Fethard the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Irish walled towns
The third Medieval Festival may not have been ‘third time lucky’ as far as the weather is concerned, but it was still one hell of a weekend for the town. Recession or not, the festival buzz came back again and a great time was had despite the one cloud burst on the Sunday afternoon.
Colm McGrath and his group of brave re-enactors preparing for battle at Fethard Medieval Festival
Celebrations got off to a colourful start on Saturday afternoon with the opening of the ‘Fired by Colour’ ceramics exhibition by the ‘Crampscastle School of Pottery’ to the sound of harpist Steve Haggerty in the Town Hall..
The exhibition, showcasing work from Dóirín Saurus, Nuala Quirke, Sarah Murphy, Liz O’Brien, Diana Stokes, Elke Wilson, Gráinne Wilson and Labhaoise McKenna, was indeed an appropriate beginning as ‘colour’ was the dominant aspect of a very vibrant weekend in the old walled town of Fethard.
Photographed at the opening of 'Fired by Colour' Ceramic Exhibition at Fethard Town Hall are exhibitors L to R: Liz O'Brien, Nuala Quirke, Sarah Murphy, Labhaoise McKenna, Dóirín Saurus and Elke Wilson.
Photographed at the opening of 'Fired by Colour' Ceramic Exhibition at Fethard Town Hall are L to R: Kate O'Brien, Siobhán O'Brien and Brenda Gormley.
The Town Wall along by the Clashawley was ablaze with the colours of over twenty family shields of the Norman families that first came and founded the actual town over 800 years ago. These family names are very much the common names still to be found in the area to this day. Amongst the names that looked down on proceedings were; Purcell, Roche, Walsh, Stokes, Tobin and Fitzgerald. Huge flags of the four provinces fluttered in the breeze (very strong at times) from the bell-tower of old Holy Trinity Church, one of the first structures built in Fethard in 1200 and still in regular use. The official flag of the Irish Walled Town Network, of which Fethard is a prominent member, took pride of place on top of the mural tower overlooking the Clashawley river.
Then at 5pm local guide, Mary Hanrahan, led twenty-five people on the Medieval Town Trail which ended at the Abymill at 6.30pm where the Conservation and Management plan for Fethard Town Walls was officially launched by Cllr. John Fahey. Julian Munby, the author of the plan, from Oxford Archaeology, gave a very informative illustrated talk on the Fethard Town Walls and stated that, “Fethard is of outstanding significance as a medieval defended town with its very complete circuit of walls and other buildings demonstrating the life and trade of the town.” Now, at the highest level nationally, it is accepted that Fethard is indeed the jewel in the crown of the walled towns in the state.
This was followed by a very well supported live open-air concert by Paul Brady at the Town Wall where fans were treated to a unique show in a unique setting.
L to R: Thomas Curtin, Seamus McGrath, Elise McCarthy and Donnacha McGrath
Ninty-six year old Nellie Shortall arriving at the parade with chauffeur Sean Ward
A young Knight at Fethard Medieval Parade, Danny Hayes.
Children carrying their medieval Tapestry in the Fethard Medieval Parade.
Colm McGrath blowing his hunting horn in the Medieval Parade
On Sunday morning local youth bands played from 12 to 2pm in the Square, where our medieval parade prepared to march down Main Street and along the Valley Park. Apart from the large numbers in period costume there was the magnificent twenty-foot long ‘Medieval Tapestry’ made by the children of the area at workshops run all week by local artists Pat Looby and Austin McQuinn. And what a Parade it was, led off by the great Irish Wolfhounds and followed by a great contingent of warriors, knights and ladies, all in period costume.
Fr. Anthony McSweeney C.C. leading one of the wolfhounds in the Medieval Parade
The town, and especially The Valley area, never looked better and the County Council staff and local volunteers are to be complimented on a mighty effort in getting the whole Valley Park into ship shape for the festivities. Local organisations again came up trumps when needed. The Scouts came to the rescue in a big way by bringing their tent off the mountain and erecting it on Sunday morning and, boy, was it badly needed when the ‘sky opened’ and the rain came pouring down. This happened just as Colm McGrath and his warring armies of re-enactors were strutting their stuff and a wag was heard to say that, “they must have been doing a bloody medieval rain dance.”
The Newport ladies held an ‘Inquisition’, which chalenged the cleverest mind, but there were no nasty consequences for this, and Tommy O’Brien from Red City proved to be the most knowledgeable man (or the best ‘cogger’) around on the day.
The Fethard Rugby Club again fed the nation, while the local Macra Club just made everyone wetter with their wet sponges and stocks torture. Eventhough, the sun shone brightly at times to reward all who persevered with the days events. Children were enthralled by the ever popular puppeteer Dominic Moore while others relaxed and listened to the pleasant ‘Old Time’ music of the Lee Valley String Band from Cork. There was also a fantastic selection of food and craft stalls on display. The big new display this year was the Falcons, the majestic birds of prey, and they proved a magnet for young and old alike.
At Fethard Medieval Parade L to R: Kate Corcoran, Catherine Kearney and Bill Kennedy
L to R: Phil Daly and friend at the Medieval Parade
L to R: Richard Auler, Pat Looby, Ulrike Grubner, Jorg Schneidereit and Stella Coffey.
Pat Looby helping to raise the childrens 20-foot 'Medieval Tapestry' on to the Mural Tower at Fethard Town Wall.
Holly Williamson mounted on her horse 'Sandy' by Fethard Town Wall.
Woodcarver David Gorey demonstrating his craft
L to R: Sisters Catherine Kearney, Edwina Newport and Lydia Kelly at "The Inquisition" stall
Fethard Medieval Festival L to R: Liz Kennedy, Nellie Shortall and Bill Kennedy
L to R: Sadhbh Marshall and Gráinne Wilson practising their craft by Fethard Town Wall
L to R: Kathleen Ryan and her daughter Emma photographed at their very popular 'Love 2 Eat' food stall
L to R: Lea Valneda and Tebarea Ragno
One of the main innovative attractions on the day was the coin striking of a special Walled Town Day ‘coin’ for Fethard. The brainchild of the local historical society, the coins were struck to order, by silversmith Rory Donohoe, on a special coin striking die that had just arrived from a workshop somewhere in central Europe. One side shows the tall deer symbol of the corporation seal of Fethard and the other face shows an image of the Sheela na gig carving from the Town Wall at Watergate. The die will now be put away and will not appear again until Wall Towns Day 2010. So the owners of the 2009 coin are a very exclusive bunch indeed.
But money was surely not the central theme of the day, as the nature and wildlife walks, by local naturalist Liam Burke, along the Clashawley river were again popular with locals and visitors alike.
People came from far and wide to attend the day in spite of the wind and rain. We had visitors from Drogheda, Belfast, Clare, Cashel, Yorkshire, New Zealand, USA, England, Germany, Italy to name but a few. The day was a huge success with crowds well up on last year.
Overall it was a very special day and the organising committee deserve huge credit. The Heritage Council was the main sponsor of the event, but the local Heritage Officer of South Tipperary County Council, Labhaoise McKenna, also contributed a huge personal effort in ensuring that the event was a success, as did the County Museum, County Heritage Forum and South Tipperary County Council.
The organising committee look forward to 2010 and are already thinking of new ideas to make Fethard Town Wall Medieval Festival even bigger and better yet again.
Launch of major plan for Fethard’s Walls
Photographed at the launch of the Conservation & Management Plan for Fethard's Medieval Town Walls are L to R: Alison Munby, Julian Munby, Mary Hanrahan, Alison Harvey and Labhaoise McKenna.
Saturday night last was a significant night for all those interested in Fethard and its development as the best example of a medieval walled town in the state.
A Conservation and Management Plan for the Medieval Town Walls, carried out by Oxford Archaeology and commissioned by South Tipperary County Council in partnership with the Heritage Council, was launched by Cllr John Fahey at an event hosted by Fethard Historical Society in the Abymill Theatre.
Photographed at the launch of the Conservation & Management Plan for Fethard's Medieval Town Walls are L to R: Labhaoise McKenna, Cllr John Fahey and Alison Harvey.
A large crowd of locals and visitors came to hear Julian Munby, of Oxford Archaeology, speak about the Town Walls and their significance. Simply put, he said that Fethard is of “outstanding significance” and thus its preservation and enhancement is of national importance.
This very detailed Conservation and Management Plan will now inform the next Local Area Plan for Fethard and should finally set down in great detail how the old medieval area of the town, especially the walls themselves, should be managed.
Photographed at the launch of the Conservation & Management Plan for Fethard's Medieval Town Walls are L to R: Louis Grubb, Tommy Healy and John Whyte.
Photographed at the launch of the Conservation & Management Plan for Fethard's Medieval Town Walls are L to R: Róisín Kiely, Maureen Whyte and Gabrielle Schofield.
Photographed at the launch of the Conservation & Management Plan for Fethard's Medieval Town Walls are L to R: Denis Burke, Mike Cummins and Michael Coady.
Photographed at the launch of the Conservation & Management Plan for Fethard's Medieval Town Walls are L to R: Rev. Barbara Fryday, Rosemary Gasson and Roger Burnell.
All the landowners who adjoin the wall were invited to Saturday night’s launch and they were given priority to copies of the plan which were available on the night.
This new plan, along with the Public Realm Plan for the town (issued shortly) now provide Fethard with a great wealth of ‘best practice’ ideas, which should ensure that some of the mistakes of the past will not ever be repeated.
Fethard GAA Club News
Fethard senior footballers contest the South Final next Sunday in Ardfinnan at 6.30pm when, for the third year in a row, they face Moyle Rovers who are going for their fourth South title in a row, last achieved by Ardfinnan in 1961-1964. We wish them the very best of luck.
The Under-21 B Hurling quarterfinal played on 22nd August was a thriller with our boys coming out with a single point win, Fethard 4-10, Clonmel Og 2-15. Fethard and their ability to score goals at vital stages was to prove crucial in their victory. Eoin O' Connell though marked tightly had a marvellous game contributing 1- 07 (1-04) from frees to his team's total. He is undoubtedly an exciting young talent and was well supported on the night by Gavin Fitzgerald, Dean Tobin, Peter Gough, Alan O'Connor, Richard Gorey, Tom Gilpin and Ciarán Ryan.
The Fethard team was: J.P. McGrath, Gavin Fitzgerald, Declan Doyle, Niall Hayes, Thomas O'Connell, Dean Tobin, James Kelly, Jamie O' Keefe, Peter Gough, Eoin O'Connell, Richard Gorey, Alan O'Connor, Aaron O'Donovan, Tom Gilpin and Ciarán Ryan.
Our Lotto Jackpot was not won. The numbers drawn were 6, 7, 17 and 30. We had two match three winners of €75 each to: Noelle Leahy, Annesgift, Fethard, and Kaci Jane Condon (c/o Merrys Clonmel. The €50 Lucky Dip was won by Mary Newport Congress Terrace, Fethard. Thanks to Fethard Electrical for supplying the tickets. We also thank all those who contributed to the Fethard GAA collection last weekend.
Youth Café volunteers meeting
A meeting for leaders and volunteers, involved and those willing to get involved, will be held on this Thursday at 8pm at Fethard Youth Centre. We particularly invite new adults willing to help out at the Youth Café or the running of the Youth Centre.
We will use this meeting to plan for autumn and winter schedule.
The Youth Café continues to open Friday nights from 7.30pm to 10pm.
Farewell to Fr. Peter Haughey OSA
Our parish and neighbouring areas bid a find farewell to Fr. Peter Haughey OSA (Prior at the Augustinian Abbey) as he leaves us at the weekend to take up his new assignment at the Augustinian Friary, John’s Lane, Dublin.
Fr. Peter came to us in 2005 as we were celebrating 700 years of the Abbey’s foundation here in Fethard and he provided wonderful leadership and support for the completion of a most successful year of celebration. In the meantime he has shown great sensitivity and patience in overseeing some outstanding restoration work on our beloved Abbey.
Father came as no stranger to us as he had previously served here from 1985 to 1988. He will be fondly remembered as we offer him our heartfelt thanks and wish him every grace and blessing in the future.
We extend a warm welcome to his successor, Fr. Crean OSA, a native of Limerick.
Firearm renewals and new applications for the Fethard Area
The Government have, this year, updated the system to register firearms and it is now necessary for all current users and applicants to fill out a new form for each gun in their possession. The new licence will be valid for three years and will cost €80 which can only be paid at the Post Office when all the paper work is complete and approved.
The form is available at the local Garda Station and if you have difficulty with completing the form the local Garda are more than willing to help.
The completed form, without money, must then be handed in to the local station for imputing on their computer system.
For further information or to download forms online, visit www.garda.ie and click on Firearms Licensing.
Congratulations to Amy Sweeney, The Valley, Fethard, who came first in the Young Handlers Section of the Tanzanite Miniature Horse Show held in Maynooth on Saturday 15th August.
Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto
The numbers drawn on 19th August were 11, 24, 27 and 28. We had no Jackpot winner and no ‘Match 3’ winner so the following drawn tickets won €50 each:
Chris O'Dwyer, 3, Strylea, Fethard;
Teresa Roche, 22 Woodvale Walk, Fethard;
Michael Russell, Mullinahone.
The three following Lucky Dip winners received €50 each:
Trish Kearney, c/o Coolmore Stud;
Brud Roche, 22, Woodvale Walk, Fethard;
Sheena Fitzgerald-Ryan (online ticket).
Next week’s Jackpot continues at €10,000 and the Jackpot sellers prize is €1000.
Thanks for your support
The “Missing in Ireland Support Service” would like to express their sincere gratitude to all who supported the wonderful ladies who completed the Women’s Mini Marathon to raise funds for this service. A total of €2,077 was raised which will go towards our help-line, which is now up and running. The telephone number is 1890 442 552.
Fethard Juvenile GAA Club
The Juvenile Club would like to send a big thank you to everyone who helped make their Golf Classic the huge success it was, including the sponsors, the businesses of Fethard, those that entered a team, and bought a raffle ticket. Thanks also to Ian O’Connor for providing the entertainment on the night of the prizegiving, which was held in Lonergans pub. The money raised will go towards the good of the juveniles of Fethard, so a heart felt thank you to the organising committee, your hard work and dedication paid off on the day and you can certainly be proud of your achievements.
Our U-14 hurling team are through to a South semifinal and we wish them the very best of luck. The date, venue and time is to be decided. Congratulations on getting this far.
The U-16 hurling team are at home to Swan on Monday evening, report next week.
The annual VHI Cúl Camp kicks off on Monday 24th August and we are sure this will be a huge success. More details next week.
The Juvenile Club will hold their AGM in September, date to be decided, it has been a great year for the Juvenile Club and we would love to see more parents or adults getting involved
Fethard Macra Club
Michael Moclair throwing the sponges at Terry Cunningham in the stocks at their stall by the Town Wall at the Medieval Festival.
Fethard Macra participated in the Fethard Town Wall Day on the 23rd August, thanks to all who took part and attended.
Impromptu Public Speaking will be held in Rathkeevan Hall at 8pm on the 4th September, all are welcome to attend. Fethard Macra will be fielding a team.
The next meeting of Fethard will take place on the 8th September at 9pm in Butlers Bar in Fethard. For further information contact Micheal at 087 9019443 or email Fethardmacra@gmail.com or on Bebo ‘FethardM’ also check out our page on Facebook. Further information can also be found on www.southtippmacra.com.