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Robbie immortalised in stone

Michael McTigue and his son, Eamonn, with the sculpture that commemorates the Fair of Spancilhill and the late Robbie Mc Mahon. Photograph by Declan Monaghan
THE person most linked with the famous Fair of Spancilhill in modern times will be specially remembered at this year’s event.

As part of the weekend celebrations, a stone monument will be unveiled in memory of the late Robbie McMahon, the person credited with bringing the song of the Spancilhill Fair to a worldwide audience.

Robbie died last December at the age of 86, after a short illness. However, his name will live on through the song and now the stone monument, situated at Spancilhill Cross, will be unveiled by Robbie’s wife, Maura, on Saturday, June 23,at 8.30pm. The ceremony will be followed by music and singing in nearby Duggan’s pub.

The monument was commissioned by members of the Spancilhill Fair Committee, who engaged Kilnamona sculptor Michael McTigue for the project. Sculpted in limestone, it features an etching in granite of the late Robbie McMahon, along with some lines and notes from Spancilhill. Also engraved are an image of the old Clooney church and two men striking a deal at the annual horse fair.

The fair is usually held on June 23 but at this date falls on a Sunday this year, the event will take place on the Monday. Thus the fair will happen on the date according to the words of the song – “It being the 23rd of June, the day before the fair” noted Joe Hallinan of the Spancilhill Fair Committee.

He added they will have a weekend of events for Féile an gCnoic 2013, starting with the official opening at 9pm on Friday, June 21 with a music session to follow in Duggan’s pub. The programme will start at 3pm on Saturday with The Spancilhill Walk from the car park of Duggan’s. This will be a leisurely stroll through the area with historian Joe Queally. It will be followed at 5pm by the vintage drive of old fashioned machinery and transport and the unveiling of the monument to Robbie McMahon at 8.30pm.

A family fun day is scheduled for Sunday with donkey derby, sheaf throwing, tug of war, face painting, horseshoe throwing and stalls. All events will take place after the televised Clare v Cork Munster Senior Hurling Championship game in Limerick at 4pm. The day will close with the usual eve of the fair traditional singing session in Duggan’s.

Monday is fair day, commencing with the showing and lunging classes. The fairgreen will be a hive of activity and to cater for the big crowds, special parking arrangements will be in operation.
All enquires to Mike Duggan at 087 2940998.


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