Launch of ‘Old Blarney In Focus’

17th May 2017

Blarney and District Historical Society reached another excellent objective with the launch of ‘Old Blarney’- In Focus Photo-journal on Wednesday 17th May 2017 at 8.00 p.m. in the Blarney Castle Hotel. This is the 5th issue in the photo-journal series and it is a really welcome addition to the collection. It contains 96 pages of photographs dating from the late years of the 19th century to the late 1990’s, printed on high quality gloss paper and depicting life from an era no longer with us. These photographs have captured the ways in which the people of Blarney & District once lived, worked and enjoyed themselves and the social changes which occurred during this time are very much evident in the collection.

 Mr. Liam O’Brien, Society Chairman, opened the function with a short speech during which he welcomed Cllr. Kevin Conway, Deputy Mayor of Cork County, distinguished guests, our own members, representatives from other historical societies and the general public. Liam stated that “The responses we have received over the years to our publications, the ‘Old Blarney’ Photo-journal, and the ‘Old Blarney’ Journal, keep encouraging us to undertake the production of a ‘next’ issue. Blarney people have always shown a great love for the history of their little, but famous, village. We, in the Society take enormous pride in the fact that, by producing our ‘Old Blarney’ Photo-journal and our ‘Old Blarney’ Journal, we are constantly and continually, contributing something new to the body of knowledge being amassed about our historic village.

As Marcus Harvey, a civil rights activist from Jamaica, once said,

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”

Each tiny piece of community history we in the Society gather or collect, no matter how small, is vital to the understanding of the bigger picture. The everyday events of our current time will, without doubt, become tomorrow’s history. On this basis, it is worth noting that, everything of importance started somewhere at local level.

With the amount of modern technology so readily available to us all, it is now very easy to record occasions and events as they happen because what becomes very familiar, on a daily basis, will suddenly have you wondering when and why it disappeared.

As you know, the object of our Society “shall be to record for posterity matters of local historical interest and endeavour to preserve and protect local heritage.”

The Chairman then introduced Cllr. Kevin Conway, Deputy Mayor of Cork County, who is a long-standing member of the Society, and invited him to say a few words about the occasion and its importance to the Blarney and District area.

Cllr. Conway congratulated the Society on the production of another excellent edition which has added greatly to understanding a now almost vanished way of living. Depicting life from an era now long gone, the photographs selected for printing have captured the ways in which the people of Blarney & District once lived, worked and enjoyed themselves and the social changes which occurred during this time are very much evident in the collection. He highlighted the fact that quite a number of people and events, well-known in the locality and portrayed in many of the pictures, have recently passed away, showing how quickly change comes about. He wished the Society well in its future endeavours.

Thanking the Deputy Mayor for his contribution and kind words about the Society and its work, the Chairman then proceeded to thank a number of people closely associated with the journal;

“Once again, this year we are very grateful to Ian and the Forrest Family of the Blarney Castle Hotel for sponsoring the launch, making the Killowen Room available and supplying the refreshments. It is indeed very much appreciated. The Forrest Family have been doing this for the Society now for a number of years. They are a very supportive family of all things local and are fully deserving of local support in return.

A special word of thanks goes to those who were kind enough to contribute their precious photographs which has made this publication possible.

Thanks to all the shopkeepers, businesses and people involved in the sale and publicity of these journals over the years because without the revenue generated from the sale of these journals the Historical Society would find it very difficult to function.

We also thank the members of Blarney/Macroom Municipal District of Cork County Council for the provision of a most welcome, and appreciated, Amenity Grant towards the constantly rising production costs of the Photo-journal.

Thanks to the printer, Wan Waterman of, Carrig Print of Carrigtwohill for once again providing a Journal of excellent high quality.

We would like to thank, in advance, all those people who we hope will now buy the Photo-journal and trust you will all enjoy our new production.”

The Chairman then invited the Honorary Editor of ‘Old Blarney–In Focus’, Mr. John Mulcahy, to say some words about this latest endeavour and its content and to officially launch the publication.

John, who has been involved in the editing of all our 15 ‘Old Blarney’ Journals and Photo-journals, stood at the lectern and delivered a humorous and highly pertinent account of the contents of the Journal, highlighting the importance of collecting and publishing these priceless photographic accounts of a time which is passing quickly from people’s memories. Stressing the importance of preserving memories of these places and people, he felt these collections of photographs would be of important social value for years to come. He also pleaded for the general public to continue lending the Society their photographs for future publication, reminding them that there are an awful lot of unpublished pictures of the life and times of by-gone days of Blarney & District.

John then declared the ‘Old Blarney’ In Focus Photo-journal to be officially launched.

The launch was accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation of a selection of the photographs from the photo-journal.

Thanking John for officially launching the Photo-journal, the Chairman added: “John’s input and the input of the Publications Committee, namely Mrs. Anne Byrne, Prof. Chris Synnott, Liam O’Brien and Brian Gabriel, is indeed greatly appreciated.”

He went on to say:

“When you join your local history group you are joining a group of enthusiastic people who share a common interest in local history, archaeology and folklore. You do not need to have any particular qualification or even a level of knowledge of the subjects outlined, but as a member, you will learn much about your heritage, in a most enjoyable way, by having access to the lectures, field trips and slide shows organised during each year.

We normally present our open public lectures on the first Thursday of each month at 8.00 p.m. in Scoil Mhuire gan Smál. So maybe we will get to see some of you there.

We do not quite realise that all things around us are changing constantly and a lot of what we see and take for granted, on a daily basis, will eventually disappear. There-fore it is pleasant to remember the old ways and items that were part of all our lives and which were very different from present day living. This new Photo-Journal presents a wide range of illustrations from all areas of Blarney and District that paint a fascinating picture of what life was really like in past times.

Being able to continue to publish these ‘Old Blarney’ Journals and ‘Old Blarney’ Photo-journals over the last 32 years is a source of enormous pride to everybody involved, from authors, contributors and editors. They make an ideal present for those living abroad or for someone who wants to add to their collection of local publications. There is still such a wealth of information and photographs out there in the Blarney District that we look forward to producing many more issues.

Remember:    Your history is who you are!”

Concluding the speeches, Chairman Liam O’Brien, on behalf of the Blarney & District Historical Society, once again thanked Cllr. Kevin Conway, Deputy County Mayor for being in attendance and for his contribution on the night.

Ian Forrest and the Forrest Family for putting The Killowen Room at the Society’s disposal and for very kindly and most generously hosting and sponsoring this very pleasant evening.

John Mulcahy for launching the Photo-Journal

All you ladies and gentlemen for showing your support by attending the launch and anyone who helped in any way. It is very much appreciated.

For those of you still unaware of our web-site, which constantly keeps you up to date with events and lectures of the Society, it is: www.blarneyhistory.ie

Thank you and please enjoy the rest of the evening.”

Contact: Mr. Brian Gabriel Email: bg1@eircom.net Tel: 021 4381349 Mob: 087-2153216