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: Women in Media

Drone photos, Women in Media 2019 and Joe O’Carroll R.I.P.

Birds’ Eye View of Listowel

John Kelliher has been sharing some fabulous drone photos of listowel in lockdown. Here are two.


Women in Media 2019

Wasn’t I delighted with myself to be in the company of two of Ireland’s greatest women in broadcast media.


Today’s Poem

Dear Old Shannon’s Shore

by Jerry Histon (1886-1975) Dirreen and Clounmacon. He is best known for the lyrics of “The Lovely Banks of Blain” and “The Vales of New Dirreen”

Sent in by his grand daughter Noreen Neville O Connell

I once stood on Queenstown harbour,

On a bright September’s eve, 

I saw some sights that grieved me,

As a ship was going to leave;

 Some  handsome boys and girls were going,

 Some may return no more,

And they left their place of birth behind,

By the dear old Shannon’s shore.

By the dear old Shannon’s shore,

Where the foaming tide does roll,

And the shamrock clings to every rock,

By the dear old Shannon’s shore.

I saw a pair of lovers,

As they stood there hand in hand,

They made their vows together,

In their own dear native land.

 I heard him say “Goodbye love,

I must cross the ocean wide,

But when I will return,

Will you promise to be my bride?

It may be months, it may be years,

But I’ll come back a stór, 

And we’ll live in peace and happiness,

By the dear old Shannon’s  shore.”

I saw a grey-haired woman,

As she bid her son goodbye,

Her face it wore a look of care,

As the tears stood in her eyes;

She said: “goodbye, God bless you,

Will I see you any more,

As you leave me broken-hearted,

 By the dear old Shannon’s shore?”

As that ship left Queenstown harbour,

With that Irish exile band,

Who  were going to seek a fortune,

In a far off distant land.

But wherever they may wander,

Old Ireland they will adore,

And they will always think of ,

Their rustic roots and home

By the dear old Shannon shore.


Remembering an Old friend and a Happy Reunion

Mary , 

Sad to hear the passing of Joe O’Carroll last week in Willeseden , London,

 I was a few years ahead of Patsy and Joe in Tullamore National School.

The Carroll family lives next door to where the School was and owned the field the school was on.

I came across this photo of me , John-Anthony Hegarty, Patsy Sullivan and Joe O’Carroll of Tullamore . This photo cost me a £1 back then , it was taken in Tim Kennelly Bar while the Sam Maguire was in Listowel during race week.

There was a guy in the corner of the bar next to the Sam Maguire with a Polaroid Camera and it was £1 to have your photo taken, and I still have the photo . I want to send my condolences to the all O’Carroll family in Willesden London and Tullamore. This only  came about because I was home on holiday that week . 

If I remember correctly Tim , Geraldine and Eamon Kennelly were serving that day and the Bar was packed.

John-Anthony Hegarty , Patsy Sullivan , Joe Carroll of Tullamore

In Tim Kennelly’s with Sam Maguire during race week 1978.

John Anthony told me that Margaret O’Carroll (mother of the late Joe) was the first lady to learn to drive in Tullamore. She used to drive her Ford Anglia on the bog road beside Hegarty’s house and John Anthony’s dad used to look on in amazement to see a woman driving.


It is now possible to put messages of condolence on These messages are a poor substitute for face to face contact and hand shaking that is so much part of Irish funeral rituals. In these extraordinary times such messages offer some crumbs of comfort to the bereaved family and friends who are denied the consolation of an Irish funeral at their troubled time.


A Kilflynn Teacher penned a Kerry anthem in 1903

Kerry People Saturday, November 21, 1903

“Kerry Diamonds”! “Kerry Diamonds
From -your setting rich and rare,
Shedding rays of dazzling brightness
On our Kerry homesteads fair.

” Kerry Diamonds “! ” Kerry Diamonds “!
Well, you’re worth the paltry price,
Even though of love a labour.
You are sold at sacrifice

“Kerry Diamonds”! “Kerry Diamonds”!
I shall cherish you for aye,
Hoard you up amongst my treasures,
Careful of your every ray. 

“Kerry Diamonds”! “Kerry Diamonds”!
You are brilliantly ‘reset’;
Many hours were spent in ‘cutting,’
May they be rewarded yet.

” Kerry Diamonds”! “Kerry Diamonds”! –
Precious Christmas gift you’d be
To our Kerry boys and girls
Here at home, or o’er the sea.

“KerrOn whatever shore you shine,
You will take them Kerry’s blessing,
You may also take them mine.

—Katie ‘ M. Pierse, N.T. Kilflynn, 17:11:’03.


Quintuplet Kerry Lambs

Quintuplet births to a ewe are one in a million. Here the ODubhda brothers from West Kerry help Mammy sheep to display her lovely family.

Photo and story from Seán Mac an tSíthigh on Twitter

Cocooning, St Patricks Day 2001 and the Roche family and an American take-away in China

NEWKD William Street, Listowel


Women in Media 2016

This is the time of year when, under normal circumstances,  I would be looking forward to WiM in Ballybunion.

Claire Hickey, Keelin Kissane and Anne Darby in Kilcooley’s in 2016


When this is all over…..

The agony and the ecstasy of lockdown in Mike O’Donnell’s incisive cartoons.

Hi Granny

Below is a link to the very best lockdown poem, in my opinion.

This Will all End


Knockanure in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2001


The Road to Recovery

Noel Roche grew up  in O’Connell’s Ave., Listowel.

This photograph was taken at a family reunion in 1970. Three of the Roche children died in infancy and this is the clan as it was in 1970. Sadly they have lost a few more siblings since.

Noel gave me the names;

Front left to right. Dolores, Eileen, Peg, Jacqueline, Val and Dolly. 

middle l to r; John, Noel, Paddy, Jim, Mike and David. 

back l to r; Dick, Eamonn and Tom. 

Dolly was the oldest. I’m the youngest

Noel is a recovering alcoholic. He is proud to say that he will be 40 years sober this year. He used poetry as one of the tools to help him through the hard process of rehabilitation. I hope that hearing his story may help others who are struggling at a time that is hard for everyone but especially hard for anyone in the grip of addiction.


A Covid Fact

In China a McDonalds delivery includes temp. check of food preparer, packer and delivery driver.

(Source; Greg McDonough on Listowel Covid 19)

Vehicles in the Parade on March 17 2016, Rattoo and a poem from Fr. Pat Moore

Chris Grayson of Glenbeigh  and Killorglin posts some really lovely photos on Facebook. This is one of them.


Vehicles at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

I was reminded that I forgot the old cars which were featured in the 2016 parade. Here they are;


Rattoo Tower viewed through the abbey window

Photo; Bridget O’Connor


Easter Monday

This poem was written by Fr. Pat Moore on Easter Monday, 2007.  In Fr. Pat’s own words, “I wrote it after a walk with my friend, Brendan Walsh on Carrig Island. I talked to Brendan last night and he remembers that day too, the tiredness we felt and the rediscovery of energy  after the walk. 

 Easter Monday

“We walked to the furthest point of Carrig Island.

Nearby is the first monastic site in North Kerry.

Across the Shannon Estuary the round tower and monastic sites of Scattery break the skyline.

A northwest wind chills the sunlight that is gaining confidence this April morning.

Feeling like the last two priests in Kerry, we are full of Holy Week tiredness, inwardly more ashes than fire, more sickness than healing.

In this place and at a different time Senan of Scattery crossed over to build a causeway, a task abandoned for want of blessing.

“We have only ourselves,” we said as we stood there.

In our inner emptiness is the birthing place for Easter hope.

That it may overtake us and bring us forward.” 


Na Fuinneoga is Gaelaí

Listowel winners of the competition for the most Irish St. Patrick’s windows


Movers and Shakers of  Media on our Doorstep

I took this photo of the prestigious panel of women who spoke at last year’s women in Media in Ballybunion.

The ladies are, Moya Doherty, Miriam O’Callaghan, Dearbhail MacDonald, Dee Forbes, and Katie Hannon.

Four of the five were well known to me from Irish TV. The one I didn’t know in April 2015 in Ballybunion turns out to be the biggest name of them all.

Dee Forbes , originally from Cork, was then head of Discovery Channel in Europe .

She is now Director General of RTE.

This year’s Women in Media Weekend takes place from April 15 to April 17 2016 and Joan O’Connor has another star studded line up ready for us.

Women in Media 2016

Fishing flies, Family, New shop in town and Women in Media

Family visit to Cork

My grandsons enjoy some screen time. The boys are children of a digital age. They like TV but not as much as interactive computer games.


Boys will be boys

My lovely boys also love to read comics and they collect and swap football cards. They also play tennis and soccer and they love appearing on Nana’s blog.


While I was at juvenile tennis training in Lakewood on Sunday morning I met this lady. She was helping to run their annual tournament and also attending to the nurturing of young talent by training the juveniles. She is Siobhán O’Riordan and she is soon to represent Ireland in Miami at an international seniors competition.


Another new Crafter in Craftshop na Méar

This is Listowel man, Tim O’Loughlin

These are Tim’s hand tied fishing flies. He is carrying on a Listowel tradition of tying flies. Ned Sweeney and Mike Barry have hand tied flies for years and now these skills are being practiced by a new generation. Tim employed new technologies like Youtube to help him perfect his technique.


Sue Townsend R.I.P.

 So sad to hear of the death of this wonderfully entertaining witty writer. If you haven’t read the first Adrien Mole book, you have missed a gem.


New tenant in 25 Church St.

These controversial e cigarette shops are popping up everywhere these days as vaping takes over from smoking. I still can’t get used to the sight of people puffing on these indoors.


Women in Media

This is me in Kilcooleys in Ballybunion on Saturday April 12 2014. I was rubbing shoulders with some of the top women in Irish media at the annual Women in Media weekend. With me in the photo are Joan O’Connor, newly elected Mayor of Ballybunion and organizer of WIM, Róisín Ingle of the Irish Times and Katie Hannon of RTE.

I had a great 2 days and I was totally starstruck so you’ll be hearing more of this during the week.

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