On Sunday, April 2015, the Slieve Bloom Association reached yet another birthday and celebrated its 40th Anniversary in Kinnitty with a sit-down meal and the launching of a booklet. The members are rightly proud of achieving this milestone. It is no mean feat to keep any organisation going for this length of time – often with quite small numbers, but by keeping focused on the aims continuing to get things done over the years (eg walks, signage, seating, bins, festival revivals). Also, as part of the festivities and in recognition of the huge amount of work he did over his long lifetime to prevent traditions, folklore and archaeological sites being lost in the area, a plaque was unveiled for Paddy Lowry RIP, who was one of the founding members of the Slieve Bloom Association.
The sun may not have shone, but the rain stopped just in time for the parade to the Village Green from the Mountrath road. Such was the esteem that Paddy was held in, that a large crowd followed behind the Association’s banner to where the plaque had been erected to the side of the bridge. The honours were performed by Liam Murray, Paddy’s nephew and Paddy Heaney, his great pal – one was rarely seen without the other in days gone by. Association Chairman Johnny Rigney called on a number of people to say a few words of tribute, including our Hon. President Derek Fanning, Scout troop Leader Jack Ryan, Fr O’Meara, the Mayors of Laois and Offaly – Sinead Dooley and John Joe Fennelly, Offaly Tourism Officer Amanda Pedlow and Paddy’s grand-nephew, John Murray.
We then adjourned to Kinnitty Community Centre for a meal to celebrate the auspicious Anniversary. Fr O’Meara said the grace before meals. There were contributions to the speeches by Mick Dowling, Cllr Seamus McDonald, Cllr Carol Nolan, Cllr John Glendenin, Cllr John Carroll, Michael Lalor and Mick Dunne, and Kathleen Culliton for Mary Culliton. The Rev. Janet White Spunner said grace after the meal. Mary Doyle and Derek Fanning cut the cake.
With everyone satiated, the entertainment began and was provided by Jimmy Brophy, with contributions from various guests.
A most enjoyable day was had by all there and the Slieve Bloom Association would like to thank the following sponsors for helping to make the day such a success: Carol Nolan, David Goodwin, Dan & Mary Lynch.
The association would also like to thank:
- Offaly County Council for their co-operation in facilitating this project.
- Those members who put up the plaque & are always ready to give up their time to do the hard work: Johnny Rigney, Christy Conroy, Leo Brophy and Dan Lynch
- Marie Egan Lynch and her hard-working and genial team for the lovely meal and great service.
- Derek Fanning and all those who contributed articles and photographs for the booklet ‘Celebrating 40 Years of Community Endeavour’
After such a fantastic day, we’re already looking forward to our 50th celebrations!
The next meeting is on April 30th at 8:30 in Kinnitty Community Centre. Please note that the AGM has been deferred until May.
Article and Photographs by Kathleen Culliton