Sunshine, face-painting and a history-steeped walk on May Bank Holiday Monday.
Villagers and visitors crammed into Bradshaws on a warm bank holiday Monday afternoon, for the start of ‘All Saints and Singers’ the day-long celebration of heritage and history of Castleconnell.
Heritage expert, Paddy Tuohy had listeners on the edge of their seats with tales of the famous residents, visitors and historical events going back hundreds of years in Castleconnell.
It was a real family afternoon with face painting, chocolate crepes, colouring and games.
As part of the Ballyhoura Walking Festival, the guided Heritage walk at 4pm saw more than 60 people tour historical landmarks in the area including the ruins of the de Burgh Castle and the old Village Courthouse on Chapel Hill.
“I’ve been living in Castleconnell over 25 years and I never knew that there were two secondary schools here in the past.” said Annie McInerney standing outside the former Irish Harp Center building, which once housed a secondary school and referring to the Castle Oaks House Hotel, which was a former convent with adjoining school.
“You can never be sure what kind of numbers you might get for an event like today. I’m thrilled by the interest that there is in our local history.” said Nicky McNamara, LOVE Castleconnell organiser and one of the founders of Castleconnell Heritage Centre.
“The turnout, the appetite for information and the feedback has given us loads of ideas for future events!” she added.
All Saints and Singers was the first event from a newly formed voluntary group in the village, LOVE Castleconnell, which stands for Live, Own, Visit, Enjoy.
With the sun setting and the birds twittering in the twilight, the day-long celebration culminated in an “Other Voices” style concert in the All Saints Church.
Special Ghost Appearances by General Sir Richard Bourke and “Black Jack” Fitzgibbon continued the historical theme and peppered the musical acts with first hand accounts of the famous former residents interesting lives.
But it was the array of breathtaking musical talent from local performers that stole the show.
On the alter of the 600 year old church, whose walls are adorned by plaques and tributes to its former congregants, Deci “The Techie” Hogan, Owen & Moley O’Súilleabháin – sons of legendary composer Mícheál O’Súilleabháin, Shane Bond, Niamh Irwin, teacher from Eoin Gilhooleys renowned Mid-West Vocal Academy & Music School and the Castleconnell Folk Club rocked the crowd and created a very special and memorable evening.
“I’m delighted it went so well and that people enjoyed themselves” said founder of LOVE Castleconnell, Tara Hartigan. “We are lucky and thankful that Déan Gary Paulsen and the church community are willing to open their doors and host an event like this here. Not to mention the incredible artists who participated, it really has been a magical night.”
“LOVE Castleconnell is only in its infancy” – she said – “and we’d be delighted to welcome everyone’s ideas for future events, and we’d really welcome anyone else who wants to get involved.”
LOVE Castleconnell can be contacted on Facebook/Love Castleconnell or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org