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Thursday 18th Augest 2011

Fethard Medieval Festival this weekend
Fethard’s fifth annual Medieval Festival takes place this weekend in what is now nationally recognised as the finest example of a medieval walled town in Ireland. From the very first festival in 2007 the event has proved hugely popular. All agree that the location for Sunday’s activities in The Valley Park, running along by the Town Walls and the Clashawley river, is the perfect location for a medieval festival.
Apart from Sunday’s medieval parade and carnival goings on, the festival weekend includes very special and ‘once-off’ events on Friday and Saturday evening, and Friday’s concert in Holy Trinity Church (c.1200) with five of the very best Gaelic musicians in the world is without doubt an unique event.

The Fethard Festival is all part of Heritage Week, that has been promoted and funded by the Heritage Council since 2005 and the whole week now involves 1,300 events all over the country.

Free ‘Medieval Hat and Shield’ Workshops this Thursday and Friday
The festival kicks off this Thursday and Friday when children are welcome to enrol for a series of free workshops making Medieval hats and shields.

Children from 8 years up are welcome to enrol for a series of three workshops where pupils will learn how to make their medieval hats in a fun way using card , fabrics, paint and decoration.

Workshops will take place on Thursday, August 18th from 1.30pm to 3.30pm and on Friday August 19th from 11am to 1.00pm and again from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Booking essential. To enrol please phone the Community Office in the Tirry Centre, (052) 613100.

A special shield-making workshop for 5 to 7 year olds will be held on Thursday, August 18, from 11am to 12.30pm. All worskhops will take place in the same venue as last year, on Main Street, opposite Newport’s Newsagents.

Friday, August 19, Concert ‘Echoes of a Gaelic Chieften’s Court’
This is truly a unique opportunity to hear the world’s best exponents present a rare concert of 16th to 18th century Gaelic harp, vocal and piping repertoire; ‘Echoes of a Gaelic Chieften’s Court’ (Mac-talla nan Dún) in old Holy Trinity Church at 8pm. The venue for such a concert is perfect and it’s amazing to realise that Holy Trinity Church was already 300 years old when some of these tunes were being composed in the 1500s.

The concert takes place on Friday, August 19, at 8pm.Tickets: €12 (Concessions €10). Contact Pat Looby at (052) 6131537 or any committee member.

Saturday, August 20, Historic Walk, Lecture and Music
Saturday evening will have a series of free events, open to everyone, that will interest locals and visitors alike.

At 7pm there is the official launch of Fethard’s new Historic Town Trail at the Town Hall. This new high-grade signage and information trail around the town was funded by Fáilte Ireland, erected by the County Council and the detailed research carried out by the Fethard Historical Society. Members and officials of South Tipperary County Council will be present as will Mr Gary Breen, Manager of Fáilte Ireland South East as Failte Ireland have invested considerable funds in their Historic Town signage programme in designated historic towns around the country.

Guided Walk
Following the brief ‘Official Launch’ the newly formed ‘Backs to the Wall Tour’ group of Colm McGrath and Terry Cunningham will talk the talk while everyone will walk the walk around the actual Historic Town Trail.

The walk will conclude at 8.30 with a reception in the new ‘Pop-up Café’ besides Madam’s Bridge and all and sundry are welcome to come and join the party and also see the Café and Youth Centre.

Lecture on ‘hidden roof’ of medieval Holy Trinity Church
At 9pm, David Brown Queen’s University Belfast will report on his research into the complete medieval roof that exists hidden under the roof that we can see today. He and his team at Queens have been trying to put an actual date on this hidden roof and on Saturday he will reveal all to the world. The indications are that this Fethard roof is in fact one of the very oldest intact timber roof structures still in place in Ireland. If so, it will be national news. David is the expert in both Ireland and Britain on the use of ‘Dendrochronology’ (i.e. using annual growth rings) dating of old timber and he and his team were financed and facilitated by the Fethard Historical Society to come last Spring to Fethard to take the core samples from the old beams that are sleeping away out of view in the church attic. This was not all as easy as you may think, as various official ‘permissions’ had to be obtained, including an ‘export of historic object licence’ as the tiny timber samples were going to Belfast, which of course is in the United Kingdom!

Anja Bakker recital at Holy Trinity Church
David’s short talk will be followed at approximately 9.30pm by a free recital from Anja Bakker, recorder player, harper, singer and conductor who lives in West Cork. Anja travelled extensively by foot, carrying a 26-string harp, from St James’ Well in Ardfield, Clonakilty, West-Cork to Dublin and after that to Santiago de-Compostella in Northern Spain in a ‘Solidarity Walk’ for survivors of abuse.

Sunday, August 21, Medieval Festival Day
As this year’s wonderful festival poster, designed by Clara Phelan, Primus Advertising, indicates this will again be a day of colour, carnival and family fun.

As at all great events, the day begins with a parade at 2pm from the Town Hall. Fethard was always famous for its carnival parade and the tradition lives on, but now it is a ‘Medieval Fancy Dress Parade’ and we encourage young and old to make a special effort to get into the medieval spirit and march behind the kilted Moycarkey Pipe Band. Prizes for this year’s fancy dress parade are sponsored by ‘Meat at The Square’ for the best humorous entries with a medieval flavour. Proprietor, Jimmy O’Brien, has agreed to give prizes for the following categories, Best Adult 1st and 2nd, Best Child 1st and 2nd, and Best Group 1st and 2nd. We hope to see lots of adults and children dressing up and taking part in medieval spirit of this year’s festival. Entertainers from the ‘Wobbly Circus’ will also be present on the Square as the parade prepares to leave for the Town Wall.
The main focus of this year’s Festival happens on Sunday afternoon by the Town Wall where family entertainment abounds with music supplied by the Waterford band ‘Fayreweather’, re-enactments, ‘Wobbly Circus’, falconer, archery, coin striking, children's activity tent, craft demonstrations, delicious food, festival fun and much more!

The Church of Ireland Renovation Fund group will have a ‘Tea and Cakes’ marquee in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church with access via the gate in the wall at the pound. This will really bring visitors into the very heart of the old medieval town.

There will be a fun Dog Show at 3pm with best prize for, Best Large Dog; Best Small Dog; Dog Most Likely To Take Home; Best Groomed Dog; Best Dog In Medieval Attire, and Best in Show. Entry Fee is €2 on the day. Further information on this event contact Pat Culligan 087 9451810.

A ‘Medieval Activity Tent’ aimed primarily at children - but also at all those young at heart - will be in operation for such things as games, colouring competition, craft making and other ‘hands-on’ type activities.

Free Family Tree Advice
A special feature of this year’s festival is the presence of the ‘Off the Beaten Track Research’ team, who are starting their ‘Genealogy Marathon’ at the Fethard Festival from 12 noon to 6pm. Professional genealogists will be in situ to give you free advice as to how to research your family tree. But beware, as you are warned that the research into any family tree ‘produces some lemons, some nuts and a few bad apples’. For information and bookings on this event, call 087 2063535.

Festival Information
For further information on any of the festival events contact (052) 6131537 or visit www.fethardfestival.com
If anyone would like to help out on the day, please contact any of the organisers or email: festival@fethard.com

Stop Press!
Don't miss the short (20 minute) free lecture in the medieval Holy Trinity Church in Fethard at 9pm this Saturday, 20th August. Mr David Brown of the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoarchaeology at Queen's University, Belfast will deliver the result of his coring and dating of the roof timbers of this ancient church. Dunsoghly Castle, Co. Dublin is the only known medieval timber roof to survive in Ireland.

But how old is the oak roof of Holy Trinity? All will be revealed in the church on Saturday night. All David will say for the time-being is that he has established 'a quite spectacular date for an Irish building.' All welcome.

Holy Year Cross pilgrimage
This year’s pilgrimage to Holy Year Cross on Sunday, August 14, left at the earlier time of 1am and was blessed with good weather. A large crowd attended and were led by Fr. Anthony McSweeney along the beaten track to Slievenamon.

Bert and Janneke Van Dommelen had a table full of refreshments, fruit and water outside their house on Slievenamon for pilgrims to avail of on the way up.

On the way to the cross Fr. McSweeney treated the congregation to some very interesting geographical information enhanced by the glorious view as they made their way to the Cross, stopping for prayers at each marker.

This year it was great to see Peter O’Connell make it all the way from Victoria, Australia, again. Peter also brought a photograph of the 1951 pilgrimage with him and hopes to get names of those in the photograph while he visits Fethard.

Gerry Rush and Oliver St. John, who just read about the pilgrimage somewhere, travelled from Tramore to take part.

Billy Byrne was delighted to be back on ‘the track’ this year after having his two hips replaced in 2008. Larry O’Keeffe and family, who are regular participants on the pilgrimage, were also out in force this year. Larry, we believe, has only missed one or two pilgrimages since they first began in the 1950s.

The McHale family from Halesowen, England, who are related to the Sheehans from St. Patrick’s Place, also took part in the climb. Other visitors who made their way back to Fethard for the pilgrimage included Willie Frewen and his wife Noreen, and Steve O’Connor, originally from Drumdeel, who continued on his journey to the top of Slievenamon.

At the Cross, following a photo call, the group were treated to a very beautiful rendition of the song ‘Slievenamon’ by Joseph O’Donnell after which all made their way back down to the ‘Mass Rock’ where Mass was celebrated by Fr. Martin Crean OSA and the energetic Fr. Anthony McSweeney.

A very capable catering committee served welcome refreshments to all present afterwards. Another successful pilgrimage ended with chat, recollections, friends, and followed by a close Tipperary win over Dublin in the all-Ireland hurling semi-final — a perfect end to a perfect day.

Draíocht concert for Abymill
Fethard’s Abymill Theatre will host a wonderful evening of enchanting music, song and dance, ‘Draíocht’, directed and choreographed by Michael Ryan, on Saturday, August 27, at 8.30p.
Experience the lyrical magic of traditional song, succumb to the mysterious melodies and wonder at the intricacies of the dance . . . at this show you can leave your cares behind as you enter the mystical experience of ‘Draíocht’. Booking now at O’Flynn’s Menswear, Burke Street, Fethard. Tel: 087 1604260 or (052) 6131254.

‘Leg Wax Night’ for Childline
Congratulations to all the volunteers who took part in the ‘Leg Wax Night’ at The Castle Inn on Sunday night, August 14, in aid of Childline, a charity dedicated to all children and young people up to the age of 18 years in Ireland. The willing victims had their legs expertly waxed by Niamh White and endured the ‘pain’ for this worthy cause.

Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto
The numbers drawn on August 10, were: 11, 14, 31 and 32. We had no Jackpot winner and no ‘Match Three’ winners so the following drawn tickets won €50 each: Michael Conway, St. Patrick's Place, Fethard; Anne Connolly, Main St., Fethard; and Maggie Napier, The Green, Fethard.

The three following ‘Lucky Dip’ winners also won €50 each: Paddy Cooke, St. Patrick's Place, Fethard; Tony Maher, c/o Lonergan’s, Fethard, and J. Connolly, Post Office, Fethard.

Remember you can purchase your lotto ticket online at www.fethard.com. Buy seven weekly tickets and get one free! Check on the website for lots of spec3ial offers. Next week’s Jackpot commences at €4,400 and the Jackpot sellers prize is €440. All proceeds go towards community work in Fethard.

Lads and Lassies compete in ‘Tetrathlon’
Congratulations and well done to the local boys and girls why participated in the National and International pony club ‘Tetrathlon’ – the most exciting combination of equestrian and human sports – representing Tipperary South in Tattersalls, Co. Meath, last weekend.

All the girls and boys completed a tough weekend which involved swimming, shooting, running and a very technical tough cross country ride. Taking part were Heather Casey, Leah Fox, Amy Sweeney, Kate Quigley, Aine Phelan, Megan Hassett, Russell Casey, Joss Murray, Philip Maher, Christian Casey, Harvey Blackmore, Pierce Blackmore, Charles Croome-Carroll. Well done lads and lassies!




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