Castleisland Community News

John Reidy

Daniel Nelligan, owner of Mrs. Nelligan's Bakery & Coffee Shop, has just announced that he is to put the business up for sale.

There has been a Nelligan's bakery in Castleisland since 1945 and most Kerry people will instantly recognize the name as symbolizing fresh bread, cakes and other specialties including the renowned Nelligan's Rich Christmas Brack.

Daniel and his wife Louise have operated the business at 74 Main Street since January 2010.

Having moved from Castleisland to Laois five years ago the decision is not unexpected with the husband and wife team having other growing business interests in the midlands which have curtailed their daily involvement in the Castleisland business in recent years. Despite this, the bakery continues to prosper and the café and deli enjoy a steady trade under the management of Duagh woman Helen O'Keeffe and an experienced team.

The business will continue to operate as is until sold and Daniel is confident that it will attract huge interest given its history, location in the centre of town and the fact that it is a turn-key opportunity.

"The business is likely to appeal to a wide range of people. It would be ideal for either an investor who wants a proven return with little day to day input or for someone looking to commence business with little risk and an experienced team that can commence or continue trading immediately," he said.

With Christmas fast approaching, it would be a great time for any interested party to get in touch.

"I will talk to any genuinely interested party and can be contacted on or on 087-2225795," said Daniel.

Alison’s collection of classics

A young Castleisland woman who has been making a name for herself in local singing circles in recent years is putting the finishing touches to her debut CD.

Alison McGaley will launch her CD 'Alison Sings the Classics' at the River Island Hotel on This Friday night, November 2nd

As a child she joined Bryan Carr's School of Performing Arts in Tralee and it was there that she caught the bug for all things musical.

"Bryan's passion for teaching and music is infectious. He shows a genuine interest in each and every one of his students," said Alison.

She also attended Mr. Carr's private voice training sessions, gaining an understanding of how the voice works best.

"If you have correct training you will be able to sing anything," she says. "In 2014 at 18 years of age I received my Diploma in Musical Theatre accredited by The Irish Board of Speech and Drama. "I then went on to study music for three years in The Conservatory of Music in D.I.T. where I studied classical voice under Mairead Buicke.

"I like singing all types of music really, once it has a nice melody and it tells a story. Music I love to listen to includes: Peggy Lee, Cher, The Beatles, The Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and too many others to list.

"I sing for weddings, civil ceremonies, funerals and any other events people would like me to sing for," said Alison.

Alison has had lots of encouragement from many people and from a very young age. She includes everyone at Bryan Carr's school, and her teachers and friends from her days at Castleisland Community College. She has a special mention for Canon Denis O'Mahony and Fr. Dan O'Riordan and last, but by no means least, her Nanna and all her family.

"This album has a mixture of music to suit all tastes and we are very excited about its launch in November," she said. All proceeds from the CD and launch night are for the Kerry/Cork Health Link Bus. Tickets are €10 each.

"I have been so overwhelmed by everyone from the whole communitygetting good wishes and support for this worthy cause," Alison added.

Knocknagoshel Craft Fair

Knocknagoshel Women's Group will host its annual Craft Fair on this coming Sunday 4th November at 12 noon in the local community centre.

"This Craft Fair has proven to be a great success over the last number of years and last year saw our biggest fair to date," said organising committee member, Mary McAuliffe.

The proceeds of the craft fair are used to help fund the Over 55s Social Club.

"A monster Christmas draw will also take place on the day with a first prize of a hamper to the value of €200 with many other prizes on offer. There is a limited number of tables still available," said Mary.

For more information on any of the above, please contact Mary on 087 97 40 296.

No getting away from music in Castleisland

There was no getting away from music in Castleisland last weekend.

We evoked memories of those passed and celebrated the moment with glasses filled to the brim at the launch of the 26th annual Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival.

On my way down town on Friday night a full moon, with a small sup out of it, declared itself from behind an ominous looking cloud. But, God is good and the night held its cool, breezy composure and ran itself well into Saturday that way.

We had a lovely launch and Minister for Sport and Tourism Brendan Griffin was introduced by festival chairman Cormac O'Mahony. And Danny Healy Rae, TD dropped in to express his support for the event.

Minister Griffin reassured us that we are on the right path as far as the policy of his department and his portfolio are concerned.

Preserving what's under your feet and presenting it to visitors as a sustainable and viable tourism attraction is a most suitable vehicle for funding from his point of view.

Minister Griffin, who was accompanied by his party colleague, Cllr. Bobby O'Connell, also pointed out that it is a sign of the strength of community that mass on the Sunday morning is celebrated for passed festival committee members and supporters.

In conclusion, he encouraged the committee to mind its own area, keep doing what it's doing and he promised that he'd look at how the festival could benefit from grants under various headings.

And, like you'd write away for it, right under our gazes, visitors from up-state New York, from throughout the UK and Japan mixed with musicians from all over Ireland as the event gathered momentum.

Incidentally, the New Yorkers, Beverly Kosak and Dan Simmons were here on the recommendation of Killarney Road native, Joe Keane. The diaspora working well in a good cause.

Cormac then introduced Eoin Stan O'Sullivan the just appointed Cork/Kerry/Limerick County Council Musician in Residence.Eoin had already lashed into a session while he was waiting and was aided and abetted in this by PJ Teahan, Kathy Cook, Forbes Robertson, Paddy Jones and Mick Culloty.

Eoin outlined what his role entails and spoke of the vibrancy of the area in his watch over the next twelve months.

We lifted glasses in varying degrees of volume and, invoking our first chairman, Mike Kenny's 'All Sails Aloft' - his favourite saying when things were purring - we left the 2018 festival off down the slipway.

And it sailed merrily on over the weekend and all of us on board and the meeting and sitting down and sipping with old friends from all over the world is the making of it.

On Sunday night at the concert at the River Island Hotel, Timmy O'Connor from Newmarket was joined by his neighbours, Raymond O'Sullivan and his son, Eoin Stan and their mutual friend Jackie Daly for a few lively tunes.

As Jackie put it, a bit of music to bring people to their senses. Timmy was presented with the festival award for his dedication to the music of Sliabh Luachra.

Master of ceremonies, Tim Dennehy then called Peter Browne back to the stage with festival chairman, Cormac O'Mahony for a presentation to mark his retirement from RTÉ and also for his enormous contribution to the festival he founded in 1993.

A delegation of a dozen or more Japanese musicians joined us this year with visitors from all across the UK, America and Holland.

An interesting event came to light in the course of the weekend when Katie and John Howson from Suffolk in the UK revealed that they are planning a celebration of the life and music of Julia Clifford over there in April.

The 'I Looked East and I Looked West' event will be held in Stowmarket from April 26th to 28th and there seemed to be quite a bit of interest from locals in travelling to attend it.

A woman came into Kearney's on Sunday and said that briquettes were only €4 a bale below at Aldi and she was going down to fill the boot of her car with them - 'don't they be all gone on me' she added. And then we started talking about John Sheahan and The Dubliners and The Marino Waltz.

There was no getting away from music in Castleisland last weekend.

Wealth of local history behind annual Castleisland horse fair

There will be a different beat on the street here on Thursday when the centuries old ritual of the November 1st horse fair takes centre stage.

The last of its kind in a town which made its name and reputation from such gatherings, there really is an unavoidable feeling of earthiness from the day. It bursts with atmosphere and it packs the local public houses and restaurants for the day.

A fine day is a real boon to the longevity of the fair as it can survive to close to 5pm if the weather is any way favourable.

A few years ago the day was the worst you could imagine with prolonged, heavy downpours every couple of hours against a backdrop of a cold, sticky old drizzle and it was over by lunchtime.

There have been efforts, over the years, to date the event and most have proved impossible. The one certainty is that it dates from the establishment of the castle here in 1226 because, as a trading post it had everything going for it.

It had water and wood and stone and, as horses were a vital part of any such stronghold, it it fairly certain that trading would have been part of the scene of the day.

Here's hoping for a fine and bountiful day for the town as it's the last big event until Christmas. If you have no business in town that day, do use the bypass as you'll be stuck in traffic for hours otherwise.