Stan can’t wait to give Kilbeggan walking tours


Kilbeggan historian Stan McCormack.

Stan McCormack has written and brought to life in many forms the history of Kilbeggan and its environs over the past 25 years, and now he’s embarking on what he says is his latest project – facilitating a walking tour of the historic town of Kilbeggan.

During this 25-year period Stan carried out or was associated with many projects, with the intention of recording Kilbeggan’s history or improving the city.

These include six history books, including “Against the Odds: Kilbeggan Races, 1840-1994” (1995) and the recent “Kilbeggan Memories”.

Between 2012 and 2016, Stan was part of a committee that organized the Kilbeggan Knighthood Festival. The committee expected the initiative to last only a few years, but it lasted for five years. The festival was based on the historic chivalry of a local innkeeper, Thomas Cuffe, who received a title from the aristocrat and soldier, Viscount Townshend, in 1772 after a night of drinking.

Stan also participated in the installation of two plaques along Main Street, in tribute to the local people involved in the Irish Revolution and the First World War. He has also organized photo exhibitions in the city and is a major organizer and contributor to the “Kilbeggan past & present” Facebook group, which currently has some 2,300 members.

The walking tour, says Stan, is a personal project that will take months to plan and will require fundraising. This, which he “poses as [his] latest project “, will hopefully be ready from here to mid-March, depending on the public health situation.

“The tour will go from the Green to the Distillery Bridge, with four main focal points – the Green, the Square, the Cemetery Entrance and the Distillery Bridge,” Stan explained. “It will always integrate the canal, church, school, convent, GAA and Kilbeggan races as part of Kilbeggan’s overall history.

“All the main events in the city’s history took place on the extension of the main street, which makes it invaluable. These include the opening of the Kilbeggan Distillery, the rebellion of 1798, the story of chivalry, famous historical figures from Michael Collins to John Philpott Curran, artists Eileen Coughlan, Liam C Martin, Fiona Kelly and many stories of homes, shops, buildings, local people and sports, as well as international stories flowing from 28 headstones in the Church of Ireland graveyard.

The main goals of the tour include Stan’s ambition to present the history of Kilbeggan’s main thoroughfare in a vivid way. “A major objective will be to create the possibility that the tour can, in the near future, be filmed and put online for the people of Kilbeggan, both at home and abroad,” he said.

“It will be a major task but I will follow through with financial support. I am also looking to develop an online oral narrative of our history.

Second, Stan believes the tour can be used for all kinds of local groups – historical societies, schools, and out of town groups. He says he would like to partner with the Kilbeggan Distillery at some point to further develop the project.

The third goal of Stan’s initiative is to put more plaques and erect a timeline of history for visitors to Kilbeggan, and that if local businesses were supportive, old photos of the town could be displayed in their windows.

Finally, Stan hopes to gain support to take further advantage of the fact that what scientists believe to be Europe’s first tornado was at Rosdella, Kilbeggan on April 30, 1054. The Annals of the Four Masters seemed to describe a fiery tornado on that date. . “It would be unique in Irish history and specific to Kilbeggan and Westmeath, and it would be a great way to showcase the city for visitors,” he said.

Stan hopes to give Kilbeggan “a boost” with this initiative. He is very proud of his city and has enjoyed recreating its history over the years. He believes that showcasing its vibrant history will go perfectly with the development of the Grand Canal Greenway.

When asked what his favorite project was, he said he enjoyed working on his six books very much, but particularly enjoyed working on the Kilbeggan Knighthood Festival. The festival was a real example of what the community and a strong committee can do when everyone comes together, he said.

Over the years Stan has also worked hard for the community of Kilbeggan, raising funds for Westmeath Hospice, the Caring for Kids initiative and local schools. But her favorite moment was having the opportunity to interview local woman Kitty Flynn when she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the community of Kilbeggan in 2016.

Kitty is an author, community worker in many organizations, historian and life lover. “As a friend, I know her as a remarkable and intelligent woman who, at 96, leads a life always eager for the next challenge.”

Stan is grateful to all who have shown interest and provided financial support for his walking tour initiative so far, and calls for more to help “make this possible and leave our recorded history in good stead.” .

He can be contacted on 057 9332683, 087 79499857, or by e-mail at [email protected]


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