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
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
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
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
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
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
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