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Éigse Sliabh Rua set to go ahead, but in a very different format

The annual festival of local history goes online for 2020 with three events

Since 1978 people from south Kilkenny and beyond have gathered each November in Slieverue to mark the annual Éigse.

It’s primary aim was to raise awareness of history, especially local history in the area, and celebrate it.

Typically, its format is a series of lectures, seminars and field trips, and the participants over the past forty three years reads like a who’s who of historians, archaeologists and writers. Louis Cullen, Caoimin Ó Danachair, Francis J. Byrne, Aidan O Hara, Ciáran MacMathúna, Kevin Whelan, John A. Murphy, John DeCourcy Ireland, David Dixon, William Nolan, Nicky Furlong, Brian Farrell, Vincent Brown and many others have addressed Éigse events over the past few decades.

But, as with other events and industries, Covid-19 has altered all that was once taken for granted, and level 5 restrictions means that people cannot come to Éigse Events.

So Éigse events will come to the people by a new method, via ZOOM.

Programme of events

Éigse will open on Tuesday, 24th November at 8pm when Jack Burtchaell will give a lecture on ‘Slieverue and Environs in the 1820s’. Based on contemporary newspapers the talk will look at what were the hot topics of conversation around the dinner table, the fire sides, or pub counter of the locality 200 years ago? The soap opera lifestyles of the royal family, the first photo images, the collapse of the Spanish empire in South America, the birth of quadruplets to Mrs Duggan in Ballytruckle, the abduction for marriage of Margaret Hogan by Declan Barron in Killongford and the ongoing sensational events of the Stuart election in 1826 and the aftermath, up to Catholic Emancipation will all feature.

On Thursday, 26th November also from 8pm Bríd Lynch will deliver a virtual tour of Slieverue’s historic sites.

Katherine Grant will close Éigse on Friday, 27th November, again at 8pm, with a lecture titled ‘A ramble on the New Ross – Waterford railway’. This line is now being redeveloped as a Greenway and interest is growing in the history of the railway.

Sadly this year the fieldtrip for children, the music sessions, the concert and other gatherings are postponed, but organisers say “hopefully we will be back to normal in 2021”.

All three lectures are available FREE of CHARGE via ZOOM at 3324784498 passcode 5869 and all are most welcome.

Sue Nunn spoke with Jack Burtchaell of Jack’s Walking Tours.

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