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

Visitors, Locals,Frederick Chute, Cobweb’s Glory, a Thurles milestone and Work in Progress at The Harp and Lion

Visitors in Athea, Co. Limerick in July 2019


Two Listowel Men Taking it Easy in Summer 2019


Frederick Chute


Frederick was born in Listowel, Co Kerry in 1944. He was the eldest of six children to parents Arthur and Betty Chute. Some of his fondest memories were of growing up playing Gaelic football and learning to swim in the River Feale.  He loved the seaside and Ballybunion was the scene for many a happy day at the beach.

He was educated at Listowel Primary School and later at Rockwell College, a prestigious boarding school in Co. Tipperary.    Frederick was athletic as well as academic and did well at school but was also prone to mischief and was caned often by the Priests who taught at the school, for not turning up in time for morning mass.  In fact he was caught a number of times sleeping in the dormitory cupboard during morning mass.    Despite these incidents he enjoyed school and did well in his exams, ultimately taking a place at Trinity College Dublin, where he studied Economics.  

In Listowel as a young man, he was very well known for his football ability and he played in the position of Right Half Back for Listowel and North Kerry.   This led to a lifelong interest in sports and especially football. 

He met his first wife, Irene, at Trinity College and they married and moved to London.  They spent many happy holidays in their camper van in France, Portugal and Cornwall.  The family grew when Charles was born in 1980 and Rachel in 1981. Family meant a lot to him and he absolutely idolised his children.

Frederick trained as a teacher in London and his first permanent position was at the Jewish Free School in Camden, where he taught economics.  The pupils loved Mr. Chute and his innovative way of teaching which was lively and entertaining.  He greatly enjoyed this job and was very popular with pupils and staff.

He went on to teach at Greenwich University and the London School of Economics and completed a part time course at Birkbeck College, London, gaining a Masters Degree in Economics in 1989. Unfortunately his marriage ended in the same year and he lived on his own in Ealing for the next 10 years.

With his additional degree, he gained his next and final job teaching in the City of London School for Boys. He taught sixth form boys, who were extremely challenging and intelligent. Frederick’s commitment to teaching was such that he always prepared well for class.  His creed was that he had to be quite a few steps ahead of the game. He was much beloved by his students and had a particular talent for preparing them for interviews with detailed notes and good coaching.  Many of the boys gained places at Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics.    The boys set up the Mr Chute Appreciation Society on the Internet, with many of his well-known phrases and quirky stories and they even videoed his lessons on their mobile phones in secret!

Frederick met his wife, Judith in 1999. The following year they moved to their present house in Queen Anne’s Grove.     He had many happy years there, and enjoyed numerous hobbies, especially bird keeping, fishing, carpentry, picture framing and after his retirement in 2007, his wonderful allotment where he developed a great passion for getting his hands in the soil and growing fruit and vegetables.   He so enjoyed having his own parsnips and carrots for Christmas dinner! He was also passionate about hard landscaping and completed several patios and fences on his two allotments.  Judith and Frederick also enjoyed travelling, driving from the East to West Coast of America, visiting family in the US and Canada, friends in Egypt and challenging driving and camping all around France, Italy and Switzerland for three months at a time. 

He was always busy, even in retirement, he always wanted to learn, being interested in the Arts, History and Philosophy.  He decided to study part time via the Open University and in his spare time he spent many hours in his study doing research and reading.  Seven years later he was awarded another degree, a Batchelor of Arts in History in 2015.  He proudly collected his degree with Judith in Milton Keynes at his graduation.

However his greatest love was football and he has supported Queens Park Rangers for over 40 years, going to as many games as he could.  He also loved Gaelic football and the highlight was going to the All-Ireland Semi Final and Final in Dublin, especially when Kerry were playing. 

 He enjoyed having his holiday home in Ireland and looked forward to spending time there every summer. He was determined to add joy to his life by acquiring a famous breed of Irish dog, the Kerry blue terrier.  Thus “Fritz” the dog entered our lives and brought Frederick a new dimension.  He was warned that these dogs “take you over” as they like to be the boss and needed strict training.  Frederick gave Fritz plenty of love, not so much discipline and the saying “Kerry Blues don’t have owners, they have staff”, became true.  Despite that, he was so happy with his beautiful dog.

Frederick’s health deteriorated over the last 4 years.   He had suffered with asthma and TB in his youth.  The condition was irreversible and little could be done to help him breathe. He had the most wonderful doctors at the Royal Brompton Hospital who looked after him.  He bore his illness bravely, not talking about it very much but just doing as much as he could with his limitations.  He still enjoyed life but at a slower pace.

In his last Christmas card to Judith, he wrote, “We have been together for a long time and for me it has been a wonderful and loving journey”

 Judith Chute


An Old Playbill

Liam OHainnín found this old programme

I wonder if anyone remembers the performance or knows a date.


A Milestone

This stone at Thurles railway station puzzled me. Two very kind readers helped me out. They both recognised it as a milestone. 

John Lenehan wrote from sunny California  “Hello Mary I believe the stone marker in Thurles indicates the number of miles to Dublin.  I often watched them go down in numbers as we got closer to Dublin on the train.”

John had the right idea but he was going in the wrong direction.

I think Michael O’Sullivan is more likely correct. 

Michael wrote, “The milestone post at Thurles station is the distance from Thurles in miles from Thurles station to Kent station in Cork city.”


Coming along Nicely

Harp and Lion, Tuesday August 20 1019

One word; WOW!


The Owens of Ballyhorgan, Bibiana Foran and A Wireless Museum


Dursey, Photo exhibition in 2007, Heritage Week 2019 and National Treasures from a Pharmacy


  1. Bridget

    Well done Francis Chute. Freddie would be proud. Xx

  2. V1989

    Well done Francis Chute, great job on the Harp and Lion

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