Category: Archive

The last call for a Listowel regular

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — An English film maker’s last wish that part of his ashes be sprinkled in pubs in Listowel, Co. Kerry, in memory of a momentous drinking sessions in the area, has been fulfilled by his close friend.

Billy Keane, son of author and publican John B. Keane said that Joe Dolan, who lives in Leeds but has been coming to Listowel for years, approached him in the bar with the unusual request.

Raymond Kendall, who died six weeks ago, had fond memories of his time in Ireland and his dying wish was that part of his ashes be scattered in the hearth in John B.’s pub and in another favorite licensed premises in the town.

"About 15 years ago Joe had arrived with three pals of his and they went on a serious bender for about 10 days," Billy Keane said. "Their excuse for coming here was to make a film about Writers’ Week. The film was never made, but they have a lot of footage all right."

Keane said Kendall spent at lot of time in John B.’s and other watering holes in the town.

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"Joe called me aside privately into the kitchen at the back of the bar and said, ‘I have a favor.’ He explained to me about Kendall dying and I said I was very sorry to hear about it.

"He showed me a little pepper canister and said, ‘Do you mind of I spread some of this around the bar?" I said, ‘What is it?’ He said, ‘It’s Kendall.’

"We couldn’t refuse a man’s last wish, so we opened a range we have at the back of the bar and announced to everyone what was happening. There was stunned silence."

Dolan scattered some of the ashes, said a few words about how Kendall loved the bar so much, bought a round of drinks for everyone. John B.’s wife scattered some holy water on the ashes when the range was relit later.

Customers inquired if the usual sing-song was in order in the bar after the ceremony and Dolan assured them Kendall would have been thrilled.

Dolan told him that part of Kendall’s ashes were also being left in other locations. They were scattered in his home town of Barrow in England, in the furnace of a railway engine used in making the film "The Railway Children," in Ballybunion and in Listowel.

Another pub in Listowel that Kendall was fond of got some of his ashes but the owner was not told.

"Joe was afraid that that he might be refused permission," Keane said.

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