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Lavally musicians' legacy is forever set in stone

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Seamus Mccormack, Labhras O'murchu, Michael Clancy, Francis Taffe, Teresa Mccormack and Cathaoirleach Councillor Michael Fleming, at the unveiling of a monument to the musicians of the Lavally area, in Ballintogher.

Seamus Mccormack, Labhras O'murchu, Michael Clancy, Francis Taffe, Teresa Mccormack and Cathaoirleach Councillor Michael Fleming, at the unveiling of a monument to the musicians of the Lavally area, in Ballintogher.

Seamus Mccormack, Labhras O'murchu, Michael Clancy, Francis Taffe, Teresa Mccormack and Cathaoirleach Councillor Michael Fleming, at the unveiling of a monument to the musicians of the Lavally area, in Ballintogher.

TRADITIONAL musicians from a small Sligo townland have been immortalised in a new monument at their local crossroads.

A memorial in stone to 48 musicians, singers, dancers and drummers from the townland of Lavally, Ballintogher has been unveiled by the Árd Stiúrthóir of Comhaltas, Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú. Traditional music has been a central element of the social fabric of the Lavally area going back to the 1800s and there were musical instruments in virtually every house with the music being passed on from generation to generation.

An annual festival to honour the memory of flute player, John Egan, takes place in Ballintogher every November and this year the committee in association with the Fred Finn Branch of Comhaltas decided to pay a special tribute to the musicians of Lavally as part of the celebrations to mark sixty years of Comhaltas.

The site for the memorial is at a crossroads in the heart of the townland of Lavally and was generously donated by the Bright Family. The polished stone on which forty eight names have been inscribed is the work of local stone craftsman, Sean and Peter Diamond and his sons, Finbar and Malachy with surrounding stone work being completed by the Feeney family from Killargue.

Following the unveiling, the monument was blessed by Fr. Vincent Connaughton and Canon Swan. The attendance at the unveiling included representatives of each family who had a member named on the memorial. The unveiling was followed by refreshments and a music session in Ballintogher Community Centre. A special souvenir book giving details of each musician and including many archival photographs was presented to each family. A limited number of copies of this book are now available from the committee.

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