A Mainly Broad and Embracing Welcome for the Post Lock-Down Castleisland

Locals, Teresa Foran (left) and Grace O’Connor trying out one of the sheltered dining areas on Castleisland’s Main Street on Thursday. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Mary and Dan Healy from Rathmore visited Castleisland on Thursday and called to The Green Door Restaurant’s new outdoor dining space. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Approaching lunchtime at The Country Market and the new outdoor dining area is finding favour with locals and visitors. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Not only was the old back-to-the-wall seat, or ‘John Coffey’s Seat’ as it was known locally, replaced but it is now accompanied by two of these well anchored street shelters. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Castleisland / Corca Dhuibhne Municipal District Council members, Cllr. Charlie Farrelly and Cllr. Jackie Healy Rae both welcomed what we’re all hoping is now a post Covid / post lock-down Castleisland.

Even Thursday morning’s partial, solar eclipse couldn’t shroud local enthusiasm as people took up the outdoor seating options made available over the past couple of days since this bright new era began on bank holiday Monday.

Councillors’ Impressions

“It’s great to see the town responding as it has this week after the lifting of restrictions and it’s good to see how people are taking to the outdoor seating being put in place still this week by the municipal district team.

“We’re all hoping for a long extension to the summer season so that both businesses and customers can avail of the street-side facilities.

“We’re actually seeing people from neighbouring towns and villages coming to town and enjoying the new freedoms and the new facilities on the street here,” said Cllr. Farrelly.

Cllr. Jackie Healy Rae complimented the MD team in Castleisland for its work in creating the new outdoor spaces for businesses in the town.

“It’s fantastic to see the new spaces that have been developed in the town on such a short space of time especially outside places like The Country Market and The Green Door. 

Seating Pods – A Welcome Addition

“Kerry County Council installed a number of seating pods around the town which I believe will also be a welcome addition. 

“I want to thank sincerely our municipal district management team and, most importantly, the workers on the ground who have made this possible.

“Huge praise must also go to Castleisland Chamber Alliance who were the driving force behind this development in conjunction with the council,” said a well pleased Cllr. Healy Rae.

In Other Street News

There was a kind of controlled blue murder here a few weeks ago – a pale blue murder really – at the removal of the cosiest looking, shadiest seat in the valley.

The old seat in the alcove in front of Mitchell’s former joinery shop and known locally as ‘John Coffey’s Seat’  was removed as part of the street furniture renewal scheme which has been going on for the past couple of  months in various parts of the town.

New Seat and Pods for Company

Now, not only is the bigger and better seat back in place of the old one but, in that same alcove, there are two of these new seating pods to keep it company and the Daly’s Fish sign, which was threatening to slide down along the wall, has been removed from its sheltered cove.

So, all seems to be well in this post Covid / post lock-down Castleisland.

So engaged were the diners on Thursday that nobody even mentioned the partial solar eclipse as they took their street side seats and ate and drank away as if it was an everyday occurrence here.

Session Starved Musicians

I couldn’t help wondering if anyone thought of inviting a few session starved musicians to sit in safely among the diners to add their colour to the streets.

Their presence would set this area of the famed and precious Sliabh Luachra apart in the new dining and imbibing culture now sweeping the valley and beyond.

It’s All so Lovely and New

It’s all so new to this area that it’s lovely and it’s probably the most welcome development in the area for years – not to mind the lifting change of atmosphere and mindset that ushered it in. It would lift your spirits to see it eventually happening on the streets of the town.

Fair play to Kerry County Council the MD and its ally, Castleisland Chamber Alliance for their parts in this new reality. Long may it last.

Still a Few Tears to Shed

However, just as this piece was about to go down the slipway, I got a call from Cllr. Charlie Farrelly which reminded me that this valley still has a few tears to shed.

Cllr. Farrelly said that he has had some local people ringing him to give out about the loss of parking spaces on the streets due to the new outdoor dining slots and shelter pods. “For their own reasons,” he said, “they feel that the loss of these spaces will do more harm that good to the town in the long run.” 

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