Thursday, 20 February 2014

Saturday Supplement and The Royal Munster Fusiliers in WW1 and Pigott Poetry Prize

Don't Miss This

On Saturday morning next, Feb 22 2014 Radio Kerry will broadcast Frank Lewis' Saturday Supplement  at 9.00 a.m. This programme is inspired by Vincent Carmody's book, Listowel: Snapshots of an Irish Market Town 1850 to 1950.
Vincent's walking tour of the town is something every Listowel person should experience at least once. If you haven't done it, put it on your Bucket List.
Now, Thanks to Frank Lewis and Radio Kerry, you can experience this tour at one remove, by listening to it on the radio.
I am honoured to be part of the tour. I was invited by Vincent to read from Listowel greats like D.C Hennessey, John B. Keane, Joseph O'Connor and Seán Ashe. On Sunday morning, when we recorded the programme, I was in the company of illustrious natives like Jim MacMahon, Kay Caball and Gabriel Fitzmaurice. They all had individual and interesting tales to tell. There also were ordinary people, whose voices we are  less used to hearing on the airwaves like Martin Griffin, Liam Grimes and Diane Nolan. What all these people have in common is that they are North Kerry born and bred. While my love for Listowel is undoubted, my pedigree is not pure. I only made my way to the Kingdom in 1975. But I think people are willing to forget that now and I am proud to take my place among native Listowellians.

Chalk it down: Radio Kerry, Feb. 22 2014 9.00 a.m.

Below are some photographs I took on the day of the recording, Feb. 2nd 2014

The gang are gathered at Jet O'Carroll's, across the road from Galvin's off licence and Vincent is telling the listeners the story of the mosaic shop front.

We called to this house, a few doors up from the post office in Upper William Street. In the front room, for we were expected, a candle burned before an icon of De Valera and the walls were adorned by memorabilia from the White House. This house was once the home of Kathy Buckley who, along with 2 other North Kerry girls, worked in the kitchen at The White House during the reigns of 2 presidents.

Back on the street, Brian MacCaffrey, who was married to Kathy Buckley's niece, told Frank Lewis all about her and her adventures.

Martin Griffin, Brian MacCaffrey and his son, John listen intently while Vincent tells another story.

On Church Street Vincent told us about the place where it was easier to write then not to write. We heard the story of John B.s lovely poem, The Street. Several others of the street's pantheon of writers were also mentioned.

You will not be able to see this on radio but we got to admire the work of Patrick MacAuliffe and The Cement God and the beautiful handiwork of The Chute Family, Listowel painters for 5 generations.  Vincent told us what John B. used to tell visitors who asked him to explain the significance of the inscriptions in three languages.

Gabriel Fitzmaurice sang, recited and told stories to beat the band.

At John B.'s statue in The Small Square I got to read John B.s account of the Tom Doodle adventure. Liam Grimes was actually there on the night of the great Doodle rally.

We finished our tour at the castle where Diane told us the history of the castle and Joan Mulvihill, who had entertained us with song all along the route, sang one final local ballad. I'm delighted that I recorded it for you.

So here it is again:


This recruiting poster is one of many photographs on a website devoted to Irish regiments in WW1.

Eternal Fame? I don't think so.


Who is this?

This is Mark Pigott

What is his Listowel connection?

His family roots are in Listowel.

Why is he in the Listowel news right now?

Wait for it! This man is a very very successful business man in the U.S. His company is called Piccar. Read all about it here

AND he has just endowed Listowel Writers Week with a huge poetry prize. This man is a lover of the arts and a philanthropist. He has decided to share some of his vast wealth with poets. He has decided to do this in the form of a prize at Writers' Week.

This huge prize, along with Kerry Group's  long standing sponsorship of the Book of the Year puts Writers' Week right up there with the big international Arts festivals.


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