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Cappoquin Civic Link Heritage Group

‘A Stitch in Time’ Exhibition

The weekend of June 29th to July 1st, sees a major exhibition of local historical items by Cappoquin Heritage Group at the Parish Hall, Cappoquin. When Noel Lonergan, the last of the celebrated ‘tailors’ of Main Street, died on January 2011, it was no exaggeration to say that the whole place experienced a great sense of loss. The Lonergans had been quiet local heroes on so many fronts that it would be impossible to do justice to them in this space. Their loss has been Cappoquin’s loss.

However, little did anyone realise at the time just what a treasure trove of historical material the family had left after them. With the full permission of the Keane family who own the premises, and from the members of the Lonergans’ family, Cappoquin Heritage Group has spent much of the past year rescuing and sorting the archives, and we have no hesitation in stating that this is the finest collection of local social history that you will find anywhere. Quite simply, the tailors kept everything, placing a value on documents and photographs, letters and postcards that few others would have done.

The result of it all is that the ‘A Stitch in Time’ exhibition is a must for all who knew the tailors or who know Cappoquin. There are letters received from Rose in the USA, detailing life there and events like the death of JFK. Postcards from all over the world have been found – pick a place and you will find someone who knew the tailors sending them a postcard, and often very funny ones at that. There are loads of GAA items, from social tickets to team lists, the famous notices in the window, even the bill for the bottles of Lucozade purchased before Cappoquin’s 1956 appearance in the county senior hurling final. Every Under 14 league team there ever was has been traced, printed on the original window lists, and over a hundred photographs from the Mass Lane Cup finals over the years.

There are fantastic items of memorabilia from the shops and businesses of Cappoquin, and tailoring letters from clients in the West Indies, London and much closer to home. We have also teamed up with the Beekepers’ Association and sourced a lot of its memorabilia and photographs of the Lonergans. Between objects, photos and documents, there will be close on 1,000 items of interest on display, so BRING THE GLASSES!

The exhibition opens on Friday, June 29th at 6.15 PM, in conjunction with the opening of the Cornerstone Carnival at the same venue. It will remain open until 10.00 that evening. On Saturday, opening times are from 10.30 AM to 8.30 PM. On the Saturday also, from 10.30 to around noon, there will be a special ‘Tea with the Tailors’ event, where visitors can sit and chat over a tea or coffee, and indulge in some Scots Clan sweets, honey from the Lonergans’ hives and other delicacies. Then on Sunday, Brendan Kiely’s historic walk (beginning at 12.15) will end at the Lonergans’ shop around 1.30PM, where Fr Michael Olden will speak about the tailors and the West Waterford Beekeepers’ Association will formally unveil their lovely commemorative plaque. The exhibition will continue all day on the Sunday, up to 7.00 or so as the Carnival draws to a close.

This photo, taken by Micheál Moynihan, shows Noel and Thomas Lonergan behind their kitchen table, with John McCarthy and the late Plunkett Herr enjoying a cuppa.

In keeping with the spirit of the tailors, admission is free all weekend.

Tea with the Tailors

Heritage Trail Book
Now available locally.
Preview by following the link below

Book

Making Exhibitions of Ourselves !!

At our heritage exhibition at the Cornerstone Carnival we displayed around 1000 square feet of exhibits in the Parochial Hall.

Both the students of Bunscoil Gleann Sídheáin and the members of the Foróige Club had heritage displays.This year, we ONLY had around 300 photographs on exhibit, almost all of them ones which were not on show before. The photographs consisted of ones based on the schools of the area, primary and post-primary, giving a sneak preview of what our next photographic book will look like before Christmas. In addition, the collecting of non-school photographs has been ongoing and we displayed the 120 or so photographs we have gathered in this respect as well. Lots of very, very interesting stuff.

A significant feature of our exhibition this year was a focus on the world famous STAR farm implements works which Frederick Keane operated at the Cappoquin Co-op site in the late 19th century. We had some exciting machine exhibits, including a mint condition No. 3 Plough on loan from the Irish Agricultural Museum in Wexford, and a lot of documents, photographs and catalogue extracts. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mr Ian Hearn of Wexford for his assistance with this exhibit.

The Star Forge

There were further sections of the exhibition devoted to the 1849 Young Ireland rebellion in Cappoquin, and to the twenty-plus local men who were killed in the First World War. We had a display of the illustrated 14-foot long Royal Navy map of the Blackwater, made in 1849, and, by popular demand, also showed the map from last year, detailing all the houses in the town in the 1870s, and who lived in them. Documentation, including 19th century copybooks and copies of old roll books from local schools was also on show, and the record of all the ships that passed under Camphire Bridge over the years. Another section on Cappoquin’s business history showed people just how significant the commercial life of the area has been over the years.

This year’s exhibitionl featured some fascinating material on the modern history of some Eastern European countries, with some interesting Cappoquin links as well. We also had a number of All-Ireland medals won locally, quite appropriate in that the following weekend was Munster Final weekend as well. A section on those who have written about Cappoquin w interested many, with pieces by James Joyce, Micheal MacLiammóir, Thomas McCarthy, Michael Cavanagh and  others on show. We had some original artwork linked to heritage themes, done by Arthur Maderson and Noel O’Donoghue, and an advance viewing of the next batch of stone plaques due for erection in July. Copies of our new heritage trail guide werel also on sale, although there was absolutely no admission fee required for the exhibition itself.

All this, and then just across the road people had the chance to view two other great exhibitions in the Community Centre. One dealt with the 25 years of pre-school in Cappoquin, with Mary McGrath’s fabulous photographs of the individual class groups on show in one room, while an art exhibition by the Day Centre held centre stage in another room.

Heritage Group Notes: 16.05.07

 Work has been progressing on several fronts, as usual, in recent weeks. Preparations for the July exhibition have been advancing quite a bit, with the plan being for a four-day exhibition over July 6th to 9th inclusive. To-date, we have received some remarkable items, with very substantial materials on the industrial heritage of Cappoquin including catalogues, parts manuals and machine parts themselves from the famous iron works of F and H Keane, which operated at the co-op site up to the early 20th century.

Local World War I memorabilia and documentation, copies of items linked to the Cappoquin Rebellion of 1849, Cappoquin shops of long ago, a couple of hundred photographs which have never been published before, a sixteen-foot long Royal Navy map of the Blackwater from 1849 and old school roll books make up some of the rest of the items which have come in during the past fortnight, with the search going on for sporting memorabilia, railway memorabilia and so on. Members of the Wednesday English classes have also agreed to work on a display of eastern European heritage items for the exhibition, which should be of particular interest. In recent days, we have also managed to track down the spot in Ulysses, the most famous novel of the 20th century, where Cappoquin gets a mention (Mind you, it was on Page 901, so it was a bit of a struggle!).

There will be no admission charge at the exhibition, with costs being mainly funded out of profits from ‘Cappoquin: A Window on the Past’. Any committee member will be very glad to hear from anyone with photographs or other memorabilia which people would like to loan for the exhibition. We may already have the material to make this a pretty memorable event but the more the merrier. With the exhibition coinciding with the forthcoming Cornerstone Carnival, the Heritage Group has also offered to sponsor a shop window competition. Basically, any business in town which would like to enter is welcome, with flyers due for distribution this week containing details of the competition. There will be a perpetual trophy and an outside, neutral judge for the competition, which we hope will become an annual event.

The finishing touches to the heritage trail booklet are being worked on at present. It looks like it will run to 24 or 28 pages in full colour, detailing the places and people of interest in the town and environs. We would anticipate a launch date of mid to late June, with the expectation that all of the stone plaques should be in place by then and perhaps some of the larger lecterns as well. The lecterns timescale will be slightly in the lap of the gods as many of the frames are already made but the finished work must be sent away to be galvanised and painted. We have also commended work on the designs for the lectern displays, with a sample due to be worked on in the coming days. Hopefully, we will be in a position to put this on display for a short time to give people a sneak preview.

Finally, the photograph book on the area’s schools has been progressing very well, with several hundred pictures now ‘in stock’ and a huge wealth of information being gathered. Angela, Helen, Mary and Dinny have been doing great work gathering materials and will undoubtedly be asking all and sundry over the coming weeks and months to help identify the people in the pictures.

Heritage Trail Plan

Cappoquin Civic Link Heritage Group has been working over the past number of months to put together a heritage trail for the town and surrounding area. This has included identifying important people, places and events in the locality which merit being commemorated by various means.

The basic plan is to erect a variety of commemorative plaques. Some will take the form of simple wall plaques, in granite, and placed into the walls near important structures, such as the Red Bridge. We also intend to set other plaques into the pavement, in place of the individual paving slabs, near the dwelling places of famous locals through the ages.. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Aidan Walsh for his generosity and time in relation to these plaques.

In addition, we intend to erect approximately ten metal lecterns, containing text in Irish and English and illustrations of famous buildings in the town. A number of these illustrations will be based on original drawings done by internationally famous local artist, Arthur Maderson and will, we hope, add a unique flavour to the designs. In addition to the lecterns, there will be three ornamental notice boards placed at key positions around the town, highlighting the location of the various historical sights on a large map and also providing space for community notices as clubs etc. desire. These notice boards will be designed and built by local craftsmen Arthur Butler and Michael Doherty.

It is then planned that booklets or possibly fold-away maps will be developed to provide further insights for local people and visitors alike into the wealth of history that there is around this area.

We have received great encouragement from a number of quarters, including the County Council, to date and hope this plan to enhance our town's heritage and appearance meets with your approval and will also complement the great work done by the local Tidy Towns workers. If anyone has any suggestions to make about this plan, please feel free to contact any of the following:

Fr. Robert Arthure
Angela Collender
Pat Cullen
Jack Cullinane
Gina Dunne
Brendan Kiely
Fr. John Kiely
Kevin McCarthy
Cara McGrath
Helen McGrath
Denis Murray

 

 

 


The Cappoquin Civic Link Heritage Group has gathered local historical photographs, identifying the people and occasions they deal with. We have published them as a book of roughly 160 images and entitled Cappoquin: A Window on the Past. Through the kindness of Thames and Hudson publishers of London, and photographer David Shaw Smith, our cover photo shows Thomas Lonergan, being watched from the outside by two young hurlers, Alan Gilligan and Simon Unuake. In many respects, we feel it is a picture which captures much of the essence of Cappoquin.

Click photo for more details

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