Last week grandparents and parents gathered in the Halla Mór of Scoil Mhichil Naofa for the official unveiling of the ‘Gathering Memories’ Project recently undertaken by the school in conjunction with the Federation of Local History Societies of Ireland. In the months leading up to last Christmas the young girls from 5th and 6th class of Athy’s largest primary school were involved in interviewing their grandparents and the results were on display as those grandparents and the children’s parents arrived in the school hall. Each interview was recorded on camera and the resulting DVD and the typed transcripts of the highlights of the interviews were available as the Chairman of the Federation, Larry Breen of Naas, spoke of the unique Athy project. Its importance was stressed by Mr. Breen who indicated that the Federation of Local History Societies would organise similar projects nationwide through its 130 member local history societies throughout Ireland. The ‘Gathering Memories’ Project was, he stated, an important way of recording memories for posterity, while at the same time passing on traditions which helped the younger generation become more aware of their community history.
Extracts from all of the interviews were shown on screen that night and the obvious pride and sense of place which Athy and district encourages in all of us was palpable. The older generation’s reminiscences were straightforward recollections of life experiences and the variety of those reminiscences pointed to the value of social history in promoting and understanding our recent past. It was obvious that the grandparents were happy to be involved in sharing their youthful days with a new generation. For the young girls involved it was a learning experience and an ideal way of explaining the history of Athy and its people in a structured way. Congratulations to all involved in the Project and thanks not only to the young school girls and their grandparents, but also to the school teachers who were responsible for overseeing the interviews and compiling the DVD and typed transcripts which will now form an important archive of material for future historians.
Local history has an ever growing interest for all of us. Athy Museum Society, formed many years ago and which was responsible for the setting up of the Athy Heritage Centre, is about to take another important step in its drive to highlight the history of our town. The Society will hold a meeting in the Heritage Centre on Wednesday, 23rd February at 7.30 p.m. to finalise arrangements for a series of local history lectures commencing in March. The meeting will also include a short talk on the ‘Gathering Memories’ Project, as well as the screening of one of the interviews carried out by the girls from Scoil Mhichil Naofa. Anyone interested in the history of our town and locality is encouraged to come along on the night.
One young man who is making history is 14 year old Cody Mulhall of Whitecastle Lawns. A soccer player of exceptional ability Cody, who started out playing with the local team Athy A.F.C., is now a player with the Stella Maris Club in Dublin. The English soccer club scouts have become aware of the young talented Athy lad and Cody has already had a trial with Derby County. Both Aston Villa and Blackburn Soccer Clubs are in the chase to sign up Cody and he is to travel to England over the coming Easter to train with the Blackburn Rovers team. A trial with the Aston Villa team is scheduled for later in the year. In the meantime the young Athy player has already been picked to play for his country at U-15 level. Two weeks ago he travelled with the Irish team to Helsinki to play for his country in a series of matches against Finland.
Cody Mulhall who is the son of Caroline Mulhall and grandson of Bernadette and the late Dan Foley has footballing genes in his blood as the Foley brothers of Kilberry were noted players of the Gaelic code in the days of Tom Moore’s Rheban. It’s wonderful to see someone so young doing so well in his sporting career and Cody carries all our best wishes for a long and successful career in the sport which he loves and enjoys so much.
I gather Cody may not be the first soccer player from Athy to play for his native country as I mentioned some weeks ago Vincent Gray from Pairc Bhride featured on an Irish international team some years ago. Incidentally I am still anxious to get some background information on Vincent Gray’s playing career and would like to hear from anyone who can help me in that regard.