Sheila’s ‘virtual committee’ has kept Kickham Weekend alive

Glowing tributes to outstsanding secretary Sheila Foley were paid at the opening of the Kickham Country Weekend.

Glowing tributes to outstsanding secretary Sheila Foley were paid at the opening of the Kickham Country Weekend.

In the Knocknagow Community Centre in Mullinahone on Friday night, chairman Billy Gardiner paid lavish praise to Sheila.

Now in its 30th year, he suggested that the Weekend would have long disappeared without Sheila’s ability and commitment.

“To keep it going for that duration is quite a feat. Her committee is so efficient that it had hardly ever needs to meet. We have pioneered the virtual committee thanks to her dedication”, Mr Gardiner said.

Back in his native parish to officially open the Kickham Weekend was Bishop of Ossory, Dr Seamus Freeman, who reminded the attendance that he was only nine months old when his family moved to Kilkenny.

Also present on opening night was Dr Vincent Comerford from neighbouring Grangemockler who gave the opening lecture. The retired Professor of Modern History at NUI Maynooth - and the author of the definitive biography of Charles J. Kickham - was introduced by the retired vice principal of Rockwell College, Liam O Duibhir, who chaired the opening discussion.

Bishop Freeman choose Kickham’s famed book ‘Knocknagow - The Homes of Tipperary’ as the subject for his talk and he focussed on the empathy evident in the book.

He said empathy was needed to make a house a home and this shone through in ‘Knocknagow’.

It wasn’t always so prevalent today in a society with such needless violence but Kickham saw it in the homes of Tipperary.

“That phrase, the homes of Tipperary, says something about the flavour of the book.

It takes a long time to make a house a home and in today’s world I don’t think there is much interest in that.

Houses are functional and getting more functional so I would say that Charles Kickham teaches us a lot about what a sane and healthy society should be and could be”.