Thursday, 18th January 2018
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This weekend Inistioge hosts the tenth annual George Brown Commemoration with a series of talks on current affairs, Spanish Civil War history, music, events in Woodstock Gardens, and there is even a second-hand bookstall.

The event gets underway on Friday evening at 7.30 p.m. with a wreath-laying ceremony at the George Brown Memorial plaque in St Colmcille’s graveyard, after which the focus shifts to the adjoining St Mary’s Church where Esther Lynch of the European Trade Union Congress will speak on the subject of ‘Confronting the Right’. This session will be chaired by Jack O’Connor, General President of SIPTU and Chairperson of the Labour Party. In a departure from the format of previous years, there follows a musical treat. Based on the theme ‘The Fighting Irish’ Ireland’s participation in conflicts beyond our shores is recalled through music and songs – ranging from the tragic to the humorous. A special guest appearance by Belfast-man Davy Kettyles will see him sing his own composition ‘Humanity washed up on a beach’, a song inspired by the suffering and loss endured by refugees on the Mediterranean over the last few years.

The Saturday session, again in St Mary’s, begins at noon, and is chaired by Jimmy Kelly, Irish Regional Secretary of UNITE. Speakers are Tom Hogan, who will detail the experiences of the Waterford Brigadistas on their return from Spain, and well-known trade unionist Brendan Ogle who will speak on the subject of ‘Poverty in Ireland of the Recovery’.

There follows a wreath-laying at the Olive Grove in Woodstock Gardens and a tree-planting ceremony. The attendance will be addressed by Spanish Civil War historian Harry Owens who will dedicate his talk to the memory of George Brown Committee’s late secretary, Seán Walsh who died last December.

On return to Inistioge, locals and visitors will be entertained by the Graiguenamanagh Brass Band. This recital, at the Millennium Garden, begins at 4.30 p.m.

For the first time, the commemoration also takes in the Sunday. On this occasion there is a welcome for all who wish to explore the history, flora and fauna of Woodstock to join Michael Tennyson, agricultural advisor and noted local history enthusiast on a guided walk of the woods and gardens.

And there was mention of books! On both the Friday and Saturday, there will be a book stall in the grounds of St Mary’s with a selection of second-hand books on the Spanish Civil War and twentieth-century Irish politics. George Brown commemorative badges and copies of ‘The Fighting Irish’ song booklet will also be on sale.

This free event is supported by Kilkenny County Council (Festival and Events Assistance Scheme), the trade unions CWU, SIPTU & UNITE. All are welcome.

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