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 listowelconnection@gmail.com

Tag: William Street Page 1 of 3

A Walk in Listowel

William Street in July 2022; Photo by Elizabeth Brosnan

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A Ragged Robin

As I was walking my canine visitor through Gurtinard Wood I spotted this friendly robin posing on a sign telling us all about him and the other fauna we might meet in these parts. He waited for me to get a close up. Not looking his best, I thought. A bit ragged! Maybe he is only a baby and not fully into the complexities of feather preening yet.

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Hawthorn Drive

This small estate is a well deserved winner of many Tidy Town prizes.

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On the Eve of the All Ireland

Dan Doyle who grew up in Kerry’s Black Valley and now lives thousands of miles away in the U.S. Looks forward to All Ireland Sunday

July 23 2022

So tomorrow is the All Ireland final football match in Croke Park in Dublin.  Two counties made it through after playing all year.  This year it is Galway and Kerry.  Tonight these players will sit and think about tomorrow.  It is a time to reflect on a life with the ball.  They start as young lads and some make it this far.

It takes a lot of help to step on that ground at Croke Park, a lot of luck, a lot of hours alone training, a lot of meditation and a family who leave them alone to get the bodies in tip top form.  To play tomorrow is an honor.  This game is an amateur sport played by the fittest 30 men in the world. 

  I have had the privilege of knowing a few who made it this far.  I have had the privilege of knowing a few who won All Ireland medals and to their dying day they remembered that game for the rest of their lives. One friend won two and he had them made into a bracelet for his mom. When she died she made sure he got them back.  Most of us who win medals really think little about them but an All Ireland medal is something special.

Tonight will be hard to go to sleep and tomorrow they will lace on the boots and march behind the Artane Boys band and when the referee blows the whistle all the nerves will go away.  It will be tense in the beginning.  Bodies will be tense and then it will start to flow.

If it is a good game the referee will be mostly out of it.  It is a place where names are made. It will be all over and they will shake hands and swap jerseys.  They will go home to Kerry and Galway and they will play it over in their minds for years.  People will shake their hands and congratulate them if they win, but for those 30 tomorrow it is a world away from everyone except those men between the white lines.  

It is actually a beautiful game to watch when it is played the way it is supposed to be played.  Some will retire.  Some will see they are too old as it is a young man’s game and as winter winds blow off the mountains players will hang the boots up, some forever.  Anyway lads I am glad it is Galway and Kerry, two great sporting counties and tomorrow night we will have a winner. 

 I used to love the third Sunday in September when Kerry played in Croke Park.  I have seen a lot of good times and a lot of heartbreak  too when we lose , I will listen on the radio to Ambrose O’Donovan in America.  I could be anywhere looking at it on these big screens but I will do what my father did in the Black Valley when we listened to Kerry V Armagh long ago in 1953.  I just wont hit the Pye Radio with a stone hammer just because the battery died as Mc Corrig was taking the Penalty.

Good Luck lads tomorrow and it is our honor to watch Gaelic games all over the world.

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Meeting Your Heroes

When Breda Ferris was in Croke Park for the All Ireland Senior Football Final 2022 she snapped a few famous GAA people only too willing to pose with young and not so young fans.

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Best of luck to the Kerry Ladies on Sunday against Meath.

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Covid 19 in Listowel Co. Kerry and a look back to 2016 Ard Churam Opening

A Curlew photographed by Ita Hannon

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A Quiet Sunday Morning in Lockdown Listowel,  May 31 2020

An almost empty Lidl carpark

John B. Keane Road

Listowel fire station

Upper William Street

St. Patrick’s Hall

Carmody’s Corner, junction of Charles Street and William Street

William Street

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Here a sign, there a sign, everywhere a Covid sign





Main Street

One of our links with the outside world, the humble post box

Just a few cars in The Square

Entrance to Erskine Childers’ Park

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Photos I took at the Official Opening of Ard Churam in 2016


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Made in Stag Cutlery, Listowel

Vincent Doyle found this old one among his souvenirs

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A Word of Caution in Rhyme

An easing of covid restrictions,

Has some people having conniptions,

They fear a new wave,

From being too brave,

Let’s hope that’s just wrongful predictions. 

Our poet, Róisín Meaney, has just published her 17th novel, The Restaurant. If you have enjoyed her little rhymes, you may enjoy her book. She deserves our support in thanks for keeping our spirits up in lockdown.

Listowel in Lockdown, April 2020

April 2020…..Glimpses of a Town in Lockdown

Cherrytree in bloom in the closed Pitch and Putt course

The cinema is closed and the old Walshe’s Ballroom doesn’t presently have a business .

 Upper William Street from the old Casa Mia to the old post office.

 St. Vincent de Paul shop closed.

No music at Mike the Pies

 Not a living soul, hog, dog nor devil, on the street

Carmody’s Corner and Charles Street

 Royal China are operating a take away service only. In the age old fashion of Chinese restaurants, it’s all about numbers. You get a number when you place your order. When your meal is ready they display your number on to the inside window sill and you collect at the hatch.

The Mermaids

 Tracey Grimes’, that used to be Moriarty’s

William Street, Listowel in lockdown

Billy is still flying the flag at John B.’s.

Market Street

McKenna’s and Chemco

Customers are not allowed in the shop at McKenna’s but you can collect your order at the door.

This is the corner where John B.’s famous corner boys hung out.

Lower William Street

This window reminds us of happier times. There will be no Tidy Town competition this year but our town looks spotless anyway.

Looking into Main Street, the sign on Broderick’s Pharmacy window reminds us to wash our hands. Hand hygiene is one of the three main planks of our fight to slow the progress of Covid 19. The others  are social distancing, staying at least 2 metres apart,  cough etiquette and cocooning the vulnerable members of our community.

The kids are all indoors. Confirmation Day has been and gone and Communion Day will pass without a day out too.

Ah, Revival! Not cancelled yet but big question marks hang over it due to the difficulty of following  social distancing guidelines

Lower Church Street

Main Street

At Listowel Racecourse

No June race meeting this year and the Harvest Festival meeting is in question as well.

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Life in Isolation

Stuck at home / safe at home

I have not felt the touch of a human hand for the past six weeks but  I have been touched, supported and loved by means I didn’t even know existed two months ago.

Covid 19 has been an enormous learning experience for us all.  I can use words and phrases like serology testing, R0 rate, herd immunity, community transmission and comorbidities. I could certainly now pick Dr. Tony Holohan or Dr. Philip Nolan out of a lineup of suited gentlemen.

Best of all I have learned how much I am loved and appreciated. My family have come up trumps. The love that was always there has taken concrete form in daily phone calls, postcards and endless text messages and memes. My neighbours, my friends and my former colleagues are a constant presence in  my life. People I have not heard from in years have rung or texted. The Christmas card list has come to life in April.

Things will never return to how they were. Almost overnight constants in our lives like work, church, school, the gym, the restaurant, the pub,  the match were all swept away in a surge of social distancing, working from home, self isolation and lockdown.

We will eventually emerge from this to a new normal, much chastened by our experience and hopefully, with a new appreciation of the little things.

Christmas in Killarney, Noel Roche, jostle stones Knitwits and a stunning Tapestry Project and Anseo

Christmas in The Great Southern, Killarney

These lovely Christmassy displays are in the foyer of the Killarney Great Southern.

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A Poem by Noel Roche


Noel’s sister, Dolores has shared a few of Noel’s poems with us.



Heaven

When I arrived in Heaven

I wondered what I’d see

As I stood before the pearly gates

In all their majesty.

Then I saw God standing there

With his arms open wide

And he said, “Come on now,, child of mine,

You’re home now. Step inside.”

And then I saw my mother

She was weeping tears of joy.

She took me gently in her arms

Saying, “There’s my baby boy.”

Then my father, he was standing there

The first time I saw him stand.

He said, ‘Son take a walk with me,

And he took me by the hand.

So I walked with dad in heaven

I could not be more proud.

People jpoined us as we walked

Until it became a crowd.

But its not a crowd of strangers

That I plainly see.

All the faces in that crowd

Were faces known to me.

All my brothers and my sisters

And good friends that passed away

They were all here to greet me

In heaven on this day.

I met grandparents, aunts and uncles

That I never knew

But as I looked into their eyes

I said “Yes, I know you.”

I talked with all the people there

And it went on and on

And, as we talked, it seemed to me

Like they were never really gone.

They were all really happy

And that was no surprise

I saw contentment and serenity

When I looked into their eyes.

Then Jesus walked amng us

Oh, what a sight to see

My whole being filled with love

As he placed his hand on me.

His perpetual light was shining bright.

We were all filed with His grace

Right then I prayed and hoped

That we would never leave this place.

Then the darkness it came over me

As day turned into night.

And I groped around frantically

Looking for the light.

When I put the light on,

I saw my bedroom wall.

I realized that

It was just a dream

I wasn’t in heaven at all.

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Jostle Stones on William Street


2019 was the year when I learned what a jostle stone was. Since I learned about them I’m seeing them everywhere. Here are two on our own William Street,

These are at either side of the lane by Jumbo’s that runs behind McKenna’s.

These are just a little further up the same street.

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Knitwits at Christmas 2019


We had a good crowd at knitting club on Dec 14 2019 so I took the opportunity to take a few pictures. It was freezing cold so we were wearing our coats, but still having the chat as we knitted and crocheted.



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What Talent, Patience and Skill


This is Kathleen McCarthy. Kathleen was given this tapestry picture to complete after the lady who started it was unable to finish it. Kathleen is a multitalented craftswoman. She can turn her hand to any project and she welcomed this challenge.

Kathleen sewed this tapestry before she had her cataract operation and working under the other challenge that the lady who started the work was left handed, so Kathleen had to do all the stitching in a direction not familiar to her.

The finished project is magnificent.  My photo does not do it justice. Kathleen had it framed and is now handing it back to the original owners.

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A Kindness at Christmas



I have a secret Santa. I received this lovely gift in the post this week. People are so kind! Thank you, Dan,  for making my day!

I love, love, love the book. I highly recommend it!

Isn’t the cover photo the most gorgeous loving capture ever?


Bunclody and The Lartigue Experience, New Maps and Revival 2019

Róisín taking a photograph in the wildflower garden in Ballincollig Regional Park.

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Bunclody, Co Wexford


“Oh, were I at the Moss House where the birds do increase

At the foot of Mount Leinster or some silent place

By the streams of Bunclody where all pleasures do meet

And all I would ask is one kiss from you sweet.”

The streams of Bunclody actually flow down the middle of the street. Cliona and I had a lovely trip to this beautiful picturesque village.

They still have working phoneboxes.

Who fears to speak of ’98?  They still remember their history in this fair town.

I took the below photos in the lovely church which is at the heart of the town.

The church interior was cool and airy on a very warm Sunday. It is beautifully appointed in the modern style.

The Stations of the Cross

The adoration chapel

Our Lady’s Altar

This crucifixion window is rather unusual in it’s depiction of the Good Friday

This is the view from the church door

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Today’s Fun Fact


from The Second Book of General Ignorance

Vision is by far the most important of the human senses. 30% of our brain’s activity is used up processing visual information. Smell, the directional aid used by most mammals, accounts for only 1%. Birds, however, are as visually dependant as we are. But birds have one huge navigational advantage over us. It’s called ‘magnetoception’ i.e. the ability to plug in to the Earth’s magnetic field. We may once have had this gift too but we’ve lost the ability to use it.

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The Lartigue Monorail Museum



Every Listowel person should take a trip on The Lartigue. I loved my trip last week and I learned so much Listowel history.

The whole station was looking in tip top condition with colourful flowers everywhere.

These were three of our volunteer rail workers on the Wednesday we visited.

It was a busy day on the train.

We all got a chance to climb into the driver’s section and we got to toot the horn. Our driver, Michael Guerin, offered to take everyone’s photo .

There is a saying that has survived from the days when the original Lartigue travelled between Listowel and Ballybunion. When the train reached a bit of a hill, first class passengers were asked to get out and walk and third class passengers were asked to get out and push.  In the case of the replica Lartigue in August 2019 it was the volunteer workers who had to get out and push. And there is quite a bit of pushing involved as there is a complicated system of to-ing and fro-ing at turntables to get the locomotive facing in the other direction.


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New Signage



Kerry County Council has installed these lovely new maps by local artist. Amy Sheehy.

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Revival 2019




The weather was not so kind to Revival on the Saturday night but the concert goers didn’t mind a bit. The Coronas, Delerentos, Thanks Brother and Hermitage Green lifted the clouds over The Square and everyone had a ball.


Early Sunday morning in The Square and everything nearly back to normal.



William Street, Sunday morning Aug 11 2019

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Meanwhile in Killorglin



Puck Fair is in full swing.

Photos by Chris Grayson

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