Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Juvenile Tennis in the 1980s, Frank Greaney's Garage and 1975 pantomime

The Dandy Lodge in Listowel Town Park in January 2019


 Juvenile Tennis Players 

Photo: Danny Gordon

Do you spot yourself in this photo?
Do you remember that day or other great days on the tennis courts?
We'd love to hear from you.


Frank Greaney's Garage

Frank and Jim R.I.P. were great mechanics. Their love of cars and their knowledge of how they worked saw them offer a great service to us in Listowel for many years.
I don't think today's computerised everything would be able to diagnose what needed to be done to this car.


The Panto, The Old Folks Home and the Day Centre

Dave O'Sullivan found this great photo of the cast of the 1975 pantomime. There are only a few names. Please tell us who the others are.


Yes, he is Irish and Proud of his Roots

My U.S. followers will immediately recognise this colourful New England Patriot. He is quarterback ,Tom Brady and he was one of the stars of Sunday evening's victory which sees his team into the Super Bowl.

Brady's Irish roots are in Cork {maternal) and Cavan (paternal) 

Monday, 21 January 2019

Listowel supplement to Kerryman 1994, fundraising for the day centre and some tennis children of the eighties

The Square, Listowel on a quiet Sunday morning in January 2019


From the Magazine of the Kerry Historical Society


The Kerryman 1994


Blessing and Opening of St. Vincent de Paul Day Centre

Dave O'Sullivan researched the back story for us. The centre was opened on September 8 1975. Before it could open though there had to be some fund raising. People came up with a few novel ideas.

It sounds like a great show.

I wonder did the diaspora help out?


Listowel Juvenile Tennis Players

late 1980s

Photo: Danny Gordon


Oh dear!

This is a very sad picture of Irish nurses in Australia supporting their Irish colleagues in their fight for better work conditions. With temperatures in the forties these days I'm sure many of them would long for a return to more temperate climes.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Ballybunion Sea Rescue, Kerryman 1994 and Listowel Juvenile Tennis in the 1980's

The Presbytery, Listowel in January 2019

Kerryman Christmas Supplement 1994

Watch, for you know not the hour

Ballybunion Sea Res cue posted this picture and the accompanying story on their blog;

Today we were honored to accept a cheque from Lorenzo Cubeddu, his wife Amanda, Cormac and Elaine Cahill and the amazing staff at Super Valu Ballybunion. The staff raised 250 Euro which was matched by Cormac and Elaine for a total of 500 Euro for Ballybunion Sea Rescue.

This donation comes after Lorenzo went missing at sea on the 11th of November 2018. Lorenzo was windsurfing when he got into difficulty, he had last been seen by local fisherman, Mike Enright at around 16:30 and reported overdue around 17:10 which triggered a major search operation involving Ballybunion Sea Rescue, Ballybunion Coast Guard, RNLI units from Fenit and Kilrush, the Irish Navy Vessel LE Niamh, Rescue 115, Ballybunion Fire Service and Gardai. The search ended at 23:20 when it was confirmed Lorenzo made it ashore at Corlis Point.

It is a tale of strength and endurance and thankfully it had a fantastic result, Lorenzo returned safely to his family and friends. From then on we have seen an outpour of support from Lorenzo and Amanda and their friends and especially Cormac and Elaine Cahill who on that very night were a rock to Amanda and a huge support to all emergency services involved.
We thank you all for your continuing kindness, generosity, and support!


Listowel Juvenile Tennis Club

Sometime in the late 1980s

Photo: Danny Gordon


Listowel's Christmas Goal Mile 2018

These are some of the large group of hardy souls who took part in the Goal mile at Christmas 2018. Jimmy Deenihan tells me that they had participants from the USA, UK and various European countries as well as Ireland.

They raised €1,200 for Goal

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Asdee, The Rise of Coffee Culture and Listowel Revisited

Asdee church is a lovely intimate, beautifully kept place of worship. I was lucky enough to be there on Jan 1 2019 for a beautiful wedding ceremony.


The New Irish Pub Culture

Changes in the laws around driving have driven Irish men out of the pub as their favoured meeting place. Young people had already abandoned the pub for house parties and the gym.

According to an article I read recently, the coffee shop is the new pub. People are meeting with groups of friends in coffee shops and cafes and a whole generation is growing up having a favourite coffee rather than a favourite beer.

Supermarkets used to have a holder for your shopping list. Now they have a holder for your coffee cup.

Listowel, as usual, is ahead of the curve. Long before it was a "thing",  Danny Hannon, Jed Chute and friends were meeting in The Listowel Arms for a coffee in order to chew the fat and set the world to rights.

I interrupted them last week at their morning chin wag.



I took this photograph last week as Patricia Gordon renewed acquaintance with Judy MacMahon and other people she knew in Listowel when she lived here 24 years ago.

This is how we in Listowel remember Patricia.

The reason I have a 24 year old photo of her is because part of the purpose of her visit was to bring me photos taken by her husband, Danny, when they lived in town and he was a member of the camera club.

I will be sharing these photos with you in the coming weeks.

I photographed Patricia outside Jackie McGillicuddy's shop because that was the very place where she was a victim of crime .

Twenty five years ago she stopped outside McGillicuddy's and ran in to buy a card. She left the keys in the car because back then there was very little crime in Listowel and she felt safe to pop into a shop for 5 minutes.

But a opportunistic  car thief who happened to be in town on that day saw the "gift horse" outside the toyshop and couldn't resist the temptation.

Patricia emerged from the shop to find her car gone. Her first thought was that someone who knew her had taken it to for a prank. She went around to Church Street to find it. When she still hadn't seen it by the time she got to the Garda Station she realised that maybe it was actually stolen. She went into the station where she met Sgt. Tim O'Leary. He made  phonecalls to Tarbert, Moyvane, Ballybunion and other garda stations around about. A keen eyed Garda spotted the car in Tarbert, the thief was arrested and the car returned.

Subsequently Patricia had to appear in court and she was reprimanded by the judge for practically putting a sign saying "Take me"  on her car. 
I noticed when I met her last week she observed all the safety precautions, putting bags and valuables in the boot and locking the car. She now lives in Limerick.


From The Kerryman of 1994

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

RTE DJs, The Armstrongs of Gurtinard House, Rev. Robert Ronayne and Writers Week at The Rose Hotel

The Base at Listowel Community Centre in 2019


This Rte Guide cover from 1984 appeared on Twitter to mark Larry Gogan's move to RTE Gold. Can you name all the Radio 2 DJs? I can't.


Old Photo of Gurtinard House

This house which is now a guesthouse was once owned by the Armstrong family who ran the sweet factory by the river.

Patrick McCrea who is the grandson of the Armstrongs who lived here sent us this photo of the house and the following photo of his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong of Gurtinard House, Listowel.

This is an old postcard with the sweet factory on the right.


An illustrious Corkman who married into the Sandes family


Great New Initiative by Listowel Writers' Week

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

A Walk in The Park, a prodigious walker and memories of the fleadh

Gurtinard Wood and Childers' Park

The Council staff have been busy tidying up the place after Christmas and our lovely town is living up the title of Ireland's Tidiest Town.

St. Michael's Graveyard

This seat with its poignant message is situated within sight of the new gym where young people are busy exercising and living their best lives. But we never know....  "people who have left us before their time' is often a euphemism for "died by suicide".

Martin Enright was Some Walker
Great Walker: – (from DĂșchas, the national folklore collection)
Martin Enright of Knockanure who died in 1924 aged about 76 years walked to Dingle fair once. On his way he passed Gleann-a-ngalt. While admiring some trees on the road side he saw a branch which would make a very nice scythe tree. He cut it and hid it until he would be returning home. He then went to the fair, and bought some cattle. As he was returning he forgot his scythe tree until he was about nine miles beyond the spot where it was hidden. He turned back and found it and came home with his treasure early next morning.
Collector Thomas Leahy-Age 14
Informant, William Keane, Age 64, Occupation- Labourer, Address, Lissaniska, Co. Kerry.


Operation Transformation Saturday Walk

Garvey's Super Valu posted this photo on Facebook of some of the participants in the Saturday walk


Memories of Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Listowel

For  a few years in the 1970s Listowel played host to the biggest musical festival in Ireland. These few photos from Junior Griffin will give you an idea of the crowds that used to hit town in those days.

The park was converted into an impromptu campsite. Happy days!

Monday, 14 January 2019

Garden of Europe, Quarter Days and the opening of the St. Vincent de Paul Day Centre

Garden of Europe in January 2019

The Garden looks very bare, pruned and cut back in anticipation of Spring. Daffodils are springing up everywhere.

Below are some photographs Junior Griffin took on the day of the official opening. Have you ever wondered why, in a garden dedicated to all of Europe there is such a heavy German and specifically German Jewish presence. Well, I have been told the answer because that question puzzled me for a while too.

The Garden of Europe on the site of the old town landfill  was the brainchild of Paddy and Carmel Fitzgibbon. This marvellous idea got wholehearted backing from Listowel Rotary Club. That club did most of the hard work to get this project to completion. The original idea was to have a piece of artwork in each country's garden. But only one embassy responded to the request for the piece of sculpture. Germany gave the magnificent Schiller bust. It was thoroughly appropriate to send a bust of their greatest poet to a town renowned for its poets and writers. So thus evolved the idea to make it into a peace garden to include a commemorative art installation remembering Europe's darkest days and so the Holocaust memorial came to be part of the garden

These are some of the local Rotary Club members and some of the dignitaries who attended the opening.

The centre of attention here is Mervyn Taylor T'D. I think he was invited to represent the government because he was Jewish.


Quarter Days
Many of my readers will have never heard of quarter days. Let me tell you they were once the most important dates in the calendar.

Before we had the Gregorian calendar in 1752 we had the Regency calendar. Ordinary people didn't have calendars so all they worried about were the seasons. The seasons were marked by quarter days. The year began on the first of these quarter days, Lady Day, on March 25. The other quarters were based on religious feast days making it easy for the peasants to remember. These were, Midsummer Day, Michaelmas Day and Christmas Day. All rents and other debts fell due on these quarter days. The following account from the Knockanure blog hits the nail on the head here.
Lady Day in Knockenure
The Christmas festivities were hardly over, when the general topic of the day in this parish, from fifty to a hundred years ago, was who would be evicted this Lady Day no one dared to ask the estate bailiff. Batt and his undermen, the rent-warner too was not asked so the whole thing remained a mystery until the day arrived. But the timid folk had already made their ground sure that they would not be among the evicted ones by making presents to the estate bailiff. The fiery sons of the soil, too proud to bend the knee waited for the day like caged lions and were it not for sheer dread on the part of Batt and Co many of them would be homeless. The funny thing about it was not sufficient to pay the half-gale rent the tenant should also give over possession this was done by taking a wisp of thatch from over the door and handing it to the estate bailiff then if he had any friend of his own for the place the unfortunate tenant was evicted. Some farmers got possession through these happenings.


Were you There?

Junior Griffin took these photos at the blessing and official opening of the St. Vincent de Paul day centre. I have no date but maybe someone reading this remembers the day and will tell us all about it. The Day Centre is located behind The Plaza and it is from here that the meals on wheels service works.