The once popular Auld Lammas Fair at Ardboe on the western shores of Lough Neagh is set to make a return next month.
The Cineal Eoghain Council and Ancient Clan O’Neill have been working with local community representatives in the Ardboe and Moortown area over the past few months with a view to resurrecting the event.
The area was a meeting place for worship and trade for centuries and the Auld Lammas Fair only died out in its latest form in the 1970’s.
There was a great desire in the community to see it come back and as a result of this community-led initiative the event is set to return on August 6.
“We intend to start modestly this year we are greatly encouraged by the phenomenal response from the local area,” Chairperson of the Cineal Eoghain, Mairtin O’Meallain, told the Mail.
“The Fair will comprise the usual mixture of musicians, poets, storytellers and dancers alongside a wide range of amusements and competitions such as welly throwing, tug’o’war, strongman, racing plus a fancy dress parade and Gaelic football ‘Clash of the Titans’ between Ardboe and Moortown, the finale will be the burning of the 20ft wicker, plus band and BBQ at the Battery Bar on the Loughshore.”
Since the event is sponsored by the Cineal Eoghain Council and the Ancient Clan O’Neill, the groups will have a Celtic village set up with a marquee for those interested in learning more about their history, their family names etc.
This will provide an area for local community groups to talk to the public about their work.
Mr O’Meallain continued: “We see ourselves as a catalyst, an umbrella group, which links, sparks and brings to fruition the ideas of hard working and committed local community groups to promote and improve their areas and in turn we add the layer which re-connects the people to their forgotten past, their ancient culture and their rich heritage so they can pass it on to the next generation.”
The Cineál Eoghain were a historically significant population group containing over a hundred Ulster surnames and many other associated names.
In the period from the mid 400s AD until the early 1700s their territory stretched from the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal through counties Tyrone, Derry, Antrim and Armagh.
The modern diaspora spreads all across the globe and has made a huge contribution to their new homelands at all levels of society.