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Documenting a rich heritage

November 21st, 2017 7:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

Documenting a rich heritage Image
Pictured at the launch of ‘Coppeen - A Glimpse Of The Past' Vol. 4 were, from left: John Greene of C103FM who performed the official launch, CAHCS chairman and journal editor Colum Cronin; Mrs Theresa Barrett, Coppeen; Nuala Lordan, treasurer CAHCS; Rose Cronin, secretary CAHCS and Jim Barrett Coppe

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A new journal by Coppeen Archaeological, Historical & Cultural Society delves into the rich historical past of the area. Kieran O'Mahony spoke to editor Colum Cronin about the publication

AS a voluntary community initiative, Coppeen Archaeological, Historical & Cultural Society (CAHCS) has been doing Trojan work in the area in recent years and the publication of their latest journal is testament to their drive and enthusiasm. ‘Coppeen – A Glimpse of The Past’ is the group’s fourth journal and was launched in ‘An Caipín’ in Coppeen over the recent bank holiday weekend.

‘The launch of the journal celebrated the culmination of a huge effort by the more than 30 contributors who have worked over the past two years to research, write articles and source photographs,’ said Colum, chairman of CAHCS and editor of the book.

‘As in the previous journals which we have published, this is designed to recall the past, which has defined us and continues to inform us. Traditions, people and pastimes are remembered and characters and events long forgotten are brought back to life.’

With an impressive 48 articles in the journal it does indeed make for interesting reading and there is something for everyone in its 300 pages. Topics range from Seamus Coakley’s ‘Life in Trouble Times’, which assesses the effects of the War of Independence and Civil War on the lives of people in the Coppeen area who lived through them .

 Other interesting chapters include ‘Days of Yore’ by JJ Crowley and an intriguing one called ‘Funeral Fisticuffs’ by Don Wood, which is an account of a dispute that occurred during a funeral as it passed over Ballineen Bridge in 1824.

‘In addition, the perspective of local people on society and culture as well as on major events at home and abroad are recalled as the breadth and width of the contributions in this publication are digested,’ Colum said.

Speaking at the launch, he told those in attendance about the high long-term value of documenting local heritage.

‘It is imperative that these changes are documented and today’s reality is tomorrow’s history. It is so important to document everyday life by writing it down and recording it. Let’s not forget it as it can become far too easy to take for granted.’

Colum also paid tribute also to the deceased members of CAHCS and the contributions they had made, namely Ned Barrett, Sam Kingston and Sean Hurley. 

This journal is dedicated to the memory of Ned Barrett, who was the founding president of the society and a copy of the book was presented by the current president Mary Cross to Mrs Theresa Barrett – Ned’s widow.

‘Ned was our president since its inception and he was our guiding light. He had a natural affinity for local history and his eyes lit up when recalling stories of the past. He bought so many of our meetings to life with his humorous recollections,’ said Colum.

Another contributor to the journal, Tadhg Ó Murchú, who has also passed on, was also spoken of with high praise and affection.

Popular broadcaster John Greene performed the official launch of the journal and delighted the large attendance with some absorbing and humorous stories. 

Formed in 2004 and with over 30 active members, CAHCS now has four journals that are rich in local history and heritage to its name. As well as producing these publications the group has also developed The Coppeen Heritage Trail, a visitors’ guide to their area.

‘This trail illustrates the wonderful choice of historical and archaeological sites to be visited in and around the locality. Maps of the trail, as well as Coppeen Waymarked Walks can be viewed in the village or on our website,’ added Colum.

The group has also been involved in the Kinneigh Graveyard Survey Project, which has greatly enhanced this unique archaeological and historical monastic site and provides precious data for genealogists and family historians. The restoration of Coppeen Forge was another project that the group was involved in and the opening of the forge in 2015 saw them receive a special ‘Hidden Heritage’ national award from the Heritage Council of Ireland. 

‘Coppeen – A Glimpse of The Past’ retails at €15 and is available in Barrett’s in Coppeen, Centra Enniskeane, Centra Ballineen, Bandon Books in Riverview Shopping Centre and Sheila’s Shop in Kilmurry. CAHCS will also hold their Annual Table Quiz on Friday November 10th in ‘An Caipín’ in Coppeen and their next talk takes place on Wednesday December 6th where military historian and author Gerry White will give a talk on the Kilmichael Ambush. See for more information.

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