hugely successful heritage event
THE Market House in
Clonmany recently played host to a hugely successful
National Heritage Week event, organised by the Clonmany
Genealogy & Heritage Group.
The group presented a varied attraction of events
entitled 'Of Days Gone By'. The weekend featured an
exhibition of old artefacts and photographs,
demonstrations of traditional crafts, performances
featuring traditional dance and music, and workshops on
family tree and DNA research.
The photograph display
being prepared for the exhibition.
A mainstay of the Clonmany
Groupís presentations in the past has been exhibitions
showcasing many old objects, documents and photos
donated by local people, and this exhibition was no
exception. Many of the objects on show had not been on
display before, including a wedding dress, in perfect
condition, from the 1800s, steamer trunks (used to carry
emigrants belongings on steamer ships), tilly lamps and
a collection of items from a 19th century forge,
including a bellows, anvil, tongs and hammers.
A 19th century bellows,
anvil and tools from an old forge.
Another ever popular
aspect of the Clonmany Groupís events are the Family
Tree and DNA research workshops. Hosted by expert
researchers, these workshops have helped people delve
into their past and track down ancestors and long
forgotten family members. Expanding on previous
workshops, researchers specialising in American and
Scottish records were able to trace local people who
left these shores well over a hundred years ago, to make
new lives far away from family and friends, many of whom
never returned. Quite a few of the searches continued
after the exhibition ended, with the Groupís genealogy
team assisting family researchers online.
A new feature of this yearís Heritage Week event was the
many interactive demonstrations of traditional skills
and crafts. A great large number of crafts were on show,
including Butter Making, Jam Making, Baking, Knitting,
Quilting, Crocheting, Lace Making, Embroidery, Linen
Making and Wool Spinning. Those attending the
demonstrations were encouraged to try their hands at the
various crafts. People could be seen spinning wool in
one corner, while children were churning and butter
making in another. A very popular demonstration featured
a local expert spinning wool on his spinning wheel
before passing the wool over to one of the knitters, who
immediately began to knit a woollen hat. From spinning
to knitting to finished product in one day.
The next generation try
their hands at churning and making butter.
The organisers of the
crafts demonstrations were pleased to see so many
children and young people take an interest in the
traditional skills, with many of them making enquiries
about the possible availability of classes in the
Another new innovation in this event were the
demonstrations of traditional music and dancing. Tracey
McRory, an All-Ireland Fiddle Champion and Harpist,
accompanied by a number of young performers, entertained
the attendance with beautiful traditional music. Laura
Ganley, a champion SeŠn Nůs / Old Style dancer gave a
wonderful demonstration of the art. Other dance
demonstrations were provided by Emily Peart and the
Sollus Highland Dancers from Co. Tyrone, and the Valerie
Harkins School of Dance. Over the two days of the event,
the public was entertained by some of the highest
quality traditional music and dance, which proved to be
one of the highlights of the weekend.
Performers from the
Embrace Cross Border Cultural Collaboration.
The Clonmany Genealogy &
Heritage Group would like to thank everyone who
supported the Heritage Week event in any way, including
everyone who donated to the exhibition, all those who
provided demonstrations of craft skills, music and
dance; those who facilitated workshops; the Market House
management team and everyone who attended the event.