Celebration of the life of
John Keegan Casey
August 2002, we celebrate the
life and times of a young man who died so
young, twenty four short years. We
celebrate not just the author of the folk
song “The Rising of the Moon”, but of a
remarkable and complex person whose
oratory at great political rallys in London,
Birmingham, and Liverpool, his writings for
American papers, and his Fenian activities,
Only now are his lectures on Irish poetry, his
three books of poems coming to light.We do
not wish to create an idealized figure who has
lived on in folk memory, but with much research
the true picture of a beautiful and heroic young man is emerging.
The highlight of this celebration will be on August 24th 2002, with the memorial at Shrule Bridge, Ballymahon unveiled and on the same evening a book of the poets writings, the first in over one hundred years will be launched in the Backstage Theatre in Longford.
Today all that remains of Cleraune Schoolhouse is a farm
shed, but back in 1844, one hundred children were in
attendance with one teacher, two tables, five
forms andfour long seats.
The poet taught here in 1864.
On the evening of the 23rd of August
at 7:30pm,Denis Glennon, President of
St. Mel's College will unveil abronze plaque
in memory of the poet.
4:30pm on the same day a bronze plaque
will also be unveiled on the school house
where the poet taught in the village of Kenagh.
This little two storey stone building is a
beautiful reminder of what a schoolhouse was
like in the eighteen sixties with one room up
and one down. It is now in the loving care of
one George Casey.
Paddy Egan Historian is to transform the lower room of the building to what it would have looked like when the poet taught there.
Longford's oldest school teacher "Master Greene" 102, is to unveil the bronze plaque on the schoolhouse.
On the same evening of the 24th of August at
8:30pm a concert and book launch on the poet
will take place in the Backstage Theatre ,
Benedict Kiely, the celebrated Irish writer
will launch the book.
The book will consist of a very comprehensive
biography of the poet together with his writings
and poetry, it will be hard backed , five
hundred pages, a full colour dust jacket
and will contain up to forty
photographs. Sean Cahill
and Jimmy Casey
editors of the
book have been busy
researching it since
on the poet and his family and friends.
Many months have been spent in the National
Library, Mullingar, Longford and Ballinamore
libraries. Also much research was done in
areas around Co. Westmeath where the
family originated from,
Roscommon, Castlerea, Cork, and
Both Sean and Jimmy have many books
their credit which include: The Primary Schools
of Co. Longford, History of Rathcline, History of
Ballymahon, and Cashel of the Hills.
The concert will celebrate the best of Irish music, song, dance and poetry. It will include the RTE Choral Conductor, Blanaid Murphy with the eighty five strong Co. Longford choir who are setting the poets poems to song, Sean Ryan the great Tippereary tin whistle
player, the Co. Clare Sean Nos singer Tim Dennehy who is recording some of the poets songs
Promotion of the Events
On the 17th of March Ciarán MacMathúna will devote
The Longford, Athlone, and Roscommon newspapers
a large feature. Lectures and book promotion have been
promised by the Longford, Athlone, and Mullingar Historical
Shrule bridge is to be renamed after the poet.
For any further information the following people
can be contacted,
Paddy Fox on 0902 32277 or Michael Casey on 043 25297 of the John Keegan Society.
We can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The celebration and book launch in Backstage Theatre on the 24th of August can be booked through the backstage box office.
Admission is free but booking is required to ensure a seat.
The box office can be contacted from 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday,and Saturday 10:00am to 1:00pm.
Box Office Telephone: 043-47888
Box Office Fax: 043-47890
Drawings by May Raleigh.
Cleraune Schoolhouse, Newtowncashel.
Gurteen Schoolhouse, Ballymahon.
Old Schoolhouse Kenagh
Shrule Mill 1880-1890
View of Mill and Inny at Shrule Bridge
Grave of John Keegan Casey in Glasnevin Cemetary