Members of the various clubs and organisations using Bruree sportsfield gathered there last week to officially launch Memories – The Gathering 2013 which will be held in the parish from September 12th to 15th. According to Judy Tobin, Rockhill Bruree Sportsfield Development Committee secretary, “The theme of the weekend is memories and we are giving people from the parish at home and abroad an opportunity to remember past days, events and people from or connected to Rockhill and Bruree.”

This process has already started with the creation of a Facebook page – Rockhill and Bruree – to which old photographs with parish connections are being regularly up-loaded. Committee member, Brendan Hogan, said “The reaction to this page has been tremendous with almost 600 likes and a weekly reach averaging 10,000. The page is viewed by users in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates as well as here in Ireland. The page grew out of a plan to hold an exhibition of old photos during The Gather-ing weekend and an appeal for people to donate old photos.” The photo exhibition will be on view throughout the weekend and will feature almost 1,000 photographs, some up to 100 years old.

The objective of The Gathering 2013 is to encourage Irish people away from home (particularly those abroad) to return to their home place during the year. This year is the 50th anniversary of the building of St. Patrick’s National School in the parish. We want to celebrate the milestone by having a reunion of past pupils of the four schools connected with the parish i.e. Bruree, Rockhill, Killacolla and the “new” school.

The weekend will be officially opened on Friday, September 13th, by Eamon O’Cuiv, TD who will also give a talk on his memories of his grandfather, Eamon de Valera, the parish’s most famous former resident. He will focus on de Valera the father and grandfather and his personal memories of the man as distinct from the public figure. This will be followed by a traditional Irish Rambling House including a lavish tea.

Saturday will be a night of nostalgia in the newly refurbished Bruree Community Hall with music for all ages from waltzes and quicksteps to disco and everything in between. The dress theme for the night is Bruree Through the Decades and those attending are asked to dress in a style appropriate to their favourite decade. There will be a prize for the best dressed on the night. Barbecue food will be served and there will be bar facilities.

Sunday will feature a family fun day at Bruree sportsfield and there will be historical walks through the village on Saturday.

Keep an eye on the Facebook page – Memories Rockhill and Bruree – for updates on the plans for the weekend and don’t forget to like and share it.

Rockhill Bruree Sportsfield Development Committee chairman, Noel O’Halloran, said “All proceeds of the weekend will go towards developing the sportsfield, with the time now opportune to invest in this vital piece of community infrastructure. This will make it a focal point in the parish and a fitting venue for sports and leisure activities for young and old.”