Castleisland Co-Op Mart Goes back to Its Roots with New Appointments

New management team: Castleisland Co-Op Mart’s newly appointed manager, Nelius McAuliffe (left) and newly appointed chairman, Timmy Horan pictured on part of the mart’s extensive network of catwalks which they intend to bring back to life over the coming months. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Safety prioritised as early arrivals at a pre-Covid show and sale view the animals from the catwalks at Castleisland Co-Op Mart. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Ahead of their Time: Castleisland Co-Op Livestock Mart Chairman, Johnnie Roche (seated) pictured with Manager Richard Harnett watching a dry run of the new Satellite Selling System in the mart office in 1994. ©Photograph: John Reidy 9-9-1994
This is how The Kerryman told its readers of the long awaited opening of Castleisland Co-Op Livestock Mart in its September 17th 1960 issue.

Castleisland Co-Op Mart has gone back to its roots with the recent appointments of a new chairman and an equally new manager.

The chosen chairman, Timmy Horan is son of the man who steered the original committee through its formative years at the close of the 1950s.

The just appointed manager, Nelius McAuliffe has almost a three and a half decade association with the business since he joined the staff here in 1988 under committee members Johnnie Roche and the late Jed O’Connor and the management of Richard Harnett.

Business and Profits Grow

In 2005 Nelius took up the management post with Dingle Co-Op Mart and it has seen its business, throughput and profits grow under his guidance.

This prompted the committee of the Castleisland mart to invite their former employee back to take up the management position.

Nelius decided to take up the offer and he’s now managing both marts over the past few months and it’s all going well.

Marts Working Together

Castleisland mart operates sales on Mondays and Wednesdays and Dingle is on Saturdays.

I know it’s a lot of work to take on but I can see so many ways in which the marts are already working together and that can only be good for both the farmers and the buyers.

We’re finding that we can fill demand by having both marts co-operating. We’ve seen buyers filling their needs between the sales in Dingle on a Saturday and in Castleisland on a Monday.

Best Prices for Farmers

Both are co-op marts and both are owned by and represent farmers and I see my job as getting the best prices I can for the farmers who come to the marts.

I’ve built up a lot of contacts through my years in the business and this is a very important part of the trade of a mart and I see it as the best way of bringing the business here back to where it was in its heyday and where it can be again.

We’re very lucky in that we have great office and yard staff in both Castleisland and Dingle. We have people who know the business and the people we serve – and that’s important,” Nelius emphasised.

First Meeting in 1957

When the late Dave Geaney organised the first meeting to discuss the formation of a livestock mart in Castleisland in the late 1950s, Neily Horan was asked to chair it.

Surviving member of that group, Johnnie Roche recalls that a committee was formed that night at the then technical school on College Road in November 1957, and that Neily Horan became its first chairman.

Opening Sale in September 1960

Neily brought the project from a greenfield site to its opening sale in September 1960 and only recently his son Timmy was elected chairman of the mart committee, completing the circle more than sixty years later,” said Johnnie.

Timmy’s election to the position of chairman coincides with the appointment of another local man and Cordal native, Nelius McAuliffe as mart manager.

Resurgence in Mart Business

The good news is that the new duo can report a spectacular resurgence in mart business since Nelius took control, with sales beginning to look like the Castleisland Mart of old,” said Johnnie of the revival.

The most recent Wednesday sale had in excess of a 1,000 cattle on offer, and cleared at near record prices.

All sections of the premises were again being utilised and online selling is now a regular and important aspect of the sale.

Finest Mart Premises in Ireland

Timmy Horan feels honoured and grateful to the committee which has entrusted him with the position of chairman.

He will endeavour to successfully continue the work started by his father and all the members of the first committee more than sixty years ago.

It’s a pleasure to work with Nelius McAuliffe and to watch the commitment and gigantic effort he’s putting into making Castleisland mart a leading sales yard for the livestock of the surrounding area,” Timmy said.

We have one of the finest mart premises in Ireland, with facilities unsurpassed and located in a most advantageous position which is also of benefit to the businesses of Castleisland town.”

Online Selling Here to Stay

Online selling is going to be a strong feature of the business into the future as a new generation of buyers and farmers become more computer savvy,” Timmy observed.

This was something Castleisland Mart led the way in and tried to promote, nearly thirty years ago, but the industry wasn’t ready for what was known as Satellite Selling then, but now we feel it’s here to stay.

We intend to facilitate it in every way possible and we see it as our job to provide the facilities, infrastructure and organisation to give livestock producers the opportunity to present their stock for sale to the buyers – who must likewise be facilitated.

Sales of a Traditional Kind

With a huge network of overhead, spacious and well aired catwalks – now on a one-way system – overlooking the cattle pens and sanitising stations placed throughout, safety and social distancing are built in for when sales of the more traditional kind return.

It’s not brain surgery and we feel we are well equipped to provide this service to all who need it,”

We welcome feed-back and suggestions from customers as to how we can improve the service we provide, or any grievance they may have that would escape our notice,” said Timmy.

Contacts for Castleisland Co-Op Mart are: Tel: 066 71 41247 / Email:  


You can contact The Maine Valley Post on…Anyone in The Maine Valley Post catchment area who would like to send us news and captioned photographs for inclusion can send them to: Queries about advertising and any other matters regarding The Maine Valley Post can also be sent to that address or just ring: 087 23 59 467.