Today marks the end of my last week in Glenn Cholm Cille and the beginning of my time in Glenn Fhinne, a town in the heart of the Bluestack Mountains. Some of the Oideas Gael language courses are moving there for a few weeks as their expanded offering of cultural classes (in harp, weaving, tapestry, hillwalking, and the like) takes over their facilities in Glenn Cholm Cille. Also set to take over Glenn Cholm Cille in the next few weeks is the 2016 Glencolmcille Agricultural Show, which I was lucky enough to discuss with a local in Glenn Cholm Cille. In order to protect his privacy, I’ll call him Toby in this blog post.
Although my time in the Glenn didn’t overlap with any festivals, it very well could have. The upcoming agricultural show is one of three this summer that I know of, the first being a stonemasonry festival that took place before I got there, and the last being a family festival that will take place in the second week of August (see picture below). However, according to Toby, the agricultural show is the festival that means the most to the community.
The basis of the agricultural show is a number of contests comparing livestock and other entries. According to Toby, most of the festival will take place on the town’s GAA football pitch. The thing that makes the festival so special, though, is that it’s huge—the list of winners from last year’s show that is posted on the Glenn’s website is 31 pages long. Toby estimates that thousands of people come to town for the show, among them people who grew up in the Glenn but have moved to other places to work. The agricultural show is an excuse for people to come home, and everybody does.
Glenn Cholm Cille is a tiny town. Like I said when I first got here, it sometimes seems like something out of a movie. But during my time here, I’ve come to realize that in spite of its size, the town has a lot going on. I think that events like the agricultural show are part of what makes the town feel like it’s thriving: people may leave for a while, but they always come back. I hope that one day, I’ll be lucky enough to come back, too.
More information on the agricultural show: http://www.glencolmcille.ie/glenshow.htm
This sign for a festival later in the summer is at the start of the main road in Glenn Cholm Cille. The sign reads “Festival”, an alternative spelling for the town’s name, and “2016, 6th-13th August” in Irish.