John McCullagh September 16, 2004
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A comprehensive programme of events has been organised this weekend (10-12 September) to amuse and entertain native dwellers and visitors alike ranging from Viking Ship re-enactments, to Camlough Mummers and coach and walking tours.  Spoilt for choice but you’ve just got to choose, since the full programme runs at different venues at the same time.
 
Your editor has opted to join Anthony Cranney’s intrepid walking group, setting out in determined search for the elusive Calliagh Berra in her cairn or souterrain or lake on top of Slieve Gullion.  Just back from scaling Babbadag in Turkey, and then Slieve League in Donegal, our own wee hill may seem a cakewalk but I must confess it is some decades since I completed it all by foot.  
 

Climber

 

Groping fingertips search slowly up the wall

Grateful fingers grip firmly to the hold

Curled toes of feet help balance on the rock’s fold

To lose one’s self-belief is mentally to fall.

 

So hand to hand, strained foot and back and knee

Up slope, then face and crack, and chimney bold

Till triumphant on the summit he’ll behold

A land of broken rock and scattered scree

Gazing o’er mountain, Fews and sea

The surface of a molten earth grown cold

And breathing air Cuchullain breathed of old

He relishes the heady taste of victory.

 

And though he climbs, he conquers not the hill

It is himself he conquers with his will.

 

Anyway, it’s the folk-tales, the craic and the company of the erudite and accomplished Anthony Cranney that I’m after.  And of course the exclusive interview with the Calliagh herself, should we corner her.  
 
If we make it back on time, I’ll see Pat Maginn’s Mummers.  Watch out for a report.  

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