Joe Walsh’s Observations and Raymond’s Response from the USA

Raymond and Miriam Raedy during their visit  to Castleisland from their home in the USA last August. ©Photograph: John Reidy

On November 2nd last, local businessman Joe Walsh sent in a list of observations on how Castleisland is doing business-wise at present – and perhaps, how it could and should be doing.

Joe made a list of suggestions that he feels would bring the town out of the dip it, and many others like it, feel in the current climate. You can read Joe’s original piece below.

Response from the USA

In the meantime, Raymond Raedy who visited Castleisland with his wife Miriam from their home in the USA in August, read Joe’s article with great interest and he submitted one from the viewpoint of the visitor.

There’s a story in the spelling of Raymond’s surname in itself – but we’ll stay on track for now.

The following is Raymond’s article and, below you can see what Joe Walsh wrote earlier this month.

I read with interest the following article by Joe Walsh and wanted to add a couple of thoughts to his comments as it relates to tourism.

The comment on lack of hotels rings true. I started looking for a place to stay last December.

We had initially tried to get into the River Island Hotel but with no success.

Looking for a Lift

We wanted a hotel with a lift because of Miriam’s inability to climb more than five or six steps that one finds at most B&Bs.

In looking for B&Bs in the area, most did not have rooms on the first floor or if they did, they were booked for the dates we planned to be in town.

Fortunately, Breda O’Sullivan (Tailor’s Lodge) had a first floor room available, otherwise we would have had to stay somewhere out of town.

Third Party Websites

Many B&Bs use a third party website – which I can understand – but it just does not always work well because of broken links. The websites that promote Irish tourism needs to be upgraded to make it easier to book a room.

I believe if there were a couple of more hotel properties, there would be more visitors.

The second thing that surprised us is one can not go to a pub and get a meal, or a restaurant and get a drink.

Sunday Lunch Only

Con’s Bar does not serve lunch except on Sunday and O’Riada’s seems to open for dinner.

I was amused when we went to a restaurant on the same side of the street as Jackie Reidy’s and found that to get a pint, the waitress had to go up the street to a pub for the beer.

Why can’t both type’s of entities serve meals and drinks if they desire. Is there an ordinance that prohibits this or is there just not enough business to make it profitable?

Why Aggravate Tourists

If it is an ordinance issue, my questions is – why aggravate the tourists you want to visit the town because they will spend money and boost the local economy.

Just a couple of thoughts from American ‘cousins,’ – Raymond

Thoughts and Submissions on the Future Development of Castleisland Town and Hinterland.

Joe Walsh. His observations on the current state of Castleisland drew a response from the USA. ©Photograph: John Reidy

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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