MYSHALL/FENAGH MACRA NA FEÍRME
Macra na Feírme celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in the area in 2008 and tradition claims it was one of the first clubs not alone in Co. Carlow but in Ireland. Members of what was known as ‘Aclare Macra Club’ met in a barn known as ‘Gorman’s Loft’ and stories abound about the ‘good times’ and the great socials held there and a band playing and everyone dressed in ‘their Sunday best’.
That club, like Macra today, was very much a social club with members meeting for social functions, fund-raisers and of course discussions based on various rural issues. The club once held a very successful two day horse race meeting when they hired out two tents and had a dance on both nights with the total receipts for the festival coming to £449 – substantial for the day surely! As in today’s Macra romance flourished and many marriages arose form the many social occasions but it was not all about socialising as the club was culturally and educationally very advanced for the 1940’s with exchange trips with English clubs not at all uncommon. Competitions were held in hand milking, ploughing, poultry judging, sheep shearing, sheep dog trials, stock judging, debating drama and public speaking – many of which are still going strong six decades later. In the mid 1950’s that particular club folded but left in its wake the foundation stones for other future Macra Na Feírme clubs and bequeathed to the parish an agricultural and Macra heritage never to be forgotten.
In 1969 Myshall Macra na Feírme was born and the members met in the Old Hall
and later the Community Centre and the members were equally as vibrant as in the
old club. Again the club took part in many competitions and local members
represented their club and County on a popular Quiz programme that was televised
called ‘Cross Country Quiz’. In 1976 Patsy McLean made history when he
represented Myshall, Carlow and Ireland in the first World Young Farmer Tests in
Kansas city and gained the top prize winning the World Sheep Judging
competition. This era will be remembered best for its organisation of the
All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Championship in Myshall in 1978 a mammoth task,
achieved only through the backing and good will of the whole community. The
ceiling in the Community Centre was provided through the profits of the Sheep
Shearing and a commercial dishwasher was purchased from the funds, making it one
of the first Community Centers to have such a luxury. The club declined somewhat
in the 80’s but was the forerunner of the present club Myshall/Fenagh Macra na
Feírme which is the name of the current club.
Patsy McLean won the World Sheep Judging competition in 1976
Macra na Feírme All-Ireland Sheep Shearing Committee 1978
The members of Macra na Feírme in the parish today continue to participate in many competitions although one is more likely to be participating in Karaoke than Stock Judging and each year the local club raises well in excess of €1000 for various local and National charities. The programme of events is action packed with activities from many and varied sporting occasions to social gatherings, courses, projects etc. meeting the cultural social and educational needs of its members which are in the age range 18 – 30. The local Roll of Honour of Macra Na Feírme is quite impressive with members proudly bringing many National titles to the area, but more importantly it has taught and continues to teach new skills and build fine characters that contribute hugely to the local area.
Visit the Macra na Feírme website.