Jimmy’s Hall at the Abbey

 

James Gralton, the true story of the only Irish man deported from his own country.

We went to see the stage adaptation of the Ken Loach film, Jimmy’s Hall in the Abbey theatre last week.  The play is directed by Graham McLaren with Richard Clements starring as Jimmy and Lisa Lambe as Oonagh.

The opening scene set in 1932, sees the title character, Jimmy Gralton returned from America to help his mother with the family farm in Leitrim.  Jimmy had left ten years previously after his socialist ideals got him in trouble with the clergy and local authorities. Jimmy had built a hall on his fathers land in Effrinagh, it was called the Pearse and Connolly Memorial hall and was a place where all were welcome and dancing, singing, poetry, art and politics could be discussed openly.

When Jimmy returns from America where he has gained citizenship, he reopens the hall, but once again the clergy are not happy and soon make an appearance, Jimmy defends the rights of local people and gives speeches highlighting local injustices, this puts him in the firing line and the government and the church soon conspire together to have him deported.

I didn’t realise it was actually more of a musical which I’m not generally a fan of, but I’m glad I went as this was a great production, it was more Ceili music and bodhrans, which I like.

The stage design was fantastic, as the stage of the Abbey was transformed into the tin clad country hall and as the audience took it seats we were treated to a hooley, as the main cast sang, danced and played instruments.

There was also an opening audio piece played with a excerpt from President Michael D. Higgin’s speech from September 2016, when he unveiled a plaque on the site of the original hall in Effrinagh, Leitrim. I plan to visit Effrinagh soon and see the plaque, as we drive through Carrick regularly.

The opening night of the play was held in Carrick-on-shannon in Leitrim, near to Jimmy Gralton’s homeplace of Effrinagh. I never got to see the film version so will be watching it in the next few weeks, the film was shot on location in Sligo and Leitrim.

Some scenes were shot on The Mall in Sligo, this 19th century building with the large porch on the Mall was used as the backdrop and street altered to resemble the 1930’s.

A post shared by Melcoo (@melcoo) on

Follow me on instagram for more photos, username melcoo

A post shared by Apple-Lit  (@azellamarie) on

In the trenches in Cavan

If you are planning a visit to Cavan, you would do well to pay a visit to the Cavan County Museum in Ballyjamesduff.  We have visited a few county museums over the last few years but Cavan’s museum stood out.  Museums today should strive to create interactive user experience’s and the museum has embraced this idea.

The Museum is based in a beautiful 19th century building that was previously a convent used by the Poor Clare Order of nuns.

Ballyjamesduff convent
View of Cavan Museum building

The nuns arrived in Ballyjamesduff in 1872 with the convent itself being opened in 1883.

In 1992, with the dwindling convent community, a decision was made to close the convent and move to smaller accommodation within the community.  Cavan County Council purchased the convent to house the new county museum.

The museum is located on the Virginia Road – it’s signposted but easy to miss the turn (it’s a narrow slip road beside the church).

The building itself is substantial as you can imagine but luckily they have a lot of varied exhibitions to make good use of the space.

Exhibitions include Cavan GAA history, the history of the Barons Farnham (owners of the Farnham Estate for over 300 years until it was sold in the mid-2000s), the Great Famine, Percy French, local links to World War 1 and an exhibition on the Poor Clare Order of nuns.

There’s some other interesting pieces scattered around the museum like a gun belonging to Arthur Griffith.

Irish War of Independence
Arthur Griffith gun

Percy French was a famous Irish songwriter in the early 1900’s and he is connected to Ballyjamesduff as he worked in Cavan and wrote a famous Irish emigration song called “Come back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff” and in his honour a replica statue was erected in the town. I found out recently after posting the photo below on our Facebook page, a descendent of Paddy Reilly told me, he was a jarvey taxi man with a horse and cart who use to drive and collect people from Ballyduff and the Oldcastle train station, he did leave Ballyjamesduff, when he emigrated but he returned a few years later and settled back in Ballyjamesduff.

Ballyjamesduff statue
Percy French statue

By far the most impressive features of the museum are the World War 1 Trench Experience and the Visualising the Rising exhibition.

Cavan Museum have a replica trench onsite that was “built to the specifications and manuals of the Irish Guards and used by the Royal Irish Fusiliers at the Battle of the Somme 1916, it is over 350 metres long and includes frontline, communication and support trenches. Over 6000 sand bags were used in its construction. ”

World War 1 trench
Replica trenches – front line

The replica trench is the largest outdoor one of it’s kind in Ireland and the UK. This is very well done and you get a better understanding of what life must have been like in the trenches for the soldiers, they slept in something that resembled a shelf, never far from the rats and mud.  With audio posts dotted throughout the trenches, capturing some of the sounds of the WW1 trenches.

World War 1 first aid
Replica trenches – casualty clearing station

Also onsite is “a replica GPO façade and a series of tunnelled-through contemporary building interiors that allow visitors to experience the claustrophobic fighting conditions endured by the rebels.”

You can go inside the GPO during the Rising and experience the tunnelled Moore street houses.  We both read a book called Inside the GPO, it was a memoir by an Irish volunteer called Joe Goode, which recounts his time during the 1916 Rising. Goode paints a vivid picture of the last days of the Rising, volunteers tunnelling through the narrow rows of houses on Moore street and life inside for the inhabitants, with James Connolly stretchered into the house, a defiant Sean MacDiarmada and Patrick Pearse looking out at the civilians killed and writing the surrender letter and about life for the impoverished families who lived there. One story about the young volunteer Michael Collins trying to cook his ration sausages in a bedroom fireplace, on quenched emblems so as not to attract the British army snipers with smoke coming from the chimney stack, in the end ashes covered the sausages with Michael cursing the snipers.

General Post Office Dublin
GPO facade

The museum has a peace & reconciliation garden that remembers those from all sides of Irish society and the different paths they took, that led some to the trenches in World War 1 and others to the Easter Rising.

This masonic lodge meeting is no secret

There are lots of events happening around the country for Culture Night, which takes place on Friday 16th September 2016.  You can check out the Culture Night website to see what is on in your area.

I’m thinking of going to the Masonic hall in Sligo, which is only open to the general public on Culture Night. You get a tour of the building and a short talk on both the history of the building and Freemasonry in Sligo and Ireland.  This tour has been really popular in the last few years, I saw on social media in previous years, photos of queues of people, stretching down The Mall, this year thankfully, you can book a free ticket on Event brite.

In a previous blog post, I mentioned the impressive Masonic Lodge, which is perched up on the top of The Mall and has a great view over Sligo town.  It’s a detached 2 storey redbrick built between 1890 and 1900, it features a Belvedere tower above the entrance.  According to Wiki,  “A belvedere (from Italian for “fair view”) is an architectural structure sited to take advantage of a fine or scenic view.   A Belvedere may be built in the upper part of a building so as to command said view. ”

 

Masonic lodge Sligo
The Masonic lodge in Sligo town.

 

Castlepalooza music festival

We headed to the Castlepalooza arts & music festival, which is held on the grounds of the 18th century Charleville Castle in Tullamore, county Offaly. It was our first time at Castlepalooza, which is a small boutique festival which plays alternative music/Indie and DJ sets. As it’s small, everything was a short walk compared to some of the bigger festivals we have attended. The weather was mixed with some sunny spells and heavy showers, we managed to get the tent up and walk the short 10 minute walk over to the main stage without getting soaked so it didn’t bother us.

Castlepalooza previously did not allow alcohol to be brought in, but this year for the first time you could, we brought some drink and drank in the campsite and had the craic with some of our neighbours before heading over to the stage. We also got to see some comedian’s in the Vodafone comedy tent.  During the festival, the castle is open for visitors and you can go in and get a tour.

Highlight: seeing the DJ with a fiddle @daithimusic

If you haven’t already seen Daithí’s video, which has an introduction by his grandmother Mary Keane and shows beautiful footage off the west coast of Ireland, showing World War II lookout posts, it’s definitely worth a watch.

 

Low point: Our campsite neighbour with his Vuvuzela World Cup Horn at 5 am

 

 

Literary Trail – Sebastian Barry – 2nd Location

Literary Trail based on the novels – The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, The Secret Scripture and The Temporary Gentleman.

Welcome back, the next point of interest on the Sebastian Barry Literary trail, is located only a short walk from the main street in Sligo Town.  (You can click here to view the 1st point on the Literary trail.)

2. The Lungey House

The second location is only a 2 minute walk from our first point of interest on John Street, it is a street with an usual name called The Lungy.  There was an old 17th century house on this street, on the site now occupied by a 3 storey apartment block called Cathedral View.  According to The Lungy House website and The Streets of Sligo book by Fiona Gallagher,  Lungy House did exist and lay in ruins for many years on The Lungy Street, which is at the top of Charles Street, the street next to where Sebastian Barry’s family had there first ancestral home.   The original Lungy House was demolished completely in the 1980’s, this is most likely the house that the McNulty family refer to, although in the books, it is spelt as the Lungey House.

Sligo Town 19th Century
The original Lungy House in the centre of this photo and Sligo Town, source National Library of Ireland

Tom McNulty senior, tells Eneas about how there are descended from a noble family, who once lived in The Lungey House and were butter exporters.  The Lungey House is described as been in ruins at end of the yard, as Tom talks to  a young five year old Eneas about it “an old jumble of walls and gaps, with brickwork about the empty windows..

The Lungey Street
The Lungy Street, entrance to the Peace Park in Sligo Town.

In the opening pages of the book, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty,  there  is a reference to the Lungey House which is now home to black rooks that inhabit the ruins and fly over the nearby Presbyterian graves.  The Sligo Presbyterian Church is located on the corner of Church Street, right on the intersection of Charles Street and The Lungy Street and St John’s Cathedral, graveyard is behind Charles Street.

Church Lane, Sligo town

The Lungy street, sligo

Later on in the book, The Secret Scripture, Roseanne recalls Tom Junior telling her, how his family were originally butter importers or exporters, she can’t quite recall.    Also, in The Temporary Gentleman, Jack McNulty recounts the same family history, his father told him, “…we had once been butter exporters in Sligo and had lived in a mansion called the Lungey House, just around the corner from our quarters on John Street. This old place was by then a charmless and festering ruin.”

19th century house Sligo
The Lungy Glebe House Sligo circa late 19th Century

There is another old large 19th century period house still standing on The Lungy Street, located on the corner of Church Lane and The Lungy, behind a large stone boundary wall, which dates back to 1840’s, it is a detached four-bay by two-bay, two-storey stone house, which was a former Glebe house for the clergy, this is not the original Lungey House, that is referred to in the book, but it is similar in stature, to the one, which Tom is referring to as he talks to young Eneas.

Glebe house, at The Lungy, 19th Century
Former Glebe House, today the home of the Sligo Social Services

This former Glebe house is now the home of the Sligo Social Services, it is a beautiful old  19th century building and if you have a interest in architectural heritage, it is worth viewing, you can walk through the stone wall archway on The Lungy Street and into the Peace Park, to view the building from the outside. The Peace park itself, may also have possibly inspired Sebastian Barry, as there is reference to a People’s park in the books, which was said to have been named after a priest called Father Moran.  The Peace park, was built in the last 40 years, after the land was donated to the Sligo people by the then Bishop of Elphin.

1916 Rebellion Walking Tour



We recently did the 1916 rebellion walking tour in Dublin city centre.  It is a walking tour based on the history of the Easter rising and encompasses some of the main streets and buildings that were involved in the battles.

Easter rising walking tour
Meeting point for the 1916 rebellion walking tour

The tour meeting point is The International Bar on Wicklow street in Dublin 2,  we did the tour on a Sunday and it started at 1pm and tickets cost €12.  The tour gets a mix of tourists from around the world and locals.  The guide Shane Kenna gave a background outlining the Easter rising before we headed off.

Trinity Dublin
Trinity College Dublin

We then headed over to Trinity College.  The guide explained how the British used Trinity College as an Army Base during the Rising and were able to use the roof of Trinity College to their advantage. He also told an interesting story about an Australian solder in the British Army.

Trinity College
Roof of Trinity College
View from Trinity College towards O'Connell Street
View from Trinity College looking towards O’Connell Street


We then walked up in the direction of O’Connell Street and the General Post Office, the GPO,  which was the rebel headquarters during the Rising.

GPO Dublin
General Post Office Dublin

Then to Moore Street which was quiet, as it was a Sunday, the majority of the fish, veg and flower stalls were closed, only one flower stall and a fruit and veg stall were opened for business on the Sunday we visited. Moore street has seen better days with the Ilac shopping centre looking a bit dilapidated, its brings the street down.

Moore Street Dublin
Flower stalls in Moore street in Dublin 1

There are 3 buildings on Moore street connected to the 1916 rising, Padraig Pearse, along with nurse Elizabeth Farrell and a group of volunteers took refuge in one of these buildings and then ended up breaking the wall through to the next building.  In these buildings on Moore street, the last army council meeting took place and the decision to surrender was made.

Moore Street 1916 buildings
1916 buildings where Padraig Pearse , Mairead Farrell and up to 100 other volunteers spent the last days of the rising

Michael Joseph The O’Rahilly was a founding member of the Irish volunteers and managed the journal An Claidheamh Soluis.  He was against an uprising taking place as he knew any such actions would result in defeat, just before the Rising started, he travelled around the country informing volunteers to not take up arms but by the time he arrived back to Dublin, soldiers had begun to mobilise at Liberty Hall, so he decided to join them,  he stated “Well, I’ve helped to wind up the clock — I might as well hear it strike!”

The O’Rahilly came under attack as he lead a group of soldiers who were looking for an escape route out of the GPO. He died in a lane off Moore street, now renamed The O’Rahilly parade. As he lay dying, he penned a letter to his wife, which has been recreated as a poignant plaque on the lane.

O'Rahilly Plaque
Plaque for  Michael Joseph The O’Rahilly

On Moore Street, there are plaques commemorating the 1916 leaders, which quite controversially, are erected on the gates of an apartment complex, perhaps this was only meant to be a temporary commemoration but it is not very appropriate.  It will be interesting to see how the 1916 commemoration visitor centre planned for Moore street will help to honour the memory of all those involved in the 1916 rising.

1916 Leaders Plaques on Moore Street
1916 Leader plaques that are erected on apartment car park gates on Moore Street

The 1916 rebellion walking tour is very interesting and well worth doing, it gives a great insight into the events that unfolded during the Easter rising and been able to see many of the streets and buildings where the battles were fought.



 

Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder

I love everything that is old..

Travel back in time to an old world village in the midlands of Ireland. Ardagh is a hidden gem in Ireland, as we reckon, not many of the estimated 60,000 motorists who pass everyday within a few kilometres of Ardagh have been here or are aware of how different and unique this Irish village is.
Ardagh in County Longford, Ireland, is a village which can trace it’s roots back to the 5th century, when Saint Patrick founded a monastery here.  Today, it is known as a heritage village, it looks and feels like a village from the pages of a Jane Austin novel. I’ve always thought, it would make an ideal location for a movie like Pride and Prejudice, perhaps one day it can be used for a Oliver Goldsmith film. It has the look of a quaint 19th century English village.  It is an Estate Village designed and built in the 19th century, by the local landlords, the Fetherston Baronets.

The village buildings have been preserved and have protected structure status.  The village has many fine examples of mid 19th century Victorian architecture, from the village square, church and a bell tower.  The former Fetherston estate worker’s picturesque cottages are dotted around the village.  There were also later additions with the late nineteenth century public house building, called Lyons and the schoolhouse.


The 18th century writer, poet and gambler, Oliver Goldsmith, based his play “She stoops to conquer” in Ardagh.                                                 Ardagh and the townlands nearby are known as Goldsmith country.

"Oliver Goldsmith by Sir Joshua Reynolds" by Joshua Reynolds - National Portrait Gallery: NPG 828While Commons policy accepts the use of this media, one or more third parties have made copyright claims against Wikimedia Commons in relation to the work from which this is sourced or a purely mechanical reproduction thereof. This may be due to recognition of the "sweat of the brow" doctrine, allowing works to be eligible for protection through skill and labour, and not purely by originality as is the case in the United States (where this website is hosted). These claims may or may not be valid in all jurisdictions.As such, use of this image in the jurisdiction of the claimant or other countries may be regarded as copyright infringement. Please see Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag for more information.See User:Dcoetzee/NPG legal threat for more information.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.English | Español | Français | Magyar | Italiano | Македонски | Türkmençe | +/−. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Image Credit: Oliver Goldsmith by Sir Joshua Reynolds by Joshua Reynolds – National Portrait Gallery: NPG 828 via Wikimedia 

Oliver Goldsmith had originally planned to become a member of the clergy and studied theology and law at Trinity College but never really took to studying and was even expelled at one stage for rioting. He eventually finished his studies but didn’t obtain the appropriate grade to become a clergyman.  He went onto Edinburgh and studied medicine but again failed to study and changed careers. During his lifetime, Oliver studied, travelled around Europe, wrote plays and poems and gambled a fair bit as well!

So it is quite ironic, that a man who never really took to formal education, should now have a prominent statue erected in front of Trinity College or perhaps it is quite apt, considering the dropout rates in colleges, as young people try to figure out what they want to do with their lives.

Oliver Goldsmith statue at the front of Trinity College

Ardagh is located in County Longford, about 8 kilometres from Edgeworthstown, Longford, off the N4 National road and between Ballymahon and Edgeworthstown, off the N55 Secondary road.

See directions on how to get to Ardagh.

We love old buildings and travelling to old historic sites, Ardagh really ticks a lot of boxes, as Oliver said..

I love every thing that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.

Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer

Photos from Ardagh Village

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Ardagh Heritage centre which is housed in the old village schoolhouse, has an exhibition about the history of Ardagh, which is well worth a visit, they also host different Art and Craft events regularly.

For more on Ardagh, check out the Longford tourism site.

Also, for more details on the buildings architecture, check out the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) website and the Archiseek website , which are both treasure troves of details.

Special mention goes out to the Goldsmith Inn, a pub in nearby Edgeworthstown, where we first heard of the writer, they have a nice little history of Oliver Goldsmith, hanging along the walls of the pub.



 

Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder

National Gallery of Ireland


Last Saturday afternoon we went to visit the National Gallery of Ireland for the first time.

The gallery opened it’s doors in 1864 and has an extensive collection of Irish paintings, Italian Baroque and Dutch masters paintings.
Famous artists on display include Caravaggio, Picasso, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Monet and Goya.

The gallery is usually accessible from two points: Merrion Square West  (this entry is closed at the moment due to renovations)
and Clare Street.

Art Gallery Dublin
National Gallery Clare Street Entrance

When you enter the gallery, the reception is on your immediate right, if you want to pick up some free guides. As you walk further there’s a cafe on the right-hand side and the gift shop is on your left.
You will also notice there’s a lot of coin donation boxes – because entrance to the gallery is free donations from the public are always welcome.
There is also a statue of George Bernard Shaw on the left hand side, just after the gift shop. The reason being that Shaw bequeathed
a third of his royalties to the National Gallery, which, he documented as being of significant influence throughout his childhood.

Shaw statue Dublni
George Bernard Shaw statue

One of Shaw’s most famous works is Pymalion which was turned into a musical and then adapted into the very famous film ‘My Fair Lady’. The gallery gained substantial sums of money owing to the great success of ‘My Fair Lady’ and this in turn, gave the gallery serious purchasing power. The Gallery will continue to benefit from these royalties until 2020.

We then went up the steps and headed for the Masterpieces.  Each painting has a small information note beside it telling you the artist, what year it was painted and the background to it. Also, on some paintings it has a warning that photos are not allowed to be taken of that specific painting.
For the paintings you are allowed take photos of, you are told to have the flash on your camera turned off.
Part of this area had Turner pieces on display, which were previously owned by an English collector, Henry Vaughan.
His bequest to the National Gallery of Ireland stipulated that the drawings should be exhibited to the public, free of charge, each January when the light is at its lowest level. The Gallery continues to adhere to the conditions of Vaughan’s bequest by showing these pieces for one month only.
Next we went to a room that had entrants for the Hennessy Portrait competition – some interesting pieces here.  More information can be found here.

Lastly, we went to the Line of Vision exhibition.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the National Gallery in 2014, 56 contemporary Irish writers have contributed new poems, essays and stories to Lines of Vision: Irish Writers on Art.
Each writer has selected a painting from the collection and used it as a setting-off point to explore ideas about art, love, loss, family, dreams, memory, places and privacy. This exhibition, features the paintings that inspired them.

Our favourite artist is Jack B Yeats so we were delighted to see some great pieces by him like ‘About to Write a Letter’ and ‘Men of Destiny’ – which we bought a print of in the gift shop! Here it is proudly displayed on our bedroom wall.

Jack B Yeats painting
Print of Men of Destiny painted by Jack B Yeats

 

Overall very enjoyable afternoon and well worth a visit.



 

Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder