…‘A road, a mile of kingdom’…
The Inniskeen Road festival took place this weekend, the 14th and 15th of July, 2018. On Saturday morning, ‘the sun shone as it did for the Tuatha De Danann’ as the talented textile artist Karen McArdle facilitated a children’s workshop at the Round Tower Church in the centre of the village. The children’s work was based on a Kavanagh poem of their choice and they came up with some novel and beautiful creations.
On Saturday afternoon, well known historian, Larry McDermott took the visitors on a guided walk of Inniskeen village bringing them back in time to the 6th Century.
On Saturday evening it was off by High Nelly bicycle from Inniskeen, through Kavanagh Country via Finnegan’s Cross and Carrickakelly, and on to Dooley’s at Magoney. There, they were treated by their hosts, the Dooley family to tea, buttered homemade bread, brack and biscuits and lots of music, song and story for the weary cyclists who enjoyed this break.
From Magoney they travelled to Smith’s ancestral home at Mullaghunshinagh where there were many more treats of brown bread, brack and hearty beverages to bolster their energy. There were contributions of poetry, song and recitations from many of those present and we spent a really enjoyable night before the open fire until the midnight hour. As daylight had long faded, the cyclists left their bicycles in the care of Smiths and were transported back to the dance in the Social Club. Visitors came from many parts of Ireland; Kerry, Laois, Kildare, Kilkenny and Donegal and all the neighbouring counties.
This event is gaining in popularity year by year and will extend in future.
On Sunday, despite the counter attractions of the Monaghan/ Kildare match in Croke Park and the World Cup Football Final, the attendance was excellent. The skies were leaden but despite the rain, we cycled and walked to the Mullagh Hall where the history of this hall was ably told by Thomas Ruddy depicting the strange times that existed following the introduction of the Dance Hall’s Act in 1935. It was then on to Drumcatton Church via Mullaghinshinagh where Larry McDermott welcomed the visitors and gave them a very interesting history of the Church and the story of the local man, Michael Keegan who lost his life in the First World War. He and some twenty others were repatriated in 1922. Michael Keegan’s remains were interred in Drumcatton cemetery. He was a brother of the famous blacksmith, Barney Keegan a former Chairman of Inniskeen Football Club. He is immortalised in Kavanagh’s work.
The visitors then took a break to enjoy the refreshments provided by the evergreen Active Retired Group led by Kitty Lennon.
Then extracts from Patrick Kavanagh’s ‘Green Fool’ were brought to life by Peter Murphy, as he took on the role of Fr. Bernard Maguire (Salamanca Barney). Thomas Ruddy played the part of Red Pat Jennings, the local pig killer, often referred to by Patrick Kavanagh in his writings. It was then time to return to Inniskeen. The high spirited visitors were not deterred by the rain and many refused the facility of Matthews coach and walked or cycled on to the BBQ at the Social Club where they enjoyed the best beef burgers ever and the excellent music provided by K Mac. The visitors here contributed to the great party atmosphere in song, story and bardic verse bringing the weekend to a close. Many vowed to return for the Annual Patrick Kavanagh Weekend and Poetry Awards which will take place 28th-30th September 2018 at the Patrick Kavanagh Centre.
Our thanks to each and everyone who helped make the weekend such a success.
A special thanks to Inniskeen Active Retired Group for presenting the tea and delicious bracks at Drumcatton Museum. To Gerry Dooley of the Social Club and staff for hosting the BBQ. To Coolderry Coaches and Matthews Coaches. To the Kirk Family for the use of the Mullagh Hall, Drumcatton 200 Committee for the use of the excellent facilities at St. Ann’s Church. To Paddy Dowdall, Briege Boylan, Ita and Michael Keenan and Joe Callan for stewarding the events. To the organising committee and staff of the Kavanagh Centre and to the Smith and Dooley families for hosting the excellent storytelling events. To the many visitors who contributed song and story and to all who entered into the spirit of the weekend by dressing in 1930’s period costume.
Congratulations to Gabrielle Tuomey and Noeleen Mangan who jointly took the best 1930’s costume prize. We look forward to welcoming our visitors to next year’s event.