MAYO HONOURS MONAGHAN MAN

Tommy McKenna with his son Tom McKenna, wife Regina McKenna and daughters Siobhan & Regina and friend Fr Paddy McMahon, Emyvale, of the Monaghan Association, Manchester. Photo: © Bernie O'Brien.

Tommy McKenna with his son Tom McKenna, wife Regina McKenna and daughters Siobhan & Regina and friend Fr Paddy McMahon, Emyvale, of the Monaghan Association, Manchester. Photo: © Bernie O’Brien.

MONAGHAN MAN RECEIVES MAYO AWARD IN MANCHESTER

Monaghan footballers were overwhelmed by Mayo at the weekend, but in Manchester, Mayo gave an honorary award to a Monaghan man. Tommy McKenna, a native of Longfield, Carrickmacross, was singled out by the Mayo Association for giving over thirty years’ service to the Irish Community Care charity in Manchester. Tommy said he was delighted to have been named “Mayo” man of the year. He was presented with a commemorative crystal bowl by the Manchester Mayo Association President Marcella Wilkinson and Chairperson Patricia Gallagher. He was joined by his family at the event: his wife Regina, son Tom and daughters Siobhan and Regina.

Tommy is a very successful businessman, having set up a civil engineering and building contractors company after emigrating to England in 1954. At one stage he also owned an entertainment venue called the Ardri Ballroom. He would bring over performers such as Big Tom, with their showbands. It was thanks to his sponsorship over the years that many bands were brought over from Ireland to take part in the annual St Patrick’s Day parade. Tommy still has brothers and a sister in the Carrickmacross area and returns a couple of times a year to Longfield, where he has a house.

Irish Community Care was founded by Tommy and other members of the Irish community in 1985. The charity now has two centres in Cheetham Hill and Levenshulme, staffed by ten people and a team of fifty volunteers. The centres provide a wide range of services, offering advice and information and providing outreach support, including to the travelling community. The charity runs a bereavement service and also gives support to survivors of institutional abuse. It also runs a reminiscence project, collecting stories about the experiences of emigrants.

Tommy McKenna, Carrickmacross, is congratulated by Manchester Monaghan Association President, Fr Paddy McMahon from Emyvale. Photo: © Bernie O'Brien.

Tommy McKenna, Carrickmacross, is congratulated by Manchester Monaghan Association President, Fr Paddy McMahon from Emyvale.  Photo: © Bernie O’Brien.

One of the first to congratulate Tommy on his award was another emigrant from Monaghan, Fr Paddy McMahon, who comes originally from Drummully, Emyvale. Fr McMahon attended Edenmore school followed by St Macartan’s College in Monaghan, before being ordained. He has been based in Manchester since 1968 and one of his first assignments was a parish in Old Trafford, where Manchester United football club is situated. Over the years he became friendly with a number of the people at the club, including former manager Alex Ferguson and he has been following the Red Devils ever since.

He is now parish priest at nearby St John’s in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, where the late Matt Busby lived. Sometimes Fr McMahon says prayers at Mass for United and he has been known to give out the Premier League results at the end of Saturday vigil Masses. Despite the rivalries between the clubs, he has also welcomed to his church Manchester City supporters and occasionally one of their players. Fr McMahon helped to form the Monaghan Association in Manchester around 1975 and is still President of the group.

Tommy McKenna, Carrickmacross, receives a commenorative crystal bowl with his award from the Manchester Mayo Association President Marcella Wilkinson and Chairperson Patricia Gallagher. Photo: © Bernie O'Brien

Tommy McKenna, Carrickmacross, receives a commenorative crystal bowl with his award from the Manchester Mayo Association President Marcella Wilkinson and Chairperson Patricia Gallagher. Photo: © Bernie O’Brien

The Irish community in Manchester is now busy preparing for St Patrick’s Day. The Manchester Irish Festival is Europe’s biggest Irish Festival outside of Ireland. The city will be turned Green and Red on Friday 6th March at 8pm for the launch of a special promotional event sponsored by Mayo County Council. The annual Irish Festival runs from Friday 6th for a fortnight and features over 200 events. They include headlining gigs from Nathan Carter, The Script, Noel Gallagher, and Young, Gifted & Green.

For more information about any of the events in this year’s Manchester Irish Festival visit: www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk.

Note: These pictures are copyright B. O’Brien. My thanks to photographer Bernie O’Brien in Manchester for giving permission to use these photographs, which I used in the article in this week’s Northern Standard (see Carrickmacross News p.35).

Northern Standard: Carrickmacross News Thursday 5th March 2015 p.35

Northern Standard: Carrickmacross News Thursday 5th March 2015 p.35

 

 

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TAOISEACH IN MONAGHAN

Northern Standard Thursday 12th February p.1

Northern Standard Thursday 12th February p.1

My front page story in this week’s Northern Standard Thursday 12th February including a brief interview I got with Enda Kenny as he was leaving the Monaghan Education Campus after the official opening. He was already an hour behind schedule, heading for Virginia in County Cavan, but provided me with a few good quotes about how important a day it was for Monaghan, and the impact of the new Campus and 200 new jobs at Combilift would be ‘phenomenal’.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveiling plaque at Monaghan Institute with Director Dr Fiona McGrath, Cllr Padraig McNally & Joe McGrath, Chair CMETB  (left) and CEO CMETB Martin O'Brien, Heather Humphreys TD & Michael Moriarty ETBI  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveiling plaque at Monaghan Institute with Director Dr Fiona McGrath, Cllr Padraig McNally & Joe McGrath, Chair CMETB (left) and CEO CMETB Martin O’Brien, Heather Humphreys TD & Michael Moriarty ETBI Photo: © Michael Fisher

This was a wonderful day for Monaghan, according to the Taoiseach, putting the county back on top. Speaking to the Northern Standard after a major jobs announcement by Combilift and the official opening of the Monaghan Education Campus, Enda Kenny T.D. praised what was going on in both locations and said the impact of the two developments would be phenomenal.

It was all about the future, he said. He said the mix of sport, learning, community and culture at the Education Campus would yield benefits not only for the schools, but also for the community, town and county. He welcomed the news that Combilift is planning to link in with Monaghan Institute to develop a new apprenticeship course for educating mechanics and said this was how industry would be able to diversify and create sustainable jobs nationwide.

Mr Kenny also confirmed that the government is still committed to contributing €50 million towards the development of the N2/A5 road scheme from the border towards Letterkenny and Derry, half of the amount this year and the remainder next year.”

Taoiseach Opens New Education Campus: Northern Standard 12/02/15 p.1

Taoiseach Opens New Education Campus: Northern Standard 12/02/15 p.1

Opening of Monaghan Institute: Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD unveils plaque in the main entrance hall.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveiling plaque at Monaghan Institute with Director Dr Fiona McGrath, Cllr Padraig McNally, Joe McGrath, Chair CMETB, Sean Conlan TD & Brendan Smith TD  (left) and CEO CMETB Martin O'Brien, Heather Humphreys TD, Caoimghín Ó Caoláin TD, Matt Carthy MEP & Michael Moriarty ETBI  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Taoiseach Enda Kenny unveiling plaque at Monaghan Institute with Director Dr Fiona McGrath, Cllr Padraig McNally, Sean Conlan TD & Brendan Smith TD (left) and CEO CMETB Martin O’Brien, Heather Humphreys TD, Caoimghín Ó Caoláin TD, Matt Carthy MEP & Joe McGrath, Chair CMETB (right) Photo: © Michael Fisher

BOSE TO CLOSE CARRICKMACROSS PLANT

Bose factory, Carrickmacross  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Bose factory, Carrickmacross Photo: © Michael Fisher

Union representatives will meet management at the BOSE audio systems plant in Carrickmacross  next week, after the multinational suddenly announced it is to close the plant in April, with the loss of 140 jobs. The company has been manufacturing audio products in Monaghan since 1978 but will wind down operations within three months. In a statement on Thursday evening, the US-based business said it would be consolidating its wholly-owned manufacturing operations, closing its facilities in Columbia (South Carolina, USA), and Carrickmacross, Ireland, in order to streamline the company’s global supply chain. boselogo

BOSE which has its headquarters at Framingham in Massachusetts was founded by a college Professor and classical music enthusiast Dr Amar Bose in 1964. Before he died in 2013, Dr. Bose donated a majority stake in his company to MIT, the Boston school where he earned three degrees in electrical engineering and taught a course in acoustics. The company employs around 10,500 people internationally and has sales of $3.3 billion.

Carrickmacross provides final assembly for select home theatre systems and radios for the European market, as well as some remanufacturing for the region. The Irish operation is due to transfer to BOSE facilities in Malaysia and Mexico. Boseheadphone

BOSE executive Vice-President of global operations and corporate development engineering, Bryan Fontaine, said the move came to keep pace with demand from customers and resellers. He said the company’s rapid global growth required them to keep pace with their customers, dealers, distributors, resellers and stores and to serve them as efficiently as possible. These were difficult decisions because they impacted on their very capable teams in Ireland and South Carolina, he said, and he went on to thank the local communities including Carrickmacross for their years of support.

siptuSIPTU Manufacturing Division Organiser Jim McVeigh said the workers were told today by management that the plant was to close in the coming weeks. This came as a complete bolt out of the blue for the workers. It is devastating news for staff, their families and the wider community, he said. Workers have been given a day off today (Friday). Mr McVeigh said he intended to meet the workers and management of the plant on Monday afternoon to discuss what could be done to save their jobs. On Monday evening SIPTU representatives will brief local politicians on the situation and enlist their support in the union’s efforts to save the jobs. He added: “the vast majority of the workforce lives in Monaghan and the plant closure will have a very significant negative impact on the local economy. There are over 140 people employed at this plant and SIPTU is committed to doing everything possible to protect their interests.”

Sean Conlan TD  Photo: FG

Sean Conlan TD Photo: FG

Cavan/Monaghan Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan said he was very sad to hear of the closure of the BOSE plant in Carrickmacross owing to their global restructuring plan.

“The loss of jobs at Bose, which has been a major employer in South Monaghan for many years, is very upsetting for employees and their families, and the fact that this closure is due to take place so soon adds further stress. I have contacted the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, to ask that his department coordinates with the IDA in the hope of extending the notice period.”

“It is important now that alternative employment is found for those who have been left out of work due to today’s decision. I can confirm that the IDA is currently contacting their network of offices worldwide to try to find a suitable company to invest in the region and take on this highly skilled workforce. All the supports of the State will be made available to all of the workers affected by this situation”, said Mr Conlan.

Matt Carthy MEP  Photo: SF

Matt Carthy MEP Photo: SF

Midlands North West Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, who is from Carrickmacross, said: “I know many of the 140 full time BOSE staff personally and I am absolutely devastated to hear of the planned closure of this manufacturing plant in Carrickmacross. The plant is a well established local employer and the announcement today will cause widespread disbelief. Today’s announcement is not just a harsh blow to the staff and their families but to the wider community and local economy, which will be severely impacted by the closure of the plant.”

“Unfortunately, this area has been ignored by too long by successive Governments. I recently highlighted the fact that Monaghan has only has two visits by the IDA in the past 5 years and many will remember that Bose was the last significant employer attracted to this region by the IDA in the late 70s. I am calling on Minister Bruton to immediately engage with the senior management at the plant and attempt to preserve these jobs.”

Full report in next week’s Northern Standard.

 

CARRICKMACROSS NEWS

P1180715 (800x141)My job for the next few months is to represent the Northern Standard as Carrickmacross correspondent in South Monaghan while the staff journalist is on maternity leave (congratulations Veronica on the new arrival!). I enclose the first two pages of Carrickmacross news from last Thursday’s edition (January 8th 2015). Pictures are by Pat Byrne. P1180705

P1180707 (602x800)

If you have a story from the area you can contact me at standardcarricknews@yahoo.ie or telephone (042) 9663890 on a Monday/Tuesday or contact the Monaghan office on a Wednesday (047) 82188.  P1180710 (777x800)

JB THE FUNDRAISER FROM KILLANNY

John Byrne, Killanny  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

John Byrne, Killanny Photo: © Michael Fisher

Around the parish of Killanny and further afield everyone knows him simply as ‘JB’. John Byrne from Lannatt is a former mechanic who used to repair and sell cars. Once it was easy work for him to lift an engine out of a car. But a heart attack thirteen years ago which he was lucky to survive meant he would have difficulty for a time lifting small objects such as a can of peas. He is now doing everything he can to ensure that potentially life-saving equipment is readily available at strategic points throughout the parish such as the parochial hall and a local restaurant.
Chatting to him at his house he told me how he had once been an active sportsman. He played football for Killanny GAA Club and also represented the county mainly at under-21 and minor level. He captained the Killanny side that won the double (championship and league) in 1979 earning them promotion from junior to intermediate and eventually senior level. He went on to become chairman and also manager of the club. But in February 2002 at a time when his work was becoming more and more pressurized he had a heart attack. He was taken to hospital in Dundalk and transferred to Dublin for treatment. Three months later he knew he was beginning to recover when he was able to walk from his house along the laneway that leads to the main road. But it would take nearly two years before he could resume work. His wife Noeleen and daughter Aoife (a keen footballer) were then able to help him in his next project. During his rehabilitation in Dundalk hospital JB noticed there was a need for equipment in a small gym that had been established there. So he helped to raise IR£4500 by asking a number of friends to do a bunjee jump at a parish sports day. Then in 2007 a stroll near the River Glyde inspired him to do a river walk, not alongside but in the water itself. Dressed as James Bond and wearing a dry suit over his tuxedo and bow tie, he managed to walk two miles in the river, ending up by killing off a crocodile-like figure that had been put in the water to introduce a bit of drama. His friends at the Riverbank pub provided sustenance after he successfully completed his task. The money raised was enough to provide six defribrillators which were installed at the GAA pitch and other public areas around the parish. They are kept inside specially marked boxes and cost around IR£3000 each. Now the emphasis is on training people in how to use them. JB’s target is to get two people in every household in Killanny  (population around 1200) trained in the use of these devices. The youngest person trained so far is 15 and the oldest 85. As the man himself put it: ‘the fun part was the fundraising, the work is only starting now’.

WW1 TALK: PTE ROBERT HAMILTON – PART 6

Michael Fisher report in Northern Standard Thursday 27th November 2014 p.6

Michael Fisher report in Northern Standard Thursday 27th November 2014 p.6

Roll of Honour Death Notice (with incorrect date and age) for Pte Hamilton Northern Standard June 1918

Roll of Honour Death Notice (with incorrect date and age) for Pte Hamilton Northern Standard June 1918

Many of the details discovered about Private Robert Hamilton from Ballinode were taken from the archives of the Northern Standard, the main weekly newspaper for County Monaghan. So it was very appropriate to receive coverage in this week’s edition (still on sale) for my talk a week ago on this member of the Royal Irish Fusiliers (9th Battalion), who was killed in action in Flanders in April 1918.

In Memoriam notice 1st anniversary death of Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1919

In Memoriam notice 1st anniversary death of Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1919

 

In Memoriam notice 4th anniversary death of Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1922

In Memoriam notice 4th anniversary death of Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1922

 

In Memoriam 4th anniversary notice for Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1922

In Memoriam 4th anniversary notice for Pte Robert Hamilton. Northern Standard April 1922

THE BIG WIND

Peter Carr: The Big Wind

Peter Carr: The Big Wind

175 years ago tonight a storm blew over Ireland, much like the weather we are experiencing at the moment. The night of the ‘Big Wind’ has been documented by Peter Carr in his book published by White Row Press, Dundonald, in 1993. In August 2011 Peter gave a talk on the subject at the William Carleton summer school in Clogher.

Peter Carr at William Carleton summer school 2011 Photo: © Michael Fisher

Peter Carr at William Carleton summer school 2011 Photo: © Michael Fisher

This is a description of the night of January 6th 1839 in County Monaghan, taken from two local newspapers, the Northern Standard and the Anglo-Celt. These sources were used in a compilation by Jonathan A. Smyth for the website cavanliving.ie.

THE BIG WIND

On the night of Sunday last the storm which ravaged the kingdom, was felt severely in the town of Monaghan. About half past eleven o’clock the gale which had been gradually increasing for some time swelled into a most terrific hurricane and about 3am on Monday morning, the power of air rushing from the south-west bore everything before it with resist-less force. The slates and roofing of several houses were born upon the raging element as if they were leaves upon the breeze, and the cowering and terrified inhabitants looked upon the devastation [sic] with arms palsied with fear, and in trembling awe looked to the Almighty dispenser of all things, for an abatement of the fury of the winds of heaven. To add to the horror of the scene, a fire burst forth from the chimney of Mr John Murray’s, Church-square, and the sparks and flame were dashed upon the roofs of several thatched houses which occupy one side of the Diamond. For upwards of one hour the flue, which, we believe, had not been swept for a length of time, threw forth masses of fire which were hurled by the tempest to a great distance and occasioned much additional alarm, but thank God no more evil result followed. The fire burnt itself out, and the roofs of the houses on which the sparks had fallen were so saturated with wet from the rain and snow which had fallen on the previous days that they were immediately extinguished. However, several dwellings present to the view a frightful wreck; many chimnies were injured and we regret to say that three of the small spires which ornamented our beautiful church, were thrown from their bases and broken to pieces. The amount of damage done in the neighbourhood is enormous. The farm yards are a melancholy spectacle; hay, straw, oats, wheat and barley have been in almost every instance heaped together in a dreadful confusion; turf-ricks have been tosseed [sic] to a distance scarcely credible, and much of the fine old timber which graced the domains of the nobility and gentry of our neighbourhood, had been torn up by the roots. The beautiful plantation in the demesne of Mrs Leslie, of Glasslough, has been suffered to a great extent, and the residence of Edward Lucas, Esq., of Castleshane, M.P., has severely felt the force of the storm. The memory of the oldest inhabitants of this country cannot furnish us an instance of such devastation in so limited a period — and not to storm alone are many of the injuries to be attributed — fire has, in sundry places, lent its aid to the terrible destruction. In Glasslough, a small town within five miles of Monaghan, eight houses were burned to the ground, and their inhabitants driven houseless into the streets; but it affords no pleasure, amidst the recital of so much calamity, to be able to state that no human being was deprived of life. In Killalea, between Glasslough and Armagh, great havoc has been commited [sic] by the combined elements of destruction. The town of Clones, from its elevated position, felt the full force of the tempest; and Ballybay, Castleblayney, and Carrickmacross have had many houses rendered untenantable (sic.). Several carts, laden with pork, etc. coming from the direction of Clones to our market, on Monday were compelled to return, in consequence of the numerous impediments on the roads, caused by fallen trees.–Several families in Middleton have been deprived of the shelter of a roof, and are at present trespassing on the kindness of their neighbours for a home and a screen from the inclemency of the weather which still continues very severe. Aughnacloy, a small town in the county Tyrone, and ten miles from Monaghan presents a melancholy picture of destruction–several houses were unroofed, and some totally in ruins. Within about two miles of the last mentioned place a poor man was killed while endeavouring to rescue his family from the ruins of his once comfortable dwelling. A woman was killed in the neighbourhood of Glentubret (Clontibret?), but the particulars of the case have not yet reached us. The Belfast and Enniskillen Mail which should have arrived here at one o’clock on Monday morning, did not reach until 10am. This vehicle was upset at Shantly, near this town, and Patrick Mar, the driver’s thigh received a compound fracture, under which the poor man has been since suffering. The Dublin and Derry Mail did not arrive here until 7 o’clock, three hours after its appointed time–indeed few, if any, of the coaches have been able to reach their destination at the appointed time, in consequence of the severity of the weather. Every hour brings tidings of fresh disasters; and the accounts from the sea coasts which we copy from our contemporaries are truly frightful.Extracts are printed courtesy of The Anglo-Celt and The Northern Standard.

For more background on the night of the storm, see the feature “Oídhche na gaoithe moiré” or “The night of the big wind” in The Meteo Times (TMT).

“When the nation woke up to a snowy winter wonderland on the morning of the 6th January 1839, little did they know that dawning upon them was a day that would bring forth one the most exceptional and violent storms ever to hit Ireland, writes TMT’s Patrick Gordon.
“Poor people ended up on the roads ‘the vault of heaven their only roof’Peter Carr
Peter Carr aptly describes it in his book ‘The Big Wind’ – The Story of the Legendary Big Wind of 1839, Ireland’s Greatest Natural Disaster’:-
 “The tranquility of the morning seemed almost unearthly”.  This ethereal calm continued into the afternoon.   As one observer noted “There was something awful in the dark stillness of that winter day, for there was no sunlight coming through the thick, motionless clouds that hung over the earth”.
A notable temperature rise was observed over the length and breadth of the country as a warm front moved across the country during the afternoon ‘by as much as 10F at Phoenix Park’ (Carr, 1991)…..
Equally harrowing reports of that terrible night can be found from across the length and breadth of Ireland as shown from a contemporary account in the Tuam Herald:
  • Armagh: Many houses stripped of their roofs
  • Athlone: Storm continued with unabated fury from 11pm ‘til 3.30am.  One of the hardest hit areas with much loss of life
  • Ballinasloe: Much devastation, with great woods felled.
  • Ballyshannon: Great destruction of property and livelihoods.
  • Belfast: A violent westerly bring death and destruction.
  • Birr: One boy and three females killed
  • Carlow: Serious injury reported but escaped the worst of the winds
  • Carrickfergus:  Tree in graveyard uprooted forcing many of the dead to the surface.
  • Carrick-on-Shannon: The produce of the harvest lies scattered over the whole countryside.
  • Castlebar: Widespread damage with few houses left unscathed.
  • Coonagh: 3 killed in storm
  • Derry: Visited by a storm of extraordinary violence
  • Co.Down. Much damage but escapes relatively well.
  • Drogheda: Never within the memory of man has this town and neighbourhood been visited with such an awful storm.
  • Dublin: The metropolis was, on Sunday night, visited by a hurricane such as the oldest inhabitants cannot remember.  Two known deaths as a result.
  • Ennis: Scene of terrible calamity.
  • Galway: At least 7 dead.  Men, women and children screaming, crying with raw terror.
  • Gort: Total devastation. One of the worst hit areas
  • Kilkenny: Many houses burned down during the storm.
  • Killarny: Hurricane raged with terrible fury
  • Kinsale: Destruction is not so terrible, as far as we can learn
  • Co Laois: The destruction of trees is prodigious.
  • Limerick: Badly hit. Lightning and wind made for an awesome sight.
  • Longford: Barely a house left standing
  • Loughrea: Devastated.
  • Mullingar: Suffered severely-to the utter ruin of its inhabitants.
  • Roscommon: These immense plains have been swept through by a fury.
  • Sligo: To give a full description of the devastation would be morally impossible.
  • Tralee: Hurricane reaps disaster.
  • Waterford: Visited by the most terrific storm ever remembered   (from Patrick Gordon’s article).

WILLIAM CARLETON SUMMER SCHOOL

peaceIIImonaghan

Walking tour of Monaghan town led by Grace Moloney and Theresa Loftus assembles at Monaghan County Museum, Hill Street. Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Walking tour of Monaghan town led by Grace Moloney and Theresa Loftus assembles at Monaghan County Museum, Hill Street. Photo: © Michael Fisher

NSlogo

                    WILLIAM CARLETON SUMMER SCHOOL 2013 GREAT SUCCESS

Monaghan Gospel Choir under the direction of David Drum brought to an end one of the most successful summer schools ever held by the William Carleton Society with a concert at Fivemiletown Wesleyan Hall. The Choir sang some of their favourite numbers including ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’. But the big hit of the night was the guest appearance by Gloria from Tydavnet. She sang with them the song which gave her a number one hit in 1978, ‘One Day at a Time’, before going on to delight the crowd with several other songs. There was a rousing finale when the Murley Silver Band directed by William Hill returned to the stage to accompany the Choir in two songs, bringing an end to a most enjoyable night.

The previous night members of the Clogher Valley Walking Club led a group of ramblers on part of the Carleton trail in the area of Fardross forest. The route passed by an old Mass rock, thought to date back to penal times. The walkers were met by two pipers, Jim Brady and Frank Gildernew as they arrived back at Somers cafe. The Ulster Scots juvenile pipe band also played for the guests and inside the cafe the McKenna family from Clogher provided traditional music.

On the Monday night at the Rathmore Bar in Clogher there was a music session with a new traditional group called SÍoda, one of whom is from Emyvale. They were joined at one stage by SeosamhÍn Ní Bheaglaioch from Dublin, a sean-nós singer and well-known broadcaster who sang a number of songs in Irish. On Sunday, she sang unaccompanied during a ceremony at the Blue Bridge at Inishdevlin, Emyvale. Summer school events in Emyvale and Monaghan were part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the PEACE III Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and delivered through the Monaghan PEACE III Partnership.

The summer school director Michael Fisher unveiled a plaque which had been restored with the help of local craftsmen by Emyvale Development Association. In 1997, Monaghan County Council in conjunction with the Association erected a Plaque there but weather conditions eventually rotted the  plaque backing and it came away from the wall. The programme began at 4pm in Emyvale Leisure Centre with light refreshments and then a move to the Blue Bridge. Some walked while transport was laid on for the remainder. At the Bridge Peadar McMahon, chairman Emyvale Development Association,  began proceedings giving some background and then introduced entertainment from the Murphy family of Jack, Chloe and Lauren playing traditional music, Seosamhín Ní Bheaglaioch, and Edelle McMahon singing the ‘Romance of the Merrow Queen’, which has local connections.

Breege Lenihan, Tullyvogey, Tydavnet inspects the restored plaque at the Blue Bridge Photo: © Michael Fisher

Breege Lenihan, Tullyvogey, Tydavnet inspects the restored plaque at the Blue Bridge Photo: © Michael Fisher

Michael Fisher then addressed the crowd and spoke about Carleton and also about another great poet and writer, Terence O’Gorman, whose works have just been launched in book form by his daughter, Patricia Cavanagh. He read a poem about Emyvale, written by Terence and contained in the book. He thanked the Bowe family and Seamus McAree for their part in the preparations for this event and then unveiled the restored Plaque. Seamus McCluskey then added some historical notes and interesting facts about the Blue Bridge, Carleton and the area in general. Finally Peadar McMahon thanked those who assisted – Truwood; Connolly Furniture; Murphy Sound and Video; The Murphy family musicians; Seosamhín and Edelle; Richard McCarron (local stonemason who, with Declan McMahon, erected the plaque and advised on stonework); the Photographers; Moran’s Transport; Norah Ryan; Jim Balfe and Paddy Sherry; George McCarron; Emyvale Leisure Centre Committee; The Emyvale Development Committee and all who attended; There was special thanks to Paul and Ann Bowe for their assistance and support, which was greatly appreciated. He then invited all to return to the Leisure Centre for a reading by the Carleton Players of the ‘Fair of Emyvale’, adapted by Liam Foley. On Saturday, around sixty people took part in a walking tour of Monaghan town led by Grace Moloney of the Clogher Historical Society and Theresa Loftus from Monaghan County Museum.

For the first time, the summer school had opened in Monaghan, with a conference on William Carleton, Patrick Kavanagh and Charles Gavan Duffy. Art Agnew from Carrickmacross who grew up in Inniskeen put in a lively performance as Kavanagh, delivering extracts from ‘The Green Fool’ and other works. International guest Professor Thomas O’Grady from Boston read some of his own poetry, including verses about Prince Edward Island, where he was born. He also talked about Kavanagh and Benedict Kiely. Earlier the summer school was officially opened by the Mayor of Monaghan Cllr Sean Conlon, who was accompanied by the Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone, Cllr Sean McGuigan. Mary O’Donnell who comes originally from Monaghan and is a patron of the William Carleton Society read some of her poems. Dr Brendan O Cathaoir and former Monaghan Museum curator Aidan Walsh spoke about Charles Gavan Duffy, while the final talk was given by Felix Larkin, director of the Parnell summer school in Avoca, on the Shemus Cartoons in the ‘Freeman’s Journal’.

The proceedings switched to Clogher on the Monday, in the presence of the Bishops of Clogher Right Reverend John McDowell and Dr Liam MacDaid, and Bishop Emeritus Dr Joseph Duffy, a patron of the William Carleton Society. Among the speakers were Professor O’Grady, Professor Owen Dudley Edwards, honorary director of the summer school, and the television presenter and commentator Tom McGurk, who spoke about his upbringing in Brockagh, County Tyrone.

This part of the summer school is supported by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister and funded through  Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council under the District Council Good Relations Programme and the William Carleton Society committee gratefully acknowledges this funding.OFMDFM (1)

On Tuesday the guests included Dr Ciaran Mac Murchaidh from St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, who spoke about the Irish language in the 19thC Clogher Valley area and Dr Ian Adamson on Ulster-Scots. William Carleton Society President Jack Johnston gave a talk on the history of Augher. Josephine Treanor from Knockatallon spoke very movingly about her great great grandmother Anne Duffy, the miller’s daughter from Augher and Carleton’s first love.   Dungannon_logo

Wednesday’s session attracted national headlines with the speech of Mary O’Rourke about a proposed grand coalition between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. There was also an interesting session on the current state of the Orange Order by Professor Jon Tonge from Liverpool. The audience included former Police Ombudsman in the North Dame Nuala O’Loan and her husband Declan, an SDLP Councillor in Ballymena.

Mary Kenny’s talk on Edward Carson, Dubliner, Irishman and Unionist was well received and provided a fitting end to the formal part of the summer school. The seventh day was devoted to a literary tour of Fermanagh, led by Gordon Brand (Secretary, William Carleton Society) and Frank McHugh, deputy director of the summer school. The tour headed to the Crom estate near Newtownbutler on Upper Lough Erne, where our guide was Vicky Herbert from Lisnaskea. She took the group on a walk to the old Crom Castle and past the famous yew trees, some of the oldest in Ireland. She also pointed out the house where the author Shan Bullock had lived as a child. His book ‘The Loughsiders’ is based around Crom and the neighbouring villages.

The Wiiliam Carleton summer school was brought to a successful end with a literary tour of Fermanagh, finishing with a visit to the Ceili House near Enniskillen. Host Tom McGowan has assembled a range of unusual objects from road signs to old rowing boats and oars to radios. The group led by summer school director Michael Fisher was met by the Chair of Fermanagh District Council, Alex Baird.

The Wiiliam Carleton summer school was brought to a successful end with a literary tour of Fermanagh, finishing with a visit to the Ceili House near Enniskillen. Host Tom McGowan has assembled a range of unusual objects from road signs to old rowing boats and oars to radios. The group led by summer school director Michael Fisher was met by the Chair of Fermanagh District Council, Alex Baird.

The day finished with a visit to the Ceili House, a private establishment run by Tom McGowan outside Enniskillen. Based in a former quarry, it includes a vast collection of memorabilia including old radios, road signs and rowing boats and oars. The group met the Chair of Fermanagh District Council, Alex Baird and after a pleasant dinner, returned to Corick House to round off a hectic week of engagements.  EU flag2colors