Saturday, 31 December 2011

Listowel Farm School in the fifties

This is a group of North Kerry men taken at the Listowel Farm school in the fifties or sixties.

What was the farm school?

Does it still run today?

Any ideas who these men are?

I'm still waiting for help with the people around Bunny Dalton. It looks like people are agreed that the photo was taken at a carnival but the identity of the people is still a mystery.

Happy New Year to all friends of listowelconnection and to North Kerry people everywhere.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar anamnacha na marbh.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Showband Days

Yesterday was all about Hennesseys. You read about the three people who had been sponsored and the mystery of how only two arrived in Australia. Thank you, Sean O'Connell, for solving the riddle.

Apparently Johanna "declined to emigrate" and a £2 penalty had to be paid.
Now we have a story.
Why did Johanna stay behind?
What became of her?
Are her descendants still living on North Kerry?

I hope somebody can answer those questions for us.

You can read about Sean's own Hennesseys here

Today I have a trip down memory lane for some of my older readers.

This is the Bunny Dalton band featuring the late Bunny Dalton, his two sons and Teddy Moloney. This official band photo was taken by the river Feale. Many is the Listowel person who danced to the music of this quartet.  Memories, memories!

This is the same Bunny Dalton with some Charles St. neighbours. Any help with names or an account of the occasion would be appreciated.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

I'm back!

After a lovely break in the bosom of my family, here we go again.
Listowel was quiet over the holidays but we hit the headlines yesterday with a tragic stabbing incident. Hopefully the victim will make a full recovery and the gardaí will get all the help they need to get to the bottom of the incident.

Sr. Carmel passed away on Christmas Eve. She had celebrated her 100th. birthday with family and friends only a few short months ago. She is second from left in the front of the photo. May she rest in peace.

Now does anyone know anything about this family? The family is looking to fill in the gaps on

James Hennessy labourer 19y, Johanna Hennessy general servant 26y, and Honora Hennessy 22y ditto, all from Ballybunion parish, Listowel, Co Kerry, (siblings/related??) were recorded  together as a group in 1860 as being
sponsored by Denis Hennessy to arrive in Sydney on the British Trident.  
Their referee was the Ballybunion parish priest.

The British Trident duly arrived in Sydney on the 7 Jan 1861.
However, in the list of arrived, sponsored British Trident immigrants, published separately but contemporaneously in the Sydney Morning Herald &  the Empire, 
Johanna is missing. Is that unusual? She doesn't appear as a shipboard death. Is it 
likely she sailed later for some reason? Was that permitted under the sponsorship scheme?

Gt gt grandfather James’s origin, in the BT passenger list, is given as Gale (sic), 
which, thanks to the marvellous help of Rootschatters on an earlier post, I now 
knowbe the civil parish of Galey. ( We then were able to deduce that he was
from the RC parish of Ballybunion.) The Denis Hennessy sponsorship record- found yesterday, hooray! -is the first indication of  James arriving with probable 
(He named his 6th child/4th daughter Honora)

James & Denis are recorded in Bailliere’s 1867 directory as farmers at Hexham 
(Hunter River, NSW)   
I have no further info on either of the women, can't be sure if, when & whom 
they may have married, though there are some possibilities. Anyone have light to
shed on Joanna or Honora??

Reply 2

The Johanna Hennessy who married John Collets was born in 1852 in Camden, we can discount her.
(I'd like to establish whether my Johanna actually made it to Australia
post 1860-61- hence the cry to R/Chatters for help. I suspect that this
could take some (more) considerable time...sigh....but, until I do,
potential marriages will be filed with the Possibles
(you all know that file!!)
Honorah/Honora/Norah is also a mystery, but at least, since she arrived,
she must be recorded in some guise somewhere, possibly as Norah
Hennessy marrying Ronald Giles in Wellington NSW in 1880... Any & all
info v. gratefully considered
Cheers, Ann

Devir/Dever/Diver, O'Donnell, Sweeney, Doherty/Dogherty/Docherty (all Co Donegal)Flanagan(Newry, Co Down), Hennessy (Galey, Co Kerry),
Nally (Ballinacarrick,Westmeath)
Christie (Dunblane and Glasgow) Meer ([Paradise] i.e. Ballynagard, Co Clare)"

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Season's greetings

I'll be taking a short break over the Christmas period. I will be back shortly afterwards though with some more photos and musings.
Thank you very much to everyone who helped me to get this blog going. A big thank you to all of you who are still helping me. I couldn't do it on my own.
Thanks too to everyone who has encouraged me and, of course, thank you to everyone who reads the blog.
Nollaig Shona dhaoibh go léir.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Ta da....!

The lights on The Big Bridge are only superb. They are ordinary lights on top and the arches are lit with a beautiful blue hue.

Worth the wait!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Listowel Girls' Primary School in festive mood in Main Street

Listowel Library Book Club pose for the camera after our Christmas meal in Fitzgerald's.

Beautifully decorated windows are everywhere in town this December. These are in The New Kingdom.

These boys took a moment out from their holly selling, so that I could prove to you that the tradition is not dead.

It is still a very busy time for An Post. Claire Sweeney is here delivering mail on Charles St.

Carols at Carrolls. Chris Nolan joined the Listowel Folk Group for my photo yesterday.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, John R.'s distributed a tray of mince pies to the carollers.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

You'd better watch out...or you could find yourself on my blog

Firstly some nuns names.
Front row; Sr Carmelita, Sr. Carmel, Sr. Claire, Sr. Patricia, Sr. Collette, Sr. Dympna
Back;  Sr. Cecilia, Sr. Consolata, Sr. Marina, Sr. Sheila Mary, Sr. Coleman, Sr. Gemma, Sr. Elizabeth, Sr. de Pazzi, Sr. Kathleen and Sr. Anne O'Callaghan.

I'm still working on the older photo. Gemma and Edmund are there for certain. I'm on the trail of the other names. Thank you for all the help so far.

Now to more recent travels with my camera. Pre Christmas Listowel is one photo op. after another.

This is the door of No. 14 Charles St. Isn't it absolutely perfect?

In The Small Square yesterday the boys of Scoil Realta na Maidine were doing their bit to spread Christmas cheer.

I continued on to the church where I photographed the shrine and the confession box so you could see how skilfully the craftsman has used the features of the old confession box to fashion the new shrine. I still don't like the white marble bit and it encourages the leaving of mementos.

See what I mean.

This is the old penny candle holder. The prongs that held the old candles have been removed and now it is a holder for what I used to call night lights but now have learned to call tea lights.


Today I snapped these pictures which will raise every child's heart. Donal Doyle is busy preparing Listowel chimneys for Santa Claus.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Where have all the flowers gone?

It's December 21st. The weather in Listowel is balmy, mild and damp and I have just been listening on the radio to a past pupil of mine describe how she is going to spend her first Christmas in Australia, far away from her native Listowel. I fell to thinking back to the fifties of my youth when some of our brightest and most hard working were living in immigrant communities in England and the U.S.

Since famine times, emigration has been part of our culture. It has connected our little island to the big world. It has enriched our knowledge of the world and our gene pool. I don't deny the great heartache and loneliness it has caused but I acknowledge the positive effects it has had on us all.

I am now retired and so have time to join lots of local clubs. I am struck by the number of people I encounter who have spent many years abroad.  They now live in Listowel and its environs and are the backbones of these groups.  Some are returned emigrants; some the descendants of emigrants; some have very little Irish in them at all.  They all contribute to the fabric of the rural Irish community they now call home.

Enough philosophising!

This is Presentation Convent Listowel. Over the years it housed many powerful women. The contribution of these women to Listowel life is largely forgotten by historians.

Doesn't this old photo take you back? This was when nuns were nuns. I recognise Sr. Gemma and Sr. Cyril but the rest are unknown to me. I'll seek out their names today.

This photo was taken in 1994. By then nuns had become sisters and were allowed a certain individual identity.

Today there is no-one in the convent. The remaining sisters are scattered and a way of life is no more.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Padre Pio and Santa

I just hit the church as the finishing touches were being put to the new shrine on Dec 15. I was very impressed. It is a beautiful job of master carpentry and all the lovely features of the old confession box have been used. The shrine looked like it could have been there for a hundred years.

This is how the finished product looks. I photographed it on Sunday. I don't like the marble counter top. I love the statue in its lighted niche. I do wish people had been discouraged from littering the altar with pictures, ornaments, plants and flowers. The votive candles are 50c. each.

The new look confession box is a reconciliation room in the old baptistry, complete with traffic lights.


These are a few pics of some festive local window displays.  Jim Halpin's doorman has donned some seasonal garb.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Santa Claus is coming to town

When I entered The Square with my camera this was the first sign that something was up. John Chute was warming up the crowd for the family fun day in town.

The firemen were lined up, the engines gleaming, ready for a parade.

By St. John's excited little ones were posing for a photo.

At The Seanchaí children were eagerly waiting for an audience with the man himself.

 Everywhere I looked there was another Santa, elf or helper.

These two helpers took a minute to pose before they returned to handing out goody bags.


Entering in style, Santa came up the Bridge Road, on a sleigh drawn by two magnificent white horses.

Waving and carolling Santa led the parade around the town, returning to the Square via Church St.

I called it a day as everyone went on to The Square for a disco.

Great day in town. Well done everyone!!!

The bottom line

This  blog is usually a sport free zone, except for the odd reference to a local connection. This is because I do not follow a lot of sports stories but I do read Billy Keane in The Irish Independent every Saturday. I enjoy his brand of self deprecating jokey writing.  His article is usually a kind of mixed bag of sports journalism and local social history, spiced with a dollop of self revelation.
Yesterday he wrote with honesty and humour about a taboo subject; colitis.
I intended to put a link here to the article, but, for some unknown reason, the indo do not put Billy’s articles on their webpage. (I had the same trouble when I wanted to link to his lovely piece on Pat Schillacci.)
If you can get your hands on yesterday’s paper, read the whole article. I am only giving you a short snippet. The headline writer could not resist the urge to pun, even about a serious topic. Billy is fond of a good (or even a bad) pun  himself so he probably did not mind as much as I did.

Billy was writing about Darren Fletcher who has had to put his premiership footballing career on hold while he deals with his ulcerative colitis.
Keane wrote in his own inimitably entertaining style about his own experience of the condition. My extract does not do justice to the piece but my typing skills are such that, if I were to type it all out, there might be no Christmas dinner in this house.

It was a toilet drama. There I was bursting to go for a number one, not even sure if a number one was the correct number for a poo. The pub was full and the squatter in the only gents’ cubicle was about to register a claim in The Land Registry.
I am no diarrhoea light but a full blown ulcerative colitis sufferer.
I was in agony. Worse again, the pub was packed.
I banged and banged on the door, but it was too late. The lunchtime nibblers hardly noticed, but I did.  Too late then when the man finally opened the door.
“What size are you?”
I told him
“Wait there. I’ll be back soon.”
He returned about 10 minutes later.
The new pants fitted perfectly.
When I came out of the cubicle he was gone.
I would dearly love to thank that kind man. I didn’t even get a chance to pay him. The Good Samaritan did leave a note sellotaped to the toilet door.
It read, ”Closed for Repairs”.
And I left as good as new.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Correction re Santa's arrival

Santa on the real sleigh with real horses is coming on Sunday, not Saturday as I said. There will be a Christmas parade with lots of Santa's little helpers and elves, plus a talent show on the platform in The Square at 3.00p.m. on Sunday.

Two announcements

Tomorrow at 3.00 p. m. Santa is due in Listowel town square in a real sleigh pulled by real horses. There will also be a talent show for the children. So fun and games in the Square tomorrow. I'll be there with my camera, weather permitting.

Tonight in The Rambling House in Asdee a great night of song and dancing is planned by NKRO. Everyone welcome

Enjoy the weekend!

Bandsmen named

Once again I apologise to the people who were trying to help me with the names of the band members, by putting them in the comment box. Apparently the trick is to write your comment and sign in as "anonymous'. But you can always email me with a comment. That is what Noreen O'Connell did  and so I have most of the names for you today.

Paul Fitzgerald,  John Slemon,  Bernadette Gleeson,  Ann and Mary Kennelly,  Micheal Carr  Kay Kennelly,  Aine and Collette and Eamonn Dillon,  Gabrielle Mc Grath,  Leona Gaine,   Anne Marie McCarron,  Siobhan Enright,   Kieran O’ Connell,  Sean Murphy,  John Gleeson,  -- Daly,  --Mc Carron,  -- Maria Keane,  -- O’Sullivan

Thank you Noreen. Now I need someone to fill in the blanks.

I saw a few hopeful signs of green shoots of recovery when I was out and about with camera yesterday.

On the window of what used to be Lynch's shop in The Square, I saw this. It's great to see someone taking the bit in her teeth and starting up a new venture.

Then I saw this

This is the first car transporter I have seen in town in months. They used to be a regular sight in the good old days.

These workmen paused in the act of putting in the new plate glass window in Listowel Printing Works to glance at the camera.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Christmas in town

I took this photo of real live mistletoe in Lidl. I never saw the real thing before. I have seen no one selling holly. It seems to be a thing of the past.

Lesley and Anne in Mrs. Quin's have the shop looking really festive.

A choir of St. Michael's boys were carolling at Freezers Corner.

The Seanchaí takes the prize for the best door.

This is how The Square looks at night with the tree fully illuminated.

This is Church Street after dark.