Thursday, 4 February 2016

e car as a symbol of Progress, Tasty Cotter, Writers Week Competitions and an Emigrant's Tale

Listowel January 2016; an ecar fuels beside the Bus Eireann shelter in The Square. In the background is St. John's.


Tasty Man about town

(photos and text; Vincent Carmody)

Tasty Cotter

Timothy Fitzmarshall Cotter was also known as 'Tasty' Cotter. He was a well loved Listowel character. The family had a shop at the corner of Main Street and Church Street, Timothy worked with the Urban Council as a rent collector. He always dressed in style and was a familiar figure at all events, be entertainment, sporting or otherwise.

Tasty was a very efficient Hon.Sec.with the Listowel GAA club in the early 1900s and as you can see from this 1908 photograph of The Independents, he was a well turned out footballer as well, as were the rest.

Timothy trod the boards and was a prominent actor and performer with an early drama group, known as 'Listowel Dramatic Class'.  He also was a member of The Listowel Musical Society and he is included in that Society's rare and well preserved programme from their Grand Opening Concert in St Patrick's Hall on Tuesday March 4th, 1930.

There was a story told once by Bryan McMahon of a time when Maurice Walsh (of Quite Man fame), had invited a number of his friends from Listowel; Bryan McMahon, Tasty and a few more to attend an opening night in Dublin. Afterwards Maurice Walsh and his friends adjourned to Boland's, his local in Stillorglin for drinks. Here they were joined by some members of the press. As the evening progressed those present gave their various party pieces, Tasty sang his; an operatic number in Italian. The press people in particular, were enthralled. One was overheard to ask, how one from such a rural part of the country could have such clear diction in that language. Hearing this, Tasty's reply was spontaneous. He said, " Friend, if I had the benefit of a University education, like that lavished, like axle grease on the heads of newspaper reporters, then sir, I would have become Governor General of Hyderabad.”


Do you know a Young writer?

If you know a young person who loves to write please encourage them to visit The National Children's Literary Festival.

The competitions are free to enter and the prizes are good.

There are competitions for adult writers too.


One Listowel Emigrant's story

Junior Griffin and his late brother, Bert

Junior and Bert's father’s people come from Knockalougha outside Duagh. It was from here that Junior’s father emigrated to the U.S. in 1915. He remembered getting off the boat and seeing a paperboy announcing the main story; The sinking of the Lusitania. He found work in the Ford Motor Co. in Detroit and he worked there under the first Henry Ford. They were manufacturing the Model T.

John Griffin Senior experienced tragedy early in his life in the new world. He married a lady from Tipperary called Sheridan. Their son was very young when John’s wife died in the great flu epidemic of 1920. He brought his young son home with him in 1926 and this boy, Jimmy, was raised in Fourhane by Junior’s grandmother.

John married again. His second wife, Junior’s mother, was also Griffin from Fourhane. They married in Detroit and their first daughter, Joan, was born there in 1931. Junior’s maternal grandmother had 12 children, 11 of whom lived to adulthood but the eleven were never under the one roof together. The eldest two, Annie and Josie had emigrated to America before the youngest 2 were born.

When the Griffins returned from the U.S. they settled first in Knockalougha and their eldest daughter, Patsy was born while they were there. Her birth was well remembered in the family. Junior’s father had to travel through two feet of snow to Duagh to fetch the midwife on February 25 1933.

Jimmy Griffin, Junior’s older half brother joined the army and was one of Douglas Hyde’s official army drivers. After leaving the army he settled in Limerick and he married a lady called Eileen O’Riordan, a grandaunt of Dolores of The Cranberries. Jimmy has passed away.


Renovation Work Underway here

Hammering banging and clouds of sawdust are emerging from here recently. A big refurb job underway apparently.


Look Who Got the Golden Ticket

Bernard O'Connell, formerly of Upper William Street and his wife at the Bruce Springsteen concert.

Bernard took this picture as the stadium at the Air Canada Centre filled up.


  1. Love your blog , keep up the good work ,I look forward to reading your blog it brings me a little piece of Listowel .
    I'm Joan Sharrys ( nee Griffin ) son , Juinor Griffin is my Uncle .
    Thanks again

  2. Harp & Lion has a beautiful shop-front. Is there a McAuliffe plaster-work element in it? Hope the facade woodwork will be of real wood.