Fast forward and change heretics to fanatics

By Jimmy Rhatigan

IN THE year 1324 the Bishop of Ossory Richard de Ledrede paid a Lenten visit to Kells Priory.

Following an inquisition into a Kilkenny sect of heretics, Alice Kyteler and William Outlawe were ordered to appear before the bishop to answer charges of witchcraft.

Fast forward, change heretics to fanatics and you have another significant event in the chequered and fascinating history of the village of Kells.

Saturday’s Reign of Terror, a significant event for good folk who love adventure and cherish a challenge, could be a game changer.

For what started out as a fund-raiser to marry local and outside enthusiasts, will forever and a day be recorded as a huge milestone.

Foot soldiers were wonderful. Over 150 volunteers from Kells, Kilmoganny and Dunnamaggin wore their hearts on their sleeves.

Fifty spent Thursday and Friday building an obstacle course that would taunt and tease.
Friendly landowners handed over their green fields for the big event, William and Bill Hutchinson, John Gorey, Anna O’Shea, Tom Gorman and Robin Whitford.

The heart of Kells was transformed into an amphitheatre-style arena where up to 500 watched almost every minute of an amazing outdoor stage show.

Thanks to the Office of Public Works, the Terror ran through Kells Priory and field warriors scaled priory walls.

All money raised by the reign which attracted lots of rain will go to community projects, scouts, GAA, Tidy Towns and historical groups.

A local group, formed back in the 1980s by John Sheridan and family, Ennisnag is as active as ever.

Rain poured down in the days before the Reign of Terror and on the day money poured into local coffers as participants happily paid for the privilege of testing their mettle.
A first in year two of the event, was a Mini Terrors for 13 to16 year olds, a 5km course with 30 obstacles that attracted 200.

There were 5k, 10k and 50k events, the latter an endurance test that began at 9am and completed several loops of the course before finishing at 2.50pm when a Dub was crowned champion after covering 48km and overcoming 320 obstacles, a rival for Iron Man.

As darkness threatened, organisers and participants finally got a chance to draw their collective breaths, but not before dismantling large sections of the course.

Then came a welcome repast, a few pints, singing and dancing as the greater local community celebrated another great occasion at Sean Delaney’s Motte and Bailey Pub.

Liam O’Sullivan, chair of a committee of 20, broken into a four-tier sub-committee of obstacles, marketing, event co-ordinators and finance, was as happy as the cat who got the cream.

“It was fantastic community occasion that brought generous support from so many areas. It was a brilliant fund-raiser but it is not all about money or even the event.

“It is all about how we gel together as a community. People who didn’t even know each other two years ago are now friends. This is community in action and it is marvellous,” Liam told The Reporter.