Housed in a splendidly restored 19th century Georgian residence in Listowel’s magnificent Square, the Museum takes you on a stimulating journey of discovery through the song and stories of our renowned Kerry Writers. You will be immersed in the words of John B. Keane (“The Field”), Bryan MacMahon, Brendan Kennelly, Maurice Walsh (“The Quiet Man”) and George Fitzmaurice. Experience the amazing installations in each writer’s room, themed on a particular aspect of the writer’s life, and view original artefacts and materials of the writers which forms part of the Museum’s vast collection.
Filled with an abundance of rich characters, humour, romance & tragedy drawn from the towns and villages of North Kerry, the works of the writers will make you laugh & cry, but, above all, you will come away from your visit to the Kerry Writers’ Museum with a sense of the people and places that shaped Kerry’s literary heritage.
Living Literature Experience
Tours of the Museum are now brought to life by costumed characters in our ‘Living Literature Experience’, a performance based guided tour. Learn about the lives of writers and experience performances of extracts of their works by our actor guides. You are invited to beat the bodhrán (traditional goat skin drum) and perform with the guides. ‘Living Literature Experience’ tours are currently only available for group bookings made in advance for 10 or more people. Please allow at least two days for bookings.
The Landscapes Room
Take a journey with the Kerry writers through historical and scenic North Kerry in a stunning audio-visual presentation and witness the harshness of the waves against Ballybunion’s rugged cliffs on the Wild Atlantic Way, to the magnificent spectacle of the Wren Boys performing through the streets of Listowel. Here the written words of the writers in their own voice.
Maurice Walsh Room
On entering you will see Maurice Walsh writing in his summer house. Maurice’s novels are set in North Kerry and The Highlands of Scotland, where he spent much of his early life as a Customs and Excise Officer. He is probably best known for his short-story ‘The Quiet Man’ which was later made into a Hollywood film, directed by John Ford. Other novels he wrote include ‘The Key Above The Door’ and ‘While Rivers Run’.
Bryan MacMahon Room
Discover how Bryan MacMahon’s life working as a school teacher influenced him greatly in his writing. You may listen to extracts from his plays and prose performed by local actors who knew and worked with Bryan.
John B. Keane Room
Much of John B. Keane’s writing is conjured from encounters in his pub, on William St., Listowel. Visitors can sit at the bar and hear of the tragic demise of ‘Sive’ and the stubbornness of ‘Bull McCabe’ in ‘The Field’. A playwright novelist, poet and short-story writer, John B. Keane’s writings are filled with an abundance of rich characters, humour, romance and tragedy.
Brendan Kennelly Room
Professor of English literature at Trinity College, Dublin, Brendan Kennelly is one of Ireland’s most esteemed poets. His poetry is drawn from the rural community in which he grew up. As he served in his father’s pub he listened to the country-men telling their stories and singing their songs and he used this experience in his poetry. He captured in poem the essence of the average, the naivety, the scepticism and fun-loving nature of the people where he grew up.
George FitzMaurice Room
The oldest of the writers featured in our exhibition George Fitzmaurice was born in Duagh just outside Listowel in 1877 and twenty-three years later he moved to Dublin. We now visit him in his rented bed-sit where he spent the last years of his life. He moved in circles with W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and John Millington Synge and his first play ‘The Country Dressmaker’ was staged by the Abbey in 1907.
Enjoy a taste of the writings of the many Kerry writers along the halls & corridors of the Centre. These range from the stories of The Great Blasket Islanders, Peig Sayers, Tomas O Criomthain, to the humorous verse of Robert Leslie Boland, and many more.