Castleisland Castle Conservation Management Update for Minister and Mayor

Minister for Education, Norma Foley, TD pictured on the Castleisland Castle site during her recent visit. With Minister Foley on the occasion were: Marie O’Sullivan, project spokesperson; Bill Keane, Clarkbond Structural Engineers, London; Cllr. Fionnán Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach of the Castleisland Corca Dhuibhne Municipal District; Rob McGuire, Castle of the Island Society founder; Robert Greer, masonry expert; Mary O’Connell, MOC Architects, Killarney and Tom McCarthy, Castle of the Island Society secretary. ©Photograph: John Reidy

There was another full day of action on the site of Castleisland Castle with the return of native, Bill Keane, Clarkbond, London and members of the team who are compiling a conservation management report on the site.

It was a case of lights, set, action at 8am with the arrival of a cherry picker to facilitate inspection of the upper levels of the south-west turret.

Bill was first to ascend. After a structural engineering inspection, which lasted approximately 1.5 hours.

Centuries Old Masonry

Robert Greer, a specialist masonry expert who has worked on seven UNESCO world Heritage sites, ventured upward in the ‘picker’ to take a closer look at the centuries old masonry.

Robert’s involvement in the project ensures a direct link to the past, as he has worked on the Tower of London, where Gerald the 16 th and last Earl of Desmond, was imprisoned for six years together with his brother John.

Next on site was conservation architect Mary O’Connell, MOC Architects, Killarney. She also braved the heights to inspect the upper levels of the turret.

Updating the Minister

The team took a planned break to run through the inspections and update Minister for Education, Norma Foley, when she visited the site, together with Mayor of the Castleisland / Corca Dhuibhne Municipal District, Cllr. Fionnan Fitzgerald.

Both were introduced to the team by Marie O’Sullivan, who has become the project’s unofficial PR guru.

Following this, they were given a brief tour of the site and commentary on the project to-date by Robert McGuire, who is spearheading the project on behalf of The Castle of the Island Society.

Minister and Mayor Impressed

Minister Foley and Mayor Fitzgerald were incredibly impressed with the project to-date.

They were similarly impressed with Rob’s research and his recent publication The Castle of the Island – A Journey Through Time, copies of which are available to purchase at a variety of local outlets.

It is priced at €5 and all proceeds are going to The Castle of the Island Society – the members of which have pledged to donate free copies of the brochure to all the schools in the town.

Dawn and Dusk Bat Surveys

Both minister and mayor have promised their complete support for the project, as did Cathoirleach Seanad Éireann, Senator Mark Daly, when he visited the site on August 9th this year.

Also on site on the day were Ruth and Jim Minogue, Minogue Environmental Services, Tuamgreany, County Clare, although they were in the main working to a differing time-frame, conducting dawn and dusk bat surveys.

Tús Maith, Leath Na hOibre

Unfortunately, the remaining team member county Archaeologist, Dr Michael Connolly, was on annual leave and could not join the rest of the team on site on the day.

All in all the day proved most profitable in terms of the project, as it gave the various consultants an opportunity for a team meeting, at which they could share their ideas and expertise. It certainly was a case of tús maith, leath na hoibre!

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