Saturday 25 May 2019

Community news: Charleville

The staff and pupils of St. Anne's Primary School, Charleville enthusiastically participated in the European week of sport and physical activity 2108.

In fact, they enjoyed it so much that they are going to keep up the physical activity throughout the school year.

Teachers and pupils took part in events such as 'wake-up and shake-up' each morning for ten minutes, and the staff and sixth class pupils took part in challenges, as well as 'drop everything and dance'.

As part of a 'tour of Europe' challenge, they all ran for one kilometre each day and used their combined efforts to visit various European landmarks on their map.

Festival of History delights crowds in Charleville

Over 50 people turned up to travel back in time on the historic walk on the last day of the Festival of History in Charleville last Sunday afternoon to hear historian Owen Binchy, who conducted the walk in the Turrets area, which is one of the oldest of the town, to bring a hugely successful weekend to a close.

The Turrets area contains some houses dating back to the foundation of the town by Roger Boyle in 1661, such as the weavers' cottages, which were, reputably, built to house Dutch weavers brought to Ireland by Boyle to instruct the Irish in the skill of weaving wool and linen.

Owen Binchy had fascinating information regarding the Zion Chapel, which was the second chapel to be built in Charleville and after which came the church in Chapel Street in 1812, followed by the present Holy Cross Church in 1902.

He pointed out the site of the Freemason Lodge in Charleville, which was located to the rear of the present Fort St. George house at the Turrets, just across the road from Holy Cross Church. There is a stone plate on one of the piers bearing the name Fort St. George and the symbol of the Free Masons.

The Charleville lodge number 49 was issued on April 12, 1736 with the title 'Emerald Lodge' and was one of the principle lodges in Munster at the time. It was active until 1865, when it became dormant, but resumed in June 1879 and continued until the warrant was returned in 1901.

The old Charleville warrant was then assigned to Greystones in Co. Wicklow, where Lodge 49 operates under the Emerald Lodge title to this day.

Owen Bincy pointed out where the stables for the horses pulling the Bianconi stage coach, which halted in Charleville on its way from Cork to Limerick, at the Coach Inn, which was located near where the credit union building now stands. The group also saw where the Endowed School was located at the Turrets in the building formerly owned by Dan Lyons and family.

The walk ended at the Mercy Provincial Heritage Centre where there was an exhibition of photographs of local people, places and other memorabilia, and this will be available to view by appointment with Sr. Bernadette Maria, the Centre curator, for a few more weeks. Her number if 087-9007225.

The weekend started off with the launch by Heritage Officer Conor Nelligan, followed by a fantastic talk on Richard Boyle delivered by Dr. David Edwards and Colin Rynne of U.C.C. This was followed by an equally enthralling talk on Roger Boyle, the founder of Charleville town, by Prof. Liam Irwin of University of Limerick on Friday night.

One of Ireland's leading poets, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, gave a brilliant reading of his poetry and a workshop for local poets on Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon the literary theme was carried on with local author Michael Sheehan, who spoke on the structuring of a story for budding writers.

The Saturday programme closed with one of the most scintillating Irish traditional concerts ever seen at the Charleville Park Hotel, headlined by veteran entertainer Seán Ó Sé, accompanied by Margaret O'Keeffe.

But the real stars of the night were the Off Beat traditional Irish group with sean nós dancer Cian Broderick from Rockchapel and All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil winning Bweeng banjo player Eoin Turner, Scór na nÓg winning singer Maggie Moynihan from Cullen. John Byrne, Uileann Piper and Bag piper Colette O'Connor-Casey from Dripsey and her son Eamon, along with our own Rachel O'Connor harpist, and Niamh and Jennifer Cotter and Rachel Tobin of the Craobh An Rath CCE group, Charleville and Irish dancers Aine and Ava Frawley, all delighted an appreciative audience.

Ian Doyle, the chairman of Charleville Heritage Society, was delighted with the success of the weekend, which brought a memorable year for the society to a close, in which, as well as organising the heritage and historical events, the members are also leading the formulation of the new socio-economic plan for Charleville, the next meeting for which is on Thursday, October 18 at the Charleville Park Hotel. The change of venue is due to a larger space being needed to accommodate the number of people who attended the first meeting, and are expected to be also present at the second meeting later on this month.