Thursday, 31 January 2019

Church St, Piseógs, Ballylongford school and Listowel Tennis and Listowel Men's Shed

Main Street. Listowel in January 2019


No Listowel Connection

I saw this on a Photos of Dublin site. It reminded me of something out of The Keystone Cops .


Then and Now


If you believe this, you'll believe anything

From Dúchas, the folklore collection

One night as a nurse was returning to Newtown after attending to a patient in Knockanure she was passing a fort when a man came out of it and asked her to come in to see his wife who was sick. She went in, and there were other people who used to dip their fingers in a pot of stuff which looked like soup in the corner and rub it to their eyes. When the nurse was leaving the house she did the same. A few days after that the nurse went to the fair and she met the man again. She shook hands with him. The people at the fair could not see him at all and they were surprised at what the nurse was doing The man told her to close her left eye and to see if she could see him. She said she could not. He then told her to close her right eye and to see if she could see him. She said she could. He struck her left eye with a stick which he had in his hand and she was blind in that eye ever after.
Collector- John Culhane
Informant- Dan Cunningham, Age 76 Address Newtownsandes, Co. Kerry.


Ballylongford School

Photo shared by Liam O'Hainnín on Facebook


Listowel Juvenile Tennis 1980s

Photo: Danny Gordon


Listowel Men's Shed

What is a Men’s Shed?

A Men’s Shed is a dedicated, friendly and welcoming meeting place where men come together and undertake a variety of mutually agreed activities.
Men’s Sheds are open to all men regardless of age, background or ability. It is a place where you can share your skills and knowledge with others, learn new skills and develop your old skills.
New members are always welcome and can be assured that there is something of interest for everyone as the men have ownership of their Shed and projects and decide their own program of events. Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive and valuable to your community, connecting to friends and maintaining an active body and an active mind. Becoming a member of a Men’s Shed provides a safe and busy environment where you can find many of these things. Also, importantly, there's no pressure. Men can just come and have a chat and a cuppa if that's all they’re looking for.

Some of the Listowel men taking a break

Listowel Men's Shed meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11.00 in 56 Feale Drive. New members are welcome.

Photo and information from Listowel Men's Shed Facebook page

Below are some of the plasterwork projects they completed recently and you can acquire one for a reasonable donation which will go towards purchasing materials for their workshops.


Shop Closure

Price Savers on William Street is closing down.


Bill O'Flaherty

I posted this lovely old photograph yesterday and it struck a chord with local historian, Martin Moore.
Here is what he wrote;


Further to email from John Buckley of Roscrea, and
Tanavalla, Bill Flaherty served as a weight master
in the market.

Before that he served as a policeman in the RIC.

His wife was Dwyer and her brother was a most prominent
policeman in New Zealand. In fact, the Dwyers had at
least 4 generations of policemen, including Michael
of Moneygall, mentioned by John.

Thanks John for sharing this.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Barbers, Lyre in 1956, Mike Alymer R.I.P., a police family and The Kingdom, Mecca for Tourists

Two of Listowel's Newer Barbershops, Then and Now

and the premises as they looked in one of their many iterations.



Lyreacrompane Folk in 1956

Lyreacrompane Development Association shared this great photo on Facebook 


Ní Bheidh a Leihéad Arís Ann

photo: Danny Gordon

Mike Aylmer

Listowel tennis has been a bit of a theme with me recently. This man, the late Mike Alymer, made a huge contribution to tennis in Listowel . Mike was in his declining years when I met him but he still strode the courts in the Cows Lawn like a Colossus and commanded huge respect from young and old.

Mike passed away on 12 May 1996. He was a native of Castledermot, Co. Kildare. His father was editor of The Carlow Nationalist and his mother was principal of Castledermot National School, next door to the family home. After secondary education in Rockwell, Michael qualified as a pharmacist. He set up and ran a pharmacy in Carlow Town. After the death of his wife, Frances, he came to Listowel to work in McGuire’s Pharmacy.

He settled in well to life in Listowel. He was a man of simple pleasures. He loved classical music, tennis, a small wager on a Saturday and the company of his friends over a pint in O’Connor’s. His friend Gerard Leahy wrote in his obituary that he thought he never progressed beyond McKenna’s Corner in either direction during his 17 years in town.

Mike helped to revive the tennis club in the 1980s and he was its chairman for two memorable years. On one of those years it was decided to have a fancy dress theme for the annual social. Mike came dressed as Hitler and gave his chairman’s address entirely in German.

Mike is buried in his native Castledermot. He is fondly remembered by his Listowel friends.

(Source; Gerard Leahy in  North Kerry Chronicle June 1966)


A Welcome Email

Hello Mary,
                      My name is John Buckley originally from Tanavalla but now exiled in Roscrea Co. Tipperary.
I was reading your article on " A Police Tradition ". Bill Flaherty was a neighbour of mine and i have great memories of Bill and his sister Nora when i was a child. Bill's cousin Mick Dwyer from Banemore  was a Guard in Moneygall Co. Offaly and still lives in the village. A long tradition of policemen. I have attached a photo of Bill, Nora is in front in black, i have no idea who the other two ladies are. Bill died on the 17th June 1962 . The Flaherty's were related to the Lynch's and the Walsh's in the Square.
I love reading your blog keeps me in touch with home.

Dave O'Sullivan has enhanced the photo for us so someone might recognise the lady on the right and the lady in the background . They are probably neighbours from Tanavalla.


Tourism in Kerry in 2019

This is Catherine Moylan, chair of Listowel Writers' Week.

Kerry for the Holidays!

"The 'Kingdom' tag apparently dates back to 65AD, when the O'Connor clan took control, but it's since taken on a life of its own. Kerry is a country within a county, somewhere that blurs the lines between various visions of Ireland, that knocks you off guard and keeps you that way. It's a feeling, as much as a place.

I like that Kerry doesn't stand still. It doesn't rest on those tourism laurels. It values vibrant small businesses. Its food scenes are improving - particularly in Dingle and Kenmare. Its 'Reeks District' was re-branded just last year, and already Rough Guides has named it one of the best places in the world to visit. Kerry is rooted in the past, looking to the future, and your favourite home holiday for 2019."
The photo and text are from the writers, Pól ÓConghaile and Nicola Brady, of a great article in Saturday last's Irish Independent.


A Lidl Bit of a Joke

My niece spotted this in Lidl Cabra.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Scullys, Armstrong Wedding and spectators at Juvenile Tennis finals in the 1980s

Then and Now


Armstrong Marriage

This handsome couple are Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Armstrong of Gurtinard House, Listowel. Theirs was the society wedding of  March 7 1905 and the whole thing was reported in The Kerry Evening Post.


Watching the Tennis

When he was photographing the juvenile tennis tournament in the late 1980s, Danny Gordon turned his camera on the spectators who were engrossed in the action on the courts.
Veronica Corridan, Una McElligott, Maurice O'Sullivan, Josephine and Paul Henry and three children whom I can't name.

Anne Cogan, Helen and Alice Moylan, Mary and Clíona Cogan and Maureen and Denis O'Connor.


Look Up

When you look above street level, sometimes what you see shocks you and sometimes surprises. Pictures taken on Church Street, Listowel in January 2019

Monday, 28 January 2019

Mayor's Award for LWW, Garda John O'Donnell R.I.P.. Auction at Gurtinard House and changes on Charles Street

Listowel Garda Station in 2019

Church Street, Listowel, January 2019


Mayor's Award for Writers' Week

The great literary festival that is Listowel Writers'Week was recognised last week at the presentation of the Mayor of Kerry's awards,

If ever there was a definition of blue sky thinking, Writers' Week is a living example. The literary festival goes from strength to strength. Now it is expanding outside a short week in summer into a year long engagement with other festivals and events. The visionary committee well deserves this award.

Accepting the award on behalf of everyone in Listowel Writers' Week are;
Left to Right; Eilish Wren, Joanna O'Flynn, Máire Logue, Norma Foley (Mayor)
 Madeleine O'Sullivan, Miriam Griffin and Elizabeth Dunn


The Late Garda John O'Donnell

I told this story before in 2012 but I think it's worth telling again.

Garda John O'Donnell who was in his early thirties was stationed in Kanturk, Co. Cork.  In the summer of 1940 he was on holiday in Ballybunion with his wife and three young children.  He told a relative that he would have preferred to holiday in his native Burtonport but petrol was rationed during the war  and he couldn't secure enough fuel for the journey.

On the evening of July 20 1940 he was swimming near Castle Point when a freak wave swept him and other swimmers on to the rocks. John drowned while attempting to rescue two local girls, Vera and Patricia O'Carroll. The girls were eventually rescued by others who were present.

Listowel's Dr. Joseph McGuire was the coroner who presided over the inquest which was held on the following day. The jury commended Mr. Jack McGuire, then a medical student, for his bravery in taking out a life buoy into rough seas in a vain attempt to  save John O'Donnell who was being dragged out to sea by the strong current.

In an extra tragic twist, the body of John O'Donnell was formally identified by his brother who was then only 17 years old.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, letters were published in The Kerryman calling for life guards on Ballybunion beach and the presence of a rescue boat and a competent crew to man it.

Garda O'Donnell was remembered in Kanturk, where he had been living for six years, as a quiet, unobtrusive, helpful brave man. 

He was posthumously decorated by the state for his bravery. 

This courageous man was the grandfather of the very talented artist, playwright and composer Mike O'Donnell.

Dave O'Sullivan found a few newspaper cuttings relevant to the awful tragedy.


Auction at Gurtinard House in 1868

In June of 1868, Lord Listowel's agent, James Murray Home sold everything in Gurtinard House in an "unreserved auction". The notice was published in the Evening Post of May 23 with a list of items to be disposed of. It makes interesting reading


Then and Now

Charles Street, January 2019

Friday, 25 January 2019

Church St, Conditions for Listowel Children in 1915 and juvenile tennis players

Then and Now

Lower Church Street


Mrs Bibiana Foran of Listowel

Mrs. Foran was a kind of Lady Bountiful whose name comes up often in accounts of charitable acts in Listowel.

In 1915 she wrote this letter to The Kerryman

Dear Sir.—The present time of stirring events has, perhaps, been needed to bring home to us the importance of guarding the lives and preserving the vitality of our children. To those whom fortune has favoured in the way of wealth, there is no need to speak. The well-being of their children is taken as a matter of course; but the children of the poor—the future working assets of our nation, are those which must engage the thinking members of our population. We see around us every day, thousands of little lives dropping out, or children who go through life with maimed, deformed bodies, without considering why it should be so, or if it could be prevented. 

See what they are doing in other countries, spending thousands of pounds to have even proper playgrounds while here we seem to be centuries behind time in everything considering child welfare. In England the State provides, free meals, medical examination of schools, dental clinics, free books, grants for baby clubs, and maternity centres, where the expectant poor mother has received advice for months before her baby is born.

 A Child Welfare Committee has been formed in Dublin, of which the Solicitor-General is chairman, the views of which has secured the sympathy and support of Irish, Liberal, and Unionist Members of the House which guides our destinies, and it only remains now for you, sir, to arouse public opinion on the subject to strengthen their hands and obtain for the children of this country the same privileges as prevail in the Sister Isle. 

You already know what the Id. dinners have done for the poor children in Tralee, and our small experience here has shown us what the lunch given at our school has done for the little boys who have been receiving it for the past few years. £10 donation towards the Samaritan Funds of the W. N. H. A. enabled us to begin the lunch one cold, raw winter's day to about 35 children. Since then, the number has been raised to 80 and all honour to the generous people of our town and district, we have never since been in want of funds for carrying it on. 

Our Queen's Jubilee Nurse attend; three days every week during the lunch hours and any little boy showing signs of delicacy has been attended to quietly at her own cottage. And I venture to say the 80 odd little men were, in consequence, so much improved mentally and physically, within one year, a not to be known as the same. A little experience is worth volumes of writing and why not this be carried out in every school in Ireland by the State? We know that the present grant is absolutely inadequate and it only extends to urban districts, while the poor - children in country schools are labouring under the same, if not worse, conditions. Even one good, nourishing meal a day, medical inspection of schools where ailing children will be attended to in time; Dental Clinics, free books and a public playground in every town and city where children would be free to have that play so necessary for them, would change the whole aspect of those little ones in five years. While Baby Clubs and Maternity Centres would give them a chance -a fighting chance—for their lives with all the other nations of the earth.

It is only the Nuns and the Teachers who have been so nobly trying to battle with those drawbacks that could tell what it is costing us—and them—and surely leaving sentiment entirely out of the question is it not money well spent to preserve and fashion to its best the children of our race—THE FUTURE ASSETS OF OUR NATION. 

The child makes the man. How can you expect a man to emerge with brain, bone and sinew whose veins were starved in childhood on bread and tea, what fills our jails, workhouses and asylums, and places such burdens on the rates? Perhaps the answer is here
 Yours faithfully.


Tennis Club Championship Finalists in the 1980s

 Photo : Danny Gordon


Early Floral Display, January 2019

This lovely raised bed is on Market Street outside the old mart wall.


Juvenile Tennis Players Named

Photo; Danny Gordon.

Names with a little help from Elaine

Back L to R; Dympna Galvin, Paul O'Neill, J.J. Walsh, Laura O'Neill

Front: Shane O'Connor, Elaine Kinsella, Sinead Finnegan and Dan Browne

Apologies if I have misidentified anyone. The year was 1987.


Dance hall Devils

Hi, Mary, your dance-hall article reminds me of what Dan Paddy Andy 'said' (in J. B. Keane's book) of such a 'devil' who was feared would arrive in his dance-hall. The devil was supposed to have been  a clerical student.  He was blamed for the ruination of so many young dance-hall women that he was christened, not the Lamb, but  'The Ram of God.' Dan Paddy Andy proclaimed that if the 'Ram of God' ever came to his hall at Renagown, he would go home a wether! As you know, if that happened, he would be (harmlessly) leading a different sort of flock!!