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Castleisland - Kerry - Main St

circa 1905

The Black and Tans and repulican forces were active in Castleisland during the Irish War of Independence in the 1920s. On 9 May 1921, two Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) men were shot by republicans outside Castleisland Parish Church, one of the men died. On 10 July in the same year, five republicans and four British soldiers were killed during a gunfight in the town.

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Photo Details

  • County: Kerry
  • Town: Castleisland
  • Scene: Main St
  • Date: circa 1910

Specification

  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper
  • Also available mounted & framed
  • Colour images can be printed in black & white if preferred.
  • Read about Castleisland below

Castleisland

Castleisland (Oileán Chiarraí in Irish) (pronounced Castle-island) is a busy market town and commercial centre in county Kerry in southwest Ireland. The town is renowned for the width of its main street — the second widest in Ireland and second only to the famous O'Connell Street in the capital city, Dublin. Castleisland has a population of 2162 (CSO census 2002)

History

Castleisland was the centre of Desmond power in Kerry. The town got its name; Castle of the Island of Kerry from a castle built in 1226 by Geoffrey Maurice (or de Marisco), who was the Lord Justice of Ireland during the reign of King Henry III. The island was created by turning the waters of the River Maine into a moat around the castle.

Sometime in the 120 years after its construction the castle was taken by the forces of the Earl of Desmond. It is known that in 1345 the castle was being held for the Earl of Desmond by Sir Eustace de la Poer and other knights when it was captured by Sir Ralph Ufford, Lord Justice of Ireland. Sir Eustace and the other knights were captured and executed. Little is known of the further history of the castle, few ruins are left of it today. The main ruin is de Marisco tower, located behind some private houses at the western end of the town, on the Killarney Road.

The Black and Tans and repulican forces were active in Castleisland during the Irish War of Independence in the 1920s. On 9 May 1921, two Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) men were shot by republicans outside Castleisland Parish Church, one of the men died. On 10 July in the same year, fiverepublicans and four British soldiers were killed during a gunfight in the town.

The gothic styled Church of St. Stephen and St. John was designed by Augustus Pugin, who was also involved in the design for the Houses of Parliament in London after the original Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1852.

The Carnegie Trust Library Building which was designed by R.M. Butler in 1920 was located at the eastern end of Castleisland's main street wand burned to the ground in the same year. It was subsequently rebuilt on the same site and still functions as the town library.

Geography

Castleisland is often considered the Gateway to Kerry, as the main road to all towns in Western and Southern Kerry passes through here - the N21 from Limerick continues on to Tralee while the N22 goes to Killarney and other towns in Southern Kerry. The Glenaruddy mountains to the north and the Stacks to the west define the beginning of the 'Vale of Tralee', at the mouth of which Castleisland is situated. Most of the land around Castleisland is pasture for dairy stock, with bogland located at various locations around the town, particularly to the east and south.

Town

Castleisland was described by one of its most famous citizens, Con Houlihan, as 'Not so much a town as a street between two fields'. This is an apt description, as Castleisland contains the second widest street in Ireland (after O'Connell St in Dublin) on which most of its shops and pubs are located.

Tourism in Castleisland

Crag Cave opened in 1989 and is one of the most extensive cave system in the Republic of Ireland opened to the public. It runs for 3.8 km under the town starting at Glounsharoon and ends on the far side of the town on the Killarney road, though not all of this is open to the public. The caves are a very recent discovery, discovered in 1983. They were developed as showcaves by locals, Dr. Donal and Mrs Margaret Geaney, under whose land the caves were first discovered. The cave attracts thousands of visitors every year. The tourists are given a guided tour of the cave which takes a half an hour. They are taken underground and through 400 metres of the cave, they are told the history of the Crag Cave and how the caves have formed over the past million years, as well as some imaginative stops for entertainment. There are many beautiful caverns in the cave includeding the Cathedral and the aptly named Crystal Gallery. The tourist centre contains a gift-shop, coffee shop and a children's play area. As Crag Cave is located at a higher elevation than its surroundings, it offers a spectaular view of the McGillicuddy Reeks and Tralee Bay.

People from Castleisland

  • Mick Doyle Irish rugby international player and coach.
  • Other notable people to hail from Castleisland include Charlie Nelligan who was the Kerry Goalkeeper for many years during the 1970s and 1980s. He won All Ireland Football medals playing with Kerry and he has also trained the Kerry Minor Footballers in recent years. Charlie played his club football with the Castleisland Desmonds who won the All Ireland senior Club Championship in 1985. Charlie now runs a coffee shop in Tralee and Castleisland.
  • Well known business man Mike McAuliffe operates one of South West Ireland's largest and longest running transport companies McAuliffe Trucking from a depot outside the town. He is also Kerry's largest pig producer.
  • Another well known face in the sporting world is Mick Galwey, who hails from Currow, a village five miles (8 km) from Castleisland. Mick played rugby with Shannon, Munster and the Irish international rugby team. He and Moss Keane served the Irish rugby team with pride. Moss Keane also hails from Currow and he was part of the legendary Munster team that beat the All Blacks in 1978.