Community prepares to serve up a treat at its potato festival

THE community of Kilbehenny will be serving up a treat next week when it hosts its annual potato festival.

THE community of Kilbehenny will be serving up a treat next week when it hosts its annual potato festival.

Taking place from Wednesday, August 17 to Sunday, August 21, the event boasts a tasty line-up including card games, bingo, walks, cycles, disco and even a world potato tasting event.

The highlight of the festival - the annual pageant entitled Farewell to a Tyrant - offers a unique opportunity for local residents to step back in time and learn about their roots.

“We will be making a mock village with houses, old style pubs and all that type of thing. They will be built fairly big – we are going to build one of the houses even with stone like long ago,” explained Moss Fitzgerald of the festival committee who is also treasurer of the local community council.

“There will be signs for Mitchelstown, Cahir and the Galtee mountains like a little street scene,” he added of the open-air pageant which takes place on Friday, August 19 in the field beside the community centre in Kilbehenny.

While last year’s pageant focused on the famine in the 1840s this year’s event focuses on the rural Irish landscape in the 1870s.

It is based on records in the national archives and in the national library as well as the book ‘Christmas on the Galtees’ – written by William O’Brien.

“There will be between 50 and 60 people taking part. They will be dressed up in the old costumes. There is going to be a court scene also so we will have a judge and jurors. There will be a platform built up so it will look like a court,” Moss continued.

The pageant will start at 8pm and will go on for between an hour and an hour and a half and will be followed by a dance in the community centre with music by Declan Aunger from 9.30pm.

Saturday night meanwhile, will see the return of the village cailin event.

The outgoing village cailin – Nora Cunningham has been in office for the past three years and locals are looking forward to finding out who will take over her reign.

And of course there is also much anticipation ahead of the world potato tasting fest which takes place on Sunday, August 21.

It was decided a couple of years ago to set a field of potatoes in the area which in turn would be dug up and sold in the community.

“We set the potatoes and then sell them to the community – the whole community gets involved in setting, digging and picking. We started digging and selling this week – there is enough potatoes for about six weeks. There are 33 drills of potatoes there actually,” Moss explained.

The money raised from the events will be spent on different projects around the village.

“The biggest project at the moment is we are about to start an extension onto our community centre. It’s a whole new hall and the original hall will be divided into a place for walkers. We are trying to promote walking in Kilbehenny and we will be setting up showers and everything for the walkers,” said Moss.

For further information on the festival log onto

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