Eigse weekend in Newcastle honours native writer

The voluntary group in Newcastle ‘Oidhreacht An Chaisleáin Nua’ are holding an Éigse in Newcastle on Friday July 9 and Saturday 10 to commemorate local native Irish speaker Séamas Ó Maolchathaigh, who wrote his biography ‘An Gleann agus a Raibh Ann’ in 1963.

The voluntary group in Newcastle ‘Oidhreacht An Chaisleáin Nua’ are holding an Éigse in Newcastle on Friday July 9 and Saturday 10 to commemorate local native Irish speaker Séamas Ó Maolchathaigh, who wrote his biography ‘An Gleann agus a Raibh Ann’ in 1963.

This book is a window on life around Newcastle at the turn of the 19th century. An extract from the book formed part of the 2011 Leaving Cert Irish exams.

The Éigse will commence at 6.30pm on Friday with a local guided walk, then a Rowan tree will be planted by Fr. Jim Mulcahy, only surviving son of Séamas Ó Maolchathaigh.

Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú will officially launch the Éigse at 8pm. TD Mattie McGrath will unveil an information board on Séamas Ó Maolchathaigh.

At 8.30pm, a bi-lingual lecture will be given by by Liam Ó Duibhir in the Community hall, titled ‘The musical heritage of the Suir Valley’.

Saturday will commence with an Irish lecture on the book ‘An Gleann agus a Raibh Ann’, by Dr. Diarmuid Ó Sé from UCD on the importance of the book at national level and the interest of the book’s dialect.

A guided ‘heritage walk’ through the ‘Gleann’ in the afternoon will bring the book to life, as we will see where Séamas Ó Maolchathaigh lived, and places referred to, also local history and folklore, and some ‘ceol’ at the foothills of the Knockmealdowns.

6.30pm: Aifreann as Gaeilge in Newcastle Church, after which the Éigse will conclude with set, céilí and sean-nós dance in the Community Hall, as well as some ‘audience participation’ for fun.

‘Oidhreacht An Chaisleáin Nua’ is a sub group of Knockmealdown Active which aims to promote the Irish language tradition of the area. ‘Knockmealdown Active’ was set up in Spring 2011 with the aim of promoting the Knockmealdown mountains and the surrounding areas of Newcastle, Clogheen, Ardfinnan, Goatenbridge and Ballyporeen.

This event is supported by a Foras na Gaeilge grant for promoting Irish outside of the Gaeltacht areas.