Frdiay, March 23, saw a large gathering of Fethard folk assemble in the Abymill Theatre to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Fethard Historical Society that occurred on March 23, 1988.
The evening turned into a celebration of ‘all things Fethard’ and a very positive note was aired by all who participated in the event. Mary Hanrahan, one of the founding member, was MC for the evening and thanked everyone ‘in block’- so as to avoid omitting anyone - for all their help to the society, town and community, over the past 30 years.
Terry Cunningham, current chairperson, then gave a whistle stop tour - with the aid of over a hundred slides - of some the society’s activities of the over the past three decades. The audience were very impressed indeed with the sheer volume, scale and diversity of the works undertaken, and the chairperson did emphasise that there had been a lot of ‘people hours’ spent by society members over those years.
Clare Lee from the Planning section of Tipperary County Council spoke next and outlined very clearly the overall planning process, from national to local, with a special focus on Fethard. She assured the audience of the council’s commitment to enhancing the overall environment of the area and knowledge that Fethard was a special place that required specific treatment that would safeguard and enhance its unique medieval heritage.
Last to present on the evening was Alison Harvey from the Heritage Council of Ireland, the national body that informs Government policy in the whole heritage area throughout the country. Fethard Historical Society credits Alison with being one of the first people ‘of influence’ that championed Fethard’s cause and her work was instrumental in initiating the funding stream that enabled much conservation works on stabilising sections of the Town Wall.
Alison spoke in glowing terms of the achievements of the people and organisations of the town and how their combined efforts are looked on by the Heritage Council as somewhat of a template as to what can be achieved when everyone is ‘pulling in the same direction’.
Presentations were then made to the founding members of the original committee from 1988. Two bouquets of flowers were then presented to current members, Mary Hanrahan and Marie O’Donnell, who were also members of the original committee.
The celebrations concluded upstairs in the Abymill where quite an elaborate banquet awaited and a great air of celebration - and indeed satisfaction - of ‘a job well done’ was evident throughout.