Friday, 28 October 2016

Listowel, Jimmy Hickey and His Dancers in Wales,

Welcome Weather

We have had an unseasonably mild October in 2016. This thought struck me the other day as I walked through the Square. Shops still have their advertising outdoors, an unusual sight for late October


Change of Scene for the Roadworks

Just sweeping up.  William Street is all done and dusted for the time being. It will have to be revisited again but for now it's the turn of Market Street .

The road is temporarily resurfaced and life can get back to normal for a while for Lynch's Cafe and Mags Deli.


An Example to us all

This hardy lady was out bright and early do her shopping.


Jimmy Hickey in Wales

The first time Jimmy attended the Eistedfodd was in 1982 with this group from the Sliabh Luachra area.

Let me fill you in on the background.

This is how his involvement started. Jimmy’s dancers from Sliabh Luachra were performing in a hotel in Killarney. The organisers of the Welsh Eisteddfod were there and were very impressed with what they saw. 

 (An eisteddf is a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance. The tradition of such a meeting of Welsh artists dates back to at least the 12th century, when a festival of poetry and music was held by Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth at his court in Cardigan in 1176, but the decline of the bardic tradition made it fall into abeyance. The current format owes much to an 18th-century revival arising out of a number of informal eisteddfodau.   Wikipedia)
In lay man’s language it is a kind of Welsh fleadh cheoil.

The directors of the Eisteddfod saw Jimmy and his dancers in Killarney and invited them to come to Wales. They were only delighted to go and they returned there to great success year after year.
On one occasion Prince Charles attended the eisteddfod and he asked Jimmy if he could teach him to dance. He was asking the right man.
Terry Wogan was the M.C. another year.

This was the year they met Rolf Harris

Jack Leahy R.I.P. used to work as a ticket collector on the trains in London. He remembered watching the hoards boarding the train for the Eisteddfod every summer and  he envied them. He had to pinch himself to believe that not only was he finally attending the festival but he was participating.

Here is a link to video footage of Jimmy and crew chatting with Prince Charles and then putting on their show with the prince in the audience. Around 7,000 people attend the Eisteddfod every year.

 If you keep watching you will see the dancers performing at the Harmonie Festival in 1999. I'll tell you more about that anon.

I talked to one of the ladies, Sheila O’Connell of Ballydesmond, who went on that first trip to the Eisteddfod and she remembers it very fondly, They were all very aware that they were representing Ireland. They dressed in Irish traditional costumes and they carried the flag everywhere they went. They were accommodated in local houses and became firm friends with their local hosts.


Halloween Parade

This is the home of Listowel KDYS.

This is what they are planning for Halloween, October 31 2016

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