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06 Oct 2014

Beann Mhadagáin 2014Bhí an Ghaeilge arís chun tosaigh i rith an tríú Oíche Chultúir in Ard Mhacha. Tháinig roinnt eagraíochtaí áitiúla cultúir le chéile le clár gníomhaíochtaí a sholáthar don deireadh seachtaine ar fad. Mar phríomhchathair ársa Uladh agus suíochán ríthe agus banríona na cúige, tá stair fhada ag an Ghaeilge agus ag an chultúr le hArd Mhacha agus bhain na grúpaí áitiúla CAIRDE Teo, Gael Linn agus Ciorcal Comhrá Ard Mhacha leas as an Oíche Chultúir le béim a leagan ar bhunú Gaelach agus Ceilteach na cathrach. Ba é téama na ceiliúrtha dátheangaí i mbliana ná ról na nÉireannach Aontaithe in Ard Mhacha agus i mBéal Feirste.

Cuireadh tús leis an chlár gníomhaíochtaí ar an Aoine le caint a thug an staraí iomráiteach, an Monsíneoir Réamonn Ó Muirí, ar shaol agus ar bhás an Athair Shéamuis Uí Choigligh ag an leac a cuireadh in airde i gcuimhne air i Reilig Pharóiste Ard Mhacha ag Cnoc an Droigheáin. Éireannach Aontaithe a bhí san Athair Séamus Ó Coigligh a rugadh i bparóiste na Coille Móire, a cuireadh ar a thrial agus a crocadh in Maidstone, Kent in 1798. Ina dhiaidh sin, léigh an Monsínseoir Ó Muirí sleachta as a leabhar ag uaigh Sheáin Uí Bhaoil sa tseanreilig thíos faoin ardeaglais Chaitliceach. Mharaigh na Fir Buí Seán Ó Baoil i rith ré lucht an aisghairmthe in 1845. As sin, chuaigh said ar aghaidh chuig Leabharlann Poiblí Ard Mhacha, áit inar thug Gerry Oates léacht dátheangach ar a thaighde pearsanta féin ar naisc Ard Mhacha leis na hÉireannaigh Aontaithe sa 18ú Céad. Bhí an Leabharlann Poiblí iontach fóirsteanach mar ionad nó is sa leabharlann a choinnítear bratach an 70ú Briogáid a bhain 8ú reisimint mílíste Ard Mhacha ó Arm na Fraince ag Cath Bhéal an Átha Muc in 1798.

Cuireadh deireadh le gníomhaíochtaí na hAoine, d’fhág turas treoraithe dátheangach Amharclann Ard Mhacha ar 5pm. Chuimsigh an tsiúlóid uaigh Bhriain Bhoróimhe i dtaillte Ardeaglais Naomh Padraig le comóradh a dhéanamh ar mhíle bliain ó maraíodh Ardrí na hÉireann. Chuaigh na rannpháirtithe as sin chuig an beár  The Hole in the Wall le héisteacht le Déaglán Mac Thréinfhir ag insint scéal an laoich agus an rapaire Gaelaigh, Séamus Mór Mac Murchaidh, a coinníodh sa tseanphríosún sular tugadh amach chuig Cnoc an Chrochta taobh le Teach an Phobail Naomh Maoilsheachlainn. Cuireadh deireadh leis an tsiúlóid le cuairt ar shuíomh an mhóraonaigh Ghaelaigh Aonach Mhacha, a bhí ann roimh Faiche Ard Mhacha mar ionad sóisialta agus tráchtála in Ard Mhacha Gaelach. Ina dhiaidh sin, chuaigh an grúpa isteach san uaimh atá thíos faoin ardeaglais d’Eaglais na hÉireann le hamharc ar chuid de na hiarsmaí reamhstaire agus réamhChríostaí atá lonnaithe ann.

Poll sa BhallaAn lá dar gcionn, eagraíodh siúlóid cnocadóireachta trasphobail go Beann Mhadagáin. Ba ag an bhinn ar fad a bhauil Theobald Wolfe Tone le hAnraí Joy Mac Reachtain le gealltanas a thabhairt éirí amach na nÉireannach Aontaithe in 1798 a láinseáil. I ndiaidh na cnocadóireachta a fhad le Dún Mhic Airt ar bharr na sléibhe, fuair na rannpháirtithe lón ag Caisleán Bhéal Feirste sula ndeachaigh said ar aghaidh le cuairt a thabhairt ar uaigh Anraí Joy agus Máire Áine Mhic Reachtain i Reilig Shráid Clifton. Bhí an staraí as Béal Feirste Jake Mac Siacais ón eagraíocht Ghaeilge Forbairt Feirste mar threoraí ar shiúlóid trí Bhéal Feirste thart ar áiteanna a raibh baint láidir acu leis na hÉireannaigh Aontaithe. Labhair Jake fán mhórthionchar a bhí ag Preisbitéirigh Bhéal Feirste ar an ghluaiseacht Poblachtánach agus labhair sé fosta ar an tionchar a bhí ag imeachtaí i Méiriceá agus ar ídéil na saoirse, an chomhionannais agus an bhráithreachais a chuir dlús le hÉirí Amach na Fraince.

Bhí an-rath ar an deireadh seachtaine, agus chuidigh an aimsir galánta leis, agus d’fhill muintir Ard Mhacha traochta ach sásta agus spreagtha ag imeachtaí an deireadh seachtaine. Ba mhaith le CAIRDE Teo buíochas a ghabháil le Ciorcal Comhrá Ard Mhacha, le Gael Linn, leis an Mhoinsínéar Ó Muirí, le Leabharlann Poiblí Ard Mhacha, le Cáisleán Bhéal Feirste, le Forbairt Feirste, le Gerry Oates agus le hEaglais na hÉireann as an chuidiú agus an comhoibriú uilig.

James Coigley 2014The Irish language yet again featured prominently during Armagh’s third annual ‘Culture Night’ celebrations. A number of local cultural organisations came together to offer a full weekend programme of activities. As the ancient capital of Ulster and former seat of the kings and queens of the province, the Irish language and culture has long been associated with Ard Mhacha and local cultural groups CAIRDE Teo, Gael Linn and Ciorcal Comhrá Ard Mhacha availed of ‘Culture Night’ to  highlight the Celtic and Gaelic origins of our primordial city. The theme of this year’s bilingual celebrations was the role of the United Irishmen movement in Armagh and Belfast.

The programme of activities began with a talk on the Friday afternoon by renowned local historian, Monsignor Réamonn Ó Muirí, who spoke about the life and death of Father James Coigley at the plaque which was erected in his memory in the Armagh Parish Graveyard at Sandy Hill. Father James Coigley, who was born in the parish of Kilmore, was a United Irishman who was put on trial and hanged in Maidstone, Kent in 1798. Monsignor Ó Muirí later read extracts from his book at the grave of John Boyle in the old graveyard below the Catholic Cathedral. John Boyle was shot dead by Orangemen during the era of the Repealers in 1845. Proceedings then moved indoors to the charming surroundings of Armagh Public Library where a fascinating bilingual lecture was delivered to an attentive audience by Gerry Oates who outlined his own personal research on Armagh’s links with the United Irishmen in the C18th. The Public Library was an extremely appropriate venue for such an event as it houses the flag of the 70th Demi Brigade which was captured from the French Army by the 8th Armagh Regiment of Militia at the Battle of Ballinamuck in 1798.

To end Friday evening’s activities, a bilingual Irish and English language guided heritage tour of Armagh departed from the Marketplace Theatre at 5pm. The walk took in the grave of Brian Boroimhe in the grounds of St Patrick’s Cathedral in order to commemorate 1,000 years since the death of the High King of Ireland. Participants then made their way to  The Hole in the Wall bar to hear Déaglán Mac Threinfhir’s account of the story of the Gaelic hero and rapparee, Séamus Mór Mac Murchaidh, who was held in the old gaol in the present day McCrum’s Court before being led to Hangman’s Hill beside St Malachy’s Church. The walk concluded with visits to the site of the ancient Gaelic fair at Aonach Mhacha, which as guide Réamonn Ó Ciaráin explained had preceded the Mall as a site of social activities and trade in Gaelic Armagh and to the ancient crypt under St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral which contains interesting prehistoric and pre-Christian artefacts.

Caisleán Bhéal Feirste 2014On the following day, a cross-community hillwalking excursion was organised to Beann Mhadagáin, known as Cavehill Mountain in English. It was at the summit of Cavehill in North Belfast that Theobald Wolfe Tone met with Henry Joy McCracken to take an oath to launch the 1798 rebellion of the United Irishmen. Following a very enjoyable and well attended hill walk to McArt’s Fort on the summit of the mountain, participants enjoyed a superb lunch in Belfast Castle before moving on to visit the graves of Henry Joy and Mary Ann McCracken in Clifton Street Cemetery. The Armagh delegation were led by Belfast historian Jake Mac Siacais, from Irish language development group Forbairt Feirste, who conducted a walking tour of sites in Belfast city centre which were strongly associated with the United Irishmen phenomenon. Jake pointed to the strong influence of Belfast Presbyterians on the emerging republican movement and also outlined how the movement had been influenced by events in America and more particularly by the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity that had resulted in the French Revolution.

With the entire weekend deemed to have been a marvellous success, not least because of the glorious late summer sunshine, the large party of ‘culture vultures’ from Armagh returned home exhausted but thoroughly enriched and stimulated by the weekend’s events. CAIRDE Teo would like to thank Ciorcal Comhrá Ard Mhacha, Gael Linn, Moinsínéar Ó Muirí, Armagh Public Library, Belfast Castle, Forbairt Feirste, Gerry Oates and the Church of Ireland in Armagh for all their help and cooperation.