Final preparations are underway for the historic celebration of the O’Meachair clan and their ancient homelands, the Barony of Ikerrin in Killea on August 22nd and in Damer House Roscrea and Clonakenny on August 23rd next.
With the support of the five Mahers currently playing on the Tipperary Senior Hurling Panel, this heritage festival promises to be a great weekend of fun, entertainment and discovery beginning as it does, at the start of Heritage Week 2014.
This is the first time that such an ambitious event has been undertaken to commemorate the Maher/Meagher clan and to celebrate their ancient homelands, the Barony of Ikerrin. For those unsure of the terrain, Ikerrin stretches from Roscrea to Rathnaveogue, part of Annameadle, Derrycallaghan, Killea, Barnane, around (but not including) Templemore, Castleiney, Templetuohy, Dromard, Timoney, Knock, Monahincha and back into Roscrea. And at the centre of this area is the village of Clonakenny where the O’Meachair chiefs built their most important stronghold.
The festival starts on the 22nd of August at 7.30pm in Killea with an Art Exhibition entitled ‘Marvellous Motif’ on the theme of the Devil’s Bit which will be opened by renowned artist and Bansha native, Alice Maher. Teresa Larkin will also debut her musical composition “The Devil’s Bit Waltz” following which, a ‘Cuirdiocht’ or a panel discussion will commence with Willie Smyth, Fr Laurence Walsh OSCE, Alice Maher, John Costigan and Christine Timoney on the theme of the social history of Tipperary. The Cuirdiocht will be hosted by Keith Fahey of Tipp FM.
The following morning in Damer House, Roscrea at 10am, an academic conference will be held on the O’Meachairs and Ikerrin during the medieval period. Chaired by Professor Willam Smyth, the conference will hear from Dr Paul McCotter of UCC on the development of Ikerrin as well as other papers on the late medieval O’Meachair Lordship and the development of church and faith during the age. Local historian Willie Hayes will deliver a response to the papers.
In the afternoon of the 23rd, Henry Healy will join Susan Chadwick of RTÉ’s ‘Genealogy Roadshow’ and Local Historian Clare Bohan for a Genealogy Workshop. Henry will lead discussions with local historians and will welcome participants from near and far to share their stories and experiences of working on their Maher/Meagher family trees. Susan and Clare will be on-hand to advise on researching your family tree and to provide private one-on-one assistance. Participants are advised to come along early and sign up for a time slot. A €10 charge will apply to cover all events in Damer House.
Finally on Saturday evening, the focus will switch to the ancestral seat of the O’Meachairs at Clonakenny where an outdoor stage will be erected for an evening of music, drama and pageantry with a specially commissioned drama piece celebrating the last of the O’Meachair chieftains featuring Tim Maher of Castleiney in the title role. The evening will also feature an exhibition on the O’Meachairs and horse drawn carriage rides around the area. The theme is ‘medieval’ and people are encouraged to dress up in medieval costume. This event is free and is open to all and whether a Maher or not. A considerable number of people from overseas will be in attendance, so please support this voluntary event to promote our local area and to celebrate our ancient heritage.
Full details on www.omeachairsofikerrin.com or on Facebook and Twitter using the “omeachair2014” handle. The O’Meachair of Ikerrin organising committee are William Maher (Chairman), Denise Meagher (Secretary), Tim Maher (Treasurer), Tim Lee, Clare Bohan, Susan Chadwick and Teresa O’Sullivan.