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Sunday, November 29, 2015


County Waterford.
September 17th to 20th 2015.

This festival, involving Walks & Talks, Storytelling, Traditional Music & Song, Poetry & Film, Nature & Adventure, Stair agus Oidhreacht, was surely one of the most successful of the many new festivals that have been springing up in recent years.
The Official Opening, including Tionól na nDéise, was held at the Cotton Mill, Portlaw on the Thursday evening where a lengthy tribute, in Irish with simultaneous translation to English, was paid to Portlaw native, An tAthair Risteáird de hIndeberg – ‘Ceóltóir, Gaeilgeóir, agus Déiseach’, by Chris MacAuliffe and an Doctúir Séamus Ó Diollúin, WIT.  The venue was packed to capacity.
Events thereafter included: The Tallest and Smallest Circus at both Portlaw and Ballymacarbry national schools (Friday afternoon), ‘A Ball of Light in One Hand’ (Dungarvan – Friday), Amhráin agus Ceol – Eochar na Staire’ (Coolnasméar Friday), Edith Collier Exhibition (Bunmahon all weekend), Harvest Walk and Play – (Comeragh Mountains - Friday).
On Saturday afternoon there was a family walk in Crough Woods (Kilrossanty), a walk in the footsteps of Edith Collier (Bunmahon), Canoeing with Ardmore Adventures and storytelling by Niall de Búrca; both of the latter at Mahon Falls.
On Saturday afternoon to evening, the highlight was an open-air concert by Mary Black in the courtyard at Curraghmore House. Mary was supported by Kíla and Rue de la Coup. Same evening Ballymacarbry hosted a show – ‘As the Story Goes’ plus poet, Tom McCarthy. The Art Hand, on the Copper Coast hosted ‘Words Gone Wild’ same evening.
Sunday morning to afternoon saw a variety of still more interactive events; Muddy Boots Walk (Comeraghs), Treasure Hunt (Stradbally); Circle Dance Workshop at Kilossanty, Eco Fairy Tales at Kilmacthomas, also Flora of the Comeraghs at Rathgormack.  

 The Cúl na Sméar junior group. 

Maybe the best wine was kept until the last, when Comhaltas Craobh na gComarach from Cúl na Sméar and Cór Fear na nDéise from An Rinn and An tSean Phobail presented a concert of traditional music, song and sean-nós dancing at The Copper Coast Geopark Centre. to close the festival.  I was one of the first to arrive, thus ensuring a good seat from where I could photograph the participants. As anticipated, a ‘full house’ turned up, many people having to stand. 

                                                                                                                                                                 A young harpist (and violinist) with strong Portlaw connections!

Cúl na Sméar Senior Group.

                                                                                                                                                     Sean-Nós Dancer.

                                                                                                                                                              Cór Fear na nDéise ón Rinn agus an tSean Phobail. 

Ccllr. Liam Brazil, Comeragh Electoral Area Mayor, addressing the audience.

Micheál Marrinan of Cúl na Sméar, Fear an Tí for the evening,
with xxxxx xxxxx, chairperson of the organising committee,
speaking at the conclusion of the concert.  

I can honestly say that this was the best concert I ever attended!
Ceól, Amhránaíocht agus Damhsach thar bárr.
Comhgháirdeachas libh go léir! 

Some info on the Edith Collier exhibition to follow.


Saturday, November 28, 2015


Darryl Walsh & Hayley Fitzsimons

On left – Darryl Walsh, The Square, Portlaw, who played on the Irish U-16 soccer team in the recent  Victory Shield, at Newport, Wales. Darryl trains regularly with the team at Malahide, Dublin.

On right – Hayley Fitzsimons, Portlaw, one of the Irish team, which participated in the recent International Paralympic Committee World championships, at Doha, Quatar. Over 1,300 athletes from ninety countries took part, in temperatures of about 35 degrees Celsius. Hayley, who had been training for five years and featured in the F40 Shortputt, would like to thank her coach, Tom Prendergast, also Josephine Hickey, the Staff of Peak Fitness, and the people of Portlaw for their continuing support.  Congrats to both talented people.  


Thursday, November 5, 2015


Due to other commitments, I was late heading out to seek some Halloween pictures.
I had seen some individuals and groups out as early as 5.00 pm
 in villages near the coast. 
Nevertheless, I was pleased to get the small number hereunder near 8.00 pm.

This Carla O'Brien group was the first to be seen,
as they were passing by the Library.
It was they informed me that 2 colourful characters were seen going into the nearby Oakville  Estate . . .

. . . and right they were,
as there I came across Frank Conway, who had been out with his young son. 

Frank was dressed as the 'Mad Hatter'
but his son had  just given up for the evening.

Next was this group at Brown Street, with well-known Allie
waving a magic wand!
Call us 'The Adams Family' they said!!!

                                                                                                                                                                       Next, I spotted two young Gleesons, Heath and Abigail,
at Séamus Crotty's door,
where their bucket was being filled.
Abigail was only 14 months old, they said.

A most colourfulgroup, again at Brown Street,
Geoffrey and Feena Foley,
with daughters, Sinéad and Farah.

Mary Coe was well prepared and had lots of 'goodies'
for these adventurous children.

Things were still happening on Factory Road,
where I met this group.

Laden down with goodies were the two young ladies on the left in this picture.

                                                                                                                                                                 A closer-up shot revealed the frightening Misses Casey and Heylin,
thrilled after a lengthy, but productive participation in this now-established tradition, 
which originated in the USA. 

A minute later, I encountered this comely witch,
who cast a spell on me,
which I can't shake off.
Never again, on Hallowe'en!