Castleconnell’s reel Gathering event in fly casting festival

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

Casting a spell: Kevin Hannon, Ruairi Costello, John MacNamara, Stephen Slattery and Catherine ODoherty launch the John Enright Fly Casting festival in Castleconnell which takes place from Friday, October 11 to Sunday, October 13. Picture: Dave Gaynor
CASTLECONNELL has many famous sons, not least John Enright.

CASTLECONNELL has many famous sons, not least John Enright.

In 1896, he became the fly casting champion of the world at Wimbledon Park Lane in England for distance casting. Remarkably he won first prize in all five events that day. From 1890 to 1905 his success rate at fly casting on the international circuit was phenomenal and he became a three-time world champion.

In his honour the inaugural John Enright Castleconnell Fly Casting festival takes place from Friday, October 11 to Sunday, October 13.

Fittingly it was the same October weekend 107 years ago that John Enright, at the first Anglers Club Tournament in New York, broke his previous world record with a cast of 152ft using a Castleconnell rod.

When he arrived home in Castleconnell in November he was met with a reception of hundreds with bunting, bonfires, American and Irish flags to celebrate his latest success. All these years on, Mr Enright’s feats will be celebrated again. The festival will attract dozens of competitors from all over the world to the banks of the Shannon in Castleconnell.

Festival organiser, John MacNamara, said Mr Enright’s international exploits brought fame and glory to his native village of Castleconnell.

“Castleconnell Fishery became an international fishing centre and home of the famous Castleconnell Rod, while Castleconnell village was referred to as Little Paris. This event is our way of celebrating this local figure and his contribution to putting Castleconnell on the international map,” said Mr MacNamara.

“The event will feature fly-fishing instruction for all the family; an exhibition of fly-casting by 2010 World Flycasting Champion Ruairi Costello from Scarriff; an exhibition of John Enright memorabilia; riverboat trips; guided walks; street-based and evening entertainment; and a display of fly-fishing and casting by amateur and professional fishermen, culminating in the Spey O Mega International Casting Championship, which will attract expert competitors from around the world. For more information visit www.johnenrightfestival.com or its Facebook page.