Up to a hundred people attended the launch of ‘Heraldic Memorials in Fethard’ on Saturday night last in old Holy Trinity Church. The book, by heraldic expert Gerard Crotty, describes and explains twenty four plaques and shields that can be found around Fethard ; in the Town Hall, Holy Trinity Church, The Augustinian Abbey and one of the ‘Arms of Robert St. John’ from St. Johnstown Castle.
It was a very special occasion indeed and Holy Trinity church was the perfect setting for the launch. It was especially interesting for those whose family names are included in the book and of course many of the names are still very common in the area i.e. Roche, Everard, Butler, Hackett, Tobin, Wall and of course St. John.
Mary Hanrahan, representing the hosts, Fethard Historical Society, was MC for the evening and introduced the speakers; the author Gerard Crotty, Labhaoise McKenna, County Heritage Officer - who formally launched the book, Peter Stocksborough from Fáilte Ireland - who grant aided the book and the musicians and singers, Siobhán Hall (harpist) and John Birmingham (guitar).
Fethard is rich in Heraldry
Gerard Crotty again emphasised how rich Fethard is in regard to heraldic memorials of all types and he thanked Dóirín Saurus of the Historical Society for “her support and encouragement” in getting the project going in the first place.
Peter Stocksborough of Fáilte Ireland stated that such books and information are a great help to tourism and especially in 2013 for ‘The Gathering’, when up to a quarter of a million people of Irish decent will be encouraged to come back to Ireland for their holidays.
Labhaoise McKenna congratulated all involved in bringing the project to fruition and that it was exactly the type people and place heritage that connects people to their local area.
Barton Wine Connection
Another special feature of the evening was re-connecting with the whole Barton Wine story. Terry Cunningham of the Historical Society told of how a Thomas Barton, from Fermanagh, went to France in the early 1700s, got rich in the Bordeaux wine business and came back and bought the Everard estates in Fethard, especially Grove House and lands to the south of the town. Anthony Barton, the present owner of the Bordeaux vineyards, arranged that a case of their ‘2008 Reserve de Leoville’ be delivered for the book launch.
Present on the night also was Marine Legoupil, Brand Ambassador for Barton and Guestier in Ireland who also have a range of wines ‘Thomas Barton’ that commemorate the original ‘French Tom’ who bought Grove all those years ago. Barton and Guestier, although founded by the Bartons is now a totally separate company and interestingly their agents in Ireland are the Gleeson Group that have strong Tipperary Connections.
The book will be available in local shops and at Historical Society events.