Medieval Castleisland – Never Far Away

Tom McCarthy's Bar Find 9-2-2018
Castleisland publican, Tom McCarthy, The Central Bar with the medeival window part use as a piece of masonry in the old kitchen. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Castleisland’s medieval past is never more than a coat of plaster or a screed of concrete away.

It is there, lurking and waiting to be discovered. There is an appropriateness about such a discovery at Tom McCarthy’s Bar recently.

Castle of the Island Society

Tom is involved in the Castle of the Island Society and this is most certainly the year for that.

Rob McGuire revealed to the nation on Nationwide on Wednesday evening that Castleisland would have a right old bash for the launch of his video documentary on the castle and its medieval origins.

There will be battle reenactments and the sight and sound of flashing and clashing steel – which would have provided the backdrop and soundtrack to life in and around the castle in its heyday.

A close up of the 'find' at Tom McCarthy's Central Bar with a rawlplug through it from previous work. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Stone-age, single glazing: A close up of the ‘find’ at Tom McCarthy’s Central Bar with a rawlplug through it from previous work. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Two Screenings

All that will happen on April 20th and 21st and also the video documentary is down for two screenings at the River Island Hotel.

Anyone with a bit or a streak of medieval blood or breeding will be urged to get involved in an innocent bystander kind of role and far away from blades and all things dangerously pointy.

Basket making in medieval dress at the 2017 Fairy Festival in Kilflynn. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Basket making in medieval dress at the 2017 Fairy Festival in Kilflynn. This type of activity would fit in nicely on the fringes of the fighting in Castleisland. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Back to Tom’s

Back to Tom McCarthy: while stripping old plaster from a wall at the rear of the pub recently, Tom revealed a piece of proof of the town’s historically interesting past.

A piece of a medieval stone window ‘revealed’ itself bedded in the wall and treated as part of the masonry at the time the wall was built over a century and a half ago.

History of the House

Tom explained the find and added the history of the house as a bonus.

“The discovery of a section of carved ‘ogee headed window detail’ buried in the original kitchen of what was once was the Chute Arms Hotel was a great surprise, considering the week that was in it, with the launch of The Castle of the Island Society’s documentary on the Desmond Castle.

Not the First Find

“It isn’t the first stone with details of previous use to be found in Tom McCarthy’s Bar from the castle. There was also one uncovered that had a groove for a door hinge.

The bar, which was built by a Swiss man, named John A. Bonguelmi, in 1875 used the local castle ruins as a source of pre-quarried limestone.

Interesting Times

“Unfortunately for the history of the great structure, most of the houses and shops in the area used the vast amount of stone lying to waste on Killarney Road to build today’s houses,” said Tom.

Interesting times before us. Interesting times behind us.

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