The Castle of the Island

March 19, 2019

In your own words, tell us about your project.
I am a qualified archaeologist with a huge passion in my local castle Castleisland. I established a society entitled “The Castle of the Island Society” (2017) in order to preserve and promote the history and heritage of Castleisland Castle in County Kerry. We are a voluntary and non-profitable society. We recently succeeded in making a documentary about the history of Castleisland Castle. The bulk of the funding was from private donors, it was a passion project for the benefit of the legacy of the castle, as well as to give the local society a greater understanding and pride in their local history. The documentary was premiered for free in the River Island Hotel in Castleisland in April 2018. The documentary will be released for FREE on-line towards the end of 2019. We are currently making a draft of the documentary for some national Film Festivals.

We also appeared on RTE Nationwide

see link to the Medieval Festival below.


Why did you do this work?
I completed this work for many reasons. but ultimately for one word 'Passion'. Since my childhood I have had an interest in castles. This passion took me to University College Cork where I graduated in Archaeology. During this time I studied the archaeological remains and the history of several castles in County Kerry. Of all the castles explored, the ruins of my local castle captivated my imagination above all others.

In recent years my personal interest in this fortress has grown deeper.  The true significance of Castleisland Castle has never been fully acknowledged or treasured. This great Desmond castle once dominated the valley of the Maine but overtime its physical remains and story were plundered and lost in time.  Its crumbling walls and fragmented remains now lie hidden under a blanket of ivy.

No comprehensive study of its past has ever been undertaken or completed. That is until now. Following over 10 years of research its story is finally ready to be revealed for the first time. In order to give my vision an entity, as well as the castle a voice, I recently established  “The Castle of the Island Society” and we finally succeeded in making our documentary after much hard work and perseverance against all odds.

What was the impact or outcome of your project?
As mentioned in the opening section. A Free screening of the documentary was held over two days in the River Island Hotel in Castleisland in April 2018. All levels of society were invited, local schools, adults and the elderly. We held a medieval festival with battle re-enactments to engage the younger audience. This was a unique social event in our local community, as we collectively shared in bridging the people of the past, present and future. The environmental awareness of the growth of the town and its impact on the castle was also highlighted as part of the documentary. Will also hope that economic benefits will manifest in the future as my voluntary society are working in collaboration with the Castleisland Chamber of Alliance to open a seasonal tourist office in which the castles legacy will be displayed to the thousands of tourist who pass through County Kerry. This is not the end of our journey but only the beginning of our project visions/outcomes for the future: we will release the documentary on-line for FREE, enter it in local film festivals. also we aspire to celebrate the 800 year anniversary of the construction of the castle in the year 2026 in style (7 years time). We have plans to erect information boards near the castle, develop the river walk around the castle for environmental reasons as well as social reasons, I will publish a book on the castle in the year 2026 for schools and adults. Ultimately we will leave 'no stone unturned' in our plans to seek funding to maintain the physical structure itself for future generations.

So if you are interested in my society, our goals and the documentary I can arrange to send a private on-line link of the documentary to you. Many thanks 
Do you have any tips or advice for similar projects?
Follow your dreams....., never give up....., take action...., become resourceful...., be passionate, believe...., seek the help of others...., feed your mind with the knowledge and skill set required to undertake the projects......investigate local and regional funding available....., step by step, day by day......, enjoy the journey.........failure is part of the journey so when it happens dust off the self-doubt and rise again......focus on the Reasons why you are doing this....,not everybody will believe in your vision,...... make a public declaration of your plans and then you have to follow through with them,..... you will do it.
Which Sustainable Development Goals does your work link to?
Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Location of Project
Castleisland in County Kerry
Contact Person
Robert McGuire
Email Address
Contact Number