2012 Newry Drama Festival Opens


The Diamond Jubilee Newry Drama Festival kicks off tonight at 8 pm in Newry Town Hall with a witty farce, Stella by Starlight, performed by Bart Players from Belfast.  Bart are perennial favourites in Newry.

All the action takes place in a single night in the home of contemporary Irish couple, Dermot, a down-sized corporation employee and his wife Stella, a former bank teller.  They have a teenage daughter Tara.  They have recently left the big city for a new life in the remote countryside.

There is some light entertainment afterwards in the Arts Centre – which we must miss, as our presence is required at the birthday party of a recent contributer, Peter McGrath Jnr.

What it’s like to be in demand!

Go.  Enjoy.  It should be a good night!

Kilnasaggart Stone

As you know, the Kilnasaggart Stone is the oldest inscribed Christian Standing Stone in Ireland.  That of course is less than half the story.
We have no direct evidence of its antiquity for stone is not subject to radio-carbon dating or any of the other scientific methods recently developed.  Some scholars ascribe to ancient Celtic Ogham script the diagonal slashes to be found at the back and near the base of the stone. 

The legend inscribed on its front (in Latin, or a mix of Gaelic and Latin) ‘this place Ternoc son of Ciaran the Little, assigned to the keeping of the Apostle Peter’ sets the inscription itself to the second decade of the eighth century of the Christian calendar.   There is a distinct air of exorcism about the over-adornment of the stone with crosses and a similarity of the stone to the Long Stone nearby at Ballard and many others in the vicinity and indeed still to be found scattered in remote districts all over Ireland (Ta to John Macan, Oz, for his Guestbook elucidation!).  Many of these, including Kilnasaggart, have a distinct phallic appearance and were probably pagan or druidic fertility symbols.  This makes it some millennia in situ.

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