Excitement builds as Co Longford gears up for second annual Padraic Colum Gathering

Aisling Kiernan


Aisling Kiernan



Excitement builds as Co Longford gears up for second annual Padraic Colum Gathering

The second annual Padraic Colum gathering kicks off in September.

The second annual Padraic Colum Gathering will take place from Thursday, September 20 to Saturday, September 22 during which one of Longford’s most famous writers will once again be celebrated through poetry, story, music and drama.

The event  begins with the official opening at 6.30pm on Thursday evening in Backstage Theatre.

Aidan O’Hara will give a brief introductory talk on Padraic Colum’s life and the opening will also include the launch of a special booklet ‘The Way of the Cross’ by Colum, which was first published in 1926.

Colum was asked to write it to accompany the Stations of the Cross, made by Italian artist Alfeo Faggi for a church in Chicago.

“The new edition is the brainchild of Bishop Emeritus Colm O’Reilly, and he has written an introduction and reflections on Colum’s work,” said  County coordinator of Creative Ireland Longford, Mary Carleton Reynolds.

“We are very grateful to Bishop Colm, who was a neighbour of the Colum family in Aughnacliffe, for writing such a beautiful introduction to the booklet and to Clíona Ní Súilleabhán, Literary Executor of the Colum Estate, for giving us permission to reproduce this rare work.”

Meanwhile, the opening ceremony will be followed at 8pm by a concert in Backstage Theatre with local artists paying tribute to the work of Padraic Colum - including the children from St Colmcille’s National School, Aughnacliffe,  

Longford Voices United, Full Swing and a number of other local poets and singers will also provide the entertainment on the night.

Seats must be pre-booked by contacting Creative Ireland Longford at creativeireland@longfordcoco.ie or the Backstage Theatre booking office (043-3347888).

The on Friday morning at 11.30am, Bishop O’Reilly will deliver a talk on the Colum’s Stations of the Cross in the crypt of St Mel’s Cathedral and this will be followed by a visit to the memorial stone to Colum at St Joseph’s Care Centre.

“There will be two lectures in Granard Community Library on Friday afternoon,” continued Ms Carleton Reynolds.   

“Librarian Theresa O’Kelly will explore aspects of one of Colum’s books, The Big Tree of Bunlahy, at 2.30pm while Sr Rosarii Beirne, local historian, will speak on Mary Colum, Padraic’s wife and examine her family background.

“To round off the day’s events, there will be traditional music, songs and stories in John V Donohoe’s Pub, Granard, at 8.30pm. This event is also part of the Culture Night calendar.”

Saturday morning will see a number of events running in Granard and Longford.

In Longford Library, author Alan McMonagle will facilitate a poetry workshop for children, while poet Noel Monahan will do likewise with adults.

Both workshops begin at 10.30am. In  Granard Library, Críostóir McCarthaigh, Director of the National Folklore Collection in UCD will speak on ‘Padraic Colum the Folklorist’.

“The weekend  concludes on Saturday afternoon with a bus tour of ‘Colum Country’, taking-in sites in the Colmcille and Granard areas, including the site of Colum’s grandparents’ home in Aughacordrinan,” added Ms Carleton Reynolds.

“The tour will depart from Granard Library at 12:30pm and be guided by Seán Ó Suilleabháin and Aidan O’Hara.

There is a charge of €5 per person and pre-booking is essential.

To book the concert or bus trip, or for further information on the gathering, please ring 043-3341124 or e-mail creativeireland@longfordcoco.ie.

Read Also:  Remembering the life and times of Padraic Colum in Longford