Take a Look Back with John O’Connor’s Film of Castleisland in 1983

A still from the John W.H. O’Connor filmed look at Castleisland on a day in 1983. You can see the film with a click on the image here.

When I find items like this one or when they pop up on Facebook, I say to myself, ‘God bless John O’Connor.’

John WH O’Connor took the time to turn his camera on his native patch here in Castleisland in the early 1980s and he put a pure treasure of material on Youtube a few years back.

There were times when we worked together on events like boxing tournaments with John as commentator and I as camera operator.

Interview with the Sheehy Sisters

I remember we did an interview with the Sheehy sisters, Eily and Julia who had the well known and fondly remembered sweet and grocery shop on Church Street – where the St. Vincent de Paul Shop is now.

Anyway, I was having a look through this feature of the people in town on a particularly busy day in Castleisland in 1983 and trying to put names on as many as I could and in the order in which they appear.

Take no notice of the bumpers type traffic arrangement on the street on the day as it was often away worse that this.

Then it dawned on me that this period of our town’s history was played out all of 38 years ago.

Can You Name The People on the Street ?

In part one there are two girls crossing the street ?. Then there’s Mrs. Kerrisk from St. Patrick’s Secondary School getting out of her car in front of Tom Lawlor’s butcher’s shop and Tom himself is featured later on.

The three men striding down the street are: David ‘Dauber’ Prendiville, Tom ‘The Gurley’ McCarthy probably on boxing club duties and another I can’t place.

Timmy Buckley, Upper Main Street is crossing the street and Tommy Begley’s attention has been caught by something going on out of shot as he cycles down the street.

Some Great Shots of People

Jim Griffin has been captured striding down past Hogan’s Hardware until he too decides to cross the street.

Sonny Tangney and his dog are heading for the railway yard on their walk. There’s a shot of the hording around the soon to be Shoemaker’s Inn as Tralee Road native Jerry Twomey wheels out a barrow of rubble.

There are some great shots of people on the street including: Jackie Hogan of the hardware shop, Noreen Murphy, Tralee Road, Tomo Burke and Fr. Kieran O’Shea.

Fascinating but Sobering

Later in the film you’ll see clips of Dan Lyons saluting the cameraman, Michael ‘Butty’ Sugrue striding manfully across the street, Jackie ‘Mouseen’ McGlynn going into Tangney’s while Helen Leane, Eileen Brennan and former Garda Mick Behan, Gordon Burrows, Grace Hanifin, Jo Kerins, Julia Sheehy, Jimmy Hayes, Maurice Prendiville and his son Tom,  PJ Nolan and many more of all ages are also included.

The Usefulness of Phone Boxes

There are also reminders of how useful the now extremely old fashioned telephone boxes were – not the mention our beloved fountain as a meeting place and as a reliable source of water.

It’s a fascinating, if sobering, look back and more so knowing that so many of those featured are gone from the streets for eternity. 

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