Tom Jones, member of the Sligo daytrip group has prearranged a few of these visits by logging on their facebook pages/emailing and telephoning and has kindly put the links at the end of the piece for you. (While the guide names and contacts for tours are real the tourist group is fictional and based on many who have visited one or other of the sites)
The Day Out begins: 10am to 12.30pm
Tom and his friends are full of fun and ready to try new things so Tom decided as an entertaining start to the visit he would bring the group to the ladies in Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, (off the N4 from Longford or Edgeworthstown if you miss the Longford turn) to partake in one of their many interesting workshops. His group have decided that they will take part in the Midir and Etain drama that Annette Corkery has written based on the ancient legend of the area. The group arrive to their pre-arranged morning tea/coffee and scones laid out for them in the cafe area of the centre. While they are enjoying their leisurely snack Annette and Ann provide them with their script. (Don't be afraid! It is all narrated and actions only required!!) They laugh nervously as they decide who will play what with some of the extroverts agreeing to take on the main characters of Midir, Etain, Eochaidh, Aonghus, Fuaimneach and Etar's wife. The quieter ones in the group happily taking part in the crowd scenes and audience. Once the refreshments are taken the group move through the art room and the Craft Gallery to the Heritage end of the building where they put on their costumes and dramatise the play to much laughter and joy. "We find that even the most reluctant player gets very enthused before it ends" says Ann Gerety Smythof Creative Ardagh. When everybody has been entertained and educated on this wonderful legend Ann and Annette give a brief history of Ardagh and Moydow to the group. The group take their time reading the interesting exhibition and browsing the Craft Gallery which stocks handmade crafted good made by local craftspeople, many of whom are members of Longford's Craft Network, Creative Longford. The more energetic of the group take a wander through the village exploring St. Brigid's Church where the high altar and altar rail were designed by William Hague and carved by James Pearse (1839 - 1900), father of the sculptor Willie Pearse and the more famous political figure Patrick Pearse(1879 - 1916), visit the grave of 1916 Easter Rising Rebellion soldier Alfred McHugh, St. Patrick's Church and the site of the original St. Mel's Cathedral, the clock tower, the traveller's rest and on the way to visit Bonny Pat Farrell's grave, general of the Granardbattle in the 1798 rebellion, in the old graveyard they notice the plaque relating the tale of how Goldsmith was inspired to write She stoops to Conquer. The rest of the group take a leisurely stroll in the Neighbourhood Park and Woods or sit and read many of the interesting books in the building.