A group which gathers weekly to play 31 is loosely known as The River Island Hotel Card Players.
They meet every Sunday night at 9pm and they have been doing so since the mid 1990s.
The group which began this run of Sunday night games has moved house several times since and has survived to raise and hand over thousands of Euros each year to local charities.
Figure of €5,000
They get the hotel facilities free of charge and when they hit the figure of €5,000 they split it five ways and present a welcome bonus of €1,000 each to five Kerry based charities
The presentations are made just before they sit to play on the nominated Sunday night and representatives of the various charities are invited to attend.
To date, the committee and its Sunday night school has donated €70,000 to a long list of worthy charities.
€1,000 Each to Five Charities
Their most recent presentation night they handed out another €5,000 with €1,000 each to the following charities: Jigsaw Kerry; Castleisland Day Care Centre; Kingdom Carers; North Kerry Alzheimers Society and Brú Columbanus.
This particular card school is running since September 1994 and was set up by host, John O’Sullivan at Skevenas Bar as a fundraiser for the Castleisland Coursing Club.
The club was about to buy and develop its own grounds just off the Black Road in Tullig at the time.
When that mission was accomplished and the bills paid they decided to keep the school going and turn their financial attentions to local charities.
When Skevenas closed its doors in January 2007 the cards went across the street to the Crown Hotel for a while – and the players followed. Eventually, they settled at the River Island Hotel.
Pay Out Winnings
The ‘charity money’ is raised by means of an admission fee of €7 per player each Sunday night.
The weekly gathering attracts an average of 60 to 70 players per night and they come from all corners of Kerry and from well beyond the borders of Cork and Limerick.
From the players’ admission fee the organisers, John Skevena O’Sullivan, Donie Cremins and John O’Connell pay out winnings and place prizes of €150 / €75 and several €20 awards for best ladies, best gents and mixed as well as the odd cash spot prize.
Over €70,000 Presented
Their considered charities are chosen from the local pool or those in which there is a local involvement.
There are many charities throughout the locality and beyond which have benefited from their kindness down through the years. Card players are always welcome at the Sunday night gatherings. The games begin at 9pm.
“The card players of the River Island Hotel have now contributed over to €70,000 to charities since it began and we would like to thank all our players who helped raise the funds and the management and staff of the hotel for kindly allowing us the use of the facilities here over the years,” said organising committee PRO, John O’Connell.
Starting All Over
The collecting is now starting all over again and some time later on this year they will invite another set of charities to accept the fruits of their kind gestures.
The River Island Card Players meet every Sunday night at 9pm and new players are always welcome.
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