The historic town of Foxford, County Mayo, like most towns in the West of Ireland, suffered from the effects of immigration, resulting in the loss of family members, and a missing generation in the community, effectively leaving town lands devoid of its former population.
The Gathering Foxford 2013 which runs from the 2-4th of August affords us an opportunity to come together in celebration, renewing relationships with family, neighbours, and friends while paying tribute to all our emigrants from Foxford, County Mayo, and the West of Ireland.
In addition, Foxford enjoys a unique relationship with Argentina, where half a million people claim Irish blood, by virtue of the fact that Admiral William Brown was born here in 1777. He is revered is his adopted country of Argentina having achieved its liberation from the Spanish and Brazilian empires.
Other Irishmen also played a leading role in the development of Argentina, including Father Anthony Fahy, a Dominican Priest and native of Loughrea, County Galway Numerous success stories are attributed to Irish emigrants in Argentina, one of note is that of John Murphy of Wexford, who according to folk tradition, arrived in Argentina with just a pound in his pocket.
By the time he died in the 1870’s he had given his name to the town of “Murphy”, in Buenos Aires Province.
In Foxford, the celebrations includes the J.J.O’Hara Memorial Lecture, entitled “Irish Emigration to Argentina and other Countries in Latin America” and will be delivered by Professor David Barnwell, Senior Lecturer, N.U.I. Maynooth, in the Mayfly Hotel on Friday evening the 2nd August, commencing at 8 p.m. Inspired by a faded photograph of the “Class of ‘73” which was taken in the grounds of St. Patrick’s National School, we are inviting all the former students and invite them for a reunion photograph in the yard of the former Saint Patrick’s Boys School, on Chapel Road, Foxford on Saturday the 3rd August, at 1 p.m. - the 40th anniversary of that event.
The hugely popular Mayo Genealogy Group will present a talk and workshop in the Foxford Sports and Leisure Centre on Saturday the 3rd August from 11.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Also in this venue you can help the community “Cycle Around Ireland” a charitable fundraiser using stationery bikes.
Or you can enjoy local scenic walks, fishing, or a relaxing traditional music session in selected local pubs. A show entitled “The Admiral” created by Foxford native, Eamonn Walsh and Liam Scanlon of Moy Productions will make its debut in the Admiral Brown Memorial Hall in the town later that evening.
On Sunday the 3rd August, a special prayer service will take place in the Church of Ireland, in memory of Foxford born poet and playwright, Frederick Robert Higgins, friend of W.B.Yeats, Founding Member of the Academy of Letters, and Director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. A family relative will recite one of Frederick’s poems during the service.
Later the Sligo Concert Band will give a performance in the town car park, and a Vintage motor display is also planned. Cruiser’s Bar will be the venue for a trad session featuring singing, dancing and perhaps some poetry at 5 p.m. The Church of Ireland will the venue for a talk entitled “ Foxford’s Ironmasters” – the history of Foxford’s Iron industry, by local historian and Geneva based, Vivian Sheridan.
This hugely interesting and informative talk commences at 7 p.m. and will be approx. one hour in duration. You are also invited to visit the famous Foxford Woollen Mills and the Admiral William Brown Museum during the weekend, where a warm welcome awaits you. Join us in Foxford, County Mayo for the “Gathering” … and be part of it!.