THE SAILOR’S HAGGARD: If ever proof was needed in this day and age of the power of community spirit you just had to visit Newtown, Clarina on last Sunday afternoon September 27th, to the official opening of the Memorial “The Sailor’s Haggard”, to the fishermen who passed this way to fish for salmon on the river Shannon down through the generations. A local Newtown voluntary initiative led by Liam Coughlan, Peter Byrnes, Jimmy Guerin and Patrick Byrnes but with a lot of other community members helping along the way, culminated in the unveiling of this fitting memorial, which has to be recorded is a credit to all involved and a focal point which will stand out for many years to come. The ribbon was cut by Hugh O’Neill of Tervoe, Frank Doran unveiled a map in stone of the Shannon estuary while Peter Byrnes and Willie McGregor unveiled a plaque to the memory of all who had fished in Newtown. Ann O’Brien and Helen O’Leary laid a wreath in their memory also. Archdeacon Michael Lane performed the blessing of the monument and also recounted his own exploits fishing down on the Shannon at Newtown with Liam Coughlan, Teddy Hall and Jimmy Robetrts. He has to be the only Parish Priest who actually fished for salmon in Newtown. Jim O’Farrell was a very capable M.C. as well as being the architect and advisor for the project. The Ballybrown Church Choir led by P.J. O’Carroll and Rosaleen Donovan added greatly to the occasion. A huge crowd turned up to mark the opening and we were blessed with the weather. It was great to recognize what community spirit and togetherness can achieve. The Newtown ladies served tea and refreshments at the side of the road and once again displayed the preparation and hard work that had gone into making this a great family day out. The local children also played their part in the celebration by bringing all the item that are utilized in the fishing way of life. Liam Coughlan detailed what the use of each item was and it’s function. The working lamp ant the replica tower will cast its beam over this monument for many years to come. There is also a water feature, a huge anchor and a replica gandlow which is made from cut stone sourced locally. The salmon fishing on the river Shannon made have been stopped by an E.U. directive in 2006 but this monument will stand testament for future generations. Ann O’Brien, Pinegrove, penned a very fitting poem “The Sailor’s Haggard” for the occasion which she recited for the gathered crowd. Newtown has displayed what can be done by people of a like mind
When they work together. If this monument was constructed commercially it would run to thousands of euros. It also must be recorded that the site for this fitting memorial at the bottom of Newtown Hill was donated to the project by Peter and Nancy Byrnes. Over the coming weeks I would urge anybody who has not seen this latest addition to our local landmarks to go down and visit it. You will be pleasantly surprised. Well done to all who were involved in the project, you have done Newtown proud and your labour is a credit to your skills

Posted in: Community News

Leave a Comment (0) ↓