Castleisland is Ready for St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017

St. Patrick's Day Preparations 11/03/2017
The hardworking bunting and flag crew on a brief photographic break on Main Street on Saturday evening. Included are front from left: Martin Conway, Ted Kenny and Denny Greaney. Back from left: Charlie Farrelly, Gerry Fagan and Pat Hartnett. ©Photograph: John Reidy

The street has been decorated and the permanent sound system is ready to go for the big event on Friday.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade here is set for the off at 1pm. from its regular blocks on Tralee Road.

It will be led out again this year by the blood stirring strains of the Cullen Pipe Band with the many and varied floats and exhibits trailing behind.

Finishing touches have been put to tractors and vintage vehicles of all kinds for months now and the activity has intensified in recent weeks.

Invitation from Volunteer Committee

The volunteer committee has issued its annual invitation to people in this and surrounding parishes to get out and get involved in the great day.

They were out most of the afternoon on Saturday and up to 8:30pm on Saturday night as they tied patriotically coloured bunting and flags to poles on both sides of Main Street from top to bottom.

Spectators Needed

As always, there is huge room for those who simply wish to participate as spectators and to urge the exhibitionists on with their applause and vocal encouragement.

A bit of luck now on the weather front would be great – as everything else has been taken care of. The committee is grateful to the Kerry County Council Community Support Fund and to Castleisland Chamber Alliance for their financial assistance with the running of the parade. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Aeneas and Helen Leane will be honoured on Friday for their work on the foundations to the success of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Castleisland. ©Photograph:  John Reidy
Aeneas and Helen Leane will be honoured on Friday for their work on the foundations to the success of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Castleisland. ©Photograph: John Reidy

It all Started Back in 1989

There was ne’er a mention of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Castleisland until Aeneas and Helen Leane lobbied for support and mobilised the schools and the clubs for the first time ever in 1989.

It was successful well beyond all imaginings and has continued since.

At the time of going to print, arrangements were being made for Aeneas and Helen to be chauffeured through the town at the head of the parade for the foundation work they did all those years ago. There were only two years that the event didn’t go ahead.

Helen’s Special Birthday

One of these was a misunderstanding between several local groups after the Leanes had retired; the other was the year of the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001.

Helen Hussey-Leane celebrated her 80th birthday just before Christmas and she thanks God daily for the good health He bestows on herself and Aeneas.

Helen was born on December 22-1936 and lived at the top-of-the-town with her parents, Maggie and Mick and her siblings. She had four brothers and one sister.

Community Activist

A community activist who never took no as a satisfactory answer, Helen was instrumental in getting Castleisland’s most famous landmark, The Fountain back into working order in the early 1970s.

The project achieved national notoriety as it was covered by Frank Hall’s Telifís Éireann evening programe, Hall’s Pictorial Weekly.

Frank Hall kept in touch with the Leanes over the years and, in fact, they were invited to his retirement party when he put his final ‘Pictorial Weekly’ to bed in 1986.

Helen’s is a well known face locally as she did the Bingo office for years.

Wonderful Friends and Neighbours

“Castleisland is a great town and we have some wonderful friends and neighbours here and that is so important in life,” said Helen reflecting on her surroundings in the town she loves so well.

Aeneas Leane also celebrated a birthday recently. He was born on January 6th 1931.

While there have been some great people involved in the success of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Castleisland down through the years, it was indeed Helen and Aeneas Leane who got the patriotic feet on the street away back in 1989.


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