The Night Castleisland Stepped Out !

Anticipation, anxiety, relief and satisfaction are often thrown into the same bowl – one after the other and in that order.

Bank of Ireland, Castleisland manager, Paddy Garvey his fellow event co-ordinator, Denise Mullane and their committee will know the feeling well this morning.

Their creation, Bank of Ireland Enterprise Town Expo was a rip roaring success last night down at the local community centre.
If ever a community centre, anywhere, lived up to its title then Castleisland Community Centre did so yesterday evening and last night.

The ‘Expo’ brought the community out of itself. It cajoled it into wearing its good clothes and stepping out and showing what it’s made of and that made for a great and welcome change.

For, there are people who didn’t know there were so many businesses in the area with so much potential and so much to offer.

There were layers on layers and it will take a while for it all to filter down. That it was an impressive stepping out and yes – a little showing off – was immediately apparent as the stands and the stalls and the products were put out there.

Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Tom Fleming, TD, Michael Healy Rae, TD and Cllr. Danny Healy Rae were all pressing the flesh around the floor and posing with stand minders and stall holders.

There are people who believe that Castleisland is on a roll. The town is after an amazing month of commercial activity in terms of revenue generation. The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival was one of the best in years. This was followed a week later by a restaurant and pub packing horse fair.

There was food on offer at all corners of the massive floor space – I mean serious food – feed the masses kind of food. There was also the tastings kind of treats and they were all taken up by a highly impressed hive of innocent bystanders.

In those increasingly wonderful wildlife documentaries we often see the activities of ants and bees from a human vantage point.

If I was a blackbird last night I would have flown up into the higher boughs of the centre and looked down on the bee-like, ant-like behaviour on the floor of the commercial forest below me.

Looking through the photographs I took last night there’s one that stands out for me. Special guest, Gavin Duffy was a brilliant choice. He was animated on stage and a photographer’s dream up there or around the floor as he chatted, dispensed advice and posed with those who wanted him to.

The organisers knew that their job had been done and done well as the night wore on and the utterances of congratulations, the handshakes and the pats on the back became more frequent.

I’ll confine myself to a handful of photographs to accompany this piece as I’m bound for the centre again this morning for day two.

Because of the context of the event and the reasons for it I think there’s relevance in Gavin Duffy’s ‘Pointing the Way’ photograph.
One man summed it up with praise in a veil when he simply said: “They should hold this again next year,” and then he took another mouthful of the burger he had just been presented with.