Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Heritage Notes - 24 December 2010

The Cappoquin Christmas Collection set of cards is now in the black as far as costs are concerned and we hope to build on this initiative next year and help people to send just a little bit of home to those who may be far away. May we thank everyone in the place who organised an event or a game, a concert or a market, a carnival or a parade for the marvellous work you are all doing to keep our community going. Our picture this week is from our top-selling Christmas card, a painting by Noel O’Donoghue of a night-time carol scene at the Square. Best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Heritage Notes - 17 December 2010

It's all go at present in the Cornerstone town.

The Farmers' Market brought a lovely buzz to the old town centre on Saturday last, with a great range of local produce on sale and an equally great opportunity for people to meet and chat. Santa surprised us yet again this year, not by arriving (which was expected) but by arriving on a lawnmower-driven sleigh thanks to the genius of chief elf, Michael O'Rourke. Full details next week. Rumour has it that Santa even attended the Saturday night performance of the wonderful Cinderella Story at the Community Centre (in a fairly good disguise), before visiting Bunscoil Gleann Sídheain the following day as well.

In other news, there is still be a place available on the Town Twinning visit to Chanat in mid March - contact Keith Dransfield for details.

We have had one taker on the offer of an allotment near the town so far - Joe Prendergast will gladly deal with any further enquiries on this one.

The Christmas cards are selliing like hot cakes, with Noel O'Donoghue's painting of the Square about as hard to get as one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets at this stage - and just as valuable.

Finally, the Foroige club are off to the ice skating rink this Friday evening, a refixture from the cancelled event two weeks ago - isn't it real irony when a trip to an ice skating rink had to be cancelled before because of...ice!

That's it for now. Christmas round-up next week

The Michael Cavanagh Society

The photograph shows Cavanagh Society members.
Front row from left:Ann Kiely, Imelda Cavanagh, Very Rev. Fr Robert Arthure.
Back row from left: Brendan Kiely, Kevin McCarthy, Tony McCarthy, Tom Cavanagh.

The launch of a new book, “Michael Cavanagh His Life & Selected Works” in the Cappoquin Community Centre’s Cavanagh Hall on Saturday, 27th. November, 2010 was testament to the large number of hardy souls who braved snow and ice to pay tribute to one of the town’s most illustrious sons. No greater contrast could have been had than with that of the gloriously sunny June day in 2001 when Cappoquin was at its most splendid for the unveiling of the Michael Cavanagh Monument at the Square.

However, the bright lights of the Cavanagh Hall, the welcome heat, and the food and hot drinks supplied by Barron’s Bakery and served by Victoria and Elaine quickly dispersed the misfortune of a too-early winter.

Secretary of the Michael Cavanagh Society, Ann Kiely, got proceedings underway and the Society’s President, Tony McCarthy, gave a brief resumé of the work of the Society. He told the audience that the Society was formed to honour Michael Cavanagh (1822-1900) and that it was truly a joint Irish and American organisation, as it drew its membership from both sides of the Atlantic. In its early years it ran a number of literary competitions in both Irish and English and can claim justly to be the cause of several post-primary school students in the West Waterford area writing their first poem or story.

Tony McCarthy went on to explain that in later years the Society decided to tackle the arduous task of compiling and making available a fitting cross-section of Michael Cavanagh’s own work and that the fruits of that endeavour were now to be unveiled. He particularly recommended one of Michael’s prose pieces, the Midnight Mass in Mount Melleray, as being appropriate to the season and a very enjoyable read.

The guest speaker, Very Rev. Father Robert Arthure, A.P., then took the floor. Fr. Arthure is an historian in his own right whose biography of the distinguished 19th. century churchman, Fr. Patrick Fogarty of Lismore, has been particularly well received. (This biography covers the period of the Young Ireland and Fenian Revolutionaries such as Michael Cavanagh, but Fr. Fogarty was a great supporter of Daniel O’Connell and a strong and determined opponent of all physical force movements. His views and that of Michael Cavanagh and his peers would not have coincided!) Fr. Arthure is well-known for being a thought-provoking religious columnist and a man whose sermons always leave an impact on his audience. On this particular night he came to the Cavanagh Hall having celebrated the vigil Mass in St. Mary’s Church, across the road, and had put in a good word for “Hope”, something that it is short supply in the Ireland of 2010.

Fr. Arthure took the audience in the Cavanagh Hall gently through Michael Cavanagh’s life and made the point that though he spent the majority of his life in America, his engagement with his native place and the friends and neighbours of his boyhood and young adulthood never faltered. In the best book-launch tradition, Fr. Arthure interspersed his remarks with the exhortation “to find out what happened next you must buy the book!”. On a more sober note, he referred to Michael Cavanagh’s description of the poor dying people he saw in Lismore, victims of the Famine and a landlord lacking in charity. He went on to recite extracts from some of Michael Cavanagh’s poems and referred to the lighter prose pieces. As he came to the end of his talk he humorously referred to Michael’s story about Petticoat Loose and then reluctantly (well, that is what he said!) mentioned the story about Madra an Droichead and the need for the audience to be careful going home. This infamous Madra used to patrol around the old Wooden Bridge of Cappoquin and made nightly forays into Twig Bog, to an old well, near which now stands the Cavanagh Hall! (Thankfully, as far as we know, everyone got home safely and the possible inspiration for the Hound of the Baskervilles -Arthur Conan Doyle’s mother was Mary Foley of Lismore- chose not to appear.)

Fr. Arthure declared the book launched and the night was brought to a close after Ann Kiely expressed the Society’s sincere gratitude to the many people who had helped in its production.

The Cavanagh family was represented at the occasion by Tommy and Imelda Cavanagh of Fermoy. The American branch, who could not be present on the night, will be able to get a flavour of the event, courtesy of a DVD recording kindly made by Mary McGrath.

About the book itself: it is a handsome, hardcover edition, published by Original Writing of Dublin, with a striking dustcover. It is a substantial volume, running to almost 400 pages and includes several, interesting plates. It is of wide interest and would make a very acceptable gift to anyone with an interest in Irish and local history. It also contains social commentary and some very good yarns! Michael Cavanagh’s writing is firmly in the tradition of the Irish storyteller, not to mention that of the Victorian greats, and his fine sense of humour does not go amiss in these tough times.

The book costs €20 and is available from most shops in Cappoquin, Lismore Heritage Centre shop and from the bookshops and County Museum in Dungarvan. Emailed orders can be taken by Cappoquin Heritage Group via the website www.cappoquin.net . All profits will be given to the primary school in Cappoquin, Bunscoil Gleann Sídheáin.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Heritage Notes - 10 December 2010

This Week’s Picture

Once again, this week’s picture comes from the new publication, ‘Michael Cavanagh: His Life and Selected Works’, now on sale in local shops with all profits going to Bunscoil Gleann Sídheáin. It shows what surely was the biggest industry ever owned by a Cappoquin native. Pictured here is the original headquarters of Hugh Collender’s Billiard Table empire, at 738 Broadway, New York. Collender went with Michael Cavanagh to the USA after the 1849 rebellion and while his friend became a prolific writer, Collender eventually became the most famous manufacturer of billiard and snooker tables in the world, with over forty premises and depots worldwide. Hugh Collender’s company is thriving today, though known now simply as ‘Brunswick’, and Hugh himself is appropriately commemorated on a footpath plaque outside Cappoquin Snooker Club, where else!

Christmas Farmers’ Market

Next Saturday morning, December 11th we will have this year’s Cappoquin Christmas Farmers’ Market. As usual, it will be held on the Square starting at 10.30 until 1.00 pm. Almost every town in the country hosts a Farmer’s Market at some stage of the year and thanks to all the local support, the ones in Cappoquin over the past few years have been successful. An event like this is a good community activity, it is sociable and you will enjoy your visit to the market.

Cappoquin has a lot of local food producers, more than most places of its size. So it is important that they have the opportunity to market their wares in this fashion, in their local town. There will be a wide range of foods available, including ice cream, bread, cakes, fruit, vegetables, home baking, jams, apple juice, cheeses, and honey. As it is Christmas, there will also be festive food, Christmas trees and cards.

We look forward to seeing you next Saturday morning for the Farmers’ Market where you can start the weekend with the spirit of Christmas, on the Square of your local town.

Santa at the Square

With the Farmers’ Market all ready for the off at the Square this Saturday, December 11th, the word from the North Pole is that Santa hopes to arrive in his horse-drawn sleigh sometime between twelve and twelve-fifteen on the day. Like last year, this is a ‘getting to know you’ visit, a chance for Santa to get reacquainted with the local kids since last year and double check that the list of presents is correct for December 25th. He hopes to bring special certificates with him like last year, and we are pretty sure there will be some goodies available to everyone, as well as the opportunity for the grown-ups to sample some of the best local produce available at the Market. Maybe Santa will stay around this weekend, probably in disguise, and go and see the marvellous Cinderella pantomime at the Community Centre before coming back to the Sale of Work at Bunscoil Gleann Sídheáin on Sunday. Busy times for a busy man.