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Ballyragget to have its first St Patrick's Parade as part of new heritage festival

From Tullabarry to Béal Átha Raghad festival has activities and events across the weekend


The Ballyragget Heritage Festival Committee: Claire Wilson, Juanita Dunphy, Catherine Kelly and Deirdre McMahon. Picture: Michael Brophy

Community groups in Ballyragget have come together with the backing of Kilkenny Leader Partnership to create a new heritage festival - From Tullabarry to Béal Átha Raghad - for St Patrick’s weekend.

For the first time, the village will host its own St Patrick’s Day parade as part of festivities. With sufficient support from the community, it’s hoped it will develop into an annual event.

Among the events is also a ‘Golden Era Afternoon Tea’ on Friday, March 15 at the Ballyragget Community Hall from 3 to 5pm. The afternoon is an open invitation to all senior citizens in the area. There will be a short presentation of photos and clips of Ballyragget through the years followed by some entertainment from local celebrity musicians.  Admission will be €2 and booking is essential. Contact Juanita Dunphy on 087-2955864.

Mary Morrissey from Castlecomer Library will be holding a Duchas School Stories Workshop with the pupils from fifth and sixth class during school hours. They will be reviewing the historical stories written by the local children in the 1930s.

On March 16 and 17, the Historical Society is inviting people to come along to view photographs and artifacts from the local area which will be on display at Canon Malone Hall. Members of the Historical Society will be around to provide insight into the items and share a story or two of times gone by.

On the Saturday, Ballyragget Community Hall will play host to Irish History Live throughout the day. Irish History Live is an interactive museum show which provides costumes, armour and weapons and teaches history through experience to children.

Then, at 5pm, the hall will return to its roots of screening films. Many older people will remember when going to see a movie in the hall was a highlight on their social calendar with Bryan Kilkenny at the helm. A movie in keeping with the theme of the festival will be shown. Admission of €2 will include popcorn and a drink.

Other events taking place over the festival weekend include a treasure hunt, self-guided tours (map provided), Ballyragget Folklore Project, a darts competition, evening entertainment, music and social dancing.

The parade begins at the Senior School and winds its way down High Street, Patrick Street, along the right hand side of the Square, up Moate Street and down by the Green. There will be meeting points at the beginning and end of the route for the younger participants.

The parade will begin with a fantastic display of vintage tractors and cars which provides both the sights and sounds of vehicles down through the different eras.

In keeping with tradition for a St Patrick’s Day Parade, the Durrow and District Pipe Band will perform as it makes it way through the parade route. Ballyragget National School has also agreed to take on the challenge of bringing the heritage of Ballyragget to life, with the help of Kilkenny Leader Partnership and the artistic vision of Graham Carew. A number of the local clubs, groups and preschools will be represented on the day.

Weather permitting, Ballyouskill Vintage Club will take part in the parade. From there, they will head for Ballyouskill where they will be presenting an exhibition of field ploughing with horses and vintage machinery. The exhibition will take place in Ballyouskill near the hall.

For more information, see the Ballyragget Heritage Festival’s Facebook page.

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