Callan Notes Kilkenny

Local Notes From Callan

Damien Hogan


Damien Hogan



Some of the clean up volunteers at the Friary on Saturday enjoying the Barbeque.

For a relatively small place Callan has certainly punched above its weight with so many of its natives making their mark on the world stage and in doing so creating history. Famous people such as Blessed Edmund Ignatious Rice founder of the Irish Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers, The Chandlers who invented the formula for Coca Cola, The Cudahy (Cuddihy) Family who pioneered the transportation of meat in refrigerators throughout the United States and of course James Hoban the famous architect.
Green Street will soon see a third monument unveiled and this time it will honour James Hobin. Work will begin shortly on a monument to James Hoban and it will be unveiled on Bank Holiday Monday 5, June in an open area of Green Street outside Madigan's Pharmacy. The monument has been commissioned by the James Hoban Society of the US in association with the local society headed by local solicitor Laurie Grace who has constantly highlighted Hoban over many years. It will complement the main monument to Hoban, designer and builder of the White House at Desart which was placed near his birthplace the adjoining town land of Riesk. The Hoban cottage was in place until the late 1940s when it was owned by the Barry family and some present-day members of that family were born and grew up there. The Callan monument has been created by local master monumental sculptors Molloy's. Of course Molloy’s created the wonderful World War One monument on Green Street which was unveiled last year and they have also been commissioned to sculpt the World War One monuments for Kilkenny City and nearer to home at Ballingarry.
The Hoban Monument will consist of a plinth mounted on two pedestals and set in an oval pattern of stone flags in local limestone set into the existing pavement. The plinth will contain six engraved panels setting out the life and achievements of Hoban in Desart, Dublin, Philadelphia, Charleston SC and finally Washington, where he spent almost forty years as a respected citizen and community leader as well as being involved in major public buildings such as The White House and the US Capitol. This is the 200th anniversary of the completion of the 1814-1817 rebuilding of The White House after it was destroyed by fire in the war with the British. James Hoban also supervised that rebuilding and was still working on White House projects up to a short time before his death in 1831 at the age of 75. The new monument will be unveiled by Judge Irvin Condon of the US James Hoban Society on the morning of Bank Holiday Monday June 5th at 10.30am.
This no doubt will be another wonderful day for Callan as it remembers one of its most creative and most famous sons. In July there will be two other Hoban-related events as part of the Abhainn Ri Festival, one a lecture by Professor David Kilroy, a son of the late Michael Kilroy of the notable Callan family, on US Presidential visits to Ireland (on Tuesday July 4, American Independence Day) and a MiniSummer-School on Saturday July 9th featuring speakers from America and Ireland on topics relating to Ireland's connection to the White House. A final event in Washington DC in late September will also mark the 200th Anniversary of Hoban's reconstruction.
The official launch of the 2017 Abhainn Ri Festival will take place on the lawn of the Friary Complex on Sunday 11th June at 3pm. The launch will give a detailed run down of events for the festival which will have something for everyone this year. The official brochure will be launched the same day so it will give all plenty of time to plan for the weeklong event from June 30th to July 9th.
The Annual Abhainn Ri Festival is a little over a month away but already some of the pre brochure events have been released and most appropriately with the pending monument unveiling to James Hoban two events will be married into the Festival dedicated to James Hoban. The James Hoban Society in conjunction with the Abhainn Ri Festival is organising a lecture on American Independence Day Tuesday July 4 in The Kilroy Building at KCAT beginning 7.30pm to honour the Kilroy family and their contribution to cultural life in Ireland and America. The lecture will be given by Dr. David Kilroy, Associate Professor of History at Nova South Eastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. David is a son of the late Michael Kilroy. His subject will be 'From the White House to the Thatched Cottage: American Presidential Visits to Ireland and the Immigrant Narrative', based on his interest in American politics in general and presidential politics in particular. Admission is free and open to all. The second event will be a James Hoban Mini Summer School and again The James Hoban Society has organising a special series of lectures on the morning of Saturday July 8 in the Old Bacon Factory from 10.30am to 1.00pm under the title 'Green Hills, White Houses'. The event marks the 200th anniversary of the rebuilding by James Hoban of the US President's House after it was destroyed by fire in the War of 1812 with the British and the 65th anniversary of the second rebuilding during the Truman administration by Irish-American builder John McShain. The programme will include presentations on 'My Path to the White House' by Denis Bergin, who has co-ordinated the Hoban Commemoration Programme in Ireland and the US since 2002, 'John McShain, his Legacy and a Daughter's Recollections' by American author Robert Klara which are based on his interviews with Sister Pauline McShain (who is still living). A second lecture about 'Housing Parliaments and Presidents from Robert Shee's House in Kilkenny to Capitol Hill in Washington (via Leinster House and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) by Brian O Connell an architect in private practice in Dublin who has had a lifelong interest in the ordering of places of parliament and has researched a recreation of James Hoban's Executive Mansion c. 1829 for a development project near Thurles. It will certainly be a most interesting Festival and we wait the unveiling of the full programme.
In the past week the Abbey Meadow grass has been cut and this will be maintained over the summer and autumn period. More planting of shrubs and trees will happen during the coming months and it is hoped the pathway can be improved. Callan Community Network are committed to improving this facility and making it a nice place for families to use.