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Listowel, County Kerry

county kerryFounded in 1670, situated in the very heart of North Kerry on the River Feale, Listowel is a market town, only 17miles from Tralee.

Often described as the 'Literary Capital of Ireland', Listowel has produced some internationally known playwrights and authors, including Bryan MacMahon and John B. Keane, who wrote of Listowel: "Beautiful Listowel, serenaded night and day by the gentle waters of the River Feale. Listowel where it is easier to write than not to write ...' Listowel hosts Ireland's biggest literary festival 'Listowel Writers' Week' and since its beginnings in 1971, this has grown to become one of Ireland's leading literary festivals. A total of ten workshops take place each year during its festival, dealing with all styles of writing.

Listowel is a hub of art and culture with St John's Theatre and Arts Centre which hosts a wide programme of theatrical events throughout the year.

Listowel Castle, built in the 15th century, is one of the best examples of Anglo-Norman architecture in Kerry and having been restored by the OPW to some of its former glory, the castle is open to the public on a daily basis. The adjacent Seanchaí Literary Centre is intended to help visitors learn more about the castle's history.

The Garden of Europe, located in Listowel's town park is laid out in 12 divisions representing the countries that formed the European Union in 1992 and contains more than 2,500 trees and shrubs from all European countries. It also holds Ireland's only public monument to the memory of those who died in the Holocaust and to all victims of injustice and oppression.

The annual Listowel Races is the last major racing festival of the Summer and being the same duration (7 days) as the Galway Races, it is the joint longest racing festival in Ireland, where every year thousands of people make the most of the festivities.

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