Gentleman of learning Mainchin Seoighe warmly remembered

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

SIX years after his death, scores of people gathered on Knockfierna Hill to celebrate the life and work of one of Limerick’s great natural scholars, Dr Mainchin Seoighe.

SIX years after his death, scores of people gathered on Knockfierna Hill to celebrate the life and work of one of Limerick’s great natural scholars, Dr Mainchin Seoighe.

Known to generations of Limerick Leader readers as the Mangaire Sugach, and known far and wide for his deep knowledge of Irish history, culture and heritage, the late Mainchin Seoighe left a deep mark on the life of his beloved County Limerick.

And last weekend, some of his many friends and admirers took part in the first ever Mainchin Seoighe Weekend at the Ramling House on Knockfierna.

“Mainchin was a regular visitor to Knockfierna from the very beginning, going back to the late 1980s and to when we revived the Festival of Lughnasa and he continued to be a regular visitor and contributor to our Rambling House events,” Patrick O’Donovan, spokesman for the Knockfierna Heritage Society said, explaining the reasons for the weekend celebration.

“He would have walked the hill with us many times. Indeed, it was he who identified the steam-house on the hill. And he would have contributed hugely to our series of talks on aspects of folklore and country life such as Lent, Christmas, May Eve and Piseogs.”

Mainchin Seoighe, Mr O’Donovan said, had a high regard for folklore and oral history. “He always highlighted the importance of oral history and of preserving it, a point which others have made since,” he continued.

“And he made a huge contribution to our understanding of life in Ireland and Limerick.”

“He was a gentleman, a man of great courtesy. He was also a man of huge knowledge about our history and heritage, a man with a great love of the Irish language and someone who was always willing to share his knowledge and insights with others,” Mr O’Donovan added.

“It is our privilege to be able to honour his life’s work.”

Mainchin Seoighe’s presence was felt deeply at the weekend and his words came alive again through the screening of various filmed contributions that he had made at the Rambling House over the years. The following night some 20 musicians, singers and storytellers, entertained the packed cottage in honour of Mainchin, and the gathering included RTE Symphony Orchestra violinist, Ann Phelan from Castlemahon as well as All-Ireland singer and Ela Maria O’Dwyer from Freemount.

“We plan to make this an annual event,” Mr O’Donovan said.