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: Willie Keane

Willie Keane, Puppets and Military History

This is the late William Keane of Church St. who passed away last week. Willie was in his 101st. year and was looked after his by his family at home until his death. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.


I received this very interesting news from a follower of this blog:


As a former resident of Listowel i enjoy reading your blog.
Jimmy Deenihan

launched the new website of the bureau of military history a few
nights ago.

Statements were taken in the 1950’s from participants in the War

Independance. These statements were taken on the understanding
that they not

be released until all of that generation were dead. they can now
be viewed


Here are two that I have found to date which relate to Listowel.
You may

find them Interesting.

Kind regards

James Scanlon


Two old puppets

This looks to me like an exorbitant price to pay for this little whinger. My memory of him is that everything was always “uafásach”.

This is the ventriloquist, Eugene Lambert and his dummy “Finnegan”. This fellow was usually cheeky and back answering and  ended up folded up into a suitcase. Innocent times, indeed!


Children playing outside The Four Courts during the civil war.


I got this email yesterday. Has anyone got the information this man is seeking?


I googled historian and Listowel and it sent me to your blog.

 I am from the Boston area
and interested in local famlies of 18th century Listowel.

 I am particularly
wondering if anyone can tell me about the Bolton’s crossroads area and which
Bolton family it is named after.

I descend from a Mr Bolton (perhaps John) who married Mary
Justice prior to 1752. His wife’s family was descended from Eliott (McEligott?)
and Fitzgerald of Castle Lick families. I believe the Boltons of Listowel might
have descended from Sir Richard Bolton, the 17th century judge and Chanceller
or Ireland, possibly a branch located to Mallow where most of the Justices were

I’d appreciate any pointers in the right direction. 


Jonah McKenna Moss

Boston, Massachusetts”

Willie Keane and William St. girls

Last night I went to see Dancing at Lughnasa in St. Johns. It was an excellent night’s entertainment. It featured a brilliant ensemble cast, an amazing set and an enthralling play. If you can at all , do get to see it tonight tomorrow or Sunday nights.


I got an email from Willie Keane telling me about his father’s 100th birthday.

“We had a memorable day last Sat 3rd for my Dad’s 100th birthday . We had mass at 5.30 pm at our family home 76 Church St., Listowel where my father is looked after with such love & care by my sister Norita and her husband Christy..    It was a great day for our family of three girls Mary, Josephine , Norita & six boys, Paddy , John , Willie, Michael., Donal ( deceased 1952, killed on the road outside our home) & James our baby brother now retired. Also present were a host of his grandchildren & great grandchildren. My son Bill  with his son Liam, my Dad & myself  made up  four generations of Williams celebrating his 100th birthday. On the day I reflected on my great/ great Grandfather who was a child in the late 1840.  My Dad would have known him.

All I can say about my Dad is  told in one line from the Village Schoolmaster “ that one small head could carry all he knew”

My Dad is a very humble gentlemen.”

This is a photo of William Senior as a young man. The photo was taken outside the family business.


Willie Keane, Jr. is the same Willie who is organizing this:


This exciting event will take place on the
weekend of April 27th-29th 2012. Participants will climb
Ireland’s four highest mountains in just 3 days. The Challenge involves

Mount Brandon, Co Kerry –

Carrauntoohil, Co Kerry – 3,414

Galteemore, Co
Tipperary/Limerick – 3,015 ft

Lugnaquilla, Co Wicklow – 3,039

While this is a serious challenge, it is within
the reach of any reasonably fit person. There will be a number of training
events, including a climb of Purple Mountain in Kerry on March 10th.
Participants will pay their own expenses over the weekend. They are also asked
to raise funds to build a new school in Tanzania, East Africa.

Willie Keane is a native of Listowel, Co
Kerry now living in Nenagh, Co Tipperary. He is the main organiser of the
challenge. Willie has successfully organised two previous challenges. In 2007
he led a 10 day, 200km hike around Lough Derg. The following year he organised
the Munster Challenge which involved climbing to the highest point in each
Munster county over one weekend. Through these events Willie raised over
€100,000 which paid for a new Hospital Building “Ma Wa Hurma” (Our Lady of
Mercy) in Tanzania. 

There are still a number of places left on
the challenge. Full details are available on the website


I took this photo yesterday in Spar

Yes, it’s shamrock. 

St Patrick’s Day can’t be too far away. Don’t forget NKRO’s dance in the Listowel Arms in the afternoon. 

And tonight the official launch of our website. Everyone is welcome in The Seanchaí at 7.00.


Now the real story can be told.

This is a photo of the girls and babies of Upper william St. The photo was taken at the door of St. Patrick’s Hall. St Patrick’s Hall was a male bastion and an absolutely no go area for girls. The boys and men were inside playing billiards and cards while the girls were locked out. Ironically this photo is now displayed inside the hall.


It seems we are out of step again. We can’t get this Eurovision thing right. We go for youth when everyone else thinks its a contest for oldies.

“Russia has ignored established stars to choose a group of singing grandmothers from an obscure provincial village to represent the country at the 2012 Eurovision song contest.”

Or could it be that no body wants to win!!!


Today’s laugh

Inch, Co. Kerry       photo:Ronan Casey

Church Street, Listowel

Church St. as it used to be in the bad old days.

It is a very different place today with some of the classiest shops in town.

One little gem is Flavin’s,

This lovely little bijou is a throwback to a more relaxed age when you could buy a bit of this, a smackerel of that, have a chat with the shopkeeper and come back and do it all again tomorrow. It is very important that these little shops with their individual character are supported and appreciated by the people of town. It is difficult to be a sole trader in these tough times but I hope to be buying my newspaper in Flavins for many years to come.

97 Church St. is a very glamorous hair and beauty salon. Its proprietor, Danny Russell, is a very enterprising business man. I called last Weds. to have my tresses attended to before the photo shoot for the launch of NKRO’s St. Patrick’s Day post cards. When I told Danny about our Week of Welcomes and the 45 visitors we are hoping to attract to town, Danny immediately offered to give  a 20% discount to any visitor attending our WOW. So if you are planning your trip to our festival anytime between Aug 3 and 10th. and you feel like having your hair done in very swish surroundings Danny’s new partnership with NKRO will see you get 20% off.

And the photo of the post card launch……..

There we are; Maria Leahy, Grace Kelly and me in front. At the back Joe Harrington, Kay O’Leary, Ger Greaney and Tom Fitzgerald. We are officially launching the postcards on Friday night along with our website unveiling.

The website is a work in progress. We are adding new content  all the time. If you are reading this and you are in North Kerry, come and join us in The Seanchaí on Friday next at 7.00 p. m. We are having a bit of a hooley to officially launch our site onto the WWW.


Back to Church St. where its oldest resident was 100 on Saturday.

This is a newspaper clipping from a few years ago of Willie Keane accompanied by his son,  grandson and great-grandson. 

Happy birthday,Willie.

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