BODYKE marks a first when the village hosts the inaugural Bodyke Summer Gathering on the May Bank Holiday weekend.
This Gathering event has been organised by The Bodyke Festival Committee, chaired by Colm Wiley and will include sports, entertainment, a walk, a historical talk on the Bodyke evictions, a magician and a mass as Gaeilge.
Kicking off at the Cobblers Rest on the Friday, from 8.30pm, there will be music and dance performed by local children, including All-Ireland champion musician, Stephen Kennedy.
This will be followed at 9.30pm with the official opening by Ger Loughnane and a presentation to Bodyke All-Star hurler and double All-Ireland winner, Liam Doyle. Saturday, May 4 will include a golf scramble at East Clare Golf Club.
A walk has also been organised during the golf event, which commences at the golf club at 10.30am and will follow a route in the beautiful countryside.
The Bodyke Daly clan will hold their family gathering event at 4.30pm in the Cobblers Rest, where upwards of 40 people are expected to descend.
An open invitation has been issued by the community in Bodyke to its past residents, wherever they may be, to drop by for the festivities.
At 6.30pm on the Saturday evening, a mass as Gaeilge will be celebrated by Fr Donagh O’Meara at Bodyke Church and will include contributions from Bodyke choir and Bodyke National School performing a pageant depicting The Gathering and local topics. Meanwhile, clubs, societies and associations in Bodyke will also be represented at the mass.
Following the mass, piper Patrick Murphy will lead the congregation from the church to the eviction stone. At 8.30pm, local historian John S Kelly will give a talk on the 1887 Bodyke evictions, while later, a four-piece band from Galway will perform.
On Sunday, there will be plenty of GAA activities in the local hurling field with juvenile and mixed match events between 3pm and 5pm. Meanwhile, there will be a session at the Cobblers Rest, Bodyke and musicians are invited to join in.
There will also be a magic show for all the family from 5pm to 6pm, followed by music by Pat O’Neill of the Lough Graney group, from 7pm to 9pm.
Solas an Chláir (The Light of Clare), a commemorative limestone piece by Corofin stone mason John Goggin, with design inputs from Ennis sculptor Shane Gilmore, is Clare’s Gathering symbol and for the month of May, it will be at home in Bodyke.
“We will also have Solas an Chláir, which will be on display over the weekend. It is a special torch that Clare County Council introduced and they decided to give it to one area each month and Bodyke got it for the month of May. It’s a big stone sculpture with lighting and it will be on view from the house part of the Cobbler’s Rest,” Colm Wiley said.
“It will be the first festival we have had in Bodyke. We decided we’d have a go and do our own thing. We have people coming from all over to it. There is big interest in the Bodyke evictions,” he added.
People are welcome to participate in the sessions and young people, in particular, are invited to get involved. Barbecues will take place throughout the weekend and the public are advised that all events are free.
The street will be lined with flags and bunting over the weekend and householders are invited to decorate their own homes to welcome those gathering in Bodyke.