In a now unfailing tradition, Ballymote Heritage Group has put together what promises to be an interesting and varied program of lectures and outings for its annual August holiday Heritage Weekend running from Thursday 1st to Monday 5th August 2013. The venue for lectures this year is the Ballymote Teagasc Centre, with its state of the art facilities, located over the railway bridge on the Tubbercurry Road.
There are also a number of particularly notable added attractions this year. The Teagasc Centre will also be the setting for an Exhibition of Historic Photographs of Ballymote put together earlier in the year by Ballymote native and resident Mary Cawley, former head of the Sligo School Project. The exhibition was conceived by Ballymote Business Association as an event for The Gathering and was supported by Ballymote Heritage Group. It was originally displayed in the Art Deco Theatre and Cinema at St Patrick’s weekend. Many were disappointed to have missed seeing it and the Heritage Group thought that this would be an ideal opportunity to have the material on show again. It should be noted that the exhibition can only be viewed by those attending the lectures in the evenings so please come along then to avoid disappointment. Many of the photographs will also be found in the new issue of The Corran Herald, the superb journal of the Ballymote Heritage Group, published each year to coincide with the weekend (on sale on evenings of lectures and at selected outlets €8).
On Thursday 1st prior to the official opening on the Friday, the recently restored Art Deco Theatre and Cinema will screen the classic 1958 movie Dracula with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to coincide with the lecture later in the weekend on Bram Stoker, the author of the novel on which the film is based. This is a truly unique occasion as it provides an opportunity to view a period movie in the setting in which it was originally intended to be seen. During the pre-television age virtually every town in the country had a cinema with a daily change of programme so that people often went to the ‘flics’ more than once a week. Virtually all cinemas from this period have been abandoned, demolished or converted to or replaced by multiplexes. The fine art deco exterior is equally matched by the fine interior hall now looking better than ever with its rows of period seating upholstered in traditional Hollywood ‘deluxe’ crimson velvet. Admission to the screening is €6.
A further innovation this year is that on Sunday 4th lunch has been arranged in the splendid setting of the ballroom of Temple House, the great country house in its landscape park setting a few miles from the town of Ballymote. Roderick and Helena Percival have promised a traditional lunch and a fascinating tour of this elegant historic house built by the Perceval family. In the grounds near the lake is the fascinating complex of ruined buildings occupied for centuries before the construction of the current house and thought to incorporate the remains of the buildings occupied by the Crusading Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem to whom the land was granted in the middle-ages. Understandably advance booking for this event is necessary at Aidan Tighe’s shop in Ballymote until Friday and remaining tickets will be available at the Friday lecture – Tickets cost €30.
The official opening on Friday 2nd August at 8.30pm will be performed by Malcolm Billings, Journalist, Radio Producer and Author who is well known to regular attenders as he has lectured many times over the years, particularly on the history of the middle-east on many aspects of which he has published. This year he will lecture on the subject of his beautiful new book Vartan of Nazareth: A Missionary and Medical Pioneer In the Nineteenth Century Middle East. Malcolm who lives in London is particularly welcomed back this year after the sad death of his wife Bridget (nee O’Hara of Coopershill)
On Saturday 3rd August 9 a.m. an outing to county Tyrone has many interesting features – Carlton Country (Tyrone): (Highlights including Clogher’s Georgian Cathedral, Carlton’s Cottage, Rathmór, Brackenridge’s Folly and church by noted architect Liam McCormack. The trip will be guided by Jack Johnson, Ulster Local Historian who has been our superb host on previous occasions. At 8.30 p.m. The Railways of Co. Sligo is the subject of a talk by Peter Bowen – Walsh, Railway Historian. Peter’s previous talk to the Sligo Field Club was impressive and those who missed it have a fortunate second chance to learn of Sligo’s fascinating railway history – Collooney was once a major junction with no less than three railway stations.
Having had your appetite whetted by the Dracula film on Thursday you might be tempted to return for another bite at the subject Sunday by listening to a lecture on Bram Stoker, Dracula and the Sligo Connection by Paul Murray, Retired Diplomat and Author of From the Shadow of Dracula: A life of Bram Stoker.
There is a very promising outing on Monday 5th August to Tullynally Castle home of Tom and Valery Packenham (Earl and countess of Longford and the Great Benedictine ruin of Fore Abbey lead by historian Frank Tivnan who is well known to those who have attended on previous years. Appropriately on the centenary of the great lock out, the final event is the 8.30 p.m. lecture by Dr. Padraig Deignan, author & historian on The Sligo Port Strike of 1913.
24th Annual Ballymote Heritage Weekend – 1st – 5th August 2013