by ehistoryadmin on July 3, 2015

Kildare Observer 1 August 1903



On Sunday last an “Aerideact,” or open air entertainment, was held in the grounds attached to the Old Jail, Naas. The arrangements were in the hands of the local branch of the Gaelic League, and the success which attended the fixture rewarded the efforts of the members who took an interest in seeing that it was properly carried out. We regret, however, to notice that the number of helpers Miss O’Reilly, the hon. secretary, had was not up to expectation – that is, locally. The visitors seem to have everything to do with the management of the programme. However, the local ladies and gentlemen who took part in the programme an seeing after the general arrangements, worked energetically, and the little staff, with the Rev. D. Gorry at the head, made everything run smoothly. The promoters were fortunate in securing the services of the brass band of the York Street Workingmen’s Club, Dublin, and almost the whole of the items on the programme were continued by visitors. The Naas Branch, however, distinguished itself in providing a really good company’s of dancer, and at least one good singer. Criticism of the performances individually was made difficult, for two reasons – one, that the programme was mainly printed in Gaelic, and secondly, the order of events was departed from to a very considerable degree. Speaking generally, the programme was well selected, though we should have liked more instrumental music and less speech-making. The evening kept up beautifully fine and, the attendance was remarkably good. The visitors were hospitably entertained by the local branch, the members of which deserve the greatest possible credit for carrying out the details. The members of the local committee who were prominent were – Rev. D. Gorry, C. C.; Miss O’Reilly, Messrs J. O’Neill, J. Hyland, E. Dowling. Mr. Healy orgainser did excellent work as M.C., and it may be mentioned that he in conjunction with Mr. Shiel, arranged the details of the Dublin execution. During an interval Messrs P. H. Pearse, B. A., B. L.; Denis Lynch, and the T. O’Neill-Russell addressed the audience on the importance of preserving the Irish Language.


The York Street Band opened the first part of the programme with a selection of Irish airs, which were performed with considerable skill. The “Twisting of the Rope” by a quartette from the Keating Branch, Dublin, was very well rendered. This is a very old Irish air, and the poet Moore wrote one of his melodies, “How Dear to Me the Hour when Daylight Dies, “to the tune. The contingent from Celbridge supplied an eight –handed reel, which was warmly applauded, and this was followed by a well delivered recitation by Miss Annie Kenny. The selection on the pipes by E. Harrison preceded a hornpipe by P. Mehigan. Mr. T. S. Cuffee came on the platform and gave a recitation in Irish, and in response to an encore, he recited in English. “The three Kelly’s” were loudly applauded for their performance of the three-hand reel. The convent school, Naas, was represented by a party of eight in a reel, which was danced in good time and did great credit to the youngsters. Miss Hughes was responsible for a few items on the programme, and she acquitted herself remarkably well. In “Shule Agra” she was very impressive. Jerry Kelly danced a reel. A selection by the band concluded the first part of the programme. Messrs T. O’Neill-Russell, P. H. Pearse, B. A., B. L., and Denis Lynch then addressed the audience – first in Gaelic, and the secondly in English. All three decried the suggestion that politics had anything to do with the Gaelic League. With considerable force and vigour they appealed to the people to preserve the language, the music, and the customs of our forefathers, and each also spoke in favour of encouraging home industry. In particular, Mr. Pearse referred in eulogistic terms to the good that had already been accomplished in Naas by the local branch of the Gaelic League.

The band opened the second part of the programme, and a quartette by the members of the Rathmines Branch followed with “Oft in the Sully Night.” Miss Roe, who sang (in Gaelic) “Savourneen Deelish” in the first part, came on again with “The Lark in the Clear Air.” Mr. C. P. Knapton was responsible for the item, “Battle Eve of the Brigade,” in which he acquitted himself creditably. The four-hand-reel by the Keating Branch was greeted with loud applause; Miss Hughes again came on the platform, and sang in Gaelic to a pleasing old air. Mr. Mehigan was nimble in a first rate jig. “The Rallying Song of the Gaelic League” was sung by Mr. J. Hughes, and a final selection from the band brought the programme to a close.

Re-typed by Lynn Potts

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