‘The bicycles go by in two’s and threes’ the poet wrote, but on this July weekend we had many more. Enough for a big crowd but not too big to be dangerous.
At 4 o’clock Seamus Cassidy brought a group on a heritage walk of the famed village. His anecdotes and specific historical reference added greatly to the walk.
On Saturday afternoon the ‘peleton’ left the village with lead car flashing lights contrasting with the cyclists coming behind dressed in suitable 1930’s costume. When they arrived in Dooley’s in Magoney they were fit for tea, coffee and lovely bread that Tony and Sue had prepared. Then a brief pre-history lesson at Magoney dolmen officially ‘opened’ by Minister Humphrey’s in May and then on to Smyth’s at Mullaghinshina. Once again the Smyth family were ideal hosts, Marie, Packie, and Donal and more tea, currant bread and a drop of whatever you’re having yourself. Over 40 different songs, stories and recitations were performed. One man said that it reminded him of parties that would be held when American visitors were home. Packie himself led the way with Brian Dooley, Thomas Ruddy and Patrick Crilly all featuring strongly. From there to the Community Centre for more entertainment.
While the weather on Saturday might be classified as soft, Sunday blazed down on us from above and after Rosaleen, Elmar and Margaret dealt with the registration in the Round Tower Church it was off again led by piper, Paddy Martin. First stop was Toal’s Meadow where Brian and Thomas perched precariously high began their ‘Shortening the Road’ sequence. The Fanebank Dramatic Society sprang into action with a scene from ‘Tarry Flynn’, just outside the old school house where the actual scene took place.
On then to Mucker where Pat Lennon had improvised a dancing deck to replicate the deck that was there in 1923. Peter Murphy explained the history and the rivalry that ensued over decks. They were popular with the young people but clerical authority and others were not always keen. Owen Joe McGahon played the accordion and waltzes were danced.
At Kavanagh’s house in Mucker the Fanebank Dramatic Society gave an outstanding performance of the opening scene in ‘Tarry Flynn’. This was a first. A theatrical performance directly outside where it happened. The crowd loved it. Owen Joe McGahon played the accordion outside the gate.
At Kednaminsha Cross (Drumnay Cross in Tarry Flynn) , the spot where the poet stood as the bicycles went by, we had another dramatic re-enactment of the weight throwing and the exaggerated prowess of Tarry Flynn questioning the veracity of the record. This led him into direct confrontation with Joe Finnegan who told him he would ‘bore rat holes in the breed of him’. Fr. Markey a k a Peter Murphy arrived to scatter the throwers, tossers and hangers on.
It was on to Billy Brennan’s Barn next. We want to thank Matthews Coaches for sponsoring transport for a multitude of too warm to walk enthusiasts. At Brennan’s, the Inniskeen Actively Retired Group had afternoon tea ready. The Brennan farmyard is a natural amphitheatre in itself and the Fanebank group entertained us further with the Court scene from ‘Tarry Flynn’. Brian Dooley and Thomas Ruddy gave a very graphic staging of Patrick Kavanagh’s witness box experience with John A. Costello, Senior Counsel, who cross examined him in the libel action. Several others gave anecdotal stories but a moment’s silence was observed for the late Matthew Rooney whose enthusiasm helped us to make Brennan’s a vital stopping point. Willie Joe Mealy from Kilkenny, a regular and great support took a minute to single out Rosaleen Kearney and the staff at the Kavanagh Centre, Elmar Marron and Margaret Lynch.
And then it was back to the Community Centre for the BBQ and other refreshments. Larry McDermott, historian, raconteur and safety officer collected the beacons. ‘We may need them again next year’ he said.
Apologies to Oisin O’Byrne who has become a national treasure after his 1916 recitations. He had been asked to recite at Kednaminsha Cross but was overlooked.
The Fanebank players deserve a special mention. They left the boards and took to the roads for our enjoyment and merriment. Thank you to Keavey McGeeney, Martha Kingham, Fiona Hoey, Owen Greene, Bernard Duffy, Joe Fee, Patrick McArdle, Aidan Faughey and producer, Tom Lennon.
Thank you to Geraldine Martin for designing our promotional brochures and to Brennan Signs.Ita & Mickey Keenan, Briege Boylan and Paddy Dowdall for traffic control. Clogher Historical Society for the use of their safety equipment.
Thank you to the dancers at Lennons; Peter Lennon and Patricia Quigley, Kathleen McElroy and Margaret Campbell and the man from Carlingford.
Thank you Ursula Matthews, Matthews Coaches, Seamus Cassidy for the Saturday Walking Tour, Joe Callan for photographs and Paddy Martin for the videos. McKeown Electrical.