Street Party – Friday Delivered Everything Saturday Didn’t

In the heel of the hunt it was a billboard advertisement with a beaming, Coke filled Santa which summed it all up for me.
Just as the last blast of the fireworks display was exploding over Tralee Road, my eye fell on the advert and the smiling man-of-the-moment. It dawned on me too that, at least, there’s a shred of commendation – abstract as it may be – written there somewhere for those who went to the trouble of organising the street party on Friday evening and into night.
And it was trouble this year as the notorious Saturday evening a couple of weeks ago challenged and forbid any sane christian to stand on the street of almost any town anywhere in the country.

Give a Little Happiness
‘Give a little Happiness’ the text on the advert proclaimed for anyone who wished to see it and that’s just what the new Castleisland Chamber Alliance did on this occasion.
In the shadow of their first date postponement, they took their courage in their hands and went for the one chink of an opening on Friday evening.
A benign if cold Friday evening delivered everything the previous Saturday promised but couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t anyway.
Children, and those who remember the feeling, got well into the spirit of the event as a variety of entertainment acts stepped on and off the stage in front of the River Island Hotel. In essence it was a variety show – I suppose. The official business of the evening was conducted by Monsignor Dan O’Riordan who blessed the Christmas Crib at The Fountain and by Chamber chairperson, Patricia Walsh, Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Mayor Bobby O’Connell when they switched the lights on – officially.
Castleisland Community College student, Grace McCarthy will be able to tell her grand-children she sang at the first public event organised by the Castleisland Chamber Alliance.

Charismatic Leader
I don’t know when the word ‘Zumba’ first entered our vocabulary here but its firmly embedded now. Its participants, under charismatic leader, Linda Flanagan always seem to enjoy every minute of what they do and they bring energy and life to where ever they decided to dance.
Funerals now are about the only Zumba-free-zones left in Castleisland and don’t be surprised if that line is breached too.
The event was very well supported by people from the neighbouring villages – without whom the economy of the town would be far less sustainable.
When the night and the list of events ran their course and it was all over and the stages and the barriers were being dismantled, Charlie Farrelly quipped: “That’s only a teaser – there’s a lot more to come.”


Under difficult circumstances the Castleisland Chamber Alliance did pull this almost weather doomed event out of the fire and let’s all wish them the best for the ‘more to come’ as Charlie Farrelly put it.

As I made my way away from the epicentre of the activity a woman asked me why do people up on the stages turn up the loudspeakers so much. I told her I didn’t know. I suppose she had a point. But I held my tongue and Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and ‘There’s Always One’ popped up on my inner screen. I kept walking and left it at that and still felt it was a job well done and they did, after all Give a Little Happiness.