There was a flurry of National Heritage Week associated activity around the vicinity of Browne’s Bar at the weekend.
Over the Saturday and Sunday the town and the history of its most prominent houses got a good airing. On Saturday evening and on Sunday afternoon Maggie Prendiville led two groups, with a combined total of close to 50 in all, on a walk and talk along the streets of the town.
Many of the people in her groups were fascinated by the levels of historic detail the fine, old buildings hid behind their stoic facades. It’s an aspect of the locality in which Ms. Prendiville has an abiding interest – and it shows. She is also a founder member of the Castleisland and District Culture and Heritage Society – a group which will soon emerge from its annual, summer-time period of hibernation.
The room at the back of Browne’s Bar was transformed from this to an era when eel and fish traps and basket making were vital tools in the daily bid for survival.
There was matching furniture and a hearth and griddle set up for Peggy Reidy’s traditional bread-baking demonstration. Peggy was kept busy providing samples from her Griddle Bread triangles.
There was butter and jam on hand to further delight palettes new to the baking method and recipe and to remind those of a certain vintage of a culinary delight now left behind in all but demonstrations and occasions like this.
There were butter boxes and cartons of Sunlight Soap and pieces of free-standing kitchen furniture which were all to go in those times.
Leo Suijkerbuijk was busily explaining the functions of the various pieces of furniture to those of the built-in age. Once-in-a-while he’d get a person exclaiming ‘Oh we had one of those in our kitchen long ago’ and his face would light up.
Leo’s collection is not made up of re-creations; it’s of rescued and restored pieces from house clearances and, with his gifted hands, he can replace and restore pieces to every ounce of their first-day glory.
This weekend of free-to-view activity was put together and conducted on a voluntary basis by: Peter and Mags Browne of Browne’s Bar providors of space for whatever is going on; Maggie Prendiville, archaeologist, local historian and tour guide; Leo Suijkerbuijk, orphaned furniture rescuer and restorer and generator of great ideas and Peggy Reidy, retired farmer, baking demonstrator and volunteer for anything that makes the community tick.
It was all done to mark National Heritage Week locally – lest we forget. Only for them we just might. So, thank you for your efforts and we look forward to next year for which the plans are to cover the week with events like this.
People with ideas to fill the days and nights of that week would be more than welcome and Peter Browne will give you a fair hearing.