In fond memory: Spanish tribute on Irish soil

    INISTIOGE will be in fiesta mode for the weekend of June 29 to July 1 as it hosts a Spanish-Irish cultural celebration commemorating the involvement of the Irish members of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-‘39.

    In particular, this event remembers the sacrifice of George Brown whose parents hailed from Inistioge and Tullogher and who gave his life in defence of the Spanish Republic at the Battle of Brunete in July 1937.

    The annual event, in its 11th year, also remembers the contribution of George Brown’s brother, Michael, and two men from the Castlecomer area, Seán Dowling and Michael Brennan

    The weekend will consist of a celebration of Spanish and Irish culture, concentrating on art, music and native cuisine.

    The event begins with a wreath-laying at the memorial plaque to George Brown in St Colmcille’s Graveyard at 8.30 on June 29, followed by traditional music in The Otter Pub.

    The Saturday programme, starting at noon in Cois Abhann, Inistioge, will include the opening of a Spanish Civil War poster exhibition and film show on aspects of the Spanish Civil War.

    This will be followed by a tree planting and celebration at the Olive Grove in nearby Woodstock Gardens, with an opportunity to relax in the Conservatory Cafe.

    On return to Inistioge, Graignamanagh Brass Band will give a recital in the Millenium Gardens, Inistioge, while The Otter Pub will host Spanish-themed food and drink.

    At 8pm Mick Hanley will be special guest performer at the Hatchery Folk music concert, also in Cois Abhann.

    Theme of the concert, titled ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’, draws on a wide range of Irish music and song commemorating emigration and parting.

    There is limited seating capacity at the venue, so be there on time is the message. Admission is by donation.

    On July 1, why not join Michael Tennyson on a guided tour of Woodstock Gardens, from the car park at noon.

    On the tour you will have an opportunity to view the specimen trees planted at each commemoration by attendees at the George Brown Memorial Event, such as Michael D. Higgins and Senator David Norris.

    A similar guided tour last year proved to be one of the most popular events of the weekend.

    Traditionally, the event has attracted a varied attendance from far and near: trade union activists, politicians, historians, and locals who are proud of the role played by their own George Brown in defence of democracy.