Library exhibition highlights Mallow Sugar Factory links a Czechoslovakia

Did you know that engineers from Czechoslovakia designed Mallow Sugar Factory 80 years ago, and that the town’s small Czech community has direct links to the engineers who came to Mallow all those years ago? To celebrate this link, an exhibition titled ‘Mallow and the Czech Republic-Unexpected Links’ will open today Thursday in Mallow Library at 6pm, with special guest Allan Navratil doing the honours.

The arrival in Mallow of the Czech contingent in 1937 led to a long-lasting link with Mallow, as in the 1960s a group of folk dan-cers and the Thomas Davis Pipe Band travelled to Czechoslovakia on tour, and this in turn led to a Czech folk dance group making a trip to Mallow for the 1988 Folk Gathering. All these events are featured in the Mallow Library exhibition, and the public are invited to call into the library to see the photos which feature many faces from days gone by.

There will be a strong Czech flavour to proceedings in Mallow for the next few days, because as well as the Library exhibition, the award winning Jistebnik Youth Wind Orchestra from Prague will give several performances in the town, as well as taking part in the International Marching Band Parade in Cork city on Saturday as part of Rebel Week. The 90-strong group arrived in Mallow yesterday, Wednes-day, and were met by organ-iser Cllr Ronan Sheehan and local host families who have welcomed them into their homes.

It will be a busy few days for the orchestra, as this morning they are taking part in a concert for local schools in Mallow Youth Centre, and in the afternoon they will join other bands in a parade around the town before giving a recital at Market Square. Then it’s off to the GAA Complex to enjoy a first glimpse of the game of hurling, followed by the opening of the exhi-bition in the library, and to round the day off there will be an official reception and dinner. Tomorrow, Friday, the band will go in two directions, the younger members going to Davis College where they will give a recital, while the older members will travel to East Cork to sample the delights of Midleton Distillery. Tomorrow night there will be a joint concert by the orchestra and local musicians in St Mary’s Church, and during the night the winners of the Czech Rebel History Schools Competition will be announced.

On Saturday the orchestra will go to Cork Racecourse Mallow, where a race on the day’s card will be named in their honour. They will give a performance in the parade ring between races, and will have lunch, after which they will jour-ney to Cork city to take part in the Rebel Week Internat-ional Band Parade. On Sun-day they will leave early, but not before enjoying breakfast in the Hibernian Hotel with their host fami-lies. Hopefully they will go home with fond memories of their Mallow visit, 80 years after another group from their homeland came to Mallow.