A thank you celebration was accorded in Carrick-on-Suir last week for the volunteers who rolled out the red carpet for 56 Newfoundlanders during their visit to the county in August.
The function in Brewery Lane Theatre was attended by up to 30 people, who welcomed Newfoundland visitors to their homes during their sojourn in South Tipperary as part of the Ireland/Newfoundland Festival.
The festival celebrates the South East’s close links with the Canadian province through emigration to its thriving fishing industry in the 18th and early 19th centuries. It takes place on alternate years in the South East and Newfoundland.
Fifty of the 56 strong group of Newfoundland visitors stayed in homes in Carrick-on-Suir and surrounding areas during the South Tipperary leg of their tour of the South East’s counties.
The Newfoundlanders were accorded a reception at County Hall in Clonmel by Co. Council Chairman Cllr John Crosse, visited the grave of Newfoundland’s first Catholic bishop at St Mary’s Church in Irishtown, Clonmel; toured the Rock of Cashel and Coolmore Stud, completed a walking tour of Fethard and attended a history conference in Kildalton Agriculture College in Piltown
They also enjoyed a traditional music night in Power’s Bar in Tullahought near Carrick-on-Suir, a singing session in O’Ceilleachain’s Bar Carrick-on-Suir and a concert in St Mary’s Church in Clonmel.
Tom Nealon, Chairman of the Suir Valley Ireland/Newfoundland Committee, said the Committee was extremely grateful to the volunteers, who at very short notice hosted the Newfoundland visitors in their homes.
“The host families came and met the visitors and stayed with them at the different events they attended during the festival. We appreciated that very much,” he added.
The thank you reception was attended by Eamonn Murphy, Chairperson of the Newfoundland Ireland Connections Committee, which organises the Ireland Newfoundland Connections Festival.
During the night, the guests viewed aRadharc documentaries on Ireland’s historic links with Newfoundland.
Plans are now being made for a delegation from Carrick-on-Suir and other areas of South Tipperary to make the trip to Newfoundland next September for the province’s Festival of the Sea.
Tom Nealon said they are looking for volunteers to take part in this trip from September 19 to September 27.
The first event the delegation will take part in will be a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Carrick-on-Suir born emigrant Michael Greene in the remote village of Tilting on Fogo Island off the Newfoundland coast.
He was born in a lane off Carrick-on-Suir’s Main Street in 1792 and was one of hundreds of people, who left Carrick-on-Suir to live and work in Newfoundland during the pre-Famine wave of emigration.
His great, great, great grandson Clem O’Dwyer was among the Newfoundlanders, who visited Carrick-on-Suir last August to find out about their Irish ancestry.