130th Anniversary of CJ Kickham’s Death

Mullinahone’s annual gala of history and culture took place over the weekend, re-visiting the trial and execution of the famous McCormack brothers of Nenagh, while taking a fresh glance at the execution of Clonmel’s Fr Sheehy in 1776.

Mullinahone’s annual gala of history and culture took place over the weekend, re-visiting the trial and execution of the famous McCormack brothers of Nenagh, while taking a fresh glance at the execution of Clonmel’s Fr Sheehy in 1776.

The Country Kickham Weekend also coincided with the 130th anniversary of the death of the festival’s eponymous patriot, Charles J Kickham, author of ‘Knocknagow’ and Tipperary’s charming anthem ‘The Valley of Slievenamon’.

At the opening of the 30th Kickham Weekend on Friday evening, Jacky Brett of the Kickham Country Committee read out a poem composed by local Poet Joe Tobin, in honour of the great man. Stanza VIII concludes: “Since CJ Kickham passed away, It’s a hundred and thirty years, His lifelong love for Ireland, Will make sure he is endeared, And anyone who reads his works, Will see why he is known, As one of Ireland’s truest patriots, CJ Kickham of Mullinahone.” Caitriona Clutterbuck, Dept of English UCD, opened the festivities by saying the last 30 years of the Weekend had put Mullinahone on the cultural map, and created its own network of supporters. “This annual weekend has become a highlight in the Calendar, not only in the community, but also in the history studies of Tipperary, and history in general.”

The Kickham Weekend was in tune with its namesake’s mission, said Ms Clutterbuck. “CJ Kickham considered neighbourly conviviality to be the glue of Nation. One of the many things that the Kickham Weekend has excelled at during the years, is mobilising the latent energy of peoples goodwill into active energy, the energy of planning and preparing this annual commemoration.”

Mrs Clutterbuck went on to say that the Weekend had alway picked up on the zeitgeist of the era, from the recession of the ‘80’s to today’s Arab Spring uprisings. “The Kickham Country Weekend has explored the way local, national, and international stories, live inside one another. We have had lectures and trips focusing on revolution, sport, farming, religion, land politics, literature, economics, and much more. Fascinating back stories into major personalities and events have been offered here. We have seen how history is full of surprises, contradictions, and ambiguities.”

In these times, Kickham’s dying words ring as true as ever. “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth enthusiasm. The spirit of Knocknagow is still to the good, and long may it be so,” declared Ms Clutterbuck. The evening continued with a lecture at 8.30pm, by Nenagh-based Historian and Publisher, Nancy Murphy, entitled “The Trial and Execution of the Cormack Brothers of Nenagh 1858”.

Events continued on Saturday at 1.30pm, with a guided bus tour of the Parish of Clonoulty, led by Tour Leader Mrs Kitty Harry, Vice Chairperson of the Tipperary Historical Society. At 8.30pm, Dr Frank Holohan, Dept of Education and Science, and author of several history text books, spoke of the “The Trial and Execution of Fr Sheehy at Clonmel in 1776”.

The weekend concluded on Sunday at 11.30am with an Anniversary Mass for CJ Kickham and James Maher followed by an oration and laying of wreaths by Mr Jim McCauley (Past President of An Comhaltas). At 3pm, guests enjoyed a Poetry reading and music, at nearby Killaghy Castle Walled Gardens. Guest Poet was Patrick Moran.