The Milestone Inn came alive with the sound of music for the Fingal Heritage Network Culture night on Friday evening 13th of October. Culture Night is an annual event where the various historical societies in Fingal get together f or an evening of stories and song and there were 11 different Societies represented on this occasion. This was the first year it was hosted by Balbriggan & District Historical Society and they were delighted to welcome the Mayor of Fingal Cllr Mary McCamley to the event as well as Gerry Clabby Fingal County Council Heritage Officer and Cllrs Grainne Maguire, Tony Murphy and David O'Connor who was one of the excellent performers on the night.
Bernie Kelly & Brian Kavanagh, Balbriggan & District Historical Society, Mayor of Fingal Cllr Mary McCamley and Gerry Clabby Fingal County Council Heritage Officer
The evening began with tunes from Balbriggan with John Kiernan on fiddle and Amy Campbell on the pipes then May McKeon recited Tara by local poet PJ Dillon, whose life she is currently researching. Tony Carton from Lusk and George Hand from Skerries then performed some well loved songs while Paddy Ryan from Malahide provided versions of Irish Mythology from Cú Chulainn to Aoife which we definitely never learned in school!. Fiona Nutty from Garristown brought the first half of the evening to a close with two beautiful evocative poems.
Cllr Tony Murphy, Anne Collins Chair Balbriggan & District Historical Society, Mayor of Fingal Cllr Mary McCamley, Cllr Grainne Maguire, Cllr David O'Connor, Gerry Clabby, Fingal County Council Heritage Officer
Six members of Rinceoil Ros Eo from Rush got the 2nd half underway with some rousing tunes and songs followed by some great storytelling from Jim Monks from Lusk. Cllr David O'Connor then treated us to some of his huge repertoire of local songs and, like all the performers, could have entertained all night but time was moving on. Diarmuid OCathaisigh from Howth had everyone in stitches with his stories about Myles na gCopaleen and all those who took part in the great Mórshiúil on O'Connell Street. Una O Brien from Rowlestown spoke about the rebel poets of 1916 and read some Padraig Pearse poems including the Wayfarer which he wrote in Kilmainham. Bernie Marks and Jim Bennett from Swords ended the evening on a high note with their songs and stories of North Street Swords and Bernie also a sang as Gaeilge a song which she had learned more than 50 years ago which she dedicated to Bernie Kelly Irish language enthusiast in the Balbriggan Society.
Mayor of Fingal Cllr Mary McCamley, who braved the inclement weather and some terrible traffic to attend, thanked Balbriggan & District Historical Society for the invitation and praised all the performers on the night for the excellent entertainment, and the societies for the work they do all year round.
Gerry Clabby, Fingal County Council Heritage officer thanked the Balbriggan Committee for hosting the night, the Mayor and other Councillors for attending and all the Societies who took part and contributed to such a memorable evening. He also praised the work being done by the Societies on an ongoing basis including researching local history, putting on talks programmes, guiding historical walks and running museums and he encouraged the Societies to get involved the process of preparing the Fingal Heritage Plan 2018-2023.
Anne Collins, Chairperson said "On behalf of Balbriggan & District Historical Society, I would like to thank the Mayor, Councillors and Gerry Clabby for attending and the Historical societies both for coming along and performing on the night and for all their help in organising the event. We would particularly like to thank Damian Reilly for providing the venue and all the staff of the Milestone Inn, for all their help on the night."
Brian Kavanagh, MC for the night pointed out that "It is fitting that the Fingal Heritage Network Culture Night is in Balbriggan this year as it is the 10th anniversary of the Network's launch which happened here in Balbriggan in 2007"
There were many witty comments about how much older everyone had got since 2007 as well as poignant reminders of people no longer with us, but what was very clear on the night was that the Heritage Network is going from strength to strength and we can look forward to many more great events like this in the future.