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  • Northside West

Maypole returns to Finglas

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019 1:00pm
Maypole returns to Finglas

Cllr Paul McAuliffe (FF) and Keith Connolly pictured supporting the Finglas Maypole Festival which takes place on May 4 and 5, with Committee Members Mary McDermott, John Cromwell and Ernie Beggs.

Maypole returns to Finglas

Cllr Paul McAuliffe (FF) and Keith Connolly pictured supporting the Finglas Maypole Festival which takes place on May 4 and 5, with Committee Members Mary McDermott, John Cromwell and Ernie Beggs.

Orla Dwyer

A MAYPOLE that hasn’t been seen in Finglas for 175 years is returning this weekend at a fun-filled festival this weekend thanks to the dedication of a group of historical volunteers.

The Finglas Maypole Festival has been planned for over two years, and the committee members feel 2019 is the perfect year for it to take place. 

Chairman and PRO of the committee, Ernest Beggs, said the local community has been very supportive of their plans for the festival. 

“The amount of goodwill we have received has been brilliant,” he said.

“It’s like Finglas was crying out for something like this.” 

Lifelong friends Beggs and Vice-Chairman John Cromwell have a keen interest in arts and folk, which led them to the idea of hosting a Maypole festival in Finglas. 

“We were looking for a unique selling point for our festival because there have been festivals before in Finglas but for one reason or another, they last a couple of years and then stop,” said Beggs. 

“We knew about the Maypole and the last time there was a Maypole in Finglas was in 1845,” he added.

“We have brought the prodigal pole back”

The year also coincides with the centenary of the birth of famous Finglas uilleann piper Séamus Ennis who was born in Jamestown. 

A blue plaque, the first of its kind in Finglas, will be unveiled on May 3 on Jamestown Road for Ennis.

President Michael D Higgins has been invited and it is hoped he will be able to attend. 

Councillor Paul McAuliffe (FF) will be deputising for the Lord Mayor of Dublin at the event. 

The Maypole will be officially reintroduced to Finglas on May 4 at 6pm at Erin’s Isle GAA Club. The maypole is a tall wooden pole, which people dance around at festivals that usually take place around the start of May. 

The committee searched for a pole of their own but were finding it difficult to locate one suitable for the area. 

However, a stroke of luck led them to evetually finding the festival centrepiece.

“We were down in Howth one day just buying fish and walking around, and we said we would try the shipyard,” explained Beggs. 

They got a shipmast from a ship built in 1916 and have buffed and polished it up in advance of the unveiling. 

The festival itself will have free events with live music, sports and various family-friendly events across the two days in the village. 

Several fundraisers have been held in advance of the festival including a penalty game for families and a Q and A in Erin’s Isle featuring soccer and GAA players from Finglas.

Several local artists and bands will be performing over the weekend including Christy Dignam, Remedy and Rachael McCormack.

Finglas poet Rachel Hegarty has been commissioned to write a poem about the maypole, which will be performed at the ceremony. 

“We are doing okay as a tight little group and we are working our socks off, said Beggs. “Sometimes you just tap into something.”

The group have made an eight-inch high mini maypole that has been doing the rounds in Finglas. 

“It has become a celebrity in its own right,” said Beggs. “People are getting their photographs taken with him.

“He’s developing a personality of his own.” 

A football match will take place at 2.30pm on May 4 at Patrician College. This will be finished at 5pm and the group want people to then travel to the unveiling of the Maypole at Erin’s Isle GAA Club at 6pm. 

“I think it’s going to be great,” said Beggs. “There is a lot of top talent involved.

“At the ceremony, we will welcome the pole back home to Finglas. Everyone is really behind us and I think it is a lovely simple idea.”

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