Bed and Breakfasts in Listowel, County Kerry
Listowel, County Kerry Bed and Breakfast Accommodation
Listowel is a a market town in County Kerry, Ireland, and is situated on the River Feale, 28 km (17miles) from the county town, Tralee. The combined population of Listowel Urban and Rural Districts is 22,668; the town itself has a population of 3,901 (CSO census 2006).
The town is sometimes described as the "Literary Capital of Ireland" and a number of internationally known playwrights and authors have lived there, including Bryan MacMahon and John B. Keane.
Bridge over river Feal at Listowel
Listowel is on the N69 Limerick - Foynes - Tralee road. Bus Éireann provides daily services to Tralee, Cork, and Limerick. The nearest railway station is Tralee. Listowel used to have its own railway station on a broad gauge line between Tralee and Limerick city, however this was closed to passengers in 1963, freight in 1978 and finally abandoned and lifted in 1988. The station building has been preserved as a private residence.
Listowel is located at the head of the North Kerry limestone plain. Rested in the very heart of North Kerry, on the River Feale, its hinterland is an area of mainly dairy agricultural use. To the north is the Irachticonnor barony, with Clanmaurice to the south. Surrounding villages include Asdee, Ballybunion, Ballyduff, Ballylongford, Causeway, Duagh, Lisselton, Lixnaw, Moyvane, Finuge and Tarbert. Listowel is an ideal place to stay with quality Bed and Breakfast accommodation.
In July 2000, Listowel was officially designated as one of Ireland's 26 "Heritage Towns" - in part because of modern environmental and renewal works, but also because of its architectural heritage and "historic importance".
A unique part played by Listowel in Irish railway history is that of having hosted the world's first monorail operation. The Listowel and Ballybunion Railway was built to the Lartigue system, with a double-engined steam locomotive straddling an elevated rail. It connected the town with Ballybunion. Coaches, with a compartment on either side of the rail, had to be kept balanced. If a cow was being brought to market, two calves would be sent also, to balance it on the other side. The calves would then be returned, one on either side of the rail. In 2003, a 1000m long replica of the original monorailway was opened.
Listowel’s long history dates back to 1303 where it first appears in the Plea Roll. Fortress to the Fitzmaurice family, the town developed around Listowel Castle and its significant square. The last bastion against Queen Elizabeth I in the Desmond campaign, Listowel Castle was built in the 15th century and was the last fortress of the Geraldines to be subdued. It fell after 28 days siege to Sir Charles Wilmot on the 5th November, 1600, who had the castle's garrison executed in the following days. The castle became the property of the Hare family, the holders of the title of Earl of Listowel, after reverting away from the Fitzmaurices, Knights of Kerry. It is now a national monument.
Today, the remnants of the castle include two of its four towers, which are joined by a heavy curtain wall, and the unusual feature of an arch below the battlements. Archaeological excavations and records of the castle reveal that it was originally of similar form to Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare. In 2005, restoration works were commenced by the Board of Public Works. The stonework has been cleaned by a team of craftsmen, while the upper section, which had become particularly distressed with the passing of time, has been restored and rendered waterproof. An external staircase, in keeping with the architecture of the structure has been erected to enable the public to access the upper stories.
One of the best examples of Anglo-Norman architecture in Kerry, the castle has now been restored by the Office of Public Works to some of its former glory. The castle is open to the public for tours on a daily basis. The Seanchaí Literary Centre, which is adjacently located in a Georgian town house, is intended to help visitors learn more about the castle’s history. After exploring Listowel Castle, book a Listowel Bed and Breakfast for best value and a warm Irish welcome.
The origin of Listowel races can be traced back to an annual gathering at Ballyeigh, Ballybunion, about nine miles from Listowel. This event, which can be traced back to the early nineteenth century, consisted of a variety of games, horse-racing and a pre-arranged faction fight which concluded the event. Due in no small part to the disturbances surrounding these faction fights, the meeting at Ballyeigh was suspended and racing transferred to Listowel, where the first meeting took place in 1858.
It is now the joint longest racing festival in Ireland, at 7 days in duration the same as the Galway races and second in attendances only to that great event. It is the last major festival of the Summer and the last one before Christmas so the crowds make the most of the festivities. Traditionally it was the meeting where the farmers of Ireland came to spend/gamble the money they made from the harvest but it has since grown into something much larger and more wideranging than that and everybody and anybody now attends with a warm Kerry welcome guaranteed to all.
The Listowel track consists of a 1 mile, 2 furlong mile oval left-handed track with National Hunt fences and hurdles. The hurdle course is adjustable after each day's racing to give new ground. The track has been extended over the last number of years to allow extra race permutations and to enable our Festival Meeting in September to extend to seven days. The Listowel Racecourse is located adjacent to the town and is within easy walking distance of the town centre. After an enjoyable day at the races why not relax in the comfort of a Town and Country Homes Bed and Breakfast in Listowel.
Listowel is also the home of Irelands biggest literary festival. Since its beginnings in 1971 "Writers' Week" has grown to become one of Ireland’s leading literary festivals. From the beginning, Writer’s Week pioneered the concept of the literary workshop and now hosts a total of ten workshops each year during its festival, dealing with all styles of writing.
Listowel displays a broad range of architectural features, including the notable five arch bridge traversing the River Feale at the entrance to the Town, which dates back to 1829. According to local tradition, the bridge (referred to locally as the "Big Bridge") replaced a smaller wooden structure, which had been destroyed in floods.
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