Community news: Castleisland

Castleisland Community College Principal Carmel Kelly (left) and teacher, Anette Steinborn with leaving cert students, David Knurowski and Labhaoise Walmsley, Castleisland, flanked by first year students, Sarah O’Connor and Ruairí Mannix, both from Ballymacelligott, as they prepared to bury the college’s 30th anniversary time capsule on Winter Solstice Day. Photo by John Reidy
Castleisland Community College Principal Carmel Kelly (left) and teacher, Anette Steinborn with leaving cert students, David Knurowski and Labhaoise Walmsley, Castleisland, flanked by first year students, Sarah O’Connor and Ruairí Mannix, both from Ballymacelligott, as they prepared to bury the college’s 30th anniversary time capsule on Winter Solstice Day. Photo by John Reidy

In the final act of its 30th year celebrations, teachers and students at Castleisland Community College also marked the winter solstice by planting a symbolic red oak tree in the grounds of the school.

The end of the calendar year, in which the college celebrated the 30th anniversary of its relocation to its current base, was also marked by the burying of a time capsule.

This final act was performed as the college prepared to close for the Christmas holidays after one of the busiest years in its history.

The time capsule contains items of interest from the college, with the 30th Year Celebration Book taking a central role.

Also included are: an old school bell along with a copy of the current school journal; letters from past and current principals and deputy principal and teachers; and photographs of the first year class of 30 years ago and of the current first year class group.

The capsule also contains some student work and other bits and pieces of interest from the college.

The mid-winter, or yule solstice, have influenced many of the traditions surrounding this time of year.

"Hope is the true meaning of the winter solstice, and the oak has been long considered as a store-house of courage with truth and wisdom embodied within its towering strength," said Principal Carmel Kelly at the planting ceremony.

Indoors, there were photographs to be taken of first year's basket-ballers who won the Kerry ETB title recently and got four of its members on the Kerry team as a result.

There was also the remarkable piece of art in the form of a Christmas card by Agne Arlauskaite. Agne's work was runner-up in the county-wide competition recently.

A gifted musician who plays a string of instruments from saxophone to ukulele and who cites Mozart as one of her great musical heroes, Agne began work on her Christmas card on a background of precise, hand-drawn, staff notation.

And just to show that school can sometimes be a bit of fun, Ballymacelligott student, Ruairi Mannix was a winner in the comedy section of the Kerry ETB competition.

That's quite a talented team in first year to get the next 30 years off to a flying start. Mol an Óige.

There's no letting up either on the 2018 side of the big step-over.

The college is preparing to host a horde of science and technology-curious sixth-class pupils from national schools in the area and from the neighbouring parishes.

Hold your breath for Lip Sync Battle

Last year, Castleisland AFC's running of Lip Sync Battle was one of the most talked-about local events of the year.

A capacity crowd filled Castleisland Community Centre last April as 11 acts battled it out to be crowned Lip Sync champions.

Freddie Mercury's and Shakira Steve wowed the crowd and were crowned winners on the night.

The event raised vital funds for the joint Castleisland AFC and Castleisland Community College. All-Weather Astro Turf Pitch Development.

Castleisland AFC is delighted to announce that a second Lip Sync Battle has been given the go-ahead for this coming March, and an information night is being held upstairs in the River Island Hotel tonight, Wednesday, January 10, at 7.30pm.

"At the moment, there is space for about four more acts to participate, so we are calling on any performers, club members or parents of under-age players to come along to the information evening and put your name forward to take part in the event," said club PRO, Neil O'Sullivan.

"Last year, all 11 acts enjoyed the whole experience from start to finish and this year will be no different.

"This running of Lip Sync Battle will be the final push needed to begin development on the Astro Turf Pitch as we draw closer to the total needed to begin the process.

"The pitch will be a huge benefit to the whole community as it will be available to all clubs to use all year round and it is a badly needed facility in the town.

"Last year we got tremendous support from the local community and businesses so we hope that with their continued support this year the development can get off the ground early in 2018," said Neil.

Ancient means of communication that rings a bell

An ancient means of local news distribution got an airing in a top-of-the-town public house here in Castleisland on New Year's Eve.

A bell, which has been in the possession of several generations of the Conway family by now, rang out loud and clear in 'The Half Barrel' on a special New Year's Eve demonstration.

The impromptu 'bell-men' on this occasion were Michael Conway, Casteisland; and his nephew, Charles Conway, who was spending Christmas with relations here from his home in England.

The bell they used is well over a century old as it was bought in a 'bizzaar' in Caherciveen in 1904.

It was used to highlight all the important news of the day by Michael Conway's late father, Mickey, who carried on the bellman's trade in Castleisland for several generations

Mickey rang that bell and dispatched the news in an inimitable style in Castleisland from the early 1920s almost up to the day he died on September 17th 1957.

Before that, he helped his father, George - the Bellman of Caherciveen. At the age of seven or eight Mickey was working for a local chemist in Caherciveen after school for two shilling a week.

He decided that in order to 'go out on his own' he'd have to buy a bell and he had seen one in a bizaar.

He made a deal with his employer to purchase the bell and he would pay back the favour from his wages each week. The cost of the bell was one pound.

Mickey's mother was not too pleased with the deal as the couple of shilling a week was badly needed.

Mickey learned his trade as he accompanied his father on his rounds in Caherciveen and eventually he became the official bellman after moving to Castleisland - where he married and settled down in Pound Road.

Years later his trade was recalled by his son Charlie during a trip home from his adopted Huddersfield.

Charlie and his brother Michael often took the bell out on jobs around the town when their father was unwell.

"He would go up and down Main Street to advertise for auctioneers, J.K.O'Connor's, Michael P McElligott and Maurice Prendiville. He would stand at Mollie's corner after mass on Sunday morning to advertise a play company coming to stage a show in the Carnegie Hall or a picture show at the cinema. His voice was loud, powerful and distinctive.

He was a much-respected man along with his late wife Hannah. Hannie, as she was known by all, was a great worker in her own right as Mickey suffered from poor health and bad eyesight most of his life and he died at the age of 63," said Charlie during a visit home and a street demonstration of the trade in September 1992.

His son, Michael, and family members still live in Castleisland and are very proud of his place in the history of the town and the legacy he left behind.

He is spoken about today with pride by his family and the New Year's Eve impromptu celebration was the latest manifestation of this.

Talking about Pound Road, I got the following poem from David 'Dauber' Prendiville ages ago. In its course his Abbeyfeale-based niece, Mary Murphy summed up the colourful residents of the of the road and their trials and many tribulations.

Pound Road

There was a place in dear Castleisland,

Pound Road it was its name,

It housed the finest people,

Kind and caring just the same.

There were Murphys, Sullivans and Brosnans, Berminghams and Morans too,

Danahars, Conways and Buckleys and McCarthy to mend your shoe.

There were Dennehys, Griffins and Savages and Prendivilles - who are our kin,

We'll not forget those people for that would be a sin.

There were carpenters, and undertakers, cobblers and a bell-man too,

Fishmongers and horse barbers - none were idle I assure you.

Times were tough back in the 40s to make a bob or two,

No bother to these people - they were smarter that me and you.

One day there came a letter, their little homes would have to go,

They'd be moved to better houses - away from heil and snow.

But their way of life had ended, 'twas the end of an era you see,

They had to leave their little cottages - where they never used a key.

In my home I hung a calendar with their names and history,

I smile and think about them when recession blares from TV,

Those folks survived in harder times but their hearts and minds were free,

They lived each day as best they could with a chat and a mug of tea.

When in your cosy beds at night, will you say a little prayer,

For all who've gone before us, in whose footsteps we will dare,

Their simplicity and their courage an inspiration to us all.

We think of our relations, bould Tom and Sonny Bawn.

Camera club’s first general meeting

Castleisland Camera Club will hold the first of what they plan to become an annual general meeting this week.

The meeting will take place on this Thursday night, January 11, at 7.30pm in the NEWKD office. "New members are very welcome and we would encourage anyone with an interest in photography to come to the meeting and see what we are about," said the club's PRO Breda McGaley.

While much of the club's focus went into its celebrated exhibition and coffee / tea charity day at The Market House last November, its members also went on field trips and held talks in the course of its first year of existence.

That exhibition proved a sell-out success as the work of the members walked out the door and it raised €1,300 for Glebe Lodge Residential Centre.

Furthermore, it put down a marker for the club's start as we mean to go on attitude. Their open invitation to people interested in photography stands for this meeting and for the seasons ahead. We wish them A Snappy New Year.

An Ríocht up and running for Operation Transformation

On Thursday night, close on 100 men, women and children turned out in less than ideal conditions at An Ríocht AC for the opening night of the Track and Tone season.

On the same week, a Let's Get Kerry Walking / Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership drive has joined forces with Sport Ireland and Healthy Ireland for this year's Operation Transformation Walk.

The national event, now in its eighth year, has always had a great turnout with thousands of people donning their walking shoes and getting active.

The Kerry Operation Transformation walk for 2018 will take place on Saturday, January 13, at 11am to coincide with the official RTÉ start-time. This year the walk will be based at the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre and follows an 8km route along the old tow path of the canal. It is suitable for people of all ages.

"Hundreds of Kerry walkers are expected to get involved in what has always been regarded as a fantastic day out," said Córa Carrigg, co-ordinator with Kerry Recreation and Sports Partnership.

"This is the perfect opportunity to shed those holiday cobwebs and to get started on New Year's resolutions. It's a chance to face new challenges in the company of many others. The walk provides an excellent opportunity for everyone to get the year off to an active start,' she said.

Registration opens at 10.30am at the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre.

In Castleisland, the Track and Tone sessions will run each Thursday night at An Ríocht AC at 7pm - €2 per night. Children are welcome once accompanied by an adult.

A Couch-to-5K season will kick in when the Track and Tone sessions run their course and on good time to prepare for the late April and annual 5K and 10k road race.

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