Fethard News

November 8, 2018

Medieval Tourism boosted by Walled Town Festival

The Walled Town Festival which took place last weekend brings very much to the fore the Medieval heritage of Fethard.  This heritage is well acknowledged and appreciated locally but the events of last weekend provide an ideal opportunity for it to be introduced to a much wider audience.  There was a magnificent turnout on Sunday afternoon with a crowd exceeding the numbers last year.  It is estimated that about 1400 people attended.  The community of Fethard was very well represented with a great number making the effort to be dressed in medieval attire.  Many people travelled to the event from neighbouring towns and counties, including a bus-load of enthusiasts who came from Cashel.  Earlier a coach of young French and Spanish tourists stopped to enjoy the musical entertainment.   
The tourism potential of Fethard, while well recognised, has not yet been fully realised.  The advent of the Walled Towns Festival provides a fantastic opportunity for this to happen.  The Medieval aspect is a particular attraction for many. This was evidenced on Sunday by the numerous visitors who turned up in authentic medieval regalia.  Professional musicians Didier and Mai-lin Bardoux from Figeac in S.W. France, who visited Fethard especially for the festival, were superbly dressed.  So too were visitors from Oklahoma, New York, Callan, Dunboyne, Grantstown, Ballytarsna and North Tipperary.  There were also people in attendance from Mauritius, Japan, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Australia.  Indeed, one lady, Mrs Colleen Crooks, New Zealand, rearranged her travel plans to make it to Fethard for the festival.  This rearrangement included cutting short her stay at the Olympics venue in Hong Kong.
On Monday night, the festival featured on the Nationwide programme on RTE.  Views of the festival site, adjacent to the Town Wall, looked magnificent and the event was very well promoted and endorsed by Mr Seamus Maher, South Tipperary County Council, current Chairman of the Irish Walled Towns Network.

Walled Town Festival blessed with good weather

This year’s Walled Town Medieval Festival was again blessed with good weather and tremendous community support. The event was co-ordinated by Fethard & Killusty Community Council and run by a sub-committee comprising of individuals from various organisations including Fethard Historical Society and South Tipperary County Council.
The first event this year commenced at McCarthy’s Walled Garden with a youthful ‘Battle of the Bands’ showcasing the very talented musical stars of the future. The audience of enthusiastic fans (and parents) were treated to a very entertaining afternoon of music.
At 6pm local potter, Dóirín Saurus, official opened her ‘Fired by Colour’ ceramic exhibition in the Town Hall with medieval flavoured music from visiting French performers ‘Doulç’amor’ who were superbly dressed for the occasion. The opening was well attended and on display was very creative work by Dóirín and her many pottery disciples including Nuala Quirke, Sarah Murphy, Liz O’Brien, Stella Kenna, Elka Wilson, Susan Cooke and Leonard Kelly.
At 8pm, French musicians ‘Doulç’amor’ again captivated the crowd as people arrived to attend the Paul Dooley concert at Holy Trinity Church of Ireland. Receiving a respectful silence and a rousing applause after each performance, ‘Doulç’amor’ played until main performer Paul Dooley was introduced and played some fantastic music on a medieval styled steel-stringed harp. Paul is a fountain of knowledge on the history of the harp and while the acoustics of the church complemented his music some of the large attendance had difficulty in hearing Paul’s dialogue. Following a question and answer period Paul finished with some delightful Carolan tunes and then mingled with the attendance while refreshments and wine were served by the very hospitable Church of Ireland committee members. We would like to acknowledge our appreciation to Rev. Barbara Fryday and her many helpers for their wonderful co-operation and support over the weekend’s events. Thank you!
Early Sunday morning, under a very welcome blue sky, activities started by the Town Wall as tents were erected and stalls set up for the oncoming day’s events. Only those involved will possible ever know the amount of work involved in preparing a site for a day’s festival. Everyone busied themselves on preparing their own contribution and by mid-day the pieces fell together without hassle. The stage was set for the large expected crowd.
The Town Hall was the hub where events commenced with local bands Zero Tolerance and Naked Mr America playing their original music on the street. While this was happening local artist Pat Looby prepared for the National School pupils of the parish to come and collect their colourful heraldic shields for the Medieval Parade at 2pm.
Sean Ward transported our local festival celebrity, Nellie Shortall, to the start of the parade and when the five Irish Wolfhounds were ready, the parade set off for the Town Wall via Main Street and the Valley. It was great to see so many children and adults making the effort to dress for the occasion. The judges awarded prizes for best costumes to Richard Robinson (boys), Isobel Kennedy and Lauren Dooley (girls), John Birmingham (adult male) and Nellie Shortall (adult female). As the parade arrived to the Town Wall the site was buzzing with activities and Fethard Rugby Club made a tremendous contribution organising their on-site restaurant supplying very good food at very reasonable prices. We were also delighted to have Fethard Macra involved this year and they provided ongoing entertainment as they encouraged the young to take a turn in the stocks and get their face wet.
A special ‘Fethard Walled Town’ t-shirt was produced for the festival depicting this year’s Medieval Festival poster designed by artist Frank O’Reilly.
Our very talented puppeteer, Dominic Moore from Cork, was back this year and entertained hundreds of children as they willingly entered the make-believe puppet-land created by the imaginative master storyteller.
Dean Mulroy and his team started working on a giant colourful shell Mandala by the riverbank and encouraged lots of children help him make his creative piece.
On the far side of the Clashawley river a queue was fast forming for a chance to try archery skills while Colm McGrath and his team of medieval re-enactors fascinated young minds as they tried on medieval armour and learned about medieval weaponry.  A grand scale battle was re-enacted later in McCarthy’s orchard field by the Town Wall to the amusement of hundreds of spectators.
The ever-popular Lee Valley String Band entertained all afternoon with their easy-listening type of music while people browsed the many food and craft stalls on offer. In particular, the medieval craft demonstration stalls, such as wood turning, captured the attention of young and old.
As the afternoon closed in the stalls started winding down and great credit is due to the clean-up process by stallholders that left the area as it was before it started. We take this opportunity to thank the Civil Defence for their voluntary help and attendance at the Festival.
On Sunday night at 9pm the Medieval Festival came to a close with an outdoor walled-garden performance from Aidan Ward and his guest musicians from Galway. This was a fitting end to a great weekend’s entertainment part-funded by The Heritage Council of Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and South Tipperary County Council.

Young Musicians Shine at Festival

Four bands took part in a Battle of the Bands by the Medieval Wall last weekend. Naked Mr America, Zero Tolerance, Deadbeat and the High Kings displayed a wealth of musical talent. The Summer monsoon yielded to a drizzle, which allowed the event to take place.
The crowd that gathered to hear the bands were treated to four well-rehearsed sets. There was little difference between the bands in the end, but Naked Mr America just had the edge on the other bands. They won the first prize of a full day’s recording in Blue Room Studio with sound engineer Andy Keane. Who knows if we might just have witnessed Ireland’s next U2 or Westlife on that wet Saturday afternoon.
Both Zero Tolerance and Naked Mr America performed outside the Town Hall on the Sunday afternoon of the festival. The crowd that gathered were amazed by the sizzling guitar solo’s from Zero Tolerance’s three guitarists, especially on the Lynard Skynard track ‘Freebird’, which was well complimented by drums and bass.  
Naked Mr America was well received by the crowd on the street. Their sound was more indie pop than the hard rocking Zero Tolerance, which went down well with the crowd that were gathering for the festival parade.  And to top it all off . . . the sun came out!
Aidan Ward finished the festival with a ripping performance in McCarthy’s Walled Garden on Sunday night. Aidan and his band of musicians travelled from Connemara, where he now lives, for what has become his annual visit to his hometown. The years spent travelling the countries of central Europe as a wandering minstrel have paid off and Aidan impressed the crowd who gave him a very enthusiastic welcome.  The concert was a fitting end to what had been a very successful medieval festival.
Thanks to Premier Music in Clonmel for the sound and lights, to South East Scaffolding for the stage and to all those who helped to make the events such a success.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs visits Fethard

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Mr. Barry Andrews T.D., visited Fethard on Friday 22nd August last to see first hand the local effort that is underway to provide top-class facilities for the younger members of the community.  
The first port of call for the Minister was a visit to the Community Playgroup premises on the Rocklow Road.  Here Mr Andrews was greeted by some of the children who attend the facility and their parents.  The main purpose of this visit was to meet with members of the ACORN Childcare committee who gave a comprehensive account of their plans to develop a new childcare facility in Fethard.  Also in attendance were Ms Geraldine Boland of the South Tipperary Childcare Committee and local representatives.  Mr Andrews, on viewing the confined premises, agreed that the need for a new facility was clear.  He complimented the staff on their work to date and commented on the wonderful atmosphere prevailing.  Mr Joe Burke, on behalf of the ACORN Committee, accounted for the activities of this group since its inception, only a matter of months ago, and urged the Minister to look favourably on the application for capital funds currently being assessed by his office.  It is hoped that funding will be made available to Fethard under the National Childcare Investment Programme.  This programme (2006-2010) is a major programme of investment in childcare infrastructure.  €575 million has been allocated to the five year programme, including €358 million for capital investment.
Mr Andrews continued his visit to Fethard by visiting the Convent Hall building to view the work being carried out with regard to developing it into a dedicated Youth Centre.  The Minister commented on the need for young people to have a place where they can enjoy their leisure time in a secure and safe environment.  He also acknowledged the excellent work achieved by the short-term Community Youth Project in the past.  This nine-month project ended in June 2007 due to the cessation of funding.  Mr Aidan McQuillan, Area Manager, Foróige, and members of Fethard Community Council outlined, to the Minister, the necessity of public funds to be made available to enable the Youth Project to be reinstated so that the Youth Centre can be brought to its best potential.  An application for a Special Youth Project for Fethard, is currently with the Minister’s Office, the next tranche of funding is due to be announced in the coming week.
On completion of his visit Mr Andrews complimented the significant work being carried out by the voluntary organisations in the town and also asserted that it was the policy of the government to help communities who helped themselves.  He concluded by saying  that he hoped that he would return to Fethard in the future to cut the ribbon at the official opening of a new facility.  A former history teacher, the Minister was delighted to see parts of the Town Wall, including the North Gate, during his visit.  He showed great interest in the history of Fethard and was very much enthralled by the Medieval Town Trail.
Speaking on behalf of Fethard Community Council, Joe Kenny, Chairman, thanked Minister Andrews for visiting Fethard and for his favourable comments on the community projects being undertaken.  He requested that the Minister would look favourably on both projects and stated that he felt it was time that the government provided the necessary resources to support and encourage community effort.  Joe concluded by stating that community effort can only do so much on its own and it cannot be sustained without adequate state intervention. 

McCarthy’s Hotel Golf Society

Kelly takes Captains Prize. In one of the major shocks of the season so far, Linda Kelly stunned the world of golf by capturing Vincent Woodlock’s coveted Captain’s Prize at County Tipperary Golf and Country Club. With a field of over fifty, Linda, in only her second outing of the year put in a five-star performance and quietened her fellow ‘professionals’ with a sensational round of golf.
One of her playing partners on the day, John Hurley, said that Linda drove like Tiger Woods, chipped brilliantly and putted like a dream. Linda, who didn’t feature with the bookies before the competition, pipped James Ryan by one shot with Michael Knightly a further three shots back in 3rd. The presentation of prizes took place at the venue, followed by a beautiful meal. A great day was had by all, the only dampener being the Monsoon weather.
A big thanks to Gillian who cooked the food on the 10th and served the beers. Well done to Vincent and all involved who organized a great day out. Again, well done to Linda and her coach ‘Butch’ Kelly. Next outing is Annette’s President’s Prize in Cahir Golf Club on Saturday 6th September.

Died in USA

The death has occurred on 17th July in the USA of Bridget Keane (nee Carroll), Norfolk, Massachusetts and formerly of Peppardstown, Fethard.
After a long illness, Bridget died at home in the loving care of her devoted husband Pat (formerly of Tinakelly, Fethard) and much loved children, Marion, Caroline, Margaret, David & Michael.
Bridget is loved and remembered also by her sisters, Tossie Lawton, Mary Fitzgerald, Peggy McGrath (Cashel), grandchildren, extended family and friends.
The family wish to sincerely thank all those who sympathised with them on their recent sad bereavement. Bridget was an inspiration to us all. We will miss her dearly.
Mass will be offered in memory of Bridget on Sunday 31st August 2008 at 8.30am in Fethard Parish Church.

First Steps Playschool

First Steps Playschool will re-open at the Tirry Community Centre in Barrack Street after the summer break on Monday 1st September at 9.30pm. Cora can be contacted on Tel: 086 1686688.

Fethard GAA Club News

On Sunday 24th August we had double success in Monroe when both our Senior and Junior A Football teams booked their place in the Divisional Finals with hard earned victories. The seniors will now face Moyle Rovers while our Junior A team await the outcome of Ardfinnan v St Patricks.
The senior footballers ground out a very difficult win with wides a big factor for both teams. Fethard amassed twelve over the hour and scored six points to win on a scoreline, Fethard 0-6 (0-3) to Ardfinnan’s 0-4 (0-2). The team was: Paul Fitzgerald, S. Aylward, M. Ahearne, G. Burke, T. Gahan, C. Maher, A. Lonergan, A. Fitzgerald, M. Dillon (0-1), J. McCormack, J.P. Looby (0-2), E. Doyle, D. Doyle, B. Coen (0-2 1F) and J. Nevin (0-1).
In Junior A we handled conditions far superior on the day than the seniors winning on a scoreline, Fethard 1-12, Ballylooby 2-7. The team was: J.P. McGrath, William O’Brien, Nicky Murphy, Jimmy O’Meara, Philly Croke, Willie Morrissey, Alan O’Connor 0-1, Cathal Gorey, Tomás Keane, Kenneth O’Donnell 0-2, Miceál Spillane 1-0, Aaron O’Donovan, Johnny Neville 0-1, Martin Coen and Conor McCarthy 0-8 (4f). Subs used were: Eoin O’Connell, Michael Carroll and Johnny Leahy.
Fixtures: Intermediate Hurling Semi Final takes place this Friday evening in Kilsheelan at 6.45pm when we play Carrick Davins. The Minor A Football final is fixed for Sunday next in Clonmel at 6.45pm against Moyle Rovers.
We would like to thank all those who contributed to the Clubs Church Gate Collection last Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August
Our Lotto Jackpot was not won. The numbers drawn were 12, 13, 18 and 20. We had two match three winners who received €75 each: Clare Landy (Killusty, Fethard) and Craigh Barry (Merry’s Garage Clonmel). The €50 Lucky Dip was won by William Doyle (Woodvale Walk, Fethard). We would like to thank Harrington Developments for supplying the tickets.

Fethard and Killusty Community Games

Congratulations to Darragh Lynch, Coolmore who finished second in this heat and qualified for the semi final of the under-8 60m event at HSE Community Games National Finals in Mosney at the weekend. Darragh just missed qualifying for the final by the narrowest of margins. The judges awarding him 5th place and indeed some were of the opinion that he had finished 4th. However, next year is only around the corner and nearer to home in Athlone.

Coolmoyne & Moyglass Vintage Club

A presentation night of fundraising proceeds of the Coolmoyne & Moyglass Vintage Run 2008 to South Tipperary Hospice Movement will take place on Friday night 29th August in the Village Inn, Moyglass. Music and food available.

Double gospel bill in Cloneen

If you fancy some superb gospel singing, Cloneen is the place to be on Saturday 13th September. Two prominent gospel choirs will perform in the Sports and Social Club: the Kilkenny Gospel Choir, known to be one of the very best in the country, and the acclaimed Gordonaires from Clonmel. As support act, the Sliabh na mBan Hillbillies join forces with singer Jim Brophy.
The program starts at 8.15pm. Tickets cost €10 and are available at the door or from any committee member of the Slievenamon Musical Society. Part of the proceeds goes to St. Vincent de Paul, so by enjoying this musical treat, you also support a very worthy cause.

Irish Pilgrimage Trust

The Irish Pilgrimage Trust says a very sincere thank you to all the generous subscribers who supported the recent collection in Fethard & Killusty. A total of €1085.07 was donated and this goes towards the trip to Lourdes for young people with special needs. Quite a few young people from the area have gone on this trip and if you’d like to nominate a young person now for a future trip please get in touch with Sr. Betty at The Presentation Convent where application forms are available. Thanks also to the collectors who help out The Trust year after year.
Lisronagh collection was held last weekend and again people were very generous in donating €109, thanks also to them.