Friday, 29 May 2015

More from Writers' Week 2015

A Bit Unseasonal But Lovely

John Kelliher at his best


John Kelliher Takes us Down Memory Lane

The ESB headquarters where Aldi now stands.

Super Valu in Mill Lane


Big Win for  Good Charity

These are the volunteers and friends from Recovery Haven, a Tralee based charity which this week won the top prize for Rural Innovation sponsored by Dairymaster. Recovery Haven supports  emotionally and physically people who are on a cancer journey whether as patients or family of patients.   (photo and story Radio Kerry)


North Cork Ladies on tour

I met up with some ladies from my homeland last week as they were on a bus tour round limerick, Clare and Kerry. Their trip to The Seanchaí was a highlight of their day trip . They loved the drama and they had a delicious meal in the Listowel Arms afterwards


Local People at Opening Night 2015

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Listowel Writers' Week Opening Night 2015

Writers' Week Opening Night 2015

 Only in Listowel!  Paul Durkan making his way to the festival.

Pascal Sheehy and Anne Enright were having a right good time at their interview. Anne was the guest of  honour this year and she told us a great story in her slot as official opener of the festival. Her first visit to Writers' Week was as a workshop director and she remembered vividly one of the participants in her workshop. She remembered her because she had such a great story to tell. Anne gave here every encouragement to write and publish her story and she was very proud to relate that that amazing story did see its way into print but only in the weeks before its author passed away. The participant in that workshop and the writer who got her story into print was Marie Fleming. Marie became well known to us for her court battles for her right to end her own life when her MS became unbearably painful.

The music was setting the tone for the evening.

Liz Dunn, Writers' Week vice chairperson was first up. She did not put a foot wrong on her debut performance.

 Seán Lyons, this year's retiring chairman will be a hard act to follow. He is thoroughly relaxed behind the microphone. He was his  usual witty, self deprecating self. He recalled his first year on the stage and his mispronouncing the name of one of the prestigious guests. Seán has had many great moments as chair of Writers' Week but he chose to gloss over those and to concentrate instead on a litany of thank yous.

The crowd on opening night

I have lots and lots of photos to share with you later.


A puffin photographed by Jim McSweeney


The Famine in North Kerry

If you want to learn more about this painful time in our history, then this is the walk for you; tomorrow  May 28 2015 as part of the Listowel Writers' Week walking tours programme.


An evocative walk in the footsteps of our Listowel ancestors who lived and died here during the Famine 1845-1852
Led by Vincent Carmody, the definitive authority on Listowel and its people, you will be taken by bus initially to Presentation Convent where Kay Caball, a past pupil, will relate to you the history of the founding of the Convent and the heroic efforts of the Presentation Nuns to feed their starving students, described so vividly by John D. Pierse in his book Teampall Bán.
Next stop is the Chapel on the site of the former Workhouse. Kay will give you an overview of the true story of 117 Kerry girls sent to Australia in 1849/1850 from Workhouses
in Dingle Kenmare Killarney and Listowel under the auspices of the Earl Grey ‘Orphan’ scheme. The majority of these Kerry teenage girls were not in fact ‘Orphans’ as many had one parent alive. An insight into some of these resilient, spirited and feisty girls generates pride in the survival instincts of those who have gone before us.

Our final stop is at Teampall Bán, where John Pierse will remind us why this graveyard has come to symbolise the Famine for the north Kerry and Listowel areas. Described as a paupers’ graveyard, opened in 1850, records show that 2,641 people died in the Workhouse, of whom 1,504 were children of the age of 15 or younger.

Relevant books on sale in Flavin’s Bookshop, 30 Church St., Easons, 9-11, Church St., Woulfe’s
Bookshop, 7, Church St., and The Seanchai Writers Centre, The Square
Listowel: Snapshots of an Irish Market Town 1850-1950, Vincent Carmody The Kerry Girls: Emigration & The Earl Grey Scheme, Kay Moloney Caball
Teampall Bán, Aspects of the Famine in north Kerry 1845-1852, John D. Pierse


Lovely Piece on Writers' Week in yesterday's Examiner

Jim Kennelly


Listowel Tidy Town's Clean up crew

The town is looking superb thanks to the hard work of these people.


Finuge Freewheelers on their Poker Run last weekend


Book Launch in Craftshop na Méar

Hilda McHugh is almost one of our own. She is a regular attender and supporter of Listowel Writers' Week. This year she is launching her very own book. Hilda was too late to be in the official programme but she is delighted to find an ideal place to launch a book about family heirlooms. Everyone is welcome to come along on Friday 29th at 5.30


Jim Halpin's Before and after

(Photos; Jim Halpin)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

"A Year ago on this very Day"

Opening Night  Listowel Writers' Week 2014

My first pic shows the packed ballroom in The Listowel Arms for Opening Night 2014. Then a flavour of the charming mix of local people and celebrities that makes Writers' Week so intimate and so global at the same time.

Paul Durkan

Colm Tóibín

Mark Piggott

Bert, Paula and Vincent never miss an opening night

 Eliza Buckley whose singing charmed us all.

Victoria and David making the Writers' Week video.


Where Fun and Frolics were to be had

Listowel Community Centre, venue for  The National Children's Literary Festival at Writers' Week. This year again, the children's programme will be centered in the Community Centre.

Take a look at these photos from last year (2014) . An even better  programme of children's events is planned for this year.


Development at Cahirdown

(photos; Marie Moriarty)

And in May 2015 this development is going on at Cahirdown  beside the An Post Centre. It's a new service station, I'm told.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Writers' week 2015

It's All About Books

If you love reading Listowel is the place to be this week. And it's not really all about books. It's mainly about people, particularly the people who write books and the people who love them. It's also about music, drama, dancing, sharing, remembering, meeting old friends, making new friends, rubbing shoulders with lovely famous people and sitting down with  lovely ordinary people. It's about a lovely North Kerry town opening its arms to welcome everyone to the great festival that will be

 Listowel Writers' Week 2015

If you'd love to take a leisurely walk around town in the company of local historian, Vincent Carmody, then join the merry gang any morning during the festival for this most entertaining and informative of events.


School Tour

(Photo: Scoil Realta na Maidine)

Pupils of Scoil Realt na Maidine on tour; The boys in second class got to visit Fenit after learning all about St. Brendan. They also were able to see an old forge in operation followed a by trip to the park.


Children at Writers' Week

One of the marvelous things about Writers' Week is that it caters for all age groups. The Childrens' programme is a case in point.

My photos are from last year's puppeteers. This year we welcome Wild Boar Productions with a production written especially for Writers' Week, A Hero in Red and White (and No it's not about anyone from Cork) Come and see them on Saturday in the Community Centre at 4.00p.m.

Fully engaged member of the audience

Here are some we made earlier!


And Listowel will welcome racehorses and Well dressed ladies

Sonny Bill is not being shod for Listowel. He follows a different discipline but his equine friends will be heading west for a great few days of racing.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Writers' Week 2014 recalled , Listowel People I met and a Mathlete with a Listowel Connection

Only a Few Days to Go 

This was opening night in 2012. This year on May 27 2015 Anne Enright, multi award winning writer and first Laureate for Irish fiction will do the honours. Don't miss it!


Rememeber Last Year?

These are some happy local people arriving for Opening Night 2014. Hope to see you all again on Weds 27th.  I'll be there with my camera.


The festival will be opened by Anne Enright


IFTA Winner Coming to Listowel for LWW

The great movie, Song of the Sea, won an IFTA Award for best film last night. The scriptwriter, Will Collins, is coming to Listowel on Thursday next, May 28th 2015 for Operation Education.


Chance Meetings

 Three members of the Kelliher clan met up on William Street.

 The Canadian branch of the Stack Clan was researching their roots with Damien.

These three lovely ladies were helping out in the St. Vincent de Paul Second Time Around shop.


Success for a little boy with a Listowel Connection

Richard Sheahan is the latest All-Ireland champion with a Listowel connection. Richard, is the the 10 year old grandson of Jim and Nora Sheahan from Greenville & he was recently crowned All-Ireland champion for 4th class in the school maths competition "Mathletes". Over 12600 children from schools all over the country competed in the competition; the initial part of the competition takes place online starting in January, and then the top students qualify for provincial finals, and then the All-Ireland final which was held in DCU on May 2nd. Richards parents Mike and Noelle think he inherited his maths ability from his grandparents, who have always both been very good with figures! Richard's success will feature on RTE's nationwide programme in the coming weeks.

In the photograph he is being presented with his trophy and an iPad mini by Sean O Sullivan (Dragons Den), Brian MacCraith (President DCU) and Ciaran Cannon TD.


One of Our Own

John invites us all to Woulfe's Bookshop on Church St. on Saturday May 30th at 2.30 for the launch of his latest poetry collection.
I think I'll need the gift of bilocation for a few days.