It can truly be said that 2012 is a year where Ballymahon celebrated in true festive style all aspects of its community, i.e. farming, music, drama and heritage.
On February 14 romance blossomed in the Goldsmith Room of the Ballymahon Community Library when County Librarian, Mary Carleton Reynolds, hosted a series of readings from some of the world’s most loved writers.
Easter Sunday (April 8) last, the farm of the Mulvihill family (Lisnaiskey) was the venue for the 78th annual County Longford Ploughing Championships. Visitors from across the country gathered together to celebrate an occasion that is one of the most important events in the county’s agricultural calendar.
In June the focus turned once again to the Goldsmith Room. This idyllic venue played host to the Goldsmith Literary Festival (June 1-3) and this year’s theme was ‘Citizen of the World, what can my country do for me?’ Among the many speakers were guest of honour Liam O’Neill (GAA President), Elaine Byrne, Eilis Quinlan and Cormac Lucey.
This year’s festival also saw the introduction of ‘Goldsmith Miscellany’, a series of six or seven minute talks on history or poetry interspersed with music.
Also in June, this thriving south county Longford hub opened its doors once again to the 2012 Helium music festival. Acts such as Ash, Nathan Flutebox Lee and The Kanyu Tree, took to the stages of Helium to raise funds for Ataxia Ireland. In total a figure of over €8,000 was achieved. This year organisers took it one step further with the successful introduction of walks/runs over the course of the festivities.
Later in the summer, the local community undertook their annual step-back-in-time with the Ballymahon Heritage Day. Local businesses came together to display vintage photographs, articles and advertisements. The week proceeding Heritage Day saw a photographic exhibition at the library, a talk by County Archivist, Martin Morris, and a presentation by Dr Muschketat of the Irish Raptor Research Centre. The day itself saw demonstrations of many traditional crafts, a busking competition, face-painting and music by young local musicians.
As the short days of winter took hold, Ballymahon once again focused its attention on drama and the One Acts Drama Festival (November 9-11). From across Ireland they came to watch and participate in this All-Ireland qualifying event.
As the year comes to a close, it can truly be said that Ballymahon was home to some of the most memorable festive moments of the County Longford year.