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

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An Apostolic Society

Photo; Jim McSweeney


A Dubai Rose Contestant with a Listowel Connection

Here is what the Dubai Rose Centre posted online about Aoife Trench.

Now to introduce our second Rose entrant for Dubai Rose Selection 2022 hosted by @mcgettigansjlt🌹. Teacher and musician Aoife Trench hails from Listowel, Co. Kerry. As well as forming a trad band with friends since her arrival in Dubai, she has also travelled at every opportunity – visiting South Asia and East Africa – and has tried out new hobbies, one of them being taking up football and camogie with Jumeirah Gaels.

Aoife is a fluent Irish speaker and spent the last 4 years of her career teaching in Gaelscoil Uí Drisceoil in Cork – a big change from her current setup in Dubai! This hasn’t stopped her imparting Irish culture to her students here however – if you hear young children around Dubai uttering “Dia dhuit” and “Conas atá tú?”, you know who’s responsible!

Musically, Aoife has toured Ireland and the UK with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann as well as providing music and singing lessons through her local CCÉ branches in North Kerry, and now here she makes time for a few tunes every month in Fibber Magees’ Thursday trad sessions.Be sure to book your brunch tickets for our Rose Selection Night on May 20th to hear Aoife and our other musical Roses performing onstage!


One to set you thinking


On Upper William Street

The Saddle Bar, keeping the old name alive.


An Apostolic Society

The following is an extract from The Clare Herald

Shannon Parish will see the end of an era this weekend as the local Apostolic Works Society hold their final display after 33 years.

The group, made up mostly of local women but also one equally dedicated man, was established in 1989 and for over three decades produced and supplied overseas missionaries with  vestments, Mass kits, and other resources to assist them in their work.

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the Shannon group will host their last display from 11.00am today at St Patrick’s Comprehensive School in the town.

Former Shannon Parish Priest Fr Tom Ryan said: “One of the great success stories of Shannon Parish 55-year history has been the establishment in 1989 of the Shannon branch of Apostolic Workers. This group of dedicated and inspirational workers was set up in 1989 when Fr Pat Mulcahy came to the parish. Fr Pat’s mother  was involved with the Apostolic Workers in his native parish of Ballywilliam Co.Tipperary.

The ‘almost’ ladies organisation supported missionaries with resources like vestments, Mass kits, and other resources for their missionary work. They met every week, chatted, knitted , prayed and fundraised for the missions. They worked in partnership with local school children who shared some of the gift money received on occasions like Confirmation and First Holy Communion to support children in developing countries.”

“Now after 33-year history and ageing personnel as well as the inability to meet during lockdown, the decision has been made that the centre will be suspended,” Fr Tom added.

“During my years in the parish of Shannon this organisation and its members did tremendous work for both the parish and the missions and raised substantial amount of money to support missionaries. They made dreams for missionaries become reality.

I take this opportunity to express my thanks to all members for the time and effort over the past 33 years to witness to the gospel by using their talents and generously sharing with others. I wish all members good health and happiness and pray eternal rest on those members who gave generously and who have died,” Fr Tom Ryan said.

{When I came to town first, Listowel had an apostolic society. Generous local volunteers, I think they were all women, gave their time and talents to make vestments for priests at home and abroad. A parish bazaar used to be held to raise money for materials and during this event lines of beautifully made vestments used to be displayed along the walls of the school hall in Scoil Réalta na Maidine. I wonder does anyone have photographs or memories of this forgotten Society.}



Photo shared by Glin Historical Society

Have you ever considered what it must have been like to live on an island before there were proper communications or transport?
Islanders had to be totally self sufficient. They grew their own food and spun and wove materials for their own clothes.The man in this picture is making the primitive pampooties that were the footwear of men and women on many of our islands. Look closely. He is also wearing a pair.


Final word on the Turf Debate

Hi Mary,

The Cutting the Turf poem and the current turf debate reminds me that mankind’s relationship with the bog was best summed up by the late Sean McCarthy; “The bog isn’t a place. The bog is a feeling. You don’t grow up in the bog. You grow up with the bog.”



Listowel, December 2021

Upper William Street, Listowel in 2021


Then and Now on Market Street


A Listowel Fact about Leahy’s Corner

These two houses were the first slated houses in Listowel. They were built by a man called O’Callaghan with money he brought back from the Napoleonic wars.

The blocked up windows were a later renovation. At various times in our history a tax known as a window tax was imposed. The more windows you had in your house the more tax you paid. This is thought to have given rise to the phrase ‘daylight robbery”.


From Shannonside Annual 1958


Three Generations

I decided to reprise my photo with my daughter and granddaughter on their recent visit.

Aoife was a bit reluctant to add her hand to the mix.

The final take was a lovely one.


Dandy Lodge, a Strange Meeting and Marie Nelligan remembers The Races

Halloween 2017


Dandy Lodge in October 2017

 The Dandy Lodge is the oldest house in Listowel. It originally stood on The Bridge Road until it  was moved stone by stone into the park.


When Real Life is Stranger than Fiction

This is me in Bishopstown Library in Cork. With me is Ciara Crotty. Ciara is an artist and I had just purchased the piece she is holding.

Here are the three artists who were exhibiting their work in the library. They are all amateurs and they met when they all did a teaching course in art therapy. All three now work as art therapists. The reason I was at the opening of their show was because I know the artist on the far left, Sarah Murphy.

I know Sarah because she is a friend of my friend and former neighbour, Mary Salmon, who is on the right of this picture.

The art work on display was interesting and varied. I was particularly taken by Ciara’s work. She takes an old bottle, drills a small hole in it for a string of little led lights, and then  paints a picture on it. They looked appealing and different. I chose my favourite, well actually my second favourite. My favourite was sold.  I had to leave the piece behind until today which is the last day of the exhibition.

When I came home, I googled Ciara, as you do.

I nearly fell off the chair when I saw that Ciara is originally from Kanturk.  AND   then I realised that Ciara’s aunt was my mother’s bridesmaid.

Is ait an mac an saol. Life is full of surprises.


Marie Nelligan Remembers The Races and Christmas 


Upper William Street


Park and Stride

Last week pupils of Presentation Secondary School took to shank’s mare for the trip to school. Walking to school is becoming a fashionable option. In my day it was a necessity for many pupils.


Just a Thought

My last week’s “Thoughts” are on the Diocese of Kerry website now.

Minutes with Mary

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



People at the Aras Mhuire concert, Ballybunion Sept 25 2015, Fleadh committee 2001 and more from 1961

At The Tinteán Sept 25 2015


Ballybunion Team from The Advertiser


Another view of Upper William St., Listowel


From a 2001 Fleadh programme


Listowel Vocational School trip to Killarney in 1961 continued

On the right is Patsy O’Sullivan and beside him is Dick Fitzgerald

This student is a bit of a mystery. Maureen remembers him as Bertie but that’s all.

This photo was taken in Tralee on the way to Killarney.  We need a bit of help here to identify the girl on the far left and the girl standing a little in front of the others second from right. The other girls are Eileen Buckley, 4th Rita Finucane-Moyvane, 5th  Maura O Sullivan-Ballylongford, 6th ?, 7. Kathleen Buckley-Keylod,Moyvane.

4 girls with bus behind them at Ladies View, Eileen Buckley (don’t know from where), Maura O’Sullivan from Lenamore, Ballylongford, Maureen Barrett, Ballylongford(me) and Kathleen Buckley-Keylod, Moyvane

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