First Quarter Provided a Busy Start to Castleisland’s New Year

The March of Heroes: St. Patrick’s Secondary School team members from left: Evan Brennan, Cathal Brosnan, Cathal McElligott, Jack McElligott, Eoghan Shire and Ruairí Brosnan leading their heroic team-mates in their victory parade from An Ríocht AC along College Road to their school earlier this morning. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Castleisland Chamber Alliance  Chairman, Michael John Kearney predicting a commercially healthy year ahead from early season indications.  ©Photograph: John Reidy

After a very busy Christmas and New Year period, Castleisland returned to more normal patterns of trade, yet somewhat ahead of last year’s levels – according to figures and indicators provided by Castleisland Chamber Alliance.

By: Chamber Alliance Chairman Michael John Kearney

Weekends, in particular, have been busy for various reasons around events which the area has been able to attract because of its strategic location and the excellent facilities that it offers.

The dry weather has also been of great assistance in the increase of outdoor activities.

Sporting events have had a major input to visitor increases to the town in recent weeks.

Special Mention of St. Pats

On a sporting note, special mention has to go to St. Patrick’s Secondary School football team and mentors who became All Ireland Senior Colleges Champions on Saturday in Dr. Cullen Park in Carlow and thereby adding another chapter to the history of the GAA in the town and district.

Kicking off the year was the visit of Monaghan to play Kerry in the second round of the ANFL, which coincided with the newly appointed St. Brigid’s bank holiday weekend.

A large number of northerners stayed in the town to avail of the excellent value on offer at the River Island Hotel and to avoid the uncertainty around availability in Killarney.

The Armagh game brought similar numbers from the spill over from Tralee over-nighting in Castleisland.

Footfall on the Street

On both occasions footfall on the street and the business of the coffee shop, restaurant, delicatessen, fast food and bar outlets was markedly enhanced.

The Kerry Ladies home games, against Donegal, Dublin and most recently the game in Brosna against All Ireland Champions Meath brought a great buzz around also.

We look forward to welcoming Roscommon senior men’s followers on the coming Saturday evening when they play Kerry in Tralee.

Other sporting events have also contributed to the up-lift. The Forestry Rally in February brought a major following again this year.

Ceremonial Rally Start

The Castleisland venue is one of the best in the country for such an event. The razzmatazz surrounding the ceremonial start on Saturday evening and being the first event in the rally calendar year resulted in a high number of participants and followers.

The natural amenities of Mount Eagle and the wide expanses of the mart yard make for well organised and safe event management – and the River Island provides a highly effective location for the rally headquarters.

On another recent weekend there were two big sporting events that went under the radar somewhat, but added great visitor numbers to the area, and again availing of the well-equipped sporting facilities in Castleisland and the adjacent services on the Main Street.

Basketball and Soccer Events

On Saturday and Sunday we had the KAAB finals in the community centre and on Sunday nearby in the all weather facilities of Castleisland Soccer Club we had hundreds of under-age players trying out for the county teams.

Historic and cultural events have also been drivers of activity. Some of the large crowds that attended the Ballyseedy commemorations stopped over on their way to and from the event. The Ivy Leaf has just staged its 35th Kerry Drama Festival over the last week and this followed the outstanding success of the Sliabh Luachra Drama Group run in Scartaglen.

World Fiddle Day in May

The Handed Down Series of lectures and concerts continues strongly and preparations are well in hand for World Fiddle Day in mid May.

But in the very immediate future we look forward to the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and the parade.

The street is beautifully decorated by the organising committee and all we need now and hope for is fine weather – and then Easter beckons.

From a business point of view the full opening of the Primary Care Centre, the NCT Centre and Island Point are all pointing to a large increase in footfall in the area from the second quarter forward.

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