Celebration of the life of
John Keegan Casey


This coming 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, 
moved people.
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 o
n in folk memory, but with much research 
the true pict
ure 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.

Cleraune Schoolhouse

                                        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.

                                                                                Shrule Bridge

                                                          The River Inny inspired many of the poets
                                                             poems and especially the area at Shrule Bridge
                         and the mill nearby where he worked.The whole area around the bridge
is being transformed.
The rusty link fencing which joined the bridge has been replaced by
stone walls.  Permission has been made
available by the landowners to erect stiles 
and extra land along the roadside for parking.
Seating is to go around an old willow tree,
and in this area stone slabs which have been 
built into the walls will have lines by the poet 
carved into them.
Ciarán MacMathúna of RTE and his Sunday
morning programme" Mo Ceol Thu" has brought
the poets poems and songs of " Leo" to a new
will unveil a bronze plaque to the poet 
at 2:00pm on the 24th of August 2002.   


At 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.

                                                                                                Book and Concert
                                                            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 
of the poet together with his writings
                                                            and poetry, it will be hard backed , five
                                                             hundred pages, a full colour dust
and will contain up to forty 
                                                            photographs. Sean Cahill 
                                                            and Jimmy Casey 
                                                            editors of  the 
                                                 book have been busy 
                                               researching it since 
                                            last October, 
                                          unearthing much 
                                         new information 
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, Mountjoy Jail, 
Roscommon, Castlerea, Cork, and Dungarven. 
Both Sean and Jimmy have many books to 
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 on his new album,Tommy Murry poetry, and dancers Mick Mulkerrin,Mairead Hanley Casey,Irene Guckian violin and Peter Carberry pipes.

                                                   Promotion of the Events

On the 17th of March Ciarán MacMathúna will devote part of his morning programme to
the poet. Sean McConnell of the Irish Times will write about his life during the month of August.  Bord na Mona who have an interest in the poet will devote an article in their magazine in July and are helping with the publication of the book.  
The Longford, Athlone, and Roscommon newspapers have promised 
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,
Sean Cahill's phone number is 043 21717, Jimmy Casey's is 043 21160,
Paddy Fox on 0902 32277 or  Michael Casey on 043 25297 of the John Keegan Society.
We can also be contacted  at  johnkeegancasey@eircom.net                                      
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






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