Callan -

John Stapleton


John Stapleton



The Abhainn Ri festival drew to a close on Sunday evening last after a wonderful week of festivities. The 4th annual festival was again full of cultural and musical activities as well as throwing up loads of surprises and ‘secrets’.

The Abhainn Ri eight day event is not your typical ‘run of the mill’ festival it’s a lot more and has become a unique event on the festival calendar in Ireland. The Irish Times article last Saturday hit the nail on the head in describing the festival as ‘The festival of Abhainn Rí is as much about reinventing the market town of Callan, a market town in Co Kilkenny, as it is about celebrating the art’. The aim is to include everyone in the activities and in doing so incorporate everything that is good about the town of Callan. The annual Festival Field day kicked off the event and despite the attractions of the hurling game in Thurles and Bruce Springsteen in Kilkenny huge numbers headed to the Abbey Meadow for a day of terrific fun. Each lunch hour during the week there were historic talks at different venues of interest around the town while each evening there were events throughout the town. The Brazilian food night at the L’Arche Cafe on Monday night was a special night and again Mairead Brabazon pulled out all the stops to present a wonderful spread of exotic Southern American food. This type of international food night has become a speciality of the popular restaurant and the Brazilian evening was just another culinary delight and to top off the night was the short walk to Keoghs Bar to listen to the wonderful Castlecomer Minstrels whose beautiful tones wafted out into the calm night. Other memorable music events were the traditional session at Hourigans, the tribute night to Eamon Wall at The Olde Charter and for the younger people the House music event at the Abbey Bar with ‘Buns’ as DJ. Local man Joe Kearney entertained a large crowd at the Big Wheel on Thursday night with some wonderful readings from his Sunday Miscellany contributions.

Throughout the week there were different events at the old Co-Op, from plays to music. I don’t think we appreciate what a wonderful building the old Co-Op is and it’s thanks to the Abhainn Ri festival that the place is been kept alive and especially during the week of the festival. Margaret Fennelly’s old pub on Upper Bridge Street comes to life for this one week of the year and this week was no different, with special food and music events held each night and always a great place to gather after other events were finished.

For those of you who have ever visited the Convent Chapel you have to only marvel at its beauty and the peace it emanates well on Friday night last the wonderful tones from the Recorder played by Laoise O’Brien wafted through the chapel and I was later told could be heard throughout the convent building which brought a lot of joy to the older members of the Mercy community. The Finale on Sunday was the big secret of the week with many left guessing what was to happen. For the first two years we had wonderful night time events on the streets but this year was different. For a number of weeks leading up to the event dozens of children were involved in special festival workshops preparing for Sundays Spectacular. The wonderful bunting that was erected on the Cross and into West Street was all made by the children with each child making their own unique piece of bunting which was all joined together to form streams of colour. Sunday was about children and families and at every turning corner there were puppet shows of every kind. The theme of the day was Medieval. Many of the shop windows were decked out depicting the medieval theme and around the C-Op building there were Medieval type tents with traders doing a thriving business. Well done to one and all for another memorable week of events and long may the festival grow to bigger and better things.


The much anticipated launch of the Callan 800 companion book was launched at Collaiste Ris Callan last Friday night. To say the place was jammed to the door is not an understatement as this is a book that everyone wanted to match to the wonderful original Callan 800 book which was launched in 2007 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Callan. This book has stories of Callan and connections dating from 1207 all the way to 2007. Stories of early 1900’s, people who fought in World War One and much more. Like the first book this present book has been professionally produced by the Callan Heritage Society and was a labour of love for Callan’s Mister History Joe Kennedy. Joe tirelessly put this book together and in total got 19 people to make contributions to the book including Parish Priest Fr. Willie Dalton, Broadcaster Joe Kearney, Novelist and Playwright Tom Kilroy and Una Hogan daughter of the late Patsy Hogan who did a wonderful job in editing the writings of her Father. Principal of Collaiste Ris Frank McKenna said he was delighted to host this historic event and was delighted to welcome Joe Kearney to launch the book. This book will surly sell out like the original one as this time only 600 copies have been printed so you have been warned but then by the time you read this they could all be gone.


There was a lot of disappointment in the community when news broke that the August Bank holiday hurling tournament was postponed last weekend but the good news it will happen this coming week for U-9 and U-12 teams. All teams will meet at Collaiste Ris at 12.30 for the march through town and hurling at John Locke Park.


The John Lockes minors had a very good win over the Fenians on Monday night in the CBS grounds. Conditions were tough on both teams but the Lockes men finished out winning on a 2-20 to 1-10 score line. They have 2 games left in the league against James Stephens and Barrow Rangers. These games will be a good preparation for the 1st round of the championship which takes place against the Emeralds later this month.

SPONSORED WALK The Kilkenny to Bennettsbridge Nore Valley Walk will take place Sunday 18th August in aid of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.Walk starts at picnic tables in Maudlin Street (Bottom of hill near motor tax offices) at 11am sharp, Registration at 10.30am. €10 entrance fee which goes directly to the charity. There is also sponsorship cards available, contact 085 8107890 for a card. Length of the walk is 11kms each way. Duration

3.5 - 5 hours (both ways) There is an Option to go one way and lifts will be arranged back to Kilkenny. Contact Aoife on 085 8107890 or for any further details


The Samaritans are holding an open and Information Night on 12th August In Newpark Hotel Kilkenny @ 7.30pm to 9pm.They will be happy for you to join us without obligation. Samaritans are beginning to recruit now for volunteers to start training in late September.Can you be up when others are not ?Can you give a few  hours a week of your spare time. Are you non-judgmental and a good listener. Check out the website or join them at the Newpark Hotel