This year’s National Heritage Week in Longford will celebrate the theme 100 Years of Heritage.
Many of the events on this year’s programme look back at the happenings of a century ago, kicking off on August 19 in Lanesboro, with a joint launch of the Lough Ree Environmental Summer School and the opening of an exhibition of Longford and Lanesboro in 1916, at Lanesboro Library.
The key event for the opening weekend of Heritage Week is the County Longford Historical Society’s Longford 1916 Conference, a free one-day seminar which takes place in the Longford Arms on August 20.
This will feature Dermot Meleady, Dr Mary McAuliffe, Dr Eileen Reilly as well as local experts Dr Mel Farrell, Martin Morris, Fr Tom Murray and Hugh Farrell. Also taking place that day at Ardagh Heritage Centre is “Life 100 Years Ago”, looking at what life would have been like in Longford in 1916.
Another celebration of our Irish traditions will take place at the Ballinamuck Fair Day on August 21, showcasing our unique transport heritage, including the annual Longford Vintage Club tractor run. County Librarian, Mary Carleton Reynolds says: “It is especially poignant in this year that we remember the Easter Rising and those who were affected by the Battle of the Somme, that Longford people will get a chance to really discover the times in which their ancestors lived.”
An exhibition “The Other 1916: The Battle of the Somme” will be launched on August 22.
A walking tour of Granard with local historian Jimmy Donoghue will take place on Tuesday, August 23. This will be followed by a wonderful evening on the life and works of the Longford-born writer, Padraic Colum, with Aidan O’Hara.
Speaking on this event, Máiréad Ní Chonghaile, County Heritage Officer states: “We are incredibly fortunate that Aidan O’Hara will not only bring the songs of Padraic Colum to life, but we will be able to hear the man himself speak, thanks to a very rare recording that Aidan has found.”
There will be a number of events taking place at the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre near Kenagh. One of interest to those with a passion for Irish myth and legend, will be a seminar led by Dr Paul Gosling of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) where he hopes to discover the routes that the army of Queen Maeve took through Longford on her way to capture the Brown Bull of Cooley. This will take place on Friday, August 26 from 11am.
The Irish Volunteers will be celebrated with a fascinating one-day exhibition of memorabilia at Ballymahon Library on Saturday, August 27. Also taking place at Ballymahon Library that day will be a Teddy-bear picnic in the morning, with a walking tour of old Ballymahon and a performance by the Innyside Singers in the afternoon.
For those with an interest in our natural heritage, there are two events taking place on Saturday August 27.
The first is an environmental awareness day and Bioblitz led by Bord na Móna, in cooperation with local organisations and the Golden Eagle Trust at the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre from 2pm. From 4pm The Royal Canal Environmental Family will take place at Brannigan Harbour.
Wrapping up the week on Sunday, August 28, there are events taking place all over the county, from the Colmcille Ploughing & Family Fun Day at Aughnacliffe to the Ballymahon Heritage Afternoon at the Dean Egan Library, which will feature heritage crafts and market.
In Edgeworthstown, there will be an opportunity to explore its unique history with Matt Farrell, on the Edgeworthstown Heritage Walk. In Legan, the Great War dead from the parish will be remembered with the unveiling of a plaque in their honour.
The final event of National Heritage Week 2016 in Longford will be a rousing evening celebrating traditional Irish music and song, in particular the work of the fiddler “Blind Tom” Kiernan. This will be hosted by Cumann Cheoil Chonmaicne, who will launch the new society on the evening.
To find out more, visit www.heritageweek.ie or find the Longford Heritage Office on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LongfordHeritageArchives or Twitter: @LongfrdHeritage