had the sad distinction of being the first fatal casualty of this misguided period. In a ironic move, both sides, Free State and Republican, put down arms at the time of his funeral, and both sides marched side by side, as a guard of honour, accompanied by local bands, until it left the town on its last journey to Gale cemetery (a photograph of the funeral, taken in the the Square, can be seen in Carmodys, “North Kerry Camera” ) 

After the tenancy of the Sheehy ‘s had lapsed, no.24 was again opened as a grocery shop by Tessie Buckley. She continued running this on her own until she was joined by her sister Nora in the mid 1940s. Prior to this, Nora had assisted a maiden aunt, Minnie Kearney in the running of a grocery shop, in the old Kearney family home in Church Street.

Tessie and Nora sold basic groceries and had a loyal band of customers. It was to this house that Kathy Buckley returned in retirement after her many years in America. After Tessie’s death in 1976 it was left to my first cousin, Eileen McCaffrey, who subsequently sold it to the Lawlees.  

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