Saturday 17 March, 2007 — Saint Patrick’s Day
Commencing at 11.00 a.m.
The Great Famine in Ireland (1845‑1850) caused the loss of almost two and a half million
people who were forced to emigrate "to Heaven or overseas...".
With that history in mind our thoughts will also be with all victims of natural calamities, famine, war, poverty and injustice in our world today.
2. Civic welcome on behalf of the City of Cardiff by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Kate Lloyd.
3. St.Patrick’s Day message from the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, read by Colm McGrady, Consul General for Ireland in Wales.
4. Stephen Foster’s remarkable song, Hard Times, a reminder of the hardship in America in the 19th century, sung by Dave Burns, a son of Newtown, Cardiff’s former ‘Little Ireland’.
5. Message in Welsh and English by Lord Dafydd Elis‑Thomas Presiding Officer, National Assembly for Wales.
6. Côr Cochion Caerdydd (Cardiff Reds‘ Choir) sang:Sliabh Geal gCua.
This song was originally composed in Irish as Sliabh Geal gCua by Pádraig Ó
Miléadha (1877 – 1947), an exile from the Decies area in West Waterford who lived in the
Swansea Valley for about 20 years before and after WW1.
It gives exquisite and painful expression to the feelings of those forced by economic necessity to live far from their home, from their friends and from their language.
The choir began by singing one verse in the original Irish before singing all of the song in a translation into Welsh.
7. A reading by Newport‑born Father Michael McCarthy, I.C.
8. Harri Pritchard‑Jones paid a tribute to the late and great Seán Mac
Harri had delivered the panygeric during the funeral Mass for Seán in Dublin in January. Among the congregation was the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
9. Seona Mac Réamoinn, Seán’s daughter responde to Harri’s tribute.
10. A special presentation was made to Seona and to her brother, Brian, on behalf of the Wales Famine Forum and of all present. The presentation consisted of a special scarf displaying the colours of Ireland and of Wales, made by John O’Sullivan.
11.Reflection by the Reverend Aled Edwards, Secretary of CYTUN (‘Churches Together in Wales’ – ‘Cytûn’ is a Welsh word meaning ‘unanimous’).
12. Laying of wreaths during which the Côr Cochion sang Dona Nobis Pacem and the South African song, Thula Thula.
13. Dave Burns sang: The Country I’m Leaving Behind
This beautiful and poignant song of exile was regularly sung at the end of a party or other celebration
by the people of the former Irish community of Newtown in Cardiff. Dave Burns was astonished to find
that it was quite unknown in Ireland when he first visited his ancestral homeland in the late 1960s.
Although its melody, style and words clearly indicate that it was written – possibly in Scotland or in Wales – by someone from Ireland, this is a song that echoes the deep feelings of hurt, displacement and loss felt by all emigrants no matter where or what their origins.
14. Blessing / prayer by clergy.
15. The Côr Cochion lead the singing of Amhrán na bhFiann, the National Anthem of Ireland, and Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, the National Anthem of Wales.
16. John Sweeney delivered the closing remarks.
Come whenever you wish, take what you see,
And once come, stay as long as you like!
By Sypyn Cyfeiliog,
1340 ‑ 1390.
Translation: Professor Joseph P. Clancy.
We are grateful to the Cardiff City Council Bereavement Services, who give full support to this annual service and who include the Memorial on their heritage trail which also includes the grave of champion boxer Peerless Jim Driscoll, a son of Newtown, who is buried near the Famine Memorial.
A selection of related articles which may bring tears, smiles and some legitimate pride.
The Wales National Great Famine Memorial
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