DJ CAREY, Ireland’s most famous hurler, visited Castlebar last Saturday and coached up to 100 boys and girls. First off was the puck and what can be a difficult skill was made look easy. The secret: eye on the ball and practice. Next was the pick up, and once again it was practice, but this time against the clock. The hand pass was spectacular - 20 yards with a slight flick, 40 yards with a little more effort, but at 60 yards, it was awesome to find the target go with just a swing of the arm.
DJ’s visit to Castlebar showed how popular hurling has become even in counties such as Mayo that would not be considered hot beds of hurling. Having seen Christy Ring playing many moons ago as a kid, I think DJ is even more popular now than Christy Ring was in his day. Of course marketing and PR wasn’t quite as much in your face back then either. Michael Donnelly’s photos published on Castlebar.ie during the week with the youngsters listening and watching DJ intently show the success of the Hurling on the Green projects. The HOTG events took over many of Castlebar’s Green spaces during school holidays this year and last. The caman is cominatcha again and it’s cool to don the facemask and wield the ash plant. Of course not many other games allow you to take a big stick and swing it around you like a lunatic Samurai warrior so it has a certain intrinsic attraction for the young guys and probably the gals too if the truth be known.
Castlebar – where the boom just never stops
In 1998 houses in Castlebar were selling for 88,000 euro. . . now they’re 210,000 euro. Regina Hennelly reports on the never-ending property boom in Mayo’s county town. If there were a competition to find a face for the boom years in this country, Castlebar would certainly be in the running. It’s almost a cliché now to reflect on the huge changes in the town over the past few years, but sometimes clichés do ring true. Castlebar has boomed, and the good times are far from over. In case you need convincing, just ponder on this fact for a moment. According to local auctioneer, Tom Collins, there are currently ten houses being constructed in the Castlebar area at a cost of more than a million euro each. That’s a lot of money, and a lot of millions for a town in the west of Ireland.
It’s good to see Castlebar booming. In the old days everything depended on one big factory – Travenol. At one stage it was said that half of Castlebar’s working population worked in that one plant. Now the traffic that converges on Castlebar every morning – and you want to see the number of cars pouring into Castlebar from all directions – disperses all over the town. Sometimes it’s hard to get your head around the sheer number of people coming to work in Castlebar. Obviously too, from Tommy Collins figures, lots of people are also prepared to pay big bucks to live right in the town and its suburbs so there is now a much large number of people living in the town itself. Where do they all work? The fact that they are all dispersed into many different premises – and most relatively small enterprises - gives a certain insurance against the bad times. We don’t have all our economic eggs in one basket. The bottom didn’t fall out of Castlebar’s economy with the recent near-closure of Volex, for example. While student summer employment seems to have been hard to come by this summer, the economy of Castlebar seems to be on an even keel overall. Perhaps it’s not really boom times - just a bit more like the real world than the Celtic Tiger years.