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 Unexpected Celtic Connection

William Street, Listowel in February 2023


Celtic Art

GETTYSBURG — Irish Brigade Monument 

Located inside the Rose Woods, the monument to the Irish Brigade was dedicated in 1888. Fighting in and around The Wheatfield on July 2, 1863, this famed fighting unit under the command of Colonel Patrick Kelly consisted of the 63rd, 69th, and 88th New York Infantry Regiments, along with the 28th Massachusetts and 116th Pennsylvania. The monument features a Celtic cross and a life sized Irish wolfhound.

(Source; Civil Warscapes online)



What connects, Trinity College, UCD, Eamon de Valera, a Forest in Israel, Jewish community in Ireland, The Vatican, Liverpool Cathedral, John F. Kennedy, Bryan MacMahon, Listowel Race Company, Listowel Emmetts, The Brazen Head and No. 24 The Square, Listowel?

All of these are part of the story of Michael O’Connor, Illuminator and Celtic artist.

The latest name to be added to this list is Blindboy Boatclub.

Blindboy Boatclub Photo; the internet

The story comes to you courtesy of the research work of Dave O’Sullivan and Stephen Rynne.

We all know here of the great research done for us over the years by Dave O’Sullivan. He is truly a brilliant researcher. He discovered in his deep dive through the old newspapers that one of the unusual commissions Michael O’Connor got was to design a pattern for a carpet for the VIP lounge at Shannon Airport. This was in 1955.

The carpet was a luxurious Irish made woollen work of art and graced the lounge until the 1980s.

It was a condition of travel from the US to Europe that a plane had to stop off in Shannon. Over the years many a plane stopped in Shannon and many is the VIP passenger who disembarked and visited the lounge. Popes, rockstars, world rulers all stood on the carpet designed by Michael O’Connor of Listowel.

I conveyed Dave’s find to Stephen and he remembered a Blindboy podcast. In one of his usual meandering monologues Blindboy recounts this tale. His father worked in Shannon Airport. In the 1980s the VIP lounge was being refurbished and the gorgeous carpet was being thrown in a skip. Blindboy’s dad seized the opportunity to bag a piece of history. He asked for and got the carpet, brought it home and cut it to fit his family living room. This delighted Blindboy who loved to tell anyone who would listen that the Pope or Bob Dylan or whoever had been in his living room.

The carpet eventually wore out. The last piece was placed in the boot of Blindboy’s mother’s car as a mat for her Jack Russell.

Truth stranger than fiction.


Wooden Art

There is a lovely little riverside park in O’Brien Street Kanturk. In it there are a few lovely wooden sculptures by Fear na Coille.

A moon gazing hare


In Kerry Writers’ Museum Now

An exhibition entitled ‘The Kerry Nest’ opened in Kerry Writers Museum this Monday February 20th. Curated by local writer and artist Kathryn Crowley, the exhibition is inspired by ecology and features poetry, prose, photography and art. All are welcome to attend and the exhibition will run for two weeks.

(N.B. be sure to ring the museum before you visit as the exhibition is only available to view when the room it is in is not booked by a group. I was disappointed yesterday)


More Changes to Listowel Traffic flow from Tomorrow

NOTICE from Kerry County Council

Due to works at Clieveragh Junction in Listowel, William Street is currently reduced to one lane and will only allow inbound traffic from Wednesday 22nd February 2023 until 6th March 2023. Diversions in place. Kerry County Council appreciates your patience.


Listowel in The National Library

Jim Ryan sent us this link to the National Library website. Lots of Listowel stuff here.



Sunshine in Listowel

She’s back! Molly Madra is back for her Kerry holidays. We are out walking at the crack of dawn to beat the heat.


Kerry Pride

Danny pinning his colours to the mast in a lovely display in The Small Square.


How to End the Conversation, Irish Style


Some Fifth Year Classes


Kayaking Tours

This fantastic shot is from Jason ODoherty of Ballybunion Kayaking Tours. The Kayak is in The Nine Daughters’ Hole, Ballybunion.


Old William Street Shops

Photos shared online by Mike Hannon

Kennelly’s Cloth Hall
O’Sullivan’s ( later Opticians)
Relihan.s william St.


Plaza Cinema

Bridge to Listowel Racecourse over flooded Feale in June 2022


William or Patrick?

William Street, Listowel, in Irish is rendered as Sráid and Phiarsaigh, just one of many street naming puzzles in Listowel.


Plaza Cinema

Here are the rest of the great old film posters that Norma O’Connor sent us.

If any one has a story relating to any of these films, we’d love to hear it. First date maybe, disastrous date or the best night of your life.

Norma sent us the schedule for some of these films in The Plaza, Church Street, Listowel.

The Law and Order with Ronald Reagan showed on 3/06/1956

A girl in every port – 6/09/1954

Lost in Alaska – 13/02/1955

Run for Cover – 06/11/1956

The Virgin Queen – 19/11/1956

Suddenly – 27/11/1955

Malta Story – 14/02/1955


Listowel Writers’ Week 2022; Friday Walk

One of the really enjoyable events for patrons of Writers’ Week is the daily morning walks.

Vincent Carmody made these rambles around town a feature and he is still the most knowledgeable walking guide.

I have learned from a master and now I am delighted to guide a Morning Walk. This year it was on Friday, June 3.

My walk is much like my blog, totally random and with a lot of help from my friends.

This is the 2022 team. Kay Caball is the historian, Seán Stack with a lot of help from Mary Fagan is in charge of sound, Clíona McKenna reads a bit and acts as my assistant and prompter, Paddy McElligott is in charge of all the tenor numbers, Mary Moylan is the musician and singer extraordinaire and Éamon ÓMurchú reads eloquently from the work of Joseph O’Connor.

Because I am otherwise engaged, I don’t get to take too many photos but I got a few.

Kay Caball regaling the walkers with tales of The Fitzmaurices and their adventures.

With some walkers before we set off from The Listowel Arms.

I met this lady on Opening Night and she told me she’d come even though she isn’t too keen on walking. I assured her that calling this event a walk is a grave misnomer.

This is me in full flight, telling a tale or two.


A Poem About How it Is


A poem, Covid 19, Duhallow Knitwear and an old Áras Mhuire photo

Lower William Street in 2016


A Timely Poem


Duhallow Knitwear, a Listowel Connection

I included this old advertisement last week. It prompted Mike Moriarty, whose family ran Moriarty’s on William Street for years to tell us his memories of Duhallow and the Sheehan family.

                 My parents would have done business with Duhallow down through the years. I still have vivid memories of their rep, Tim Vaughan. The brand was very highly rated by our customers. Once a year we would visit the factory with our parents, This was at a point of the year when they would be selling “seconds”. Now you would be hard pressed to find a flaw in these garments but the regular customers to our shop could not get enough of them.

                  There was a strong personal bond between the owner, John Sheehan, and the retailers. We would have been entertained in his house. Indeed, when my brother, Ned, died John Sheehan, although quite frail, made his way to Listowel to the funeral. Later, when John himself passed away I was in Kanturk to represent the family at the wake in his house.


Mike Moriarty.

P.S. “Hose” was/is simply socks. Eventually I guess it referred to knitwear generally.


Áras Mhuire

I took this at a birthday party in Áras Mhuire a few years ago.


More of Mike O’Donnell’s Covid Cartoons


Old Neighbours, New Neighbours

Patrick Godfrey who has family  roots in Charles Street shared this photo of Mrs Moloney and Mrs Stack with us.

Marie Nelligan Shaw saw this photo of her old Charles Street neighbours and sent us this photo.

This is Mrs. Stack’s daughter, Doreen, celebrating her 80th birthday last year. Doreen and Marie are now neighbours in New York.


It’s a Fact

Rounded corners on electronic devices have been patented by Apple. 

(From Facts to make your Jaw Drop)

Foggy landscapes, Roadworks and Enterprise Town Expo

The North Wind doth blow

And we shall have snow

And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?

Well it’s not exactly snowing, but there is cold snap in the air these days and mornings are misty and foggy.


Early Morning fog

Work is continuing on the extension to the Community Centre.

Schiller through the mist.

Holocaust Memorial in the fog

This pruning and clearing was going on last week.

Roadworks on William Street are nearing completion.


Bank of Ireland Enterprise Town event

We had a great night in Listowel Community Centre on Friday evening November 25 2016. Pierce and Fitzgibbon gave us a bag to collect all the loot and freebies, Aoife Hannon made a hat, we had a snatch of Riverdancing, an interview with a handsome New Zealand rugby player, the Primary School band under the baton of Anne Brosnan and a fashion show. That’s just a small taste of what went on.

The BOI welcoming group

Handing out the loot bags

Marguerite with the Pres. girls

Trants Pharmacy was just one of the many stands running a competition on the night. I din’t win.

This lady is Denise Mullane of BOI. She was the MC for the evening as well as the very able organiser of things.

The convent primary band with some of the audience.

Angeline was in character for some of her roles at The Seanchaí

I looked away quickly from Centra’s oh so tempting display

I bought a lovely journal from the Love Listowel range at The Seanchaí stand.

Holding the fort at the McGuire’s Pharmacy stand.


The Countdown has started

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