Past and present merge at eclectic festival of history
CHARLEVILLE Heritage Society’s annual Festival of History came to a successful conclusion with a talk on historic Charleville at the Provincial Heritage Centre on last Sunday afternoon.
The opening of the festival, which was entitled Eigse Seán Clarach Mac Domhnall, by leading poet Gabriel Fitzmaurice, set the tone for the entire weekend, at which the twinning arrangement between the Croesgoch Heritage Society in Wales and Charleville Heritage Society was signed.
Gabriel Fitzmaurice gave a short dissertation on the life of Sean Clarach and he followed this with a reading of his poems. Irish language poet Seamus Barra O’Suilleabháin also recited his own poems, one of them in the rap style.
They were followed by the members of the local poetry circle, Sr. Bernadette Maria, Fiona Fitzgerald, Donal O’Flynn and Dave Gormley, who travelled from Dublin to be present at the event.
On Friday morning a very appreciative and enthusiastic attendance were attracted to the writing workshop presented by Cork County Council’s Arts Service writer in residence, Denyse Woods.
The line-up for the Friday night concert was one of the strongest seen in Charleville for a long time and featured the children learning music at the local Musica Fusion school of music, the musicians of Craobh An Rath Charleville, Glór Tíre finalist Dermot Lyons, and the inimitable Billy O’Brien.
From Buttevant came the Cahirmee Singers under the direction of Helen Fitzgerald, while Cork County harp champion Rachel O’Connor delighted the audience with her rendition on the ancient instrument. Story teller Jim Barry demonstrated the art of the spoken word with his humorous stories, and talented Irish dancer Kelly Harnett (accompanied by Dermot Lyons) and Charleville Folk Group completed a great night of entertainment.
A delegation from the Croesgoch Heritage Society, consisting of Martin Roberts, chairman, Caroline Roberts, Les Browne and Lyn Phillips travelled from Fishguard to be present for the weekend and were welcomed by Ian Doyle, chairman of Charleville Heritage Society. The twinning citation between the two societies was signed by Martin Roberts and Les Browne on behalf of Croesgoch and by Ian Doyle and P. J. McCarthy, who represented the Charleville Heritage Society during the concert.
Addressing the attendance, Martin Roberts said he was delighted to be in Charleville to sign the certificate for the twinning arrangement between the two heritage societies. He briefly explained how the twinning came about following contacts from Charleville and a visit late last year of Michael Donegan, Michael McGrath and P. J. McCarthy to Croesgoch, to discuss the feasibility of putting such an arrangement in place.
“Our two groups immediately bonded and the decision was made to twin and here we are,” said Mr. Roberts.
The citation reads: ‘ The members of Charleville Heritage Society pledge to build ties of friendship and international goodwill by transcending cultural, linguistic and geographical barriers with the members of Croesgoch Heritage Society, Pembrokeshire, Wales. We extend to our Celtic cousins in the Croesgoch Heritage Society and the wider community of Wales beneficent greetings through mutual collaboration between our Societies, and to work towards the goals of sharing experiences and fostering a better understanding of our two cultures.’
The Saturday morning poetry workshop with poet Noel King from Tralee again drew the people interested in poetry writing, where they picked up valuable tips on assembling their verses from the Co. Kerry poet.
A feature of the weekend was a special performance of the hit one-man show ‘A Night in November’ by Marie Jones, performed by William Lyons of the Shoestring Theatre Company, Charleville.
It will be recalled that the Shoestring was the first amateur group to perform a oneman show on the drama festival circuit in 2009. William Lyons, who was directed by Kevin O’Shea, went on to win the best actor award in every drama festival he contested on the Irish circuit, culminating in his winning the best actor award in the All-Ireland Festival of that year in Athlone.
The All-Ireland winning Shandrum Ceili Band was also on the weekend programme and the event was brought to a close with an address on the history of Charleville town by local historian Owen Binchy assisted by Ian Doyle, at the Provincial Heritage Centre, where the Golden Vale Remembered photographic exhibition, marking 70 years of Golden Vale Food Products Limited, was also on view for the second and final occasion.
The event attracted up to 300 people who relived many happy memories as they viewed the 300 hundred photographs of the people, plant and products that were on display.
Charleville Heritage chairman Ina Doyle said he was delighted with the success of the event and is looking forward to leading a delegation of Charleville people to visit the Croesgoch and Fishguard areas of Wales in 2018.
Members of the Croesgoch Heritage Society Wales with members of Charleville Chamber pictured at the E Centre Charleville last weekend. Included are Ian Doyle, Martin Roberts, Caroline Roberts, Evelyn O’Keeffe, Lyn Phillips, Les Browne and P. J. McCarthy.
Poet Gabriel Fitzmaurice who declared Charleville Heritage Society’s Festival of History open last weekend is pictured with P. J. McCarthy, Michael McGrath and Michael Donegan.
Martin Roberts of Coroesgoch Heritage Society Wales and P. J. McCarthy of Charleville Heritage Society pictured after sigiing the twinning arrangement between the two Societies with Michael Donegan and Ian Doyle (right) at the Charleville Park Hotel.