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OUR NEXT GUILD MEETING is our AGM 2019 and will be held on May 9 at 8pm sharp. Our special guests will be Mary Clarke’s family visiting us for the annual presentation of The Clarke Cup*. The speaker chosen for the evening is SALLY ANN FLANAGAN, Personal Stylist at House of Fraser who returns to the Guild for an evening of fashion, beauty and fun.
*This year the Mary Clarke Trophy will be awarded to a guild member for an essay, maximum 500 words, on the theme of ” Your Favourite Irish Heroine of the last 100 years”. One entry only per member. All entries to be independently adjudicated and the trophy to be presented to the winner at the guild AGM on Thursday 9 May 2019. Happy and Holy Easter to you and yours from Marlay Guild.
Lovely Easter Cake by Mary Mc Sweeney on left.
Our ANNUAL OUTING was held on Sat. 13th April to
Sheamus Heaney’s Childhood Homeland. Joan Allen wrote the following about our day out. Thanks Joan.
Yesterday we had the privilege of heading North to tour Seamus Heaney Country on the exact date of his 80th Birthday! We were blessed with a dry, energising day. Setting out punctually at 8.30 a.m., leaving Marlay in our new 191 bus, we headed North, via Newry and from there we journeyed to Armagh , where we stopped for a welcomed cup of tea/coffee and scones.
Armagh seemed a most interesting place and it whetted our appetites for a return visit in the future. Travelling through the towns of Dungannon and Cookstown, we then arrived in Magherafelt where we stopped to collect our accredited Seamus Heaney specialist guide, Eugene Kielt.
Together with his wife, Eugene runs a five star guesthouse in Magherafelt. He told us that Aidrian Dunbar (currently starring in “Line of Duty”) was staying there with them that very night!
We proceeded to Castledawson, where Seamus spent his childhood and attended school. We saw the Catholic Church there which was the first church to be constructed after the Ulster Plantation. It was built one mile outside the town.
Opposite this church is a football pitch where Seamus’s uncle, a famous footballer played. Seamus, himself, was good at everything except football, but he wrote the poem “The Point” to commemorate his uncle’s expertise. Our guide then played that poem for us, narrated by Seamus Heaney himself. As we progressed on our journey, stopping at various places of significance in the writings, Eugene, our guide, explained and played the following poems for us:
Dan Taggart. Clearances. A Constable Calls. Electric Light. In the Attic. To Mick Joyce in Heaven. Markings. Mid-term Break. The Forge. Digging. Out of the Bag. Mossbawn Sunlight.
During our travels we passed the demesne which was previously owned by Major Chichester Clarke in Myola Park, Castledawson. We also saw the derelict buildings which once housed the linen workers.
The linen mill was owned by the Clarke family and we were informed that they were good employers.
Our visit to Seamus Heaney’s grave was a moving experience. Seamus is interred in a little enclave in the graveyard very close to where his parents and his younger brother, Christopher (as referred to in the poem “Mid-term Break”) are resting.
The tombstone simply reads:
The inscription on the bottom of Seamus’s tombstone is quite thought-provoking “Walk on air against your better judgement”After paying our respects to the Heaney Family, we proceeded to the Heaney’s Home-Place and Exhibition Centre. It is a fascinating place to visit. We saw the actual pen which Seamus Heaney held which inspired his poem “Digging.” There are many examples of Seamus’s handwritten poems on display there, together with numerous books and artefacts from the past. The Centre is very well appointed, being bright, spacious and there is a lovely viewing bay from which you can view part of the surrounding countryside which inspired our great writer.
The Centre also has a cafe!
We reluctantly had to leave this inspiring Centre and start on our homeward bound journey via Belfast. Our final call was to the Valley Inn at Dunleer where we enjoyed a delicious dinner before resuming our journey.
Sincere thanks to Rachel, our President and our Committee for organising such a wonderfully enjoyable day.
ARMAGH’S HISTORIC MALL (in the background not me!!)