This year’s Covie Week has a Westport United flavour to it. The esteemed soccer club is clocking up its 100th year and various events are planned throughout the year. Photographs and memories spring to mind as the Red and Black brigade make their preparations.
A photographic exhibition of pictures used in a new book – Soccer History – Westport United 1911-2011 – will be open in Westport Library from Thursday, July 28. Hundreds of pictures have been dusted down for the book, thanks to Liam Lyons, Frank Dolan, Conor McKeown, Mike McLaughlin, Keith Heneghan and others. All have kindly donated their work to Westport United for use in the book. Copies are available from the relevant photographer.
Time and love have branded us all with their claws. Action shots, team photos and the inevitable dinner dance pictures will all vie for attention. The book will be launched on Friday, July 29 in the Castlecourt Hotel by the Minister for Sport, Michael Ring, TD, a former star of Westport United. This will be preceded by Mass at 6.30pm in St Mary’s Church with Fr Gerry Burns, honouring past, present and future Westport United members and supporters. Time melts at the altar! Naturally, everyone will be spiritually refreshed having already climbed the Reek, as it will be Garland Friday, the traditional climbing day for Covies!
Old Westport films will get proceedings off to a start on Sunday July 24 in the Auditorium of the Leisure Park on James Street. Suffice to say the 1950s were recorded and local Covies were captured on celluloid! Fr Richard Gibbons held the camera!
Monday evening in the Wyatt Hotel on the Octagon sees the launch of a new book by Westport native, Sally O Béarra, nee Hastings. Long gone from her Derrymore home, Sally lives in An Spidéal. This is the first book for the octogenarian! Bluebells is a love story with a Westport background and published by Covie Publications & Recordings (CPR). The book is dedicated to Sally’s grandchild, Bróna, with proceeds from the book to benefit Cystic Fibrosis in Galway. Pádraig Burns will do the honours on the evening.
Art will be represented by Pat Kelly, Attyreece and Elsie Higgins. Both local artists will feature in the Library with an exhibition to open on Tuesday, July 26. There might even be a picture or two from Joe Hopkins! A Pat Kelly painting graced many homes back in 1965 when he painted a famous Westport Christmas card…’nuf said! A Covie Walk and a Bus Tour will take place during the week as will a Fishing Competition on the Mall for the Children on Saturday, July 30. Toby Gibbons will do all the hooking up on the day.
‘Tea, Cakes and Poetry’ will be the sunshine treat in Blouser’s Pub on James Street on Thursday afternoon. Noddy McKeown, Paddy Guthrie, Charlie Keating, Ger Reidy, Tony Reidy, and many more will whistle words of wisdom off the hallowed walls of Blouser’s (if Pat Ward has a working microphone present!) Women poets are especially welcome on the day. It is expected that new poems from some of Westport’s bards will grace the proceedings. “Croagh Patrick is grand tonight my dear…” It is getting close to the time for a Westport Anthology!
The afternoon of Sunday, July 31 will be spent in Aughavale Graveyard. This time the graves of prominent Westport United footballers and supporters will be visited. The service honours those gone before us, in the knowledge that, for many of us, it will also be our final resting place. The service will start at 3pm and last for an hour, regardless of the weather! This event has braved all kinds of conditions since Covie Week was inaugurated ten years ago!
The final event on Sunday evening will be the launch of a CD of Westport songs and singers. The Chronicles of Westport, Vol 1 – Covie Classics will feature many well-known local musicians. Charlie Keating, Johnny Fadian, John Hoban, Connie Cullen, Tadhg Hastings, Joanne Keegan, Tony Reidy, Lennie Grimes, Pat Friel and Mick Lavelle among others. It is a CD of songs celebrating the town and surrounding area that we live in. Bourke’s Pub on Castlebar Street will be the venue for what promises to be a great night’s entertainment. Many of the musicians will be present and a session and a half is expected!
Not forgetting that the best laid plans of mice and men… the programme is subject to change. With Máirt Curry and yours truly at the helm, change is guaranteed. Máirt is a fan of Heraclitus – The only thing that’s constant is change! The week is there to be enjoyed. It is for everyone. Thanks, as always, to venue owners and participants, without whom nothing could happen.