Thinking of moving to Castleisland? This is a snapshot of what is available inand around the area. Like all towns, it is constantly changing and developing -and the one thing Castleisland does well is welcome and accept change. Atown that stands still goes nowhere.
“Castleisland: not so much a town as a street between two fields”. This was once said by one of
our most famous sons, journalist Con Houlihan. If he were alive today, Con would have to
rewrite that quote.
Castleisland – Oileán Ciarraí in Irish – is a busy market town and commercial centre in Co. Kerry
in south-west Ireland. It is famous for its wide main street, and as of the 2016 Census,
Castleisland had a population of 2,486. As the name would suggest, Castleisland has a castle of
its own. For over 250 years, the Fitzgeralds, the earls of Desmond, were the most powerful
family in medieval Munster, and Castleisland Castle was one of their chief strongholds. At this
time, it was referred to as the “Castle of the Island”, or simply “the Island”. It was constructed by
the Anglo-Norman Geoffrey De Marisco on the banks of the river Maine in 1226. All that
remains today is a partial ruin which is in the care of the Office of Public Works.
Castleisland is accessed from the north of the country via the N21, which then links it to the west
of Kerry via Tralee, and the N23 which connects the town to the N22 Killarney-Cork route. The
R577 runs towards neighbouring Co. Cork on what was the traditional route to the east of the
country before the N22 was developed. Kerry International airport is 8km from the town centre
and provides international routes to the UK, Germany, Portugal and Spain, as well as
connectivity to Dublin twice daily. Bus Eireann runs a Tralee to Limerick bus route through the
town, and the Cork route can be joined in Farranfore 10km from the town centre. Also in
Farranfore is the Irish Rail link to Dublin and Cork and all services can be accessed at this
Castleisland was principally a market town with a very lively cattle mart two days a week, and a
second mart nearby in Gortatlea which operates 3 days a week. While it has expanded and
evolved from the market town aspect, it still very much serves the locality, with a number of
businesses that trade with the whole of Ireland.
Castleisland has a wide choice of independent, family-owned electrical, furniture, fashion and
retail stores, hair and beauty salons, supermarkets and discount retailers, as well as two building
supply stores. It is home to Divane’s, Kerry’s only VW dealership, and Ahern’s have multiple
dealerships under the one roof, offering BMW, Opel, Mazda, Renault, Seat and Dacia. They also
have a CVRT and NCT centre on site. Irelands largest heavy goods vehicle garage is within 2km
of the town centre. Castleisland has become known as the shopping centre of Kerry given its
wide and diverse range of shops all in an easy to access location.
One of the most important employers in the locality is Walsh Colour Print, which started out
publishing school books and have now diversified into a one-stop-shop for all printing needs.
Rhyno Mills (founded in 1919) is a classic case of a local animal feeds company that has now
developed its product and market share to take it beyond its core customer base in Castleisland
and Kerry. Once owned by a local family, it has recently been acquired by McDonnell Bros, one
of Munster’s leading grain and agricultural suppliers, providing high quality animal feed
nationwide; it is hoped that this will secure its future for another century or more.
On the education front, Castleisland has numerous primary schools on its periphery and in the
town, the Boys’ National School, the Gael Scoil and Mhuire Gan Smal. These all feed into the
three secondary schools: St. Patrick’s, Presentation Convent and Castleisland Community
College. All three schools also attract pupils from a wide hinterland, with many availing of
school bus services.
Complementing the high-quality educational facilities is An Riocht Sports Centre which boasts
the only 400m IAAF tartan standard athletics track in Kerry, as well as gyms and many other
facilities. On the same grounds are Castleisland Rugby Football Club which has a proud history
and tradition of providing players to the Munster academy. A little further out of town is
Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club, another club with a long-standing history. A recent addition
to the town has been the all-weather Astroturf soccer pitches near the community centre. This
venue hosts many sporting events, biggest being the Castleisland Annual Basketball Blitz held
over the Christmas holidays. This is a nationwide tournament attracting teams from all corners of
Ireland and bringing a huge buzz to the town. There are numerous other sport clubs and facilities
in town, from boxing and Taekwondo to cycling and pitch-and-putt. There is a wonderful town
library that has a great selection of books and resources for all ages to enjoy.
Castleisland has many annual festivals and events for the whole family, starting with the St
Patrick’s Day parade, RAS cycle race, dog show, Castleisland races, the World Fiddle Day
festival in Scartaglen, the Padraig O’Keeffe Festival, the all-Ireland Drama Festival and Fair Day
in November. The individual schools run school theatrical productions that are open to the public
and there are many other smaller but vibrant festivals in the surrounding townlands throughout
Castleisland is 18km from Tralee via N21, home to University Hospital Kerry. It has a new
primary care centre that offers a full suite of services including GP. There are three further GP
surgeries in town, two dentists, four pharmacists, a natural health food store, podiatrists and
physiotherapists. There is a day care centre for the elderly and a number of creches for the
younger generation. A new playground was built in 2004 which has proven to be very popular
with families. A new nursing home, a few minutes’ walk from the main street, has been a great
addition to the town’s facilities with capacity for many residents from the neighbouring
hinterlands. There is a special school for the deaf and a school for autistic children in close
Castleisland has a mixture of older and newer houses. Up to the 1950s, all the housing was
centred on the main street and adjoining side streets. New developments in St John’s Park,
Stephen’s Park, Desmonds Avenue and College Road urbanised the town. We now have more
newer developments in Cahereen Heights and Clonough with both 3- and 4-bed detached and
semi-detached properties, while there are also a number of smaller private developments around
the town. The housing accommodation provided is a good mix of council, social and private
developments. Two new social housing schemes have been built in the town in recent years but
the lack of a new private scheme is holding the town back.
3-bed properties be they terraced or semi-d range in value from €160k to €235k dependant on the
age of the stock and its location in the town. The more modern housing estates command a
premium. 4-bed properties are mostly available in either of the new housing estates in the town and range
in value from €275k to €320k
There are a number of private estates in the town and generally properties in these developments
are sizeable one-off residential properties that command a premium making anywhere from
€320k to €400k dependant on location and finish etc.
Bungalows are in high demand especially with downsizers or people looking to move into the
town from the country, most will need renovating as they are very old stock now but when
offered on the market, they can make from €200k to €300k.
Castleisland has wonderful amenities; in the town itself is the river walk, which is ideal for
young and old to enjoy; on the approach via the N21 is the Glounsharoon viewing point which
offers a vista over the Castleisland valley all the way to Castlemaine harbour. On the doorstep
are Crag caves, Gleanageenty walkway, Lyrecrompane walkway, the gun club in
Knocknagoshel, Kerry’s many blue flag beaches and Killarney National Park and lakes to name
a few. In and close to the town there are numerous circular walkways that are available for all to
discover and enjoy.
Castleisland is a very warm and generous town, welcoming people from all over the globe and
encouraging participation in the town’s vibrant cultural and commercial activities. Its community
spirit is strong, the annual festivals and events it hosts so successfully a testament to this spirit.
Presentation Secondary School in 2023 ran a ‘Night at the Oskars’ which relied on a huge
community involvement, spirit and sponsorship to make it the success that it was.
For more information on what to do in Kerry visit Discoverkerry.com