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Westmeath Topic - 12 April 2018

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10 TOPIC • 12 April, 2018 NEWS Spectacular boat rally to take place along Mullingar’s Royal Canal this Saturday and Sunday BY PAUL O’DONOVAN There is great news for boat enthusiasts and anyone interested in the history and heritage of the Royal Canal, which runs through Mullingar. The Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) will hold a boat rally on the Royal Canal, Mullingar on Saturday, 14 and Sunday, 15 April. Up until recently there has been very little activity on Royal Canal so the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) have just formed a new branch and the new branch will hold a small boat rally in Mullingar this coming weekend. Approximately 11 or 12 boats will gather at Mullingar Harbour, close to Loreto College, Mullingar. These boats will provide a wonderful spectacle when they are all gathered together. The boats will include a number of old house boats, old barges that were used on the canal when it was used for commercial traffic. These barges are approximately 60 foot in length and are very interesting boats. Older people will remember these barges being used and these barges are now part of the Heritage Boat Assocciation (HBA). Last Sunday, 8 April, in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar, the Bishop of Meath, Most Rev. Dr. Michael Smith, celebrated Mass to mark the centenary of the founding in Mullingar in 1918 of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society, which has also extended its events to Westmeath over the decades. Welcoming the members and officers, and his fellow patrons The IWAI began their journey along the Royal Canal in Dublin and will finish up in Jamestown, Co. Roscommon in May, making several stop offs on route, Mullingar being one of them. The boats will arrive in Mullingar throughout the Saturday, and a barbeque for members of the association will be held on Saturday evening. Anyone interested in boats can come along to view them or if they wish to ask any of the Society - Dr. Edel Breathnach, Dr George Eogan and Hon. Thomas Pakenham - Bishop Smith explained that of the 14 members of the original founding group, nine were priests of the Diocese of Meath, including the renowned Irish scholar, Fr. Paul Walsh, author of “The Placenames of Westmeath” among many other noted scholarly works. WESTMEATH, MEATH AND OFFALY Bishop Smith explained that from the beginning, the remit questions or find out any information on these types of boats or barges. Then on Sunday morning at 11am a walk will take place along the Cedar Line of the canal out to Lough Owel. Boats are unable to navigate this route presently due to bridges, Cullion Fish Farm and other obstacles, but there is a path along this route and this is where the walk will take place. Local historian Seamus O’Brien will lead the walk of the Society has included not only the heritage of Meath but also that of the diocese, including Westmeath and parts of Offaly. This is reflected in its original aims, “to preserve, publish and illustrate the antiquities, records and traditions connected with the Diocese and the ancient Kingdom of Meath”, and its foundation in Mullingar reflected this, he said. PUBLICATIONS, LEC- TURES AND OUTINGS While the Society's fortunes Barge number 118B arriving at Furey's, Moyvalley. This barge will be on view in Mullingar this Saturday and Sunday. and give a talk on the history of the area during the walk. After the walk the group will meet at Mullingar Yacht Club for lunch. Then on Sunday afternoon they will return to Mullingar Harbour where the boats will gradually move on their way. This weekend is a great opportunity for those involved in the branch to introduce themselves to the people of Mullingar interested in the boats and in the Royal Canal and its history. The boats will then move on to Richmond Harbour, in Clondra, Co. Longford, where the Royal Canal meets up with the River Shannon. This is an ideal opportunity for the locals of Mullingar to get to know some of the history of the Royal Canal and its surroundings. It should be a very eventful and enjoyable weekend on the canal in Mullingar. AGM of Birdwatch Westmeath this Thursday Birdwatch Ireland Westmeath Branch’s next meeting will take place on Thursday, 12 April. The meeting will be the local group’s AGM and will be followed by a bird identification workshop focusing on improving field skills at identifying confusing bird species. The event is free and all are welcome. Most of the business of the AGM will be carried out at the committee meeting beforehand. Committee members are asked to please attend for 7pm if possible. Anyone who is interested in joining the committee for the 2018/19 season is welcome to attend the AGM. APRIL OUTING A Spring Nature Walk on Cloncrow Bog, Tyrrellspass is organised for Saturday, 21 April at 12pm. The meeting point is Tyrrellspass GAA Grounds and the walk will take approximately an hour and a half. Wellies or walking boots are essential as the Cloncrow Bog is quite wet. Parking is available at the GAA Grounds. MEATH BRANCH Bishop celebrates centenary Mass in Mullingar DISTINGUISHED GUESTS for Meath A & H Society Also pictured in the Mullingar Cathedral Museum after the centenary Mass last Sunday, 8 April, are, from left, Dr. Raghnall Ó Floinn (Director of the National Museum) with the four joint Patrons of the Society, Bishop Michael Smith, Dr. Edel Bhreathnach, Dr. George Eogan and Hon. Thomas Pakenham. fluctuated during the early years, with the publication of its first annual journal, ‘Riocht na Midhe’, in 1955 and the efforts of dedicated volunteers the work of the Society had gone from strength to strength, publishing works on archaeology, local history, cultural traditions and folklore of Westmeath and Meath, alongside its acclaimed journal. It also promotes heritage issues and the running an annual programme of lectures and outings. At the Mass in Mullingar Cathedral on Sunday last, music to accompany the liturgy was provided on harp and guitar by the President of the Society, Kieran Cummins, while John McCullen (Vice-President), Julitta Clancy (PRO), Seamus MacGabhann (former Editor), Anne O'Reilly (former Treasurer), Noel French (Council member) and John Clancy (former President) said the bidding prayers. Also present were Dr. Raghnall Ó Floinn (Director of the National Museum), Ciaran Mangan (Meath County Librarian), Ruth Illingworth (Mullingar historian), Frank Cogan (former Ambassador), Council members Marie and Joe Cosgrave, as well as many other members and guests of the Society and relatives of deceased Council members. CATHEDRAL MUSEUM Afterwards, Bishop Smith invited the group to visit the Cathedral Museum, where they were joined by Fr. Paul Crosbie from the Cathedral. Pictured in the Mullingar Cathedral Museum after the Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Smith marking the centenary of the founding in Mullingar in 1918 of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society are, from left, former Irish Ambassador Frank Cogan, Kieran Cummins (President of the Society), Cllr. Noel French (Council member), Bishop Michael Smith (joint Patron), and Julitta Clancy, MBE (PRO). Friends in Meath are also doing a nature walk at Coolronan Bog, Ballivor. Meet in the Bord na Mona office car park on Sunday, 15 April at 10am. MAY MEETING The group’s May meeting will be the last indoor event before the summer break on Thursday, 10 May. Guest speakers Aine and Andrew Fenner will discuss Ireland’s bats, the Midland Bat Group, and the current BATLAS Project. More details next month. WESTMEATH SWIFT SURVEY Birdwatch Ireland will be conducting a swift survey of County Westmeath during the summer season, aiming to provide essential data in relation to which towns and buildings are being used by swifts for nesting and breeding. Surveys have already taken place in previous years, but many towns and villages have lost their swift populations, unlikely to return, so the Westmeath branch needs to provide as much support as possible to this effort. An information walk and talk will take place in Kilbeggan on Thursday, 24 May during Biodiversity Week at 8pm with Ricky Whelan of Birdwatch Ireland. More information will be provided closer to the date. DAWN CHORUS EVENT There will be a Dawn Chorus trip on Sunday, 13 May to Belvedere House, Gardens, and Park. The event normally kicks off at around 4am in the courtyard at the visitor centre, returning at around 5:30am or 6am for breakfast. Admission is free, but breakfast is not. LAKE COUNTY BEEKEEPERS CLUB NOTES The next meeting of the Lake County Beekeepers Club will take place on this Wednesday, 11 April at 8pm in the Annebrook House Hotel, Mullingar. Tea and coffee and sandwiches will be provided. Michael Tracey will be working with the club's microscope and demonstrating how to test bees for acarine and nosema. We will also be discussing how and what to feed your bees to get them through this bad weather and ensure that brood is being raised.

TOPIC • 12 April, 2018 Children thorougly enjoy concert staged by renowned Army Band at the Mullingar Arts Centre BY CLAIRE CORRIGAN In Brief BOHERQUILL RAMBLERS The Ramblers will visit the ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise on Sunday, 15 April, for a 9km walk led by Eileen Moreton. The churches, round towers and high crosses all set beside the River Shannon should lead to a very interesting outing. The group will meet at the Visitor Centre at Clonmacnoise at 12pm. Please pool cars as much as possible as parking may be limited. Please also bring a packed lunch. A new Army Band Dazzle at Mullingar Arts Centre. Mullingar Arts Centre was a hive of excited activity on Tuesday morning of this week, 10 April, as pupils ranging from second class to sixth class from 14 schools across Westmeath took their seats to hear the renowned Army Band. The children were beyond excited to hear the ensemble play favourites including Toy Story’s ‘You got a Friend in Me’, Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ and Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can't Stop the Beat’, with many of them clapping along and jumping out of their seats to dance to the impressive musical presentation. The show was part of a six week Music Outreach Programme called ‘Music in the Classroom’ by music tutor Lorcan Daly, which sees pupils from Junior Infants up to Sixth Class introduced to musical instruments. The initiative is sponsored by Mullingar Pantomime Group, an independent group which operates in association with Mullingar Arts Centre. The programme sees Lorcan introduce and demonstrate various instruments from the orchestra to the children, and for the last week, pupils attend a concert at the centre. “It’s free to the schools and I introduce the children to brass instruments, woodwind instruments, percussion instruments and I have a system that caters for everybody. We talk about the history of the instruments and how they work and I also have games to make it fun. The more fun the better they relate to me. I demonstrate most of the instruments myself and they actually get up and play the instruments themselves. “I also have a little percussion section that I do with Zumba drums that deals with hand/eye coordination, rhythm, balance control, technique, breathing and musicianship - everything like that.” At the end of the programme, all the children come to the Arts Centre to see the instruments in action - an activity they greatly enjoy. On Tuesday morning, pupils from 14 schools, including St. Mary’s, Presentation Senior School, Ballymahon, Rathwire and Kinnegad, attended the show. “Every time I go back to the school, the Mullingar Town Band has a huge amount of interest because of this. It’s great for children who are not into Gaelic, hurling and are more musically orientated.” Mullingar Arts Centre director, John McGrath, said their centre provided music lessons to people of all generations. “It’s like Grand Central here with buggies parked around the place and children from three months to about two and a half years in for their Youngsters thoroughly enjoy their musical opportunities. series of Tracks and Trails has begun on RTE 1 television on Friday evenings, with a selection of walks from various parts of the country. See boherquillramblers.ie for lots more information. CULLION PROGRESSIVE 25 RESULTS For games played on Monday, 26 March, the results were: 10 Games winners were Noel Roe and Tom Smith, and Seamus McGowan and Paddy Maxwell. Table prizes went to Lizzie Lynam and Mary Manning, and Frank Seery and Des Yeoman. Last Game winners were Damien Molloy and Michael Harte. Raffle winners were PJ McCrum, Michael Keogh, Seamus Maher, Damien Molloy. For games played on Monday, 2 April, results were: 12 Games winners were John Keane and Jack Doolin, and Frank Seery and Des Yeoman. Table Prizes went to Roe music session every Tuesday. Then we have Sweet Tunes, where we have people up to 83 years of age singing their hearts out, just back from their trip to Rome, and we have The Army Band with 400 schoolchildren here this morning.” “I believe that Mullingar can be justly proud of all that their Arts Centre has achieved to date,” he concluded. Lynch and Nora Ryan, and Frank Ryan and Seamus McGowan. Last Game winners were Peggie Egerton and Jack O'Dell. Raffle prizes went to Roe Lynch, Paddy Casey, Mary Manning, Nora Ryan. The jackpot wasn't won. New players are always welcome. The card game starts at 9pm. The committee wishes to express sincere sympathy to the family of Johnny Macken RIP. “Usually referendums add protection to human rights. However, the repeal of the 8th Amendment would take away rights from unborn children,” Eilis Mulroy said in Mullingar last Sunday morning, 8 April. Ms. Mulroy, a spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign (PLC), was invited by Bishop Michael Smith to speak at Masses in the Cathedral of Christ the King and St. Paul’s Church, Mullingar, last Sunday, 8 April. Eilis Mulroy told congregations in Mullingar last Sunday that whenever she speaks on this issue, she is “very aware of the difficult personal situations people have been in, their individual stories, and of the responsibility not to add to the pain which those personally connected with the abortion issue may be experiencing”. AN INSPIRATION TO OTHER COUNTRIES Ireland’s pro-life laws have served as an inspiration to many other countries, according to the PLC spokesperson. “Ireland without abortion has been consistently a safer place for pregnant women than countries like the US, where abortion is legal in wide-ranging circumstances,” Ms Mulroy pointed out. RIGHT TO BE GIVEN A CHANCE In her address to congregations at Sunday Masses in the Cathedral and St. Paul’s Church, Ms. Mulroy recounted the story of John Paul Johnson, a baby boy diagnosed with a life limiting condition called anencephaly while still in his mother's womb. John Paul lived for just 17 minutes after he was born. His mother Cliona says: “While 17 minutes might seem like a very short time, those moments are etched in our hearts forever. It has been such a gift to look back during our time of suffering and loss and remember that precious life. John Paul had every bit as much right to be given a chance to live as anyone. He might have only lived for a few minutes, but he had a lifetime’s worth of love in those few minutes.” NEWS Pictured is Eilis Mulroy with Fr. Paul Crosbie after Mass in St Paul’s Church, Mullingar, last Sunday, 8 April. 11 “Ireland without abortion - a consistently safer place for mothers and children” PLC spokesperson Eilis Mulroy spoke at Masses in Mullingar Eilis Mulroy speaking at Mass in St. Paul’s Church, Mullingar on Sunday. TAKE AN ACTIVE INTEREST Ms. Mulroy was careful to avoid any politicisation of the referendum, but urged people to take an active interest in the debate and to become informed. “The right to life is a natural right that no individual, no majority and no State can ever create or destroy it,” she said. “None of us can leave our faith outside the room when we are considering these matters.” After she spoke, Ms. Mulroy received a warm round of applause from those present.

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