Listowel Literary Capital Of Ireland



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Listowel, For The Races, The Writers, The Pubs And It’s Market Places

Listowel, famous for its farmer’s race meeting in the last week in September usually when the Kerry Gaelic team came home with the All-Ireland Championship trophy (The Sam McGuire). The “Sam” may not arrive here every time, but there are always the races in Listowel.


Each September thousands travel to Listowel for the annual week long horse racing festival, one of the premier events in Ireland’s sporting calendar. The meeting is run on the Island Course located on the opposite side of the River Feale from the Town.

The Harvest Festival of Ireland is run in conjunction with the September race meeting and hosts the All Ireland Wren Boys Competition. Both festivals have been part of Listowel’s folk tradition since 1858.

Talk about Pubs!! There are more pubs in Listowel than any other shopping outlet in the town.

“When a Listowel man takes a drink from any tap in this lovely town – tis not water that is going down, but the purified secrets of the dead, flowing through his body and into his head.

No town here or in any land will do this for your body and mind. Inspiration flows through the graveyard sod. Turn a tap in Listowel, out flows God.” Brendan Kennelly

From the great John B Keane`s Bar to Lynch`s on the square where the bus drivers used to stop and have a tipple and a chat, in the old days.

Listowel is Irelands Literary capital.

“Beautiful Listowel, serenaded night and day by the gentle waters of the River Feale.

Listowel where it is easier to write than not to write, where first love never dies, and the tall streets hide the loveliness, The heartbreak and the moods, great and small, of all the gentle souls of a great and good community. Sweet, incomparable hometown that shaped and made me” John B Keane

To honour the great literary talent that were born in and around Listowel the Seanchai – Kerry Literary & Cultural Centre was built in the centre of the town square.

Listowel Writers Week

You must make this a definite stop, call in and take a journey absorbing these famous Kerry writers.

A famous American commented on Listowel and he wasn’t too far wrong.

“Listowel reminds me of a movie set where everything is so perfect and intimate. However, it is as real as the cream slices you get on the square.

It is a very walk able town and shops range from Hardware stores where you can get dishes, electric, beds, etc to clever boutiques.

There is a particular jewellery shop that handles antique Irish pieces at incredibly reasonable prices.

The Dew Drop is the place for traditional music and if you are into the Rebel scene, it can be found in town as well as a new age natural vitamin and supplement store.

The bakery on the square have loaves and sweets that look too perfect to be edible...don't miss it; the ladies running the shop are darling!

A pound shop- similar to US dollar stores has wonderful souvenirs and helpful items for the home. I even brought two stainless serving spoons back to US! Wish I had bought more.

If you are tired, you might go in circles around the town but take advantage of it! Drop into the Guardai station to visit with the cute boys in blue.

I LOVE Listowel... Don't forget to drop by John B. Keane's and visit with the late author and playwright’s son Billy. He is spectacular conversationalist and his mother Mary a Gem of a lady. You will not want to leave.

Did I mention the lunches at THE HORSE SHOE? Pate to die for, I could go on forever. Have a great visit and you will definitely be back!”

(I won’t say who he was, but he was a great doctor. )

Remains of a 13th century Fitzmaurice castle is situated on the edge of the central square on the banks of the River Feale.

The Fitzmaurice`s were Lords of Kerry and the castle was the last Desmond stronghold to fall in the wars against Cromwell.

A monorail, known as the Lartigue Railway, the only enterprise of its kind ever constructed in Ireland or great Britain, formerly ran between Listowel and Ballybunion, it is now under reconstruction and runs for a few hundred metere on the edge of Listowel, on the site of the old Great Southern Railway.

Gunsborough lies 6 kilometres north west of the town and was the birthplace of Earl Kitchener Of Khartoum in 1850.

If you have any news or info on Listowel please email me below and I will include it on this page, thanks.
News Of Listowel




My good friend Joey from Listowel was fishing one day just below the bridge on the faele. A rich American past by and couldn't understand why Joey was lying lazily beside his boat on the edge of the river, smoking a pipe.

"Why aren't you out fishing?" asked the American.

"Because I have caught enough fish for the day," said Joey.

"Why don't you catch some more?"

"What would I do with them?"

"You could sell them and make more money," was the American's reply.

"With that you could have a motor fixed to your boat and go into deeper waters and catch more fish. Then you would make enough to buy nets. These would bring you more fish and more money. Soon you would have enough money to own two boats . . . maybe even a fleet of boats. Then you would be a rich man like me."

"What would I do then?" asked Joey. "Then you could really enjoy life." said the American.

"And what do you suppose I might be doing right now?" said Joey, smiling and puffing away on his pipe.



Now Where Do You Want To Stay?

Listowel Arms Hotel

Sea Shore B&B

Millstream House

Palmgrove B&B

Aras Mhuire

Island View

Mount Rivers




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