A proposal to Cavan County Museum
The people from Tierworker, from Bailieborough, and from farther away, who attended the book launch at the Bailieborough Library on March 26, for my memoir, The Eyes That Shone - From Ireland to Canada in the 1950s, did me a great honour, and I thank them all most sincerely for that.
In particular, I want to acknowledge the supportive work by Leslie McKeague, author of Bailieborough - A Pictorial Past; Cllr John O'Hare, vice-chairman of Cavan County Council; Fiona Burke, Bailieborough librarian; and Peter McCabe of Lucan and formerly Tierworker. Other generous friends who helped in so many ways are too numerous to list. It was a genuinely memorable experience for me to see again so many friends from the distant days of my boyhood near Tierworker and to make new acquaintances.
As part of my remarks at the launch, I invited the representatives of Cavan County Council and others who might be interested, to consider supporting a new potentially valuable heritage project, which I called These Old Walls.
The objective of such a project would be to create an inventory, documented in accordance with generally accepted heritage conservation standards, of the ruins of long since abandoned houses of small farmers and labourers scattered about the fields and back roads around Bailieborough and the nearby parishes such as Tierworker.
Who better to provide leadership for such a worthwhile endeavour than the Cavan County Museum in Ballyjamesduff?
It is my intention, before I return home soon to Ottawa, Canada, to visit Ballyjamesduff and speak to the curator, Savina Donohue, about the practicalities of organising and executing such a project.
I am also hereby inviting the Bailieborough Area councillors, Aiden Boyle, David Blake, Fergal Curtin, John O'Hare, Niamh Smyth, Paddy McDonald, and Sean McKiernan, and the Cavan-Monaghan TD, Joe O'Reilly, to consider the merits of such a project and to extend their support.
I am convinced that the project has real heritage value for the community around Bailieborough, as well as social, economic and tourism benefits. There are thousands of genealogical researchers all over the world who are searching for this type of record. The ruins of the big houses are often recognised in the works of historians, but the modest homes of our great-grandparents, who were just ordinary folk are, regrettably, often forgotten.
Perhaps the project could be executed, over a period of years, on a largely volunteer basis, as a transition year assignment under the guidance of a motivated retired teacher, by a dedicated team of community school students. The technology required is nothing more than a smart mobile phone, a website, and a baseline linked to the 1901 Census. Other methodologies are also worth considering.
Opinions both pro and con are welcome at my website donnellycanada.com.
I look forward to my next visit to Tierworker and Bailieborough. Nothing could please me more than to see These Old Walls as one of the approved projects for the Cavan County Museum, with the first phases of the work already under way, and a team of students productively engaged while learning skills that will serve them well, no matter what career they ultimately pursue.
St Patrick's parade
Just a few comments on this year's St Patrick's Day Parade. Yes, it was very good and well organised but it could have been better! Where were all the various organisations and groups around the town and surrounding areas? What is wrong with the majority of Cavan Town people that they do not get involved?
A great deal of time and effort goes into the Parade each year. Look at the tireless Mel Doherty - what a trooper! Few seem to appreciate it and Cavan Town people just seem to want to watch from the pavements!
'Well done' to those who did participate. The town without the St Patrick's Day Parade would have been a scene of more gloom.
Myself, I made the effort this year and you know what? Enjoyed every minute of it as did my fellow thespians. Ha ha.
So what about 2012 - God willing will more of ye join us?
Finding the oldest working people in every county
Friends of the Elderly, in association with TV3, is starting a nationwide competition to find the oldest working man and woman in every county in Ireland. We want to highlight the benefits of having an older person in the workforce. They have a lot to offer - their experience, their work ethic and the respect they get from their fellow workers enhances the working environment. We hope these awards will give older people in the workforce the recognition they deserve.
Six finalists will feature on Ireland AM on the weeks of April 11, 18 and 25. The winners will be announced on Midweek on Wednesday, May 4, at the start of Bealtaine Festival Month, Ireland's annual month of celebration of creativity in old age.
Every older person that is nominated will receive a Certificate of Merit and the overall winning male and female workers will receive an all expenses paid weekend break at Kelly's Resort Hotel and Spa, Rosslare, County Wexford.
Older people who are nominated must work at least 20 hours a week.
If you think you know the oldest working person in your county, post or email your nomination with a short description of their average working week and your contact details to:
Dermot Kirwan, Ireland's Oldest Working People Awards, Friends of the Elderly, 25 Bolton Street, Dublin 1; firstname.lastname@example.org 01-8731855.
Friends of the Elderly,