Community news: Castleisland

Castleisland Community College teacher, Cáit McEllistrem with her National Garda Youth Achievement Safety Award winning students, from left: Eamon Nolan, Kevin Lenihan and James McDonnell with the spoils of their achievements. Photo by John Reidy
Castleisland Community College teacher, Cáit McEllistrem with her National Garda Youth Achievement Safety Award winning students, from left: Eamon Nolan, Kevin Lenihan and James McDonnell with the spoils of their achievements. Photo by John Reidy

Kevin Lenihan, Eamon Nolan and James McDonnell from Casteisland Community College were proud recipients of a National Garda Youth Achievement Safety Award last week.

The award was presented to them at a ceremony in Portloaise.

As part of their Leaving Cert Agricultural Science Project the three students were conscious of the many dangers present on farms.

When they heard about the tragic news of Nevan Spence, an Ulster rugby player who tragically died from a slurry related incident, they decided they would get involved to try and help develop an idea around slurry safety.

Castleisland is well known as a farming community and they wanted to get involved to try and make a difference in the area.

The students, encouraged and tutored by their teacher, Cáit McEllistrem, entered their idea in the ESB Network National Farm Safety challenge as they wanted to raise awareness and make farms a safer place for all.

They focused their project on the dangers present when working with slurry.

Slurry is extremely dangerous on farms in terms of illnesses or near-death experiences caused from toxic pit gasses.

Their aim was to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities caused by slurry as 10% of all deaths are related to slurry pits.

The three students brainstormed and came up with two safety alarm ideas. Firstly, an alarm containing sensors that identify high levels of methane and hydrogen sulphide gases which would be located roughly one foot above the area in which the agitation occurs.

This will be connected to an alarm which can be put in the farmer's house. The alarm will ring when high levels of toxic gases are detected outside the slurry pit. This will in turn alert the farmer, letting them know that no adults, children or animals should be near the area in which agitation is occurring.

Secondly, they are promoting the use of a motion sensor alarm at the gate into the slurry pit so if any object or person passes through it, the alarm in the house will sound, letting you know if someone or something has gone into the pit.

Finally, they also have come up with the idea to paint the area around the slurry pit opening in red, this would act as a visual sign for danger, for younger children especially.

They have presented their project to students in their school, visited farms to discuss their idea with farmers and promoted their project on the school's Facebook page.

"The farmers they encountered as part of the promotion of their ideas, remarked on the maturity and sense of responsibility shown by the three students," said Ms. McEllistrem.

"They made such an impression on the judges of the competition that they were chosen as one of the top four schools in Ireland and made it to the national finals.

"Their determination and commitment in making farms a safer place deems them worthy winners of this National Garda Safety Award.

"In addition, Kevin, Eamon and James have also received two other national awards with Castleisland Community College. They also won the Water Explorer Competition as Transition Year students; the Eco Unesco as fiifth years and, a regional Tidy Town Youth Award.

"These students have shown outstanding qualities under the guidance of their teachers and are role models, inspiring the younger students in Castleisland Community College," Ms. McEllistrem concluded.


Kingdom Veteran Vintage & Classic Car Club celebrates 40th

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Kingdom Veteran Vintage & Classic Car Club.

On Saturday morning May 18th the club members will sign in between 9am-11am and at 11:30 am the first cars will head off on the 2019 Ring of Kerry Run from The Gleneagle Hotel.

This year the members will stay in the Derrynane hotel after starting their run in Killarney.

Ahern's Garage and Garvey's SuperValu are involved with the club as sponsors this year. The late Mick Ahern was a member from the early 1980.

This year's run will finish on Sunday 19th and will take in a stop on the way home in Kilgarvan as guests of the Roughty Valley Vintage Club.

The club raises money for charity at some of their events and last year it raised over €3,000.

The Kingdom Veteran Vintage & Classic Car Club was formed by Tom Twohill and P. J. O' Riordan in September 1979 after its first outing in the Rose of Tralee Run in August 1979.

P. J. O Riordan was chairman of the club for over 20 year and is now president. His grandson David O'Mahony is club PRO and youngest member.

The first official run was held on Sunday October 28, 1979 some of those who took part were: John Mitchell, Joan Mitchell, Lucey Breen, Francie Cantillon, Myles Foley, John Gill, Mick Ahern, John Naughton, Des Walsh and Garrett and Chris Foley.

The first first Ring of Kerry run took place the following year in 1980 and has been on every year since then even during the Foot and Mouth outbreak of 2001 when then chairman Fintan Foley and secretary Mike O'Connor and their committee did an outstanding job in running the event against the odds and with permission from the Department of Agriculture.

Disinfectant mats were supplied at the start of the event in The Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney for the event.

The club now has a membership of 200 and many of the members own more than one car.

The club is going from strength to strength and the membership is looking forward to the next 40 years.


Holstein Friesian Breeders Club show

The Kerry Holstein Friesian Breeders Club held its 44th annual show and sale at Gortatlea Mart, Ballymacelligott recently.

Weather conditions greatly facilitated the enjoyment of the day and the use of the spacious grounds for showing, judging and the presentation of prizes.

The Harty and Goulding families from Ballyheigue and Moyvane, respectively, are never far from the winners' enclosure on these occasions.

And so it proved this time round with Maurice Harty's Class 1 winning bull, Ballylongane Andrew 6 taking the Kerry Agri Business Cup.

Maurice's brother Kieran Harty, won Class 2 with his bull Ocean Madam Flame and was presented with the Dairymaster Cup by Noel Scanlon.

While John Goulding's winners, Kealoid Centurian and Moyvane Marty were also decorated with the much sought after rosettes.

The show judge was Mike Maunsell and the auctioneer was Noel Corcoran.

The Kerry Holstein Friesian Breeders Club holds a wide range of events throughout the year including: discussions and lectures; junior and senior stock judging, herds competitions; day tours and foreign tours.

Along with the promotion of the Holstein Friesian Breed in Kerry, the club's immediate priorities include the promotion of milk recording, grading up to pedigree status and type classification of pedigree cows.


Double All-Ireland win for Pres

Presentation Castleisland scooped the top prize in the Intermediate Category at the Student Enterprise National Final in Croke Park on May 3.

Kelly-Anne Nix and Katelyn Curtin took first place ahead of 22 other county champions to claim the top prize in their category with their enterprise Crios Mhadra.

Crios Mhadra is a three-point car safety harness for dogs.

Also, on the day, Presentation Castleisland's second entry at the national final, 'Eary Fix' comprising of Katie Walshe, Emma Keane and Ciara Cahill, with their dual-purpose 3D printed ear piece for tradespeople, took the National Intellectual Property (IP) Awareness Award in the junior category.

For the second consecutive year, Pres Castleisland has won first prize at the national final.

Last year, 'Complete Cáman' won first place in the Junior Category along with the IP Awareness Award.

This year, 'Crios Mhadra' won 1st Place in the Intermediate Category, with Eary Fix taking home the IP Awareness Award in the Junior Category.

"To have two groups, of the three that went to Croke Park from Kerry, from the one school, is a massive achievement," said their teacher, Pierce Dargan.

"Reaching the national final meant the girls were in the top 1% of student entrepreneurs in Ireland this year.

"Over 22,000 second level students entered and only 222 students made it to Croke Park as part of 78 teams on show. This is a phenomenal achievement for a school to win back-to-back All-Ireland titles," said Mr Dargan.


Let’s support sustainability

As part of Castleisland Tidy Town's Sustainability Plan, the local pharmacies and opticians have agreed to host a box to collect unused spectacles.

These will be forwarded through the Lions Club to the Third World as part of their Recycle for Sight Campaign.

Pharmacies and opticians taking part are: Crowley's Pharmacy; Galvin's Optometrists; Kennelly's Pharmacy; Lynch's Pharmacy and Shanahan's Haven Pharmacy.

The second part of this initiative is the collection of old phones and ink cartridges. These can be handed into Castleisland Computers and Phones, Lower Main Street. The phones will be sent to Crumlin's Children's hospital where they can send the phones for recycling and receive a small donation. The ink cartridges will be sent for recycling.

"We are asking everyone to switch off an electrical appliance every Tuesday between 7-8pm. ESB Networks will gather the data showing the drop in electricity consumption compared to other evenings during the same time," John Keane Castleisland Tidy Towns Chairman. "We can convert the savings to carbon credits, showing we are doing our bit for the environment."


Mary’s memorial walk raised over €13k for two local worthy charities

Management and staff of the Castleisland branch of Garvey's SuperValu put out a call last February for support for a walk they had planned for early March.

The event was being planned in memory of a valued and departed member of staff.

Mary Buckley-O'Keeffe worked in the Castleisland store up to the time she lost her battle for life in late 2018.

"Mary was a friend and a really valued member of the staff here and we thought that if everything worked out well we could, maybe get to a €10,000 total with our fundraiser," said branch manager Séamus O'Connor.

"The awful forecast for the morning of the walk made us downplay our estimate and we thought we'd make the €8,000 mark. We were wrong.

"We underestimated the determination of the staff here and of the people of Castleisland and its neighbouring areas who turned out in an inspirational show of support on one of the worst morning you could imagine.

"The staff here were unbelievable the way the gave up their time off to get behind the effort. Mike Foley organised a head-shave and took part himself.

"And here we are this morning with a cheque for €13,300 to split between two deserving charities doing great work in Kerry.

"We're delighted to be able to do this in honour and memory of our friendship with Mary and her husband Brendan and the girls, Emma and Chloe and we're delighted they played such an active part in the fundraising," said Séamus in conclusion.