Welcome to Listowel

Literary Capital of Ireland

History of Listowel


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 Geraldine’s 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 Fitzmaurice’s, the Knights of Kerry. Listowel Castle is one of the best examples of Anglo-Norman architecture in Kerry and it has now been restored by the Office of Public Works to its former glory.The castle is open to the public for guided tours daily from May to September and it's free.

Local plasterer and builder Pat McAuliffe (1846–1921) used stucco to decorate the façades of townhouses and shops in the town and surrounding area. A native of Listowel, McAuliffe created a number of unique plasterwork works, including  "The Maid of Erin", which depicts a Romantic image of Mother Ireland surrounded by a harp, a wolfhound and other symbols of Ireland.