PLAN YOUR VISIT
Tucked away on the most northern peninsula of picturesque County Kerry is the bustling heritage town of Listowel. Internationally renowned for its Listowel Writers’ Week, the town draws the literary and wider arts community together at the beginning of June each year to present a world-class programme of readings, lectures, interviews and debates, as well as art exhibitions, theatre, pub trails, tours and guided walks.
The name ‘Listowel’ derives from the Irish, Lios Tuathal, which means ‘Tuathal’s ringfort’. It is a market town in County Kerry on the river Feale, the largest river in North Kerry.
Our unique festival which celebrates 50 years in 2020, is the birthplace of many of Ireland’s prominent writers including John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon, George Fitzmaurice, Seamus Wilmot, Brendan Kennelly, Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Maurice Walsh.
Enjoying your time in Listowel
Listowel is a wonderful cultural destination, sitting along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Let’s introduce you to some special spots …
Seanchaí Kerry Writers Museum
The Seanchaí Centre is a visitor attraction which presents the works of the great Kerry writers in a unique audio-visual experience. Located in a 19th century Georgian residence in Listowel’s magnificent Square.
We’re lucky to call the Seanchaí Centre home, you’ll find our office here nestled among the works of the greats.
Located adjacent to the Seanchaí Centre in The Square, this 15th century Castle overlooking The Square was built as a fortress by the Anglo Norman Earls of Kerry, the Fitzmaurices. It ceased to be a significant defence in 1559. Since Listowel Castle was built on the North bank of the River Feale, where the river could be forded, it provided a stronghold to control the movements of visiting would-be marauders across the Anglo-Irish neighbours – the English Crown ignored them all, happy to accept only nominal allegiance. But the end came on the 5th November, 1600, when, after centuries of turmoil, the Castle fell to an English force under the command of Sir Charles Wilmot after a 28 day siege. So, the Castle fell and a village began. It later grew into a town – Listowel. All that remains of this national monument is a fine façade, which originally was the guards and servants quarters.
St. John’s Theatre & Arts Centre
St. John’s Theatre & Arts Center is the premier venue in the South West for the promotion of a monthly programme of Visual and Performing Arts, featuring the best local, national and international product in Theatre, Music, Dance and Exhibitions. Annually St. John’s hosts approximately 160 Arts events comprising of 80 Theatre presentations, 60 Music/Dance events and 20 Exhibitions. During Listowel Writers’ Week you’ll often enjoy theatre, readings and exhibitions in St. John’s Theatre.
Situated in the heart of Listowel at 7 Church Street, Woulfe’s Independent Bookshop is a traditional bookshop for the discerning individual. The bookshop offers a wide range of interesting stock and includes a large Children’s Department as well as Antiquarian Books with an emphasis on Irish titles. There is also a good selection of audio books, cds, greeting cards and quality stationery. The bookshop’s very friendly and knowledgeable proprietor Brenda Woulfe will undertake searches for out-of-print books and will post worldwide, a special book to a friend or relative.
Vintage Wireless Museum
The Vintage Wireless Museum, in Listowel County Kerry, was opened in 1986 to mark 50 years of Irish broadcasting. 1200 items are on display at the Museum. Included in these items is an extensive collection of receivers, many of which are extremely rare. There is also an accompanying display of wireless paraphernalia: miniature crystal boxes, wireless trade signs, wet and dry batteries and vintage wireless literature.
There are impressive broadcasting valves from Irish Radio and the BBC and studio microphones from the 1930s and 1940s. The development of sound reproduction through the phonograph and gramophone is also part of the Museum’s presentation. Many of the vintage receivers have been restored by the proprietor, Eddie Moylan and are in perfect working order.
The Lartigue Monorail & Museum
The Lartigue Monorail and Museum offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to experience and learn about a truly unique form of rail travel. Designed by Frenchman Charles Lartigue, the original Lartigue Monorail ran for 12 kilometres between Listowel and Ballybunion, The only monorail system of its type in the world, it operated from 1886 to 1924, carrying passengers, livestock and sand balanced on either side of its central rail. Since 2003 a full-size replica of the Lartigue locomotive with two carriages runs on a kilometre of elevated rail near the original Listowel site.
Listowel Community Centre & Town Park
Established in 1984, the Listowel Community Sports Centre is situated in the Town Park, surrounded by woodlands on the banks of the famous River Feale. There are lots of activities for all the family to enjoy: Children’s Playgrounds Pitch and Putt Golf, Outdoor Adult Exercise Machines, Tennis, Gaelic, Rugby and Football pitches unique Garden of Europe, Nature Trails, River Walks . The Centre offers a range of services and facilities: NEW indoor multi-purpose sports hall, Gym, Sauna, Steamroom, Birthday Parties, Bouncy Castles/Obstacle Courses Fitness Classes, Training Rooms. Free bus and car parking.
The Garden of Europe
The Garden of Europe, Listowel’s – hidden treasure, occupies a secluded former landfill site in the Town Park. In 1995 it was transformed into Garden of Europe to commemorate, with the rest of Europe, the ending of World War II. Twelve mini-gardens, one for each member of the European Union, are filled with over 3000 trees and plants. The garden also has a bust of the poet, Schiller, and Ireland’s only Holocaust Memorial. The garden is also a winner of the Tidy Towns National Landscapes Award.
Making Your Way to Listowel
From Tralee: 27km
From Killarney: 60km
From Limerick: 70km
Getting here …
Kerry Airport, Farranfore offers a gateway to the South West of Ireland,
servicing Dublin, UK and European destinations
Bus Éireann run frequent daily services to Listowel and beyond with
the no 13 Route
Irish Rail also run frequent train services to Tralee, which is a short
25 minute drive from Listowel
STAYING here …
While The Listowel Arms Hotel is our home away from home during the festival; we’re a small and busy town. So our committee member Norella is the Queen bed-finder for Listowel Writers’ Week – we would be lost without her! Book a bed with Norella by email, firstname.lastname@example.org