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02 Sep 2014

2014 Yellow Ford WalkBhí an tArdMhéara, Cllr Cathy Rafferty, mar aoi speisialta agus mar óstach ag comóradh ar na mallaibh a reáchtáladh ag deireadh Fhéile an Átha Bhuí 2014. D’eagraigh an t-ardmhéara fáiltiú do lucht eagraithe agus do lucht freastail na féile i dtaillte suntasacha oifigí athchóirithe na comhairle. Thréaslaigh sí leis an choiste deonach as an sárobair a rinne said le féile a reáchtáil le ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar an stair agus ar an chultúr áitiúil agus rinne sí comhghairdeas le bunadh na háite as a n-iarrachtaí oidhreacht stairiúil na n-imeachtaí is suntasaí a tharla in Ard Mhacha a chaomhnú don chéad ghlúin eile.

“As Lord Mayor of Armagh City and District, I am only too aware that we may potentially be sitting on a heritage tourism goldmine in this area and I will use my remaining term as First Citizen to put the culture and heritage of this district high on the political, social and economic agenda of the Council. In recent years, a committee of local enthusiasts affiliated with CAIRDE Teo has been trying to gain official recognition for the historic sites associated with the Battle of the Yellow Ford. Last year, interpretative boards were erected along the route of the Battle and the group is making linkages with other groups in Monaghan, Tyrone, Donegal and Down as well as further afield in Belgium, Switzerland and Italy in order to develop tourism along the ‘Slí Uí Néill’or ‘O’Neills’ Way’”.

Ba é an tUrramach Gregory Dunstan, Déan Ard Mhacha, a láinseáil féile bliantúil an Átha Bhuí i mbliana ag Ardeaglais Naomh Padraig, agus labhair sé go fileanta fán ról ar féidir bheith ag tuiscint ar an stair ar shuíochán agus ar chaidrimh phoiblí in Ard Mhacha. Bhí scaifte breá i láthair ag an ardeaglais an mhaidin Shathairn sin le tabhairt faoi shiúlóid 8 ciliméadar a lean slí an chatha a ghlac Sir Henry Bagenal agus arm na nGall ar 15 Lúnasa 1598.

Sciath an Átha Bhuí 2014Deir roinnt daoine gurbh é Cath Bhéal an Átha Bhuí an ghné is chlúití de Chogadh na Naoi mBliana idir Thaoisigh na nGael agus Coróin Shasana. Chuir bua na nGael tonnta iontais amach trí chúirteanna ríoga agus creidimh na hEorpa agus thug sé bagairt do rialú Shasana in Éirinn. Troideadh Cogadh na Naoi mBliana idir comhairm Thaoisigh na nGael, Ó Néill, Ó Domhnaill agus Mag Uidhir san áireamh, agus airm Bhanríon Eilís Shasana, agus ba é a thionscain Imeacht na nIarlaí sa bhliain 1607 agus plandáil Uladh a tharla ina dhiaidh.

Maireann cuimhní Chath an Átha Bhuí i logainmneacha na háite, i bhfinnscéalaíocht na háite agus in amhráin áitiúla. Mar gheall ar a chlú idirnáisiúnta, is minic a bhíonn cuairteoirí ó cheithre harda an domhain ag iarraidh fáil amach fá oidhreacht stairiúil, cultúrtha agus polaithiula an chatha.

I measc na n-imeachtaí a bhí mar chuid den fhéile i mbliana, bhí craobha camógaíochta agus iománaíochta, bhí siúlóid threoraithe staire, bhí léachtaí agus bhí fáiltiú ón ArdMhéara. Is é CAIRDE Teo a rinne comhordú ar an fhéile le blianta beaga anuas agus atá ag iarraidh é a fhorbairt le cur leis an soláthar do thurasóirí agus do chuairteoirí ar an cheantar. Ba mhaith le CAIRDE Teo buíochas a ghabháil leis na daoine agus leis na heagraíochtaí a leanas as an chúnamh fial lena chinntiú gur éirigh go maith le Féile an Átha Bhuí 2014: ArdMhéara Ard Mhacha an Comhairleoir Cathy Rafferty; Déan Gregory Dunstan ó Eaglais na hÉireann; CLG Naomh Colmcille, an Ghráinseach; Renaissance Design & Decoration; Macha Media; Teach tábhairne Red Ned’s; Dr Antaine Ó Donnaile; Máire Ní Phronntaigh; ACDC Signs; Colm & Pádraigín Bean Mhic Gabhann; Julie Ní Néill agus Cumann Camógaíochta Naomh Bríd; Chris Powell agus Cumann Iománaíochta Chú Chulainn.

Lord Mayor Cllr Cathy Rafferty was the guest of honour and the host at the celebrations to conclude the 2014 Yellow Ford Festival that took place recently. The Lord Mayor arranged a reception for organisers and guests of the festival in the splendid surroundings of the grounds and marquee adjacent to the newly refurbished council offices. She paid tribute to the hard work of the volunteer committee who had brought the annual festival of local history and culture to fruition and she also congratulated the local community for their efforts to preserve the historical legacy of some of the most significant events to have taken place in Armagh City and District.

D3S_1127“As Lord Mayor of Armagh City and District, I am only too aware that we may potentially be sitting on a heritage tourism goldmine in this area and I will use my remaining term as First Citizen to put the culture and heritage of this district high on the political, social and economic agenda of the Council. In recent years, a committee of local enthusiasts affiliated with CAIRDE Teo has been trying to gain official recognition for the historic sites associated with the Battle of the Yellow Ford. Last year, interpretative boards were erected along the route of the Battle and the group is making linkages with other groups in Monaghan, Tyrone, Donegal and Down as well as further afield in Belgium, Switzerland and Italy in order to develop tourism along the ‘Slí Uí Néill’or ‘O’Neills’ Way’”.

The annual ‘Yellow Ford Festival’ – ‘Féile an Átha Bhuí’ in Irish – was launched this year from the grounds of St Patrick’s Cathedral by the Very Rev Gregory Dunstan, Dean of Armagh, who provided the assembled audience with a warm and erudite tribute to the role of historical understanding in building peace and community relations in Armagh. A large number of people had assembled at the Cathedral gates on the Saturday morning in order to embark on an 8km walk that would follow the battle route taken by Sir Henry Bagenal and the English army on 15th August 1598.

Arguably the most famous episode in the Nine Years War between the Gaelic Chieftains and the English Crown, the battle is known in Irish as ‘Cath Bhéal an Átha Bhuí’. Its outcome sent shockwaves throughout the royal and religious courts of Europe and shook the foundations of English rule in Ireland to its core. The Nine Years War was fought between the confederate armies of the Gaelic Chieftains, including Ó Néill, Ó Domhnaill and Mag Uidhir and the armies of Queen Elizabeth of England and served as a prelude to the Flight of the Earls in 1607 and the subsequent plantation of Ulster.  

10494690_693762534040622_9002859958831598740_nMemories of the Battle of the Yellow Ford survive in local place names, legend, folklore and song. The battle’s fame and international reputation are evident in the number of enquiries related to the period that emanate from visitors from the four corners of the world – eager to learn more about the battle’s historical, cultural, political and environmental  legacy.

This year’s diverse range of events included camogie and hurling tournaments, historical guided walks and lectures and a Lord Mayor’s Reception. CAIRDE Teo, the Irish language social enterprise based in Armagh City, has coordinated the event in recent years and hopes to develop the event in order to enhance its appeal to visitors and tourists to the area. CAIRDE Teo would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous assistance and participation of the following people and organisations for ensuring the success and smooth running of the 2014 Yellow Ford Festival: Lord Mayor of Armagh City and District Councillor Cathy Rafferty; Dean Gregory Dunstan of the Church of Ireland; CLG Naomh Colmcille, An Ghráinseach; Renaissance Design & Decoration; Macha Media; Red Ned’s Bar; Dr Antaine Ó Donnaile; Máire Ní Phronntaigh; ACDC Signs; Colm Mac Gabhann; Pádraigín Mhic Gabhann; Julie Ó Néill; Chris Powell; Cumann Camógaíochta Naomh Bríd, Cumann Iománaíochta Cú Chulainn.