Thoughts and Submissions on the Future of a Rural Town

An Ríocht Athletic Club founder member, Joe Walsh put pen to paper with his thoughts on the future of Castleisland. A rural town in which he has invested so much effort, energy and time.                               ©Photograph: John Reidy

Thoughts and submissions on the future development of Castleisland town and hinterland.

By: Joe Walsh

When we consider the future of Castleisland we have to accept that the old order classifying Castleisland solely a market town is not viable, practical or sustainable in the present economic climate.

Struggled for too Long

For too long we have struggled with maintaining it as a market town based on agriculture and commerce as it was in the not too distant past.

Today we see it sliding into a decaying entity and unless there are drastic efforts made to rescue it, the town will linger as a lifeless monument to neglect.

For Castleisland to thrive and capitalise on its existing advantages and amenities a new courageous, daring approach is needed. We need to embrace a new direction.

Decline in Shopping

When we look into the future we see a decline in personal shopping in favour of its online replacement.

Increasingly, Ireland is being identified as a tourist destination. To nurture this concept I submit the following suggestions and thoughts.

Four Hotels Once

(1) Recognise and promote Casteisland as the Gateway to the tourist county of Ireland.

(2) Revive the town as a living centre of population by encouraging the conversion and upgrading of empty and derelict buildings to desirable accommodation and tourist orientated attractions.

(3) Castleisland once had four hotels and various alternative accommodation, it urgently needs increased numbers of quality Hotel and Hostel accommodation to encourage families, back packers and cyclists to use the town as a base for touring Killarney, Tralee, Dingle and The Ring of Kerry.

Music a Major Attraction

(4) There is huge potential in exploring the culture and music of Sliabh Luachra in Castleisland and adjacent villages as a major attraction.

(5) Promote existing facilities: An Ríocht Athletic Club; Crag Cave; The Pitch and Putt Club; Castleisland Members’ Golf Club and walking tours—eg. the River Walk; Glenageenty Walks and, probably a farm tour.

(6) Develop bus tours and some indoor recreation facilities.

A Swimming Pool

(7) It needs a swimming pool of acceptable standards.

(8) There is an urgent need for a strong viable manufacturing or technology business to alleviate unemployment in the area and to breed new life into the commnity.

(9) The Post Office is an integral component for the survival of Castleisland town, it needs

substantial revitalisation with extra business such as banking and loan facilities.

Locate In Town

(10) All new business to be encouraged to locate within the town boundaries as far as possible.

(11) A more equitable approach to rates on business premises in Castleisland is needed.

(12) The business premises known as J.K O’Connor’s needs to be brought to life as it contributes so much to the design and layout of the town.

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