At the height of its ‘market town’ reign Castleisland was up there with the best in Munster in terms of marketable goods and its fair days were truly legendary.
And legendary to the extent that the schools in the vicinity of the town were closed on the monthly cattle fair days to cater for the little regard people had for health and safety at that time.
Christmas Could be Mentioned
The fair and the fair day which managed to linger longest on Castleisland’s calendar of events – apart from the great, lingering, surviving November 1st horse fair, was the turkey fair or market on the holy-day of December 8th.
That was the day on which Christmas could be mentioned with safety. It was a day on which the advice of experts was sought and tipped in the purchase of the centre-piece of the Christmas dinner.
Locals will note, in the RTÉ film from Castleisland turkey and goose market from 1964, that Steve Corkery makes several appearances in the course of the scene.
Going Beyond the Feathers
In one clip he takes a turkey in hand and goes beyond the feathers to feel the health of the breast of the bird before handing it back to the potential buyer.
Steve ‘Steveen’ was a well known and respected judge of both pigs and poultry and he kept as many pigs as he could on his cottage acre and small piggery on Tralee Road.
I was one of his drovers for a few years and he was as decent a man as a young fella could meet. But woe betide you if you left his cluster of pigs scatter or stray from his usual post at Dave Geaney’s Corner.
He was our original man for all seasons. He went to the races, to the dogs – track and coursing, field days, pattern days, fair days, Steve was there and he carried on his bike repair business from a tiny space at The Back of the Forge.
I meant to include this yesterday to mark December 8th 2021 but was blown off course.
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