Mainchin Seoighe - a scholar and a gentleman remembered

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

The late Mainchin Seoige
THE late Dr Mannix Joyce, folklorist, historian and columnist, will be remembered and his lifetime’s work honoured this weekend at the second ever Mainchin Seoighe Memorial Weekend.

THE late Dr Mannix Joyce, folklorist, historian and columnist, will be remembered and his lifetime’s work honoured this weekend at the second ever Mainchin Seoighe Memorial Weekend.

The event is being organised by the Knockfierna Heritage Society, with which Mannix Joyce had a long association before his death in July 2006.

Mannix Joyce, who was known the length and breadth of Limerick for his weekly Limerick Leader column using the pen-name An Mangaire Sugach, had a great passion for his native Limerick, its history and folklore and it was this passion which was the driving force behind the ten books he published in the course of his life.

And his great gift to all those he came in contact with was the gentle but persuasive way he shared his extensive knowledge.

Born in Tankardstown, Bruree in 1924, he never left his native place and his entire working life was spent with Limerick County Council, first in the rates department and then as information officer.

But his friendships, through his writings and through letters, extended right throughout the country and indeed the world. And he was unfailingly courteous to everyone.

In 1944, he began what was to become one of Ireland’s longest-running columns, Odds and Ends, in the Limerick Leader. He continued writing it for 59 years.

One of the signal honours of his life came in when he was awarded an honorary D Litt from NUI Galway.

A life-long friend of Eamon de Valera, Mannix Joyce played a pivotal role in establishing the de Valera museum in Bruree and was for many years the keystone of the Joyce Brothers Summer School.

Explaining why the Knockfierna Heritage Society is undertaking a memorial weekend, its chairman Pat O’Donovan said Mannix Joyce had been a frequent visitor to the Rambling House in Knockfierna from its early days in the 1980s. And he was always a very welcome visitor and ever generous with his time and knowledge, Mr O’Donovan said.

This Saturday night, beginning at 7.30pm, Mannix Joyce’s spirit will be rekindled when recordings of some of his Knockfierna visits will be broadcast. “This is a night not to be missed and will be followed by music, storytelling and singing,” Mr O’Donovan continued.

On Sunday, broadcaster Donncha O’Dulaing, will be the guest speaker and this will be followed by a guided tour of Knockfierna and another Rambing House session. All events are free and all are welcome.

“We expect a large crowd to attend this weekend’s events to show their appreciation for one of Limerick’s finest gentlemen and historian, antiquarian, folklorist, writer, lecturer and council official and last but not least, a man most generous with his information and knowledge to all budding historians,” Mr O’Donovan said.