Gurtinard Wood, A Perfect place to Run


Old National Bank in Listowel Square

In answer to your question, a language school, I’m told.


The Talk at the Turnstiles…Junior Griffin of Listowel writing about his experience of collecting the admission charge at GAA matches in the70’s, 80s and 90’s.

This is the concluding part of this article that was published over two weeks in The Irish World in 1999.

For the big matches it always
means an early start and the general procedure in Munster is for all the
stilesman to meet at designated hotel where mass is celebrated by Munster PRO
Fr Seamus Gardiner. This is followed by breakfast. Then it is on to the pitch
as soon as possible to wait the call for your assignment.

There is usually good banter
between the stilesmen from different counties as they await their call. One of
the usual topics would be the comparison of the breakfasts served at the
various venues.  Killarneys Park Place
has always been one of the favourite locations of Munster stilesmen. On behalf
of all the gatemen, may I take the opportunity to thank the O’donoghue family
for their hospitality over the years and wish them well in their retirement.

As already mentioned the new
type of stile and the all ticket matches have made life easier for the
stilesmen but a Cork collegue did have a problem on one of the first nights at
Pairc Ui Rinn. All stiles are geared to go one way, but at some sides of the
ground you will find a combined enterance/ exit stile.

My friend was at such a stile
on the night in question. At the top of the stile there is a leaver to change
gear. On pressing that, without realizing it, he moved forward and was caught
in the middle. He could go no further and was unable to reach the leaver to
change the gear. Panic set in. His companion suddenly realized something was wrong
when they heard shouts for help. He was eventually realized but he was in such
a state had to spend the night in the South Infirmary hospital. Such are the
trials and tribulations of a gateman.

Whilst nobody looks to be
thanked or praised for doing a labour of love, it is nice to hear words of
appreciation being spoken, and in my time in Munster, I can recall 3 chairmen
calling the stilesmen together to thank them for their service. I am glad to
report, 2 of these were Kerrymen, the great late Michael O’Connor and the
present chairman Sean Kelly. The third man was that genial Tipperary man
Michael Frawley. I am served under 2 Munster secretaries, the late Sean
McCarthy and the current secretary Donny Nealon.  May I say 2 wonderful gentlemen for whom it
has been an honour to work.

Finally, back to the 1977
Munster hurling final and a story about myself. 
The late Paddy Horgan and myself had our money handed in and we were
told there was a cup of tea available we entered the room and sat at a table
that had 5 empty chairs around it. Three gentlemen entered the room and asked
could they join us. I said by all means, pointing to the three empty chairs.

The three men in question
were Dr Patrick Hillary, they President of Ireland, Mr Jack Lynch, then Taoiseach
and Liam O Morchu who was then at the height of his TV fame. Give them their
due, they exchanged pleasantries but at the time, I think Paddy and myself were
more interested in the goodies being served at the table. But there we were the
famous 5!

I was downing the second
slice of apple tart when the door opened and a Tipperary official entered.
Looking over, he had for our table. I could see the veins bulging in his
neck.  “OUT”, “ye have no business in

Wiping the juice of the tart
from my lips, I whispered to my friend, 
“Paddy” I said “he must mean us. It is hardly the other 3 he was talking

Like the fallen angel cast
from paradise,  those the seven steps to
the door were like an eternity as I walked them the words of the gospel flashed
through my mind : “ he that exalted himself shall be humbled.”

Later we found out there was
tea for us but Paddy and myself were directed to the wrong room.

Oh yes! Have you solved who
played in Tralee on the day of the Cork v Dublin All-Ireland semi final?

If you remember that was the
festival of Kerry Sunday and who played in Tralee- none other than James Last
and his world famous orchestra.

So, dear readers, the next
time you attend a match spare a thought and a kind word for the man you part
your money to- THE MAN BEHIND THE WIRE.


From my Mailbag

All sorts of lovely people email me. Here are just a few examples  I would like to share with our little Listowel Connection community today;

Hello Mary,

I’d like you to know that with your reports, photos, videos, etc. of Listowel, I’m beginning to feel as if I live there, too.  So, I am, now, a resident of Listowel and of Santa Cruz, at the same time.




Ms. Cogan

I am a student of the History of Art and Architecture in Dublin’s Trinity College. The subject for my final year dissertation is Irish industrial architecture in the Lemass Era. I was delighted to come across your blog through my online research. I believe that the Jowika (Imperial Stag) factory has now been demolished. Am I right in this regard? It appeared to have been a beautifully designed building and one deserving of appreciation and study.

Is it possible that you might be able to put me in contact with a previous employee of the company who could tell me more about the factory building itself?

Best regards,



Dear Mary,

Just a note to tell you that Billy Keanes new book is available on Amazon USA for all your US readers.I just bought it.

Hope you’re keeping well and thanks so much for such an interesting and thoughtful blog. I really enjoy it and it makes a huge and uplifting  difference in my life in NY !

Thank you Mary and you  be well!

Mary (ORourke)NY 

Formerly of 91 Church Street, Listowel.


Humans of Listowel

Catherine Moylan, recently elected vice chairperson of Listowel Writers’ Week and Máire Logue, Festival Administrator.