Mayo to host major European traditional folk arts conference and festival
WITH only hours to go to the beginning of one of the largest cultural events ever to be held in the County, Mayo is bracing itself for 4 days of exciting performances and a major international conference. This weekend 22nd – 25th, one of Europe’s biggest Traditional Folk Art Festivals, Europeade, brings its first event to Ireland to be staged at various venues throughout the County. The event, which has been officially recognised as an integral part of Ireland’s EU Presidency Cultural Programme, will be a major tourist attraction outside of the peak holiday season. The conference event is being hosted by Mayo County Council and the International Europeade Committee. Feile Europeade is organised by a specially established voluntary committee and is supported by a number of local and national organisations and agencies.
The event is now in full swing and it looks like a lot of the concerts are fully booked. The advent of eastern Europe has certainly broadened our cultural links. Our local strawboys compete with folk and traditional arts from countries such as Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Spain, Scotland, Italy and France. So check out the website for the remainder of the Festival and if you like it you can head on to Riga where Europeade continues.
Red-letter day for Courts Service
YESTERDAY (Tuesday) marked a red-letter day for the Courts Service in the West of Ireland with the first sitting in the new state-of-the-art Courthouse in Castlebar. Circuit Court Judge Kevin Haugh presided at the historic occasion following the completion of a 12 million euro redevelopment, over a two year period. The new complex now boasts four courtrooms, including one allocated to Family Law while the main courtroom is the most modern of its kind in the country. Situated on the Mall, the Courthouse, with its distinctive six classical columns, was built in the period 1830 to 1835. The new building will also house the Circuit Court and District Court Offices. It is expected that there will be court sittings in the new building for about thirty weeks each year. The official opening of the Courthouse will take place later this year.
By all accounts the revamped building and the new office accommodation behind the courthouse is state-of-the-art. The court staff are tied up with organising for the June election at the moment and won’t be able to move in until after the election in June. All in all a much more satisfactory state of affairs than the old courthouse condemned by the health and safety people because of minor details like water leaking down through the roof and over and through fuse boxes. And isn't great that the red pillars are finally gone too? Credit to the architects, designers and builders on a fine job.
Minister asked to mediate in boxing row
MAYO County Council has taken a stand in the controversial row involving Geesala boxer Henry Coyle and the sport’s ruling body, the Irish Amateur Boxing Association. Coyle, a son of Fine Gael Councillor Gerry Coyle, was excluded by the association from competing in an Olympic Games qualifier in Azerbaijan despite the fact he was crowned national welterweight champion last December. Instead, the I.A.B.A selected, by secret ballot, the Dublin-based pugilist, James Moore, the boxer Coyle defeated in such style to lift his national title. Now members of Mayo County Council have called on Sports Minister, Deputy John O’Donoghue, to intervene in the dispute.
‘Minister asked to intervene in boxing match!’ Isn’t it strange how sport has become so controversial of late? Everywhere you look there are disputes – this week we had the windows of a car smashed in on top of a pair of two-year old twins and their mother by irate GAA fans. This followed a dispute with a spectator (whose wife and children were attacked in his car) at a hurling match (not in Mayo I hasten to add). The Mayo Ladies were evicted from participating in the All-Ireland competition this year because of a money dispute over sponsorship. A man on Liveline complaining about parents beating up referees at under-8 matches when they don’t like the ref's call. Soccer commentator caught on mic making racists comments. And now Mayo County Council actually feels that it should intervene in a sporting row involving one of the councillor's sons!
Where is it all going to end? The old joke distinction - Soccer – a gentleman’s game played by bowsies; Rugby – a bowsie’s game played by gentlemen and GAA – a bowsie’s game played by bowsies has become blurred about the edges. Even street-fighters don’t fight by rules any more. In ‘the old days’ you fought with your fists man to man. You didn’t knock a man to the ground and then proceed to kick him in the head. A tenuous link perhaps, but when parents rush onto the pitch at an U-8 football match to strike the referee and spectators smash car windows of another spectator with whom they disagree, the message given to the youngsters is that there are no rules.