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31/07/2021

COLUMN: 'Sadness for many to witness demolition of parts of Kickhams Barracks'

Billy O'Riordan writing in this week's Nationalist

Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

The rain held off for just enough time to allow Cliona Maher to quietly launch this year’s Clonmel Junction Arts Festival.

Everything and anything had conspired to test Cliona’s mettle with the icing on the cake being the delay to indoor activities, announced just before the festival launch.

Cliona Maher is someone well used to utilising her problem solving skills and had all of us VIPs assembled outside the Museum on the agreed time and date.

The Launch of the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival went ahead as planned but outside the tent, as it were.

To hold any kind of event during a pandemic is a testament to the skill, ingenuity and creativity of the festival organisers.

Furthermore, many events are taking place online - for obvious reasons - along with plenty of outside visual installations for people to enjoy throughout the festival.

I am looking forward to experiencing, OVERLOOK, A Kickham Barracks story, which includes an audio installation bringing the period from 1922-2012 to life.

As a lover of all things comedy, I am eagerly anticipating enjoying The Estate, written by James Whelan and Amy Hill with stage lighting by Emma Tobin.

James had the pleasure recently of teaching this technophobe all about the inner workings of computers and a more patient man you never will meet. So, I’d like to wish James, Amy and Emma the best of luck with the play.

All further info can be had from the festival website or from volunteers positioned at or near the geodome - the large tent thingy.

Let’s hope that the sun returns thus allowing the wonderful outside installations - see I’m learning the lingo - to be viewed in all their glory. The best of luck to everyone involved.

It has brought an amount of sadness to many citizens of the town to witness the demolition of parts of Kickham Barracks in recent days.

This seems to be happening at a pace much to the dismay of many families who hold a strong connection with the old barracks.

The closure of the Barracks in March of 2012, left many families connected with the place feeling a profound sense of loss which has now come flooding back with the sight of bulldozers hammering down huts, billets and social centres.

These physical spaces held great memories for those soldiers and their families for which Kickham Barracks was to put it mildly, a second home.

Even though we know that things needed to change in Kickham Barracks and plans are in place for its redevelopment, the removal of these familiar physical structures has brought a lot of sadness for many families.

We live in very uncertain times, with the last year packed with change upon change to our social habits.

At least the Barracks was always there to give continuity to our lives; it was a fixed structure, part of our daily experience.

Now we have to witness the loss of one more thing. Yes, I’m aware of the wonderful plans for the old place but remember, not everything can be measured in stone.

People have a right to lament the loss of what was more to them than a mere cluster of buildings, it was their lives.

If I have to sit through one more England football match I’ll…I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do.

The old enemy has progressed so far in the Euros that every second night on RTÉ, I’m subjected to the full blast of God Save The Queen, imagine that, on Irish television.

I’m even starting to hum along at this stage, as I know all the words by now. We all love the Premier League and most of us support English teams, but here’s the problem: If they win the damn thing they will never ever, into infinity, shut up about it.

Here’s hoping by the time that you are reading this that they have been knocked out. That would make it one less God Save The Queen to endure.

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