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Westport gearing up for Covie week

De Facto

De Facto
Liamy MacNally

Covie Week 2019 will run from Wednesday, July 24, to Wednesday, July 31. The biennial celebration was established to honour Westport people – AKA Covies. This year, as part of the celebrations, we honour one of the Covie Week founders and directors, Martin Curry, who passed away on August 25, 2017.
Máirt, as he was affectionately known, had just celebrated Covie Week 2017, leading an inspiring Covie Walk around his beloved town. He will have his own corner in the ‘Old Westport – Faces and Places’ photo exhibition in Westport Library on Wednesday, July 24, at 6.30pm. His late friend, Ray Kennedy, formerly of Mill Street, will also feature.
Blouser’s will host the Tea, Cake and Poetry afternoon on Thursday, July 25, at 3pm, where all can recite, regale and recall. The brave Covies will bounce up Croagh Patrick on Garland Friday, July 26. Children can learn the art of fly-fishing on the Mall at 3pm with Toby Gibbons and Westport and District Trout anglers, all honouring the great Joe Berry.
The anniversary Mass for Westport Columban Father, Willie Spicer, will be held in St Mary’s Church at 11am on the Saturday, while a Folk Club-style afternoon of music, song and stories will be held in Matt Molloy’s at 3pm to honour Martin Curry, a great music lover. All are invited to participate.  
At 7.30pm, O’Cee’s Coffee Shop is the venue for The Big Picture. Hear Frank O’Reilly explain how he created the ‘huge’ reproductions of the famous Lawrence Collection Westport photos that hang on O’Cee’s walls. Historian John Mayock will give details on the contents of the pictures.   
Sunday, July 28, is the National Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage, ‘Reeking towards the heavens / Still rising above pilgrim paths / Carrying pilgrim feet and pilgrim prayers / From pilgrim hearts in pilgrim souls / The holy and the sainted / In sanctity and time / The sinner and the tainted / Climbing side by side…’
Aughavale Cemetery is the venue on Sunday afternoon at 3pm for a Remembrance Hour. Led by An tAthair Micheál MacGréil, this will be a prayerful, respectful blessing bestowed on those gone before us, honouring their memory. A prayer, a poem, a song and gentle silence…
Monday, July 29, sees the start of three presentations – all free – on topics close to hearts of all people in the area. Archaeologist Leo Morahan, a Louisburgh native, will give a presentation on the Bohea Stone. This ancient piece of Celtic history rests a few miles outside Westport on the Leenane Road. What is the story of its past? More importantly, what will be the story of its future? Leo will offer insights in a thought-provoking presentation in the Plaza Hotel at 8pm.
The following evening, Tuesday, July 30, in the same venue at 8pm, Dympna Joyce will host Tracing Your Ancestors. Dympna (née Beckett from St Mary’s Crescent, Westport) will offer tips and sources to those interested in the Family Tree. Dympna is the Chair and Founder of the Mayo Genealogy Group. Dympna, her sister, Noelene Crowe, and their Mayo Genealogy Group colleagues have been responsible for documenting many of the stories of Mayo people, tracing their graves, linking families and assisting with genealogy searches.
The final event of Covie Week 2019 is on Wednesday, July 31, at 8pm in the Plaza Hotel. Westport native John O’Callaghan will introduce the notion of rewilding. In a presentation called ‘Rewilding – The Wild Nephin Wilderness Project’, John will outline the story about rewilding the 805 metre mountain that is visible from so many areas around Westport. He will explain the notion of rewilding in general. One wonders what would happen if Croagh Patrick were allowed to be ‘rewilded’?
All events are open to everybody, all events are free, and there is an event to interest every mind. The thinker, creator and observer will all find a home. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the events, which are a celebration of local life, culture and heritage. They will raise a laugh, evoke a memory, spring a tear, but most of all they will gladden the heart.
The Covie Week voluntary organisers acknowledge that all presenters, venue owners, poster designer and printers give their services free of charge, which enables all events to be free. Míle buíochas to all concerned.