Fourth Medieval Walled Towns Festival
Towns and villages all over Ireland are holding their annual ‘day’ around this time of the year and Fethard’s time to party is coming up very soon. The fourth annual Medieval Festival is being held in the old walled town on the first weekend of Heritage Week, on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd August. Heritage Week is a Government initiative to get Irish people more interested in and involved with our own natural and man-made heritage and, in fairness, they are putting money behind the initiative. For the past four years now the Heritage Council have part-funded the Fethard Medieval Festival Committee in putting on a carnival befitting its location, in the best preserved Walled Town in Ireland.
Even though the Sunday afternoon – with its Fancy Dress Parade from the Town Hall to the Town Wall in The Valley – is the highlight of the weekend, there is indeed much more to see and do.
The first event proper of the Festival is the opening of the ‘Fired by Bees’ Ceramic Exhibition at 5pm in the Town Hall. This exhibition, led by local artist Dóirín Saurus, pays homage to the Bee and in medieval times, and in Irish history in general, the Honey Bee played a huge part in the life and diet of the people. We have all heard of Ireland being described as a Land of Milk and Honey and this was a very apt description, as cattle were always ‘huge’ in Ireland and in those far off days - before the advent of sugar – honey was what sweetened up peoples’ lives.
There is a Medieval Town Walk - being led by Mary Hanrahan of the Historical Society - leaving the Town Hall at 6.30pm. This walk will end in the precincts of the Augustinian Abbey, just in time for what is definitely one of the ‘highlights of the decade’, the Launch of Michael O’Donnell’s 600 page History of Fethard at 8pm. The Abymill Theatre will be decked out for the occasion, with an added catering Marquee, for the launch, by Tony Newport, of this long awaited book. Everyone in the community is invited to what should be a full-house gathering of the Fethard faithful from home and away. Music lovers will end the night with John Spillane in Concert in McCarthy’s Marquee, at 10pm, beside the Old Town Wall.
The day kicks off pretty early with the ‘Fired by Bees’ Exhibition, which will open from 11.30am and running along-side it will be a Cake Sale in aid of Tidy Towns who have done huge work all year in getting the town into shape. There will be Live Music in the Square, from 12.30pm, with the Fayerweather Band, from Waterford, and The Wobbly Circus group are going to join in with some ‘stunts’ of their own. Their fun and entertainment is definitely worth seeing.
So the town should be buzzing (pardon the bee pun) by 2pm for The Fancy Dress Parade and Children’s Cape Project which will proceed to the Valley Park. Children’s workshop for this project begins Monday next, the 16th, in ‘The Studio’ opposite Newport’s Newsagency in Main Street (see separate article for more details)
The now traditional Wolfhounds will lead the parade followed by the children with their colourful medieval capes and shields and then the Fancy Dress. Somewhere in the middle of all this the ‘Medieval Knights and Ladies’ and a few other assorted ‘hangers-on’ in full medieval regalia will strut their stuff and psyche themselves up for the battles and skirmishes that are sure to follow in the Valley plains.
By the Clashawley, by the Wall
Now in its fourth year, some things are becoming a fixture of the Festival. These include Archery, Miriam Lambert Puppeteer, Falconer, Craft Stalls, Nature Walks, Dog Show, Fun Games, Food Stalls and of course the Medieval Re-enactors who should get into a fight or two during the afternoon. Again, there will be a Fethard Quiz, but this year there won’t be any questions!
The Fethard Coin
Last year the organisers arranged that a special Fethard Medieval Festival Coin was struck on the day, by local silversmith Rory Donohue. The coin can only be struck and bought on the day of the festival, so last year’s coin is already ‘a collector’s item’. This year the coin will be struck in Irish pewter and again the fitness of the silversmith will dictate how many coins will be struck for 2010. As they say on the telly ads, “When they’re gone, they’re gone!”
There are a number of new additions this year.
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 other categories including a small obstacle course to give the ‘movers and shakers’ a chance to win something.
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.
Further detailed information will appear in next week’s paper but up to date information can also be got online at fethardfestival.com. If anyone would like to help out on the day, then do contact the organisers, in person, or via the website. To help fund the event it is also planned to have more ‘Try your Luck / Skill Games’ and people who would help out with these, only for an hour or two, would be a great bonus to the committee organising the festival.
Fethard Medieval Cloak and Mantle Project
Children, aged from 8 years upward, are welcome to enrol for a series of Workshops, led by artist Pat Looby, for this years Walled Towns Day Festival on Sunday 22nd August. This Textile Art Project is based on Medieval Clothing and Symbols that appear on historic buildings around Fethard. Pupils will create their own Cloak using materials and fabrics, embroidery, sewing, painting and decoration. Workshops take place from Monday 16th to Friday 20th of August in the same studio as last year, in the premises, formerly Dillon’s Chemist, opposite Newport’s Newsagents. The first session will start on Monday at 1.30pm and will continue daily thereafter from 11am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm. It is essential to book for these workshops, this can be done by contacting the Community Office on 61 31000. A special painting workshop for 5 to 7 year-olds will be held, in the same place, on Monday morning from 11am to 12.30pm. The skills learned here can be put to use in the Medieval Activity Tent at the Festival on the following Sunday.
Holy Year Cross Pilgrimage
This years annual pilgrimage to the Sliabh Na mBan Holy Year Cross takes place this coming Saturday, August 14th. Proceedings commence at 1.45pm from the Hill Wall. As usual we ask patrons to allow at least twenty minutes to walk from the car park to the starting point. Mass will be celebrated at the Mass rock in O’Donnell's field at approximately 3 o’clock when the walkers return.
Fethard Macra na Feirme
Congratulations to club member Noel Clancy, Drangan, and his lovely fiancée Áine who were married last weekend. This has been the highlight of a very successful year for Noel. Noel played a leading role in Fethard Macra’s drama “Till We Meet Again” which reached the National finals earlier this year. Noel also received a best actor award along the way. He also took part in TG4’s most recent series of ‘Feirm Factor’ and came a very commendable third place in the finals. Another huge achievement in what has been a remarkable year for Noel. Fethard Macra wishes Noel and Áine many years of health and happiness together.
Fethard Macra members had a great weekend at the International Miss Macra competition which took place in Dundrum over the Bank Holiday weekend. Well done to the organising committee for another top-class weekend of entertainment and to all the girls who took part in the competition. County Officer Training takes place in Meath during the first weekend of September. Rathkeevin Macra are holding their annual BBQ on August 21st. Fethard town’s Medieval Day will take place on Sunday, August 22nd. For further details on Fethard Macra check out our Facebook page or email email@example.com.
Fethard and Killusty Community Games
The very best of luck to our Munster Champions, the Girls and Boys Volleyball Teams and to Zoe Stokes, Ballybough and William Morgan, Grangebeg who both compete in the Swimming Championships. This will take place in the Pool in the Regional Sports Centre, in Athlone, this coming weekend. With regard to swimming all girls heats and finals will be held on Saturday August 14th. Zoe will have an early start as warm ups commence at 8.15am, the session starts at 9am and Zoe is in Event Number 2, the u10 freestyle. The Boys championships will take place on Sunday August 15th. William is participating is the U16 Freestyle event and warm up for this is at 11.15am with the session starting at 12noon. The Boys Volleyball semi-final against Loughrea is at 10am on Saturday and the girls also play Loughrea in their semi-final, also on Saturday at 2.30pm. All play-offs and finals are on Sunday. A Bus will leave the GAA Park on Saturday morning at 7am for Athlone. Return Fare of twenty euro covers both days.
Fethard Juvenile GAA
U6, U8 and U10 Training takes place on Saturday mornings at 11am. Anyone interested in joining our U10s is welcome to come along on Saturday mornings to register. U12s are now through to the South Hurling Semi-Final, no date has been set yet for this fixture. A great bunch of lads and we will all be there to cheer them on. U14s are through to the South Hurling Semi-Final. Again, no date has been set for this fixture. Another great day out in store for Fethard as we cheer our lads on. U16s were unable to beat the stronger side of Killenaule last Thursday, we had a very young team playing on this night. We have a few fixtures left. Monday 16th August against St. Patricks in Fethard will be our next fixture. We are in with a chance to be in the Semi-Final, but can't afford to lose any of the next few matches, so we need all our players fit and ready for action. Our County Player Dylan Fitzgerald played in two County U16 fixtures this weekend, scoring points in both.
This years Cúl Camp begins on Monday 23rd August. Please be at Fethard GAA Field by 10am on this morning for signing-in. Also bring a packed lunch and drinks as well as a Hurley and Helmet. We will also need full payment on this morning. We now have enough people helping which is great. Ann will be contacting them this week to make sure they have completed their vetting form, received the GAA Code of Behaviour an signed same. The Fethard Juvenile Club would like to wish Good luck to those taking part in the Community Games All-Ireland Volleyball Finals this coming weekend.
This week's photograph is of Harry McGee, our 4-year-old international Fethard Fan. Harry is staying with his Grand-Auntie Ann, Juvenile Secretary, for a few weeks where he is being introduced to Gaelic Football and Hurling in true Fethard Style.
A Triduum in honour of St. Augustine will begin at The Augustinian Abbey on Wednesday 25th August next. There will be Mass and prayers to St. Augustine at 7.30pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings in preparation for the feast day on Saturday August 28th. Fr. Francis Ahearne, O.S.A. will be the special guest speaker each evening.
A trip to Dublin's National Museum to view the statue of ‘Our Lady of Fethard’ and the three other wooden statues relating to Fethard, has been organised by the Friends of the Abbey. A visit to Glasnevin Cemetery has also been incorporated. We travel by bus on Saturday 21st August. Please contact Agnes Evans or Mary Healy for further details.
The Irish Pilgrimage Trust wishes to thank all the very generous subscribers to the recent Church Gate Collection in this area. There was a marvellous response with €2740.58 being collected. Sincere gratitude is extended to the many loyal collectors who help at this annual collection. A reminder that, application forms for future pilgrimages to Lourdes are now available by phoning 051-646074. Should you know or wish to nominate a young person with special needs please make contact to obtain a form.
Noel and Irene Sharpe, of the Castle Inn, would like to thank all those who supported their recent Barbecue to raise funds for Research in the National Children’s Hospital, Dublin. €800 was raised on the night. Special thanks are extended to Peter and Mary Tynan, Kathleen Connolly, Paul Besso and Jessie and all those who sponsored spot-prizes.
Wine Tasting Night in aid of Fethard Day Care Centre
A Wine Tasting night will be held in aid of Fethard Day Care Centre in Town & County Interiors Business, in conjunction with Butlers Bar, on Friday 13th August from 7 to 10pm. There are still a few tickets left, priced at €15, available from both Town & County and Butlers Bar, or just turn up on the night.
People in the locality and beyond are asked to keep a look-out for a Skewbald 15.2 Cob that was stolen from a paddock in the Coolmore/Killenaule Road area on Wednesday of last week. He is very quiet, a much-loved family pet and is greatly missed by his owners who have had him for a very long time. Any information to Jerome on 087 6449146. Anyone involved in buying or selling horses or those involved in riding schools are asked to be vigilant in an effort to locate him.
Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto
The numbers drawn on 4th August were: 4, 6, 15 and 32. We had no Jackpot winner and one ‘Match 3’ winner: Denis O’Meara, St. Patrick’s Place. Three ‘Lucky Dip’ winners won €50: Bridie Lee, Killusty; Mary Woodlock, Rathdrum, Fethard and Breda Burke, Main Street, 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 special offers. Next week’s Jackpot continues at €10,000 and the Jackpot sellers prize is €1000.