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£3,350 raised for P.I.P.S though festival.

PIPS presentation west armagh community festival
Seamus McCabe of PIPS along with some of the festival committee  receiving a cheque for £3,350 raised during the West Armagh Community Festival

Suicide awareness charity P.I.P.S have benefited to the amount of £3,350 from events in this years West Armagh Community Festival that concluded on Saturday with a fun day and sporting finals. There were all the usual attractions, bouncey castles, face painting music and dance. In addition there were numerous sporting events including football, camogie, tug-o-war as well as novelty challenges. The fun day was the culmination of a weeklong programme of events. A children's summer camp ran throughout the week catering for forty children aged from 7 - 11 year olds. Also throughout the week the evening saw ladies road bowls, pub quiz, under-14 Gaelic football and ladies Gaelic football and much more.  


Central to this year's festival was the 50th Anniversary of the Callan Street explosions that claimed the life of a five year old boy and injured over twenty more, mostly children. Over a twenty-four hour period from the 21st- 22nd of July 1967 there were two explosions in a disused railway tunnel. The death and injuries sparked a wave of protest at conditions in the area that had some of the worst housing conditions in the town.


To mark this anniversary the local residents group planned to erect a memorial on the spot of the explosions and to assist the festival committee devoted its sponsored 5km run and 2 km walk to raising funds for this. The run took place on Tuesday 8th and attracted several hundred runners and walkers. It became clear early on that the run/walk was attracting a considerable amount of attention and that the monies raised would surpass what was needed so it was decided to include   P.I.P.S  on the sponsor card. The organisers are pleased to announce that the total raised and presented to P.I.P.S is £3.350. They have thanked everyone who participated in the event form the runners to stewards and officials. 


The actual unveiling of the memorial took place the following night and was attended by a large number of residents. Following it there was an exhibition and talk in the consortiums hall at Sherry's Field Sports Complex. Local historian John Nixon delivered a talk on the subject to a packed hall. Some of the survivors of the explosions gave their accounts of the accident and the effect it had on their lives. There was a very moving moment when one of the contributors realised that the child a previous speaker had recalled helping was in actual fact, herself. For fifty years neither woman had realised the identity of the other, such was the confusion and the injuries sustained by some of the victims.


The festival organisers have described this year's festival as a great success. Paying particular attention to the many volunteers, Stephen Fields from the organising committee has thanked all involved. "While the festival is now a well established community event its success is solely dependant on the support of community and of the community volunteers who give freely of their time. This year those volunteers stepped up to the plate and the success of the festival is due to their efforts."

West Armagh Community Festival concludes with fun day

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The audience at the Callan Street Gas Explosion's 50th anniversary event in the consortium's hall

The West Armagh Community Festival concluded on Saturday with a fun day and the finals of some of the sporting competitions that took place during the week. Many attended the last day and enjoyed football, poc/cic fada, bouncey castles, rodeo bull, gladiator ring and bungee run. There also musical entertainment provided by Crowbar Blues and the crowd was also entertained by Irish dancing and a belly dancer. It was quite a contrast in style but the crowd seemed to appreciate it.

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The belly dancer at the festival fun day


The organisers of the festival would like to thank everyone who helped. They are too numerous to mention but suffice to say that the week-long festival would not have been possible without the active participation of the volunteers. Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the festival was the events in and around the 50th Anniversary of the Callan Street Gas Explosion. A 5km run and 2km walk was organised to raise funds for both this venture and for P.I.P.S. It surpassed all expectations with several hundred people taking part. The unveiling of the memorial and the exhibition and talk the following night were also very well supported. So much so that it was standing room only in the consortiums hall for the lecture and slide show delivered by local historian John Nixon.   

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The Irish dancers at the festivals fun day
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Tremendous turnout for sponsored run/walk and unveiling

Sponsored run/walk 2017 for 50th anniversary Callan Styreet Gas Explosion
Getting ready for the off

There was a tremendous turnout for both the sponsored run and walk held as part of West Armagh Community festival. Several hundred runners and walkers took part in the event that was organised in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Callan Street Gas Explosion. Monies raised went towards the erection of a memorial stone. The other beneficiary of the run/walk is P.I.P.S.

Gas Explosiuon Memorial
Unveiling of memorial to mark the spot of the Callan Street gas Explosion


The following night the memorial stone was unveiled at a short ceremony on the spot where fifty years ago so many people mostly children were badly injured and resulted in the death of five year old Brendan Donnelly.

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All Fun At The Zoo

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All the fun at the Zoo for the trip with the children’s summer camp. Look at the crazy human was probably on the minds of many of the animals as the little darlin’s look in at them. A good day was had by all with the exception of a few complaints about the mountaineering route around the zoo.

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Dr.Eamon Phoenix delivered the Historical Lecture

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Lord Mayor Garath Keating welcoming Dr.Eamon Phoneix who delivered the lecture

Dr.Eamon Phoenix the well renowned historian deliver a very interesting lecture/discussion on the Easter Rising with a northern connection. The lecture was just one event in the West Armagh Community Festival and Dr.Phoenix took the opportunity to highlight the involvement of some Armachians in these historical events.

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Féile Phobal Ard Mhacha/West Armagh Community Festival

 

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A packed programme of entertainment has been taking place all week with the West Armagh Community Festival. Féile Phobal Ard Mhacha Thiar. The summer camp for 7-11 year old began at the start of the week with a trip out to Navan Fort. A day long of Celtic adventure was had by the children and some of the adults alike.

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Highlights of community festival 2015

Highlights of the West Armagh Community Festival has been recorded on this video link. Many thanks to Shanagh whose commitment made it possible. It seemed that she was everywhere all at once covering the vast majority of events. No mean task when the number and timing of events are taking into consideration

West Armagh Community Festival

Highlights of community festival 2015

Highlights of the West Armagh Community Festival has been recorded on this video link. Many thanks to Shanagh whose commitment made it possible. It seemed that she was everywhere all at once covering the vast majority of events. No mean task when the number and timing of events are taking into consideration

West Armagh Community Festival

For more reports and pictures of Féile Ard Mhacha 2015 click on FESTIVALS in the Menu Bar

 

 

 

 

 

Tayto park on day four of the summer camp

 

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Day four of the summer camp was trip away day. Everyone piled  onboard the bus and headed off to Tayto Park in Co.Meath.The park is packed with attractions from play areas,animal enclosures to the almost obligatory high thrill attractions for an adventure park. The children certainly enjoyed the day.The only drawback, if it could be called that, was the crowds that resulted in lengthy waiting times for some of the more popular attractions. As for the community volunteers who supervised, even with the bright green t-shirts issued to all children it proved a dificult  job keeping an eye on them. The phrase 'kids is a candy shop' springs to mind.

 

 

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BAD WEATHER NOT A PUT OFF

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Day three of the West Armagh Community Festival and the summer camp continues with its activities.The weather wasn't too favourable but fortunately the days schedule was set indoors. Starting off with an irish lesson delivered through song and game the children have a great time with tutor Michael Hughes who entertained them for the morning session,during which they learned a  cuplá focal. Games and songs where the order of the day and it was fortunate that the building was not occupied by any other group at the time because the noise level was noticable increased.

After lunch the ever energetic Joanne Mullan took the kids for another dance and drama session. There was no reluctance on the part of the boys this time, who were worried on Monday that dance and drama meant something 'sissy'. Anything but it and once again the noise levels increased. The only concerns being expressed by our community volunteers who regretted not taking ear plug with them.

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