Kayaks on The Feale in May 2023


A Return Visit

With Patrice O’Callaghan in The Listowel Arms are Wolfgang and Anita Mertens from Germany. They were last in Listowel 49 years ago. Wolfgang is a Bryan MacMahon scholar. He knows more about The Master and has more of his works than most Listowel people.

I’ll tell you all about Wolfgang and Anita’s Writers Week experience tomorrow. Today I want to tell you the great story Wolfgang told me. It illustrates the kind of people they are.

Wolfgang has had a long love affair with Ireland and Anglo Irish literature.

He came to Ireland as a very young man in 1966 and he and his friend were hitch hiking all round the country.

They found themselves in a place called Kate’s Bridge in Co. Down on a Sunday morning. Cars were passing them east and west going to one religious service or other. No one was stopping.

They had almost given up hope when, in late afternoon, a car stopped. It was being driven by a local man called Danny Doran. Danny had seen then in the morning when he had a car full of his family and no room for hitchhikers. He picked them up and took them to his house.

Danny was a carpenter. He lived in a small house with his wife and 10 children. There was a bedroom for Danny and his wife, one bedroom for boys and one for girls. The weary German hikers were only too happy to bunk in with the boys. In the following days Danny gave then a tour of the area and a lifelong friendship was forged.

Years later Danny’s daughter, Susan, was on a camping trip with her friend on the continent and she decided to visit Wolfgang and Anita.

Susan was an inexperienced camper and she had brought one of her father’s heavy mallets to hammer in the tent pegs. Wolfgang told her that she was foolish to be carrying around something so heavy. He took her big mallet and gave her a light hammer, promising that if he ever came to Ireland he would return her father’s mallet.

Fifty seven years later, he had the mallet with him in his camper van when he was in Listowel last week and he intended taking in Co. Down on his 7 week tour around Ireland.


Out and About with Camera

I call it out and about, Billy Keane called it “on the prowl”.

Three generations, grandfather, father and son/grandson on Saturday May 20 2023. Billy was on his way to the match.

We won’t mention any results, football or rugby.


Astonishing Craftsmanship

Thank you Ashley Fitzgerald of Listowel Credit Union for taking these photographs of details on the fabulous Paddy Fitzgibbon Celtic Artwork piece that is on display in the office.


Exciting new Venue for Writers’ Week 2023

What will be happening here on Friday and Saturday of next week?

Answer; A songwriting workshop for absolute beginners with Fiachra McKeever

I’m told that the bar won’t be open and there will be no alcoholic beverages available.

If you fancy you have a latent Phil Coulter or John Lennon in you, I’m told there is a place or two left.

Listowel Writers Week workshops


Some People at The Kayaking

Sunday May 14 2023

Donal O’Sullivan and John Corridan


A Seat by the River


Getting Ready for Writers’ Week

Our favourite bookseller, Brenda Woulfe, is giving her shopfront a makeover for the festival.

When I met them yesterday Brenda was busy on the phone to the man to disable the alarm and Martin was washing the paintwork in preparation for a makeover.


A Fact

Are you a leftie?

If the answer is yes then here are a few statistics.

Roughly 10% of people are left handed.

Left handed people are statistically more likely to be geniuses or to be insane.

Left handedness is more common among writers and artists. On average they do not live as long as right handed people.

Famous left handed people include John F. Kennedy, Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill and Prince William.