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Arm in arm with Freshford community

by Edited by Jimmy Rhatigan

More power to your elbow could well have been the message from a local councillor as he launched Féile Lachtain 2023 on Saturday.

Kilkenny County Council chair Pat Fitzpatrick told organisers and supporters that he believed a one-day loan by the National Museum of the Shrine of St Lachtain’s Arm to Ionad Lachtain as the signal most important cultural en our city and county this year.

It is on Saturday, June 17 that festival gurus will be arm in arm with the local community as they exhibit the arm of a saint who has lent his name to local churches and to the parish GAA club.

Ionad Lachtain Church, Arts and Heritage Centre is based at St Lachtain’s Church of Ireland, Freshford. 

The centre was established in 2017 to promote the iconic Church of St Lachtain as a visitor and heritage centre. 

Councillor Fitzpatrick congratulated the Ionad Lachtain committee on its endeavours since its foundation. 

He spoke of the benefits of having an outlet for local craft workers in Freshford. 

He acknowledged the enlightened approach of the authorities at the National Museum in facilitating the display of one of the Treasures of Ireland outside the capital city for the first time. 

He encouraged everyone to avail of the opportunity of seeing this important piece of our heritage in a local setting. 

The launch was followed by the first lecture of the year by author Siobhán Doyle’s who spoke about her book A History of the GAA in 100 Objects.

Also pictured were artist Larry Hamilton, Councillors Mary Hilda Kavanagh, Pat Fitzpatrick and Michael McCarthy.

Siobhán outlined some of the items which caught her attention during her research and highlighted those with a Kilkenny connection. 

Councillor Fitzpatrick unveiled a painting by local artist Larry Hamilton. 

The excellent work consists of an artistic interpretation of the hymn Lachtaín Naofa written in calligraphy and surrounded by a floral motif. 

Lachtaín Naofa was composed by the late Tom Waldron in 1984 in honour of the patron saint of Freshford.    

Harpist Mary Kelly opened and closed the proceeding. It was   revealed that Mary had turned down the opportunity to play at the welcome home ceremony for President Biden in Ballina on Frida to play in her native Freshford on Saturday. 

Next item on the Féile Lachtain 2023 programme is this weekend when Fleadh Cheoil Chill Chainnigh returns to the village for the second successive year.

 Highlight of the weekend will be the Fleadh Cheoil Concert in Ionad Lachtain on Saturday night.      

At the launch of Féile Lachtain were Eva Holmes, Chair, harpist Mary Kelly, Ned Kennedy (committee), author Siobhán Doyle, Pat Fitzpatrick, and committee members Julie Kavanagh, Marie Cleere and Phyllida White. 

Also at the launch were artist Larry Hamilton, Councillors Mary Hilda Kavanagh and Michael McCarthy.   

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