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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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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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BETTER WEATHER THIS YEAR


Marie Smyth ladies road bowls winners 2015

Marie Smyth ladies road bowls winners 2015

It was bettter weather this year for the Marie Smyth Ladies Road Bowls competition. As with last year there wasa good turnout of ladies willing to take on the Drumacairn Road score.Unlike last year the ladies didn't get a sound drenching for their efforts which only added to the excitment and enjoyment of the night.

Originally scheduled for Wendesday night the score had to be brought forward because it clashed with a previously arranged score organised by  Ból Cumann Na Meirleach. Nevertheless the word went out and via social media and the ever effective grapevine all were informed of the change. Congratulations to Kate Martin and Danielle  Casey who lifted the trophy And well done to all who attended.

Marie Smyth Road Bowls 2015

Political Discussion on second night of festival

 

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The second night of the festival saw our political discussion held in the consortium hall. Entiled Irish unity and it's cost, is it viable and is it partition costing us? the top table consisted of Sean Fearnon Queens University Student Officer, Maggie Lennon formerely of SNP and now Women for Independence, Stevie Nolan from Trademark, Dr,Conor Patterson from Newry/Mourne Enterprise, Dr. Peter Doran from School of Law, Queens University, Michell O'Neill MLA and Micky Brady MP.

The speakers were well recieved by the audience and their comments provoted and number of questions addiing furthere to the debate that linked the cost of irish unity or non unity with globalisation and the increasing widening of the divide between the ultra rich and rising power and influence of multi national corporations.

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Festival Kicks Off

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The West Armagh Community kicked off on Monday 3rd August with start of the children's summer camp. Held at our premises at Sherrys Field sports complex children form the west of the city are being given a week long programmes of sports, crafts, language and fun events. Monday started off with a football and camogie coaching session delivered by Julie O'Neill from St.Brigids Camogie Club. Many thanks to Julie and the volunteers who came along to help out.

 

 

It was somewhat appropiate that camogie should be on the menu as our first challage match took place on Monday evening when under - 12 teams from St.Brigids and St.Joseph's in Madden did battle for the Mallon/McIlvenna Memorial Cup.  Named in honour of local men Gerard Mallon and Peadar McIlvenna thhis is the first year of this challenge. St.Brigids were triumphant and became the first winners of the cup. St.Joseph's but up a valliant fight but St.Brigids proved just too strong for them, although Madden are already looking forward to claiming the cup next year.

West Armagh Community Festival kicks off on Monday 3rd August

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This year’s West Armagh Community Festival kicks off on Monday 3rd August with the summer camp. As can be seen from the accompanying poster there will be a lot on offer this year. We will have a return of the established favourites, particularly the Hughes/McGerrigan under 14 football tournament. The Desy McQuaid Football Challenge, Harry McCartney Tug-o-War, Marie Smyth Ladies Road Bowls are all on the menu as well as a few new ones. There is one significant change to this years’ programme and that is the Peter Corrigan Memorial Quiz. Due to unforeseen events this years’ quiz will actually be held on the Friday following the main events. Devlins’ Bar will be the venue on Friday 14th August at 9.00pm. As with previous quizzes there will be teams of five. A full programme of events will be published and available at numerous outlets.

It is worth remembering the reason why this community festival came about. August has been noted as a volatile time of the year. One of the most significant events in the troubles occurred on Monday August 9th when the then Stormont Government introduced detention without trial, better known as Internment which  continued in use until Friday 5 December 1975. During this period a total of 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were Catholic / Nationalist, while 107 were Protestant / Loyalist. Internment lasted for four years.

Coming about at a time of civil unrest the Unionist controlled Stormont Government convinced the British Government of the need, and the advantages, of introducing internment as a means of countering rising levels of violence. The policy proved however to be a disastrous mistake. The measure was only used against the Nationalist community. Although Loyalist paramilitaries had been responsible for some of the violence no Protestants were arrested in the initial swoops (the first Loyalist internees were detained on 2 February 1973)

In the years that followed Internment and its anniversaries ,August 9th  sparked violent reaction particularly in Nationalist areas. It almost became traditional even after the communitys'  outage at Internment had subsided. It was against this backdrop that community festivals began to emerge. In Armagh; it was no different as community activists sought to channel energies into something less destructive and benefitial to the community.Perhaps the biggest such festival is Féile an Phobail that takes place annually in Belfast. Although, on a smaller scale Féile Phobail Ard Mhacha Thiar ( West Armagh Community Festival) can claim some benefit for redirecting similar energies in Armagh.