Writers Rooms

John B Keane


Public House

A larger-than-life character right from birth – the biggest baby the parish had ever seen at 13 pounds! – Charles Dickens was one of John B’s favourite writers as a child. Like Dickens he was inspired by the unusual characters around him, many of which he encountered in the public house he ran with his wife Mary. It is here we meet him as he sits at the bar sipping a pint. Encounter ‘The Shy Singer’ and learn how to distract a bore!

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John B. Keane, dramatist, novelist, poet and raconteur, was born on 21 July 1928 in Listowel, where he resided with his wife Mary over their much-frequented public house, until his death. John B. Keane has contributed greatly to both local and national theatrical life. His first play, Sive, presented by the Listowel Drama Group, won the All-Ireland Amateur Drama Festival in 1959, and its enormous impact immediately made Keane’s reputation. Sive is concerned with the traditional theme of the made marriage. It was followed in 1960 by Sharon’s Grave, one of the author’s favourite plays.

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What people are saying about us
  • Popped in here to escape the rain and get a cup of tea and cake. Very reasonable prices and great service. Then noticed the little hare jumping around on the wall when I used the toilets! Looked very intriguing and prompted us all to buy tickets to the museum. Wow! So worth it as the exhibits and the way it was presented was lovely, really unusual. So informative and so different to other museums. Really good value for money and a real highlight to the town.

    Great Service (Trip Advisor Review)

    – March, 2023

  • Most impressive is how ingrained in both The Creative & local communities The Seanchaí is, from the workshops, coffee mornings & plain old drop ins, To Book launches, poetry recitals, projects & engagements with the local schools. The Seanchaí is a much loved and universally treasured cultural icon. By the inhabitants of Listowel, most of Co. Kerry and West Limerick.

    Mark Ollerhead (Google Review)

    – March, 2023

  • We had requested the 30-minute tour, but happily lingered for an hour longer than we had planned. As we exited, we looked at each other and laughed out loud at our good fortune. We could have so easily missed this experience that left us feeling moved, intrigued and a bit more educated about the Kerry writers. In our delight, we failed to tip our guide but I will be going to your donations page to make a modest pledge in gratitude for our host whose name we did not record to memory.

    Jane Braswell (Google Review)

    – March, 2023

  • Our visit to the Kerry Writers Museum was a very memorable experience from beginning to end. Cara, who was working at the centre that day, was very welcoming and most helpful. The exhibition of the Kerry writers was imaginative and most engaging. The seanchai relating the background stories each writer was magic! A wonderful experience all round.

    Cara (Google Review)

    – May, 2021

  • This museum has been developed with great care and meticulous attention to detail. The audio elements are matched perfectly to the installations which are beautifully presented. The option to activate the audio guides in each room without resorting to the use of handheld devices worked very well. This is a must see/hear for anyone with an interest in Irish writing. There is also a little coffee shop and gifts on sale.

    Beautifully Curated (Trip Advisor Review)

    – July, 2019


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