September was an interesting month, which included setting up material for an adult education course I’m now delivering in St Colman’s Community College in Midleton. Researching Family History takes place every Wednesday evening from 7.30 pm to 9.30pm. It’s a nice class of ten from beginners to fairly advanced students. The course is a practical but intensive six weeks of work and last night was the first session.
On Saturday 13th September we had a wonderfully warm and bright sunny day for the Midleton Food and Drink Festival, with the Main Street closed to traffic and given over to pedestrians and a mouth-watering selection of food stalls. A member of the Red Cross told me that some people had even passed out in the heat! In SEPTEMBER! Surely not! (Note: we’ve actually had an ‘absolute drought’ in September, according to Met Eireann!) It seems a pity that nobody in Midleton was aware of Dr Charles Smith’s comment of 1749 that Midleton was even then a ‘good market for flesh and fish.’ Vegetables were well down the pecking order in those days! (Pun intended!)
That was followed by a lecture I gave to the Cloyne Literary & Historical Society – the opening lecture of their Autumn/Winter season on the topic of Bishop Cornelius O’Dea’s mitre and crozier of 1418 in Limerick. A few days later came the Youghal Celebrates History Conference 2014 – ‘A Circle of Friends.’ This celebrated the Quakers of Youghal and Cork. This was a two day affair, with an international attendance, which included a trip to the Ballymaloe Cookery School at Kinoith House and a look at Shanagarry Castle, This was William Penn’s Irish estate before he obtained permission to colonise Pennsylvania. (Penn also owned the townland of Knockgriffin in Midleton.)
Sunday, 21st September, saw the All Ireland Senior Football Championship Final between Donegal and Kerry – which the Kingdom (Kerry) won by superb play. I watched it in the company of a Kerryman – which added to the excitement!
That was then followed last Saturday, 27th September, with a conservation and archives workshop in University College Cork held by the Cork Decorative and Fine Arts Society. After which we decamped to watch the replay of the Hurling Final between Kilkenny and Tipperary. This time, quality showed up – Kilkenny won in fine style.
Our splendid summer is over, and our Indian summer may be a thing of the past as the weather has broken and is becoming more unsettled. Ah well – we had a good run and the ground has been parched for want of moisture. (A very Irish way of putting it!) The leaves are beginning to assume their autumn raiment and we could just be on the verge of getting a splendid show of colour to see us into Halloween.
The local authority has just put up two signs on the main approaches to Midleton giving two dates of major importance to Midleton. The first date commemorates the foundation of the Cistercian abbey in 1180, giving rise to the ancient Irish name Mainistir na Corann (Monastery of the Weir), and the other date commemorates the granting of a charter to create the borough of Midleton in 1670. Of course King Charles II couldn’t spell – he left out the second letter ‘d’ in the new name of the town! Hence, Midleton with one ‘d’! By royal appointment!