With little or no fanfare, ballyhoo or bother, a small committee with a big following donates thousands of Euros each year to local charities.
Flash mob presentations are organised when the pot is full and the collected funds are then distributed accordingly. To date, the committee and its Sunday night, River Island Hotel card playing school has donated close on €50,000 to a long list of worthy charities. The players are drawn from a wide area, from Abbeyfeale in West Limerick to Cullen in North Cork, Tralee, Farranfore, Firies, Kilcummin, Knocknagoshel, Cordal, Scartaglin and Castleisland itself are all represented at the tables.
Handful of Charities
On Sunday night they added another handful of charities to their list and paid out €5,500 in total to the following: Castleisland Day Care Centre got €1,000; Support for Autism – €500; Kingdom Carers – €1,000; Alzheimer’s Society – €1,000; Brú Comumbanus – €1,000 and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin – €1,000.
This particular card school is running since September 1994 and was set up by host, John O’Sullivan at Skevenas Bar as a fundraiser for the Castleisland Coursing Club. The club was about to buy and develop its own grounds just off the Black Road in Tullig at the time.
When that mission was accomplished and the bills paid they decided to keep the school going and turn their financial attentions to local charities. When Skevenas closed its doors in January 2007 the cards went across the street to the Crown Hotel for a while – and the players followed. Eventually, they settled at the River Island Hotel and the players are now, collectively known as The River Island Hotel Card Players.
The ‘charity money’ is raised by means of an admission fee of €7 per player each Sunday night. The weekly gathering attracts an average of 60 to 70 players per night and they come from all corners of Kerry and from well beyond the borders of Cork and Limerick.
Pay out Winnings
From the player’s admission fee the organisers, John Skevena O’Sullivan and John O’Connell, pay out winnings and place prizes of €150 / €75 and several €20 awards for best ladies, best gents and mixed as well as the odd cash spot prize.
Their considered charities are chosen from the local pool or those in which there is a local involvement. There are many charities throughout the locality and beyond which have benefited from their kindness down through the years. Card players are always welcome at the Sunday night gatherings. The games begin at 9pm.
“The card players of the River Island Hotel have contributed close to €50,000 to charities since it began and we would like to thank all our players who helped raise the funds and the management and staff of the hotel for the use of the facilities here over the years,” said organising committee PRO, John O’Connell. ©The Maine Valley Post 2016