Members of West London CCÉ visited Carrickmacross over the weekend of the 22nd – 24th October.
A full itinerary of events was laid on for the branch from West London CCÉ. The group led by Marian Gill, their tutor, stayed in the Shirley Arms Hotel. Their visit to Carrickmacross was the first time they had come to Monaghan and here they experienced local culture and crafts.
On arrival they were greeted by Cllr. Aidan Campbell, members of Carrickmacross Comhaltas Ceoltoirí and members of the Lace Gallery and enjoyed some refreshments before taking part in a Carrickmacross Lace demonstration.
Elizabeth Daly from Carrickmacross Lace Gallery talked about the history of Carrickmacross Lace and showed the group how it was made. They then went to the Lace Gallery to see finished pieces of Carrickmacross Lace and it is rumoured that one of the ladies has ordered a piece for her wedding in London next year. The demonstration was followed by a walking tour of Carrickmacross with tour guide Lorraine O’Reilly who made the walk very entertaining and memorable. After the walking tour they had dinner in the Shirley Arms before getting ready to perform in a concert in the Shirley Arms Hotel that evening.
The audience enjoyed a night of fantastic music, dancing and singing with both branches taking to the stage with special guests Aimee McMahon, who performed some Irish dancing & Lisa Rose McMahon who sang 2 songs ‘She moved through the Fair’ & ‘Carrickfergus’ followed by more Irish dancing by Grace Kelly. Seán McElwain & Dónal McCague finished off the concert with some tunes from the ‘Our Dear Dark Mountain with the sky over it’ album, the concert was followed by a session. Cllr. P.J. O’Hanlon presented the group leader, Marian Gill, with a piece of Carrickmacross Lace on behalf of Monaghan County Council. The concert was also attended by Cllr. Aidan Campbell, Cllr. Colm McCarthy and a group of town twinning representatives from Carhaix.
On Sunday morning Seán McElwain taught the group some Monaghan tunes in a music workshop so that they could take the tunes back to London with them. After dinner in the Fiddlers, it was a trip to the Oriel Centre in Dundalk to see Ceili House recording some winners of this year’s Fleadh. The programme will air on the 17th December and one of the group, Helen McLoon, was interviewed by Kieran Hanrahan the presenter from Ceili House. Refreshments were served and a guided tour of the old gaol took place before heading back to Carrickmacross. In Carrickmacross, Eamonn Sewell taught the group some Sean Nós dance steps and then the night ended with a session mór in McNally’s Lounge.
A special thank you goes out to all the musicians who were fantastic all weekend, to everyone who supported the events and welcomed our new London friends. Also a special thanks to The Shirley Arms Hotel for looking after the group so well, Elizabeth Daly for the Lace Demonstration, The Chamber of Commerce for organising Lorraine O’Reilly for the Walking Tour, Lisa Rose & Aimee McMahon for their lovely entertainment, Grace Kelly for her beautiful dancing, Seán McElwain for his and Dónal McCague’s performance and the music workshop, Kay Webster and everyone at the Oriel Centre for inviting the group and making them so welcome, Paul Markey & Dave Marron for the PA, Hugh McCluskey for looking after the sound at the concert, Karl at the Fiddlers for looking after us for Sunday Lunch, Eamonn Sewell & Annie Brennan for the Sean Nós dance workshop, Noel McNally & Staff for allowing us to have our final session in his premises and for the lovely refreshments and to Brian Rice of Rice’s Coaches who was the designated driver all weekend and looked after everyone. A special word of thanks to our visitors from London for coming to South Monaghan and to our own branch for all the hard work organising, attending and taking part in the weekend’s activities.
This event was made possible because it was funded by the Community Tourism Diaspora Project; the funders are Fáilte Ireland, IPB & Monaghan County Council.