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Spirit of ecumenism at Féile Lachtain

by Edited by Jimmy Rhatigan

THE community of the parish of Freshford will commemorate the 1400th anniversary of their patron saint, Lachtain, with a year-long festival of events beginning on March 19.
The festival will celebrate the Millennium Quarter Centenary (MQC) and over 1400 years of worship on the site of St Lachtain’s Church of Ireland.
The parishioners will gather at 3pm on Saturday in St Lachtain’s Church of Ireland for a religious service titled ‘Celebrating our Shared Christian Heritage’.
After the opening of the service, devised by Monsignor Kieron Kennedy, PP and Canon Richard Marsh of the Church of Ireland, there will be a procession to St Lachtain’s Roman Catholic Church where it will conclude.
Both Bishops of Ossory will attend. Bishop Nulty, acting Bishop of Ossory, will preach at the Church of Ireland and Bishop Burrows will preach at the Roman Catholic Church.
There will be a reception afterwards at Freshford Community Hall.
Events in April include a War of Independence Commemoration on Easter Sunday and Kilkenny Fleadh Cheoil in Freshford on April 23/24.


One of the highlights of the festival will be the Edmund Fitzpatrick tribute on the first weekend of May.

The bi-centenary of the birth of the Freshford-born artist and illustrator will be celebrated with the launch of Ned Kennedy’s booklet on his life and work.

An exhibition will consist of available paintings and illustrations from the Illustrated London News where he worked from 1848 to 1863.

Also included in the weekend programme is a lecture on Saturday, May 7, by author and art historian Derville Murphy on the life and work of artist Margaret Allen, the first female member of the Royal Hibernian Academy.

She spent her retirement in Brookville House in Lisdowney.

A series of lectures will be held throughout the year on a variety of subjects including the architecture of St.
Lachtain’s Church and Doorway, the Shrine of St Lachtain’s Arm and the excavations on the site.

For the children of Scoil Lachtaín there will be an open-air Art on the Green event in June and a community painting event on the same weekend run by local artist Rachel Burke in conjunction with KCETB.


St Lachtain’s Cemetery Mass at 11am on June 26 will be followed by a Vintage Car Rally on the Green in the afternoon.

A pilgrimage walk to the church ruins at Clashacrow and Ballylarkin will be held on July 10 followed by an exhibition, curated by Marie Cleere, by local artists during Kilkenny Arts Festival.

Heritage Week will also be busy with the launch of Mike Cormack’s book of parish photographs which includes a study of 20th century home ownership in Freshford Village.

The MQC Concerts will take place in October with The Rafter Family in St. Lachtain’s RC Church on October 8.

This will be Patrick’s homecoming concert which has generated great interest.

A week later St Canice’s Cathedral Choir and Organist will perform at the Church of Ireland.

Celebrations conclude on the second weekend of November with Mass in St Nicholas’s Church, Tulla and St Lachtain’s Church at which the spiritual songs of Elvis Presley will be sung by Alexander Rafter.

Information about events at www.ionadlachtain.com and on Facebook and Instagram accounts at Ionad Lachtain.

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