Fighting Words Kerry

Fighting Words Kerry

Fighting Words is coming to Kerry!  Seanchaí – Kerry Writers’ Museum, Listowel will become the first centre in Kerry to take on the Fighting Words programme.  Fighting Words helps students of all ages to develop their writing skills and to explore their love of writing.  We aim to be up and running by April 2018 and are currently recruiting volunteer tutors to deliver the programme.  Fighting Words Kerry is organized in association with Kerry County Council Arts Office as part of the Creative Ireland Programme.

Fighting Words Kerry will initially organise workshops for primary schools throughout the County. Workshops will take place on the first Tuesday of every month from 10.30 am to 12 noon. The programme is most suitable for pupils from 3rd to 6th class. Workshops are delivered free of charge and each student will take away a personalised book of their story.

If your school is interested in being involved in Fighting Words Kerry please contact Cara or Amy at Seanchaí – Kerry Writers’ Museum, tel. (068) 22212 or email


Fighting Words is a free creative writing programme co-founded by Roddy Doyle and Seán Love in January 2009. It operates on the premise that creative writing is an essential part of every child’s education: that giving children a real dedicated chance and space to explore the limitlessness of their imaginations, does great things. The raw skills that are passed on here are some of the key ingredients for succeeding in life with marked improvements in self–‐expression, literacy, self–‐esteem and self–‐confidence. We have no purpose other than providing opportunities to be creative for as many children as possible. To this end, we provide free workshops and programmes.

Workshops are created and run by volunteer writing tutors, who are trained in child protection and Garda vetted. The volunteers include professional writers, aspiring writers, students, retired teachers and many more people who are just keen to be involved in creative work.

History Lectures

History Lectures

Listowel & District Historical Society in association with Seanchaí – Kerry Writers’ Museum presents the following History Lectures this Spring:

Sunday April 22nd @ 7 pm – Sinn Féin Food Committee vs. the Earl of Listowel by Kay Caball.

In 1917, with shortages and rising food prices due to the First World War, Listowel Urban Council requested the Earl of Listowel to ‘make two large fields, known as ‘the two lawns’ available for cultivation available to the poor people of the town. Following a series of unproductive letters between the Council and Lord Listowel to no avail, the Sinn Féin Food Committee was established with a view to acquiring the land for tillage. Getting tired of waiting for permission, the Food Committee, with the help of volunteers from Moyvane, Knockanure, Finuge, Rathea, Ballyconry and Ballylongford, ploughed up the ‘front and back lawns’ on 25th February 1918. The members of the Committee were jailed for a month on May 23rd. Kay will recount in detail these events in her lecture.

Friday May 4th @ 8 pm – Luftwaffe Eagles over Kerry: The Story of German air crashes in Kerry during World War Two by Justin Horgan. (Part of Listowel History Festival 2018)

Saturday May 5th @ 8 pm – ‘Women voted early and in large numbers’; Irish Women, the vote and the 1918 General Election by Dr. Mary McAuliffe (Part of Listowel History Festival 2018)

‘It is through Cumann na mBan that many Irish women sought a political platform, post 1916, and the organisation grew nationally, including, more locally, in Kerry. In 1918, with the limited female franchise now law, the nationalist Cumann na mBan women and the militant Irish Women’s Franchise League came together to campaign for the imprisoned 1916 rebel Countess Markievicz and other Sinn Féin candidates. In this lecture Mary will consider the importance of women’s political activism and the women’s vote to the Sinn Féin victory in the 1918 Election. Women canvassed, campaigned and voted for Sinn Féin in large numbers, and Mary will look especially at Kerryand what women did there in 1918’.

Thursday May 10th @ 8 pm – At Peaceful Rest: St. Michael’s Graveyard, Listowel by Martin Moore.

Admission to each lecture – €5.00              Society Membership – €25.00



Open Mic Readings

Open Mic Readings

Literary Listowel Open Mic Reading takes place on the first Thursday of every month from 11 am to 1 pm. Poetry in the Park reading takes place in the middle Sunday of every month.  Writers of all genres are invited along to read their work in a friendly atmosphere, which will be hosted by a member of the Seanchaí Writers’ Group.  Whether you write poetry, prose or songs, everyone is welcome to perform.  Our next Literary Listowel ‘Open Mic’ Reading takes place on Thursday April 5th and Poetry in the Park on Sunday April 15th from 2.30 to 5 pm.  Admission is free to both and tea/coffee and freshly baked scones can be purchased in the Museum Café.



Story Frog

Story Frog

Story Frog classes take place at Seanchaí – Kerry Writers’ Museum every Wednesday from 11 am to 12 noon. Story Frog is an original phonics and literacy preschool class which aims to support parents and caregivers in teaching their children early reading and writing skills through play.  Classes are imaginative, exciting and provide children with awe and wonder experiences through glitter filled, fun and inspiring activities.

Price – €7 per child per session drop in or book in advance. Sibling discount €10 for a child plus a sibling.

What is Phonics?

Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading and Shared Reading to help children develop all the other vital reading skills and hopefully give them a real love of reading.  Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word.  Learning phonics will help children learn to read and spell. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of letters and letter combinations will help a child decode words as he/she reads. Knowing phonics will also help children know which letters to use as they write words.

About the teacher: Maria

As a mum of 2 children I understand how essential it is to stimulate growth & development from a young age. Incorporating my lifelong passion for Books & Crafting, I am delighted to be introducing The Story Frog, both educational & fun way to learn Phonics ,as well empowering parents to aid there child in developing the skills………….LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!!


Listowel Rambling House

Listowel Rambling House

Listowel Rambling House at Seanchaí – Kerry Writers’ Museum takes place on the last Thursday of every month from 9.15 pm. The “rambling house” tradition has been revived in recent years, particularly in North Kerry, where people come together to be entertained by songs, recitations, stories, and dance.

Eamonn Kelly, the famous seanchaí, who hosted the 1950’s RTE Radio 1 series, “The Rambling House” described a rambling house as being a place “where the affairs of the day were debated, where entertainment mingled with education”. That programme began with the invitation:

The ricket is thatched,
the fields are bare,
Long nights are here again,
The year was fine, but now ‘tis time,
To hear the balled men,
Boul in, boul in and take a chair,
Admission here is free,
You’re welcome in the rambling house,
To hear the Seanchaí”

Listowel Rambling House invites traditional Irish musicians, singers and storytellers along to perform in an informal setting, and anyone can join in the fun.  Admission is free and a cup of tea and traditional brack will be served at half time!  Listowel Rambling House dates for 2018 are:

January 25th, February 22nd, March 29th, April 26th, May 31st, June 28th, July 26th, August 30th, September 27th, October 25th, November 29th, December 27th.

You’re welcome friends and neighbours, come in and stay awhile; The tilly lamp is lighting, and the kettle is on the boil; Can you hear below the haggard the flooded river roar; Don’t mind the wind and rain outside, come in and shut the door; Pull up the sugan chairs around the blazing open fire; ‘Tis burning well – the turf we sleaned last summer up in Lyre; And by its side we’ll sit and let the conversation flow; About the happenings of the day and the times we used to know; Then sing your songs and play your tunes beside the fireside glow; And take us back to how it was in Ireland long ago.

Céad Mile Fáilte to the Irish Rambling House by Joe Harrington, Lyreacrompane, Co. Kerry.


Set Ceilí Dance

Set Ceilí Dance

Dust off your dancing shoes for a Spring Set Ceilí Dance at Seanchaí – Kerry Writers’ Museum on Friday March 9th 2018 from 9.30 pm. Sets will be called by Athea dance master Timmy Woulfe and music is by Donie Nolan. Tickets – €10 available at the door.  Refreshments served.

A Set Ceilí Dance is a form of social dancing which has been popular in Ireland for over 150 years. Sets are danced by four couples in a square, and usually consist of three to six figures with a short pause between each. They are descended from the French quadrilles, which were brought to Ireland by the British army in the nineteenth century. Irish dancers adapted the figures to their own music and steps to form dances with great drive and enjoyment. After a period of decline in the fifties and sixties, sets are very popular today in Ireland and in Irish communities throughout the world.

An excellent book describing the history of the set ceilí dance – the steps, the terminology and 64 of the most commonly danced sets is Toss the Feathers by Pat Murphy, published by Mercier Press.

Note that set dancing is not the same as step dancing. Step dancing is the competitive solo form of Irish dancing now very popular because of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. If you want to dance like Michael Flatley, this web page is not going to help. On the other hand, if you’re looking for good music, fun and friends resulting in the kind of joy you probably haven’t experienced since childhood, read on.

Another form of Irish social dance is ceili dancing. This is a different, separate repertoire of dances which are commonly danced in Northern Ireland, England, America and Australia, but uncommon in the south of Ireland. The dances are in many forms, for couples or threesomes, in lines, squares and circles, including several in four-couple sets. They are danced to steps which are similar to those used in modern step dancing and unlike those for set dancing. While sets traditionally were passed on informally at home, ceili dances were taught formally by dancing teachers. The dances were introduced around the turn of the twentieth century. They suffered some neglect with the revival of set dancing but there is increasing interest in them. Some of the dances are good for beginners; others are as vigorous and enjoyable as a good set.

The word céilí or ceili also refers to an Irish social dance event with set dancing or ceili dancing or both, and possibly other types of dance such as the waltz, quickstep and jive. A fíor céilí, or true ceili, is one in which only ceili dances are danced—no set dancing at all—and are often conducted in Irish. Ceili and old time is a mixture of sets, ceili dances and waltzes. Nearly all the dancing referred to on this site is set dancing.