Wednesday 20 September 2017

Pony whisperer, manic ducks and Larry llama keep tradition alive

Michael Moloney pictured at last year’s January Listowel Horse Fair in Listowel, Co Kerry. Photo: Domnick Walsh /Eye Focus
Michael Moloney pictured at last year’s January Listowel Horse Fair in Listowel, Co Kerry. Photo: Domnick Walsh /Eye Focus
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

The man selling the manic Indian Runner ducks and the pointy- beaked, big red hens came all the way from Macroom to the horse fair in Listowel. There were goats, too, and puppies, horses and ponies, a llama called Larry and donkeys with sad eyes. Noah must have left the gate open.

The street was thronged and I had forgotten all about the day that was in it. The custom is to hold four horse fairs in our town on the first Thursday of each quarter. No one knows exactly how long the horse fair has been going on here in Market Street. Hundreds of years, I would say. There's a story going that Napoleon's horse Marengo was bred in a field down by the River Feale. He was sold at Listowel Horse Fair and again at the great fair of Cahirmee to the French.

My mother and father opened up our pub 63 years ago on the day of the January horse fair. It was their first wedding anniversary. They had no money and the pub was very busy, which gave them a great start.

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