THIS Sunday is a red-letter day for the small but resiliant, community of Tournafulla, as they mark a triumph in their fund-raising efforts.
From 2pm onwards, hundreds of people of all ages are expected to turn out for the third annual Tournfaulla Food and Craft Fair and Family Fun Day
And later on, GAA icon, Míchéal O’Muircheartaigh will do the honours for the local club when he pulls the winning tickets in their monster raffle.
And you can be certain, An tUasal O Muircheartaigh will have words of praise for the achievement of club members who have raised nearly €100,000 through the raffle, putting them on track to build a new clubhouse.
It is, by any yardstick, a signal achievement but for a small, rural club it is a phenomenal achievement - and was reached only by months of pounding the roads of West Limerick, North Cork and North Kerry.
“We started in the second week of January,” club officer Liam Lenihan explained. “We were out in frost and snow, rain and hail and sunshine.
“We got a great response in our own parish,” he continued, but added that there was huge support too from neighbouring parishes, from all over West Limerick as well as from GAA clubs in Limerick, North Kerry and Cork.
As a result, and coupled with a grant of €75,000 from the National Lottery, the club will now be able to proceed with its plan to replace the existing clubhouse facilities. The new building will include new changing rooms and bathrooms, as well as a referee’s room and meeting rooms.
But the raffle is only one in a day of highlights and promises Helen Brouder, the fun starts early and will go on all day. Helen is a member of the As You Like It ladies’ club which is organising the food and craft fair and the fun day, which will then move seamlessly on to outdoor musical entertainment at 6pm, followed by the raffle.
All the events will take place in the GAA field and the hope is that the weather will smile on them.
“It is always a brilliant day. You have all ages, the young and the old and the in-betweens and there is always a great party atmosphere,” Ms Brouder said.
Marquees will be set up around the field along with individual stalls, showcasing local food products from jams and chutneys to sweets and ice-creams, from baked goods to garden produce.
There will be a hospitality tent where neighbours and friends can sit and chat over a cup of tea and a fresh scone and there will also be a wide range of crafts people selling their work. This will include jewellery, crochet, quilting, basket-making, knitting and items made from wood or glass.
For children, there will be a magic show, a whole programme of novelty sports as well as a craft show and competitions. And there will be stalls with books, toys and other goods for sale.
Young musicians from Tournafulla Comhaltas and from Causeway will take to the stage while Paddy Quilligan and his band will play into the evening.
All of this costs just €2 with free admission for children and pensioners.
Any funds made on the day will this year go to support the Comhaltas branch though other organisations in the parish have benefited in previous years. “It is part of our co-operative approach,” Helen Brouder explained, arguing that without that approach, rural Ireland would be dead and gone. “Whatever organisation needs it, gets the money.
And we are not just raising funds, we are also raising awareness about sustainability. This year we will be promoting the idea of a co-op shop in the parish. It is definitely going to happen. We have to. We need to find a premises.”
And on behalf of the organisers, she invited people from every parish in Limerick to visit them this Sunday.
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