Why not come to Gathabawn and join the locals for the June Bank Holiday weekend of nostalgia, reminiscing, meeting old school friends and families, making new friends on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June 2012. Where you will be witness to the photographic history of Gathabawn in the Church and School.
Gathabawn a scenic tranquil agricultural rural area less than 3 miles from Co. Laois and 7 miles from Co Tipperary; covering Balleen DED and parts of Lisdowney and Glashare DED’s in the Barony of Galmoy. Gathabawn Rural Area is unique from a geological and topographical characteristic in that it is an out Parish of Lisdowney and part geographical parish of Freshford, Johnstown, Galmoy and Cullahill from its location in North West Kilkenny, being easterly located to the Co. Laois Border pointing to the remote rural tranquillity of Gathabawn
Gathabawn Diaspora far and wide, generations back have in recent times contacted community group members and many others in the community researching their genealogical roots. It has been one of the aims of the Gathabawn Rural Development Group since it’s foundation to research and publish all possible local genealogical information; when and where possible in hard and soft copy and on which it has build its development around the local heritage and history.
This work has taken many guises during the years from families tracing their ancestors, Historic Graveyard studies; a committee was formed and Gathabawn Reeling in the Years was born
In March 16 people in Gathabawn sat down to research and catalogue the history of our village and surrounding area.
We interviewed the Afternoon Club and other community elders learning about life in Gathabawn 50-80 years ago in living memory. The Gathabawn hurling team were interviewed about their exploits 40 years ago and what they achieved. We researched the RIC Barracks in the village built about 1820 destroyed after the civil war of 1916 now the site of the Millennium Garden.
Gathabawn Area is covered by many Castles; Forts; Choslels (an Archaeological site thought to be a Stone Age fort Settlement pre 1100AD; one of only known 2 in Ireland) Graveyards, Raths, Ring Forts, Lime Kilms and Fulica Fia. all already researched but we had to pull this all together for the purposes of this project.
Gathabawn Area covers the old Civil Parishes of Balleen and Coolcashin skirting the Civil Parishes of Fertagh, Garrnamanagh, Glashare, Rathlogan, Clomantagh and, Sheffin all steeped in their own history and heritage.
We learned about old cures and remedies, 13 families stated they had healing gifts or customs in their families. Tubbernasuil (citing cures from the well of the eyes), Fitzpatrick’s Rosary Beads and Spa well (Ballyspellin) known for its healing properties, recorded in Rhyme by Jonathan Swift.The customs of the cures are widely used today by local residents and patrons from all parts of Ireland and overseas.
We learned of many old and traditional farming and living practices. Horses for sire where by farmers walked from town to town every day selling his services!! The horse got 1 day of a week off!! Happy or what!! The 1901 and 1911 Census were regularly checked to identify who lived here 100 years ago, linking with their families of today.
Gathabawn singing pubs in the 1990’s are recalled by many bringing many stories of practice and competition in-which Gathabawn competed for 3 years. We had Macra na Tuaithe, Foroige clubs, and Macra na Feirme locally with members locally in Johnstown, Freshford, Cullahill and Local and County Officers.
Horse racing became a big fashion when James & Michael Bowes horses especially Limestone Lad started winning races across Ireland and England.
We have researched our local graveyards and have them on the internet…. http://historicgraves.ie/
Coolcashin Graveyard is located within one of the best preserved archaeological sites (KK-009-10) in the country. The earthworks of an Anglo-Norman village are apparent in the field around the graveyard.
Tifeaghna Graveyard situated to the east of Gathabawn Village in the town land of Tifeaghna (Browne) along the river Nuenna Valley. The walled enclosure wherein lies a regular pattern of mostly 19th century grave plots
The local community gave us about 1000 photos and hours of video footage to create this show and without their help we would never have compiled the DVD and booklet.
We have biographies on Sr Grogan, Karen Fitzpatrick (model), Michael Bowe (horse trainer) to name but a few.
Our walks are built and developed around the local heritage and history; walks leave from outside Mackey’s Bar & Lounge, Gathabawn, take the road by the church, do a road ring of Cullahill Mountain, Gurteen-na-hilla, boreen to top of Binn-na-Nė, with Limestone Lad country to their left as they walk. Allowing one-witness and experience outstanding views of the Irish Midlands, Slieve Blooms, the Devils Bit, Mount Leinster.
On Easter Sunday the newly launched walk the MacGillapatrick Way walks with neighbouring groups in Laois and Kilkenny steeped in Fitzpatrick Heritage and folklore, became a reality; with a return walk Gathabawn to Durrow on October Bank-Holiday weekend. This particular location boasts spectacular scenery where seven Counties come into view; also at this point a monument bush stands to commemorate the spot where legend has it Brian MacGillapatrick was slain by Cromwell’s men.
The local school (1841 – 1941) was situated in the townland of Creenkillmore, beside the entrance gate to Loughlin Bowe’s farm. It is now used as a cattle shed. It was replaced with a new school in 1942, nearer the village of Gathabawn. Even though the new school is in the townland of Foyle North and is often called Gathabawn School, it is still officially called Creenkill National School.
An old style waltzing band is booked for after the show on Saturday night for a barn dance and official launch and the raising of the green flag in Gathabawn National School on Sunday morning with a very big photographic exhibition following the launch.