10 Aug 2022

Multiplicity of events at festival in Offaly town next weekend

Multiplicity of events at festival in Offaly town next weekend

Thelma Reynolds, Margaret Gallagher, Mary Reynolds and Nuala Murray at the Launch of That Beats Banagher Festival in Crank House to be held on the 22nd-24th July. Ger Rogers Photo.

THIS year’s That Beats Banagher Festival will take place over next weekend Friday to Sunday, July 22nd to 24th with a multiplicity of literary, heritage, cultural and sporting events including a food and craft fair in the Bridge Barracks Yard at the West End on Saturday, 12 noon to 4.30pm, craft workshops, children's events, water events, children's outdoor cinema and other surprise events.

Book Launches

The programme is particularly strong on literary events with the launch of two books on Charlotte Brontë's honeymoon in Ireland, the first called Arthur & Charlotte, by Pauline Clooney (published by Merdog) and the second, Charlotte Brontë: An Irish Odyssey by Michael O' Dowd (published by Pardus Media). Pauline and Michael recently spoke with much acclaim at the prestigious Bradford Literary Festival under the title No Net Ensnares Me: Charlotte Brontë Abroad. The event will held at 6.30pm on Friday July 22nd in the Long Room in The Crank House.

St Paul's Church Open To Visitors

On Friday also, prior to the evening events, Saint Paul's Church of Ireland, at the top of The Hill in Banagher, will be open for visitors from 2.30pm to 5pm. Arthur Bell Nicholls, (1817-1906), husband of Charlotte Brontë, is buried in the adjoining graveyard beside his second wife Mary Anna Bell who died in 1915. The magnificent east window in the church is dedicated to the Bell family including Arthur and depicts a wonderful recreation of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Film Premiere

This launch will be preceded by the premiére of a short film called The Legacy of the Brontës in Banagher, produced by Maebh O'Regan of NCAD. This short presentation will feature local actors Cora Stronge-Smith, Saoirse Flynn and Brendan Dolan. The film which was shot on location in Charlotte’s Way, (formerly Hill House), Banagher and the National Portrait Gallery in London, tells the story of the famous “Pillar” portrait of the three Brontë sisters, Anne, Emily and Charlotte by their only brother Branwell created c.1834 and its sensational discovery in Hill House about eighty years later.

Craft Exhibition

An exhibition of tapestries and other handcrafts by the Banagher Craft Group also relating to the Brontë connection with Banagher will be opened to the public. The exhibition will remain on display all weekend in the Long Room in The Crank House.

Banagher's Ciorcal Comhra Ar An Aoine

As part of the festival Banagher's Irish speaking circle will meet in Corrigan's Corner House pub at about 9pm on Friday night. Beidh ceol, caint agus craic ann.

Fanesker Martello Tower Open On Saturday

As part of their continuous generous support to TBB Festival, Wolfgang and Ursula Fisher are opening their Martello Tower on the west bank upstream of Banagher Bridge (County Galway side) on Saturday July 23rd, 12 noon to 4pm. Since taking ownership some years ago Wolfgang and Ursula have much improved access to and the appearance of the historic structure. The tower is one of only two inland Martello Towers in Ireland and is quite a unique edifice.

That Beats Banagher Book Re-Launch

Patrick Flattery's book That Beats Banagher!, published in 2012 but only becoming available now, will be introduced by the author himself on Saturday July 23rd at 5pm. Patrick is travelling from Minnesota for the weekend and his book relates to his nineteenth century ancestors in Banagher and Cloghan. The fast moving novel tells the fascinating story of his great great grandfather, Robert Flattery and the Fenian Movement. The history of other members of the historic Flattery family is also related. Fictional local events are also described, taking some well-disguised liberties with local history and geography along the way.

Martello Tower Pop-Up Bookshop

All literary events will be held in the Long Room in The Crank House. Copies of all books will be on sale throughout the weekend from the ever popular Martello Tower Pop-up Bookshop which makes a timely return to the streets of Banagher for the festival. The shop will also have a stall at the Food & Craft Fair in the Bridge Barracks Yard in the West End of Banagher on Saturday from 12 noon to 4.30pm.

Sunday Events

On Sunday morning there will be a heritage related cycle from Banagher to Shannon Harbour and Clonony, via Cuba and Streamstown and the Harbour Cross. The cycle starts at The Crank House car park at 11am and will finish about 1.30pm back in Banagher. On Sunday afternoon at 2pm Lynn Maloney (Coughlan) of Banagher and Mary Madden of Portumna will speak of their self-publishing exploits during covid times and showcase their books in the Long Room in The Crank House


The festival will close with a bang during a visit to the award-winning fortification Fort Eliza on the Crank Road at 6pm on Sunday. Don't miss it! Well! That Bangs Banagher! and Banagher Bangs the Devil!!!

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