Castleisland community news
The core handful of local Tidy Towns activists and their growing numbers of volunteers got the report they deserved this week and probably, more importantly, they also got an increase of 11 points on last year's adjudicator's report.
Just as importantly, there is an avuncular feel to the remarks by the adjudicator in that the report is threaded through with encouragement and positivity and an understanding of exactly what's involved in maintaining such a campaign in a busy town setting.
I wouldn't expect a discouraging word if I mentioned the likes of Sheila Hannon and Mary Walsh and Terence McQuinn as deserving of all the points and praise they can get.
In recent years they have managed to draw a number of very localised teams of workers around them to take care of the areas around their own doors.
The appearance of approach roads, in particular, is where this meitheal structure is working best. On the Killarney Road the likes of Eamonn Breen and Francie Kenny hardly left the road over the past year, and they were out in their hi-vis vests morning, noon and night it would seem.
On the Limerick Road, Andrew and James Kelliher and Denis O'Donovan left the mark of their dedication from Dooneen into town, and Clounough Bridge is one of the more vibrant and visible examples of their care-taking.
The involvement of teams of local secondary school students will further enhance the appearance and points totals in the years ahead.
The Castleisland Community College involvement under teacher Doreen Killington has also been instrumental. It should also be noted that it was at the invitation of the Tidy Towns group that the college team got involved.
Eleven points is a ringing endorsement of the efforts of all concerned - adjudication was July 20.
The following is the 2018 Tidy Towns Adjudicator's Report. Please note that Tidy Towns reports rarely come without a máchail and this one is no different, Don't get trapped in or tripped up by them. Do, as Con Houlihan often prompted, read on:
Community - Your Planning and Involvement
A huge thank you to all the people who were involved with the assembling of your Tidy Towns entry this year. This was a serious piece of work and it is acknowledged here. The entry form was neatly and comprehensively filled, the plan is well-laid out and the map was perfect for use on the day. Thank you for all of the supplementary information but the adjudicator would introduce a note of caution on the submission of too much information.
The danger with submitting so much material is that the really important stuff can get overlooked among old or irrelevant reports or cuttings. As adjudicators we really want to see the work you've done in the best context.
That said, a great entry and very useful in getting to know Castleisland on this, a first visit.
Streetscape and Public Places
New projects listed by you in this category are the Heritage Trail and the Bilingual Biodiversity Information Boards.
Very good. The status of Fair Trade Town - is this new? The adjudicator thinks so. In which case, many congratulations to Castleisland and especially to the students of the Community College.
Castleisland has a lovely streetscape and the adjudicator was delighted to be able to take some time to enjoy this (even if the weather wasn't as good as it had been all summer!). There are some gorgeous shopfronts whereon many vernacular features are still to be seen. Just the stucco-work alone bears long admiration. While it is great that buildings such a the Kingdom House have found new use, the individual signs of the businesses could be more sympathetic to their host (e.g. simply being properly sized and not overlapping the original name sign space).
There are too many lovely shopfronts to list but stand-outs include JK O'Connor, the Country Market and the Good Table.
The River Island Hotel was busy but so neat. Tomo's Electrical was bright and spotlessly clean. McCarthy's Bar was unfortunately only admired from the outside. Mrs Nelligan's Bakery and the nearby Daly's Fish Shop were sparklingly clean.
A word of praise for the volunteers of your second hand shops and the effort that they put into The Carnegie Building - now your library looked so good. The Credit Union neat and clean.
It was felt that the banks could bit of better overall. The Presentation Secondary School is a lovely old building and is on the very enjoyable Con Hoiulihan Trail. A Green Flag was noted here. The Supervalu / Maxol was bright and decorated with hanging baskets and just about zero clutter.
The Fire Station was spotless - as are most - but there is a lost opportunity for some lovely landscape planting here to the left hand side of the building as it is faced. An Ríocht leisure Club is a really super facility. However, the AC car-park looks really poor and unfinished. On a more positive note, the 5k signage was great to see. Some tree-planting here would be good. The derelict garage on the Limerick Road is in need of help. A few planters or containers here would make a great difference.
Green Spaces and Landscaping
You have not reported any new projects in this category this year but that is only to be expected when so much of your efforts re directed to maintenance. You report maintaining of planted tub, pruned trees, grassy areas, riverbank areas… Lots to keep you busy! Your future project here is the reinstatement of the Tralee Road roundabout. A prominent area this and one that deserves your attentions. The concrete/stone planters could bear the Castleisland Tidy Towns name if you wished.
Nature and Biodiversity in your Locality
The Bilingual Biodiversity Information Boards are one of the new projects you have listed here. Very good. Others are a riverside bench and a new entrance to the school being allowed to become biodiverse. A Swift box project is planned for the Community College as part of their Green Flag effort and that is a super idea - who doesn't like Swifts? - as this is potentially an endangered species that can use all the help that it can get.
Your river walk is lovely! Japanese Knotweed here appears to have been treated but vigilance is cautioned here.
Further on, Himalayan Balsam - another invasive - was found in isolated areas. This will need attention immediately if it is not to become a long-term issue. Grass was a little bit too well-cut in places. Give the riverbank some space!
Trout, Grey Wagtail and Water Crowfoot were seen to be abundant on the day. The benches are excellently situated. A really lovely walk, all in all. The adjudicator apologises for pointing this out but you should check your new biodiversity signage. That yellow flower pictured is Marsh Marigold (not Lesser Celandine) and it is thought that this is a picture of a Pied Wagtail rather than a Grey.
Sustainability - Doing more with less
A very good entry here by you in this category. A range of worthwhile and useful initiatives are listed. You cover Food Waste, resource best practice and climate action. Your submission relies a little too heavily on the work of the Community College and we'd like to see more community-wide initiatives. It is acknowledged that some of the projects by the college, including the future project as listed will target the business sector. Your support of your various second hand shops is a very valid listing too. It was great to see a reuse business like Kingdom Furniture Revamp looking so busy.
Tidiness and Litter Control
Another good entry by Castleisland here too. Fencing along the river walk is your listed new project. As is logical, most of your work is ongoing maintenance. This you have described concisely and clearly. The adjudicator is aware of how many 'person hours' are behind each and every one of these words. Well done.
Don't permit the use of outsized corriboard advertisements on your pavements - these are your streets and pavements and not advertising spaces. There are faded and unreadable signs here and there (e.g. for the caves) that should be redone or replaced soon. Watch out for algae (green staining) on litterbins, especially under trees. Papa Joe's Pizza has an excellent Castleisland branded litterbin, very good. There appears to be a large road sign missing from the street outside Molly's.
Residential Streets & Housing Areas
Your new project is the enhancement of the bridge on the Tralee Road with hanging baskets. Very good. A derelict on Loftus Road looks poor. Could this be painted?
O'Connell's Demesne has super hydrangeas. There is lots of space for tree-planting or wildflower gardening at St. John's Park. Desmond's Avenue is very well kept with lovely trees. Castleview Drive has good trees too. Riverside Drive was very neat with no litter.
Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes
Your new school entrance and the Limerick Road roundabout appear again here - it is acknowledged that overlap is inevitable - and this is your project for this year.
Again, maintenance of approach roads is the bulk of your work in this category and this is understandable.
You have a beautiful wide Main Street that had more traffic than it should (but far less that in that photograph of yore!) due to the bypass. The consistent building sizes and scale make this a really pleasant street to walk. Watch out for the laneways and back streets. The quality of pavement and general cleanliness of same was uneven.Road markings could be better and clearer (at pedestrian crossings). It was felt that an additional pedestrian crossing toward the middle of the town might be of benefit. Would a roundabout be an improvement? Get adventurous with the Tralee Road roundabout.
A truly enjoyable visit, so thank you Castleisland Tidy Towns. Great work done and lots of energy and imagination on display. The adjudicator believes that you'll go far in this competition.
Sliabh Luachra Lecture and Concert Series launched
The Scartaglin Heritage Centre-based Handed Down Series of Lectures and Concerts has just turned the corner and into its fifth season.
The series of events from here to next May was launched in Scart to coincide with Culture Night.
"We're proud to announce our programme for Series Five of Handed Down, and we'd like to thank our presenters for once again agreeing to rise to the challenge and taking on the title and idea they were given," said spokesman PJ Teahan.
"We look forward to showcasing the young musicians of the area and welcoming old friends as well as newcomers. All events start at 8pm sharp with the exception of the World Fiddle Day.
"We're launching the series with the aim, once more, of raising enough money to hold the World Fiddle Day Celebrations in Scartaglin on May 18, 2019," said PJ.
Matt Cranitch was the special guest for the launch of the 2018/19 season of monthly events which writes local, visiting and up-and-coming musicians into its programme script. Teas and snacks and the odd trip up the village are all part of the cultural experience.
The programme lines up as follows:
Saturday, October 6
Peter Browne - A Thank You from Sliabh Luachra presented by Paudie O' Connor.
This is a special Handed Down inclusion where presenter Paudie O'Connor will look back on recently retired RTÉ broadcaster Peter Browne's life as a musician, and his deep connection and the wonderful service he gave to the music of Sliabh Luachra.
Saturday, November 17
'Dan Murphy and the Fáilte Bar Abbeyfeale' presented by Donal Murphy.
Presenter Donal Murphy will look back at the life and music of his late father, Dan.
A native of Knocknagoshel, Dan Murphy returned from England and opened a bar which became a vital music venue and influenced so many and strengthened the traditional music scene in west Limerick.
Saturday, December 8
'Did you hear that before? The Musical Legacy of Maurice O'Keeffe will be presented by Máire O' Keeffe.
Máire O Keeffe will take us back to the times she spent with fiddler Maurice O'Keeffe in Kiskeam and the tunes and stories he handed down so generously.
Saturday, January 26
'From the Master's Hand - Padraig's Legacy' will be presented by Matt Cranitch.
What was a lesson with the the famous fiddle master like ?
Matt will do his utmost with guests to answer from years of interviews and studies of Padraig O'Keeffe's students and manuscripts.
Saturday, March 9
'Matt Cranitch - Take a Bow' will be presented by Bryan O'Leary.
Bryan will pay tribute to Sliabh Luachra fiddle player Matt Cranitch, who has long been a visitor and contributor to the area and one of the leading custodians of the fiddle style of O'Keeffe.
Saturday, April 13
'From Sliabh Luachra to the USA: Kerry music recordings in America', presented by Pádraig Mac Mathúna.
Piper Pádraig Mac Mathéna will present a very special Handed Down featuring archive recordings made by his late father, broadcaster Ciarán, who visited and recorded Denis Murphy, Paddy Cronin and others in New York in the '60s.
Saturday, May 18
World Fiddle Day Celebrations in Scartaglin.
World Fiddle Day 2019 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of 'The Star Above the Garter' with talks, recitals, sessions and a very special all-fiddle concert featuring young and old.
Lyme disease documentary set to be screened this Thursday on RTÉ
After a six-year apprenticeship on the highways and byways of Kerry and Munster, local film-maker David Pembroke has moved his base to Dublin, and his name will be seen on our screens more often.
Also, David's five-part environmental series 'Call of the Wild' will soon be broadcast on RTÉ. The recent move to Dublin and involvement in the film-making scene there has proved the right move as he positions himself in his ideal location.
"I'm 24 years old and from the heart of Kerry. I am now based in Dublin and enjoying every minute and part of it," said David.
"I have six years' experience working as a freelance, self-shooting producer / editor for independent production companies.
"I am a self-motivated individual with excellent communication, production and post-production skills who enjoys the challenge of taking an idea from concept to post-production," he assures us.
David, a past pupil of St Patrick's Secondary School, Castleisland, is currently producing a feature-length documentary and, in the course of 2017, he produced, filmed and edited the aforementioned environmental series.
You'll also find his credits on an hour-long documentary, 'Living with Lyme Disease', which is due to come up on RTÉ One tomorrow night.
In the past couple of years, David has produced and filmed for broadcast a series of lifestyle programmes as well as documentaries, a feature film, studio shows and advertisements.
Keep an eye out, as the credits roll on home-produced news programmes, for the name David Pembroke.
The documentary 'Living with Lyme Disease', which was to have been broadcast this time last year, will now go out on RTÉ One on this Thursday night, October 4, at 10.15pm.
The programme examines how a tiny tick bite can dramatically change people's health and wellbeing.
In conversation with a number of people in Kerry and beyond suffering with Lyme disease, the programme makers document the struggles around getting the correct initial diagnosis and then the appropriate treatment for a disease.
A number of politicians in Ireland have raised the issue of Lyme disease at local and national level, citing the need for a more reliable diagnostic test for sufferers and the need to create more awareness amongst the medical profession and the general public.
Paddy’s a high achiever in Maths & Science
The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has identified Paddy Brosnan, a fifth-year student at St Patrick's Secondary School, Castleisland, as a high achiever in Maths and Science in the 2018 Junior Certificate Examination.
From a pool of very talented students, Paddy has been selected to participate in the Irish EU Mathematics and Science Olympiad, which will take place in November at Dublin City University. From this, Paddy is in with a chance of being selected to represent Ireland at the European Union Science Olympiad in Almada, Portugal from May 4 to 11, 2019.
This is a great achievement for Paddy, for his family and for the school, and deserved recognition for Paddy and for his Mathematics teacher, Patrick McCarthy, and his Science teacher, Katie O'Connor, for the great work being done.
"We wish Paddy the very best of luck and this will be a great learning experience for him and will be of huge benefit to him and his studies for the future," said Principal Denis O'Donovan.
"This is the second year in a row that one of our Junior certificate students has been identified as a high achiever in Maths and Science. Last year Luke Walsh was identified as a high achiever in the 2017 Junior Certificate Exams.
"In the 2017 Leaving Certificate exams, Padraig Broderick was awarded for achieving the highest marks in the country in his Agricultural Science exams.
This is a wonderful achievement for our school and great recognition for the great work being done by the students, their parents and our teachers. Well done to everyone," said Mr O'Donovan.