“Maeve Abú” her warriors roared as they followed her and her chariot through the wide streets of Ardee to the battlefield at the river Dee. The rain poured down on the combatant’s Cuchullain (Peter Lawless) and Ferdia (Patrick Lawless). It was a brutal and bloody affair that ended with the inevitable death of Ferdia at the hands of his foster brother.
The Epic story was narrated as they fought by Bard Hughie Matthews who in a different life sells the finest of suits in his shop in the Main street of Ardee.
Ferdia was waked in Ardee Castle after the battle and here Maeve’s warriors were treated to the finest of pork served by the handmaids of Ardee Business community, Allison and Karen Duffy. Such was sadness of the occasion that the mourning went on long into the night in the Ferdia Arms pub across the road.
By afternoon Friday the army trundled on in the lashing rain to the Irelands tidiest town Tallanstown. Here the children of the area turned out in battledress and gave a wonderful rendition of Celtic song. The soaked army were offered the hospitality of the community and, fortified with home baked scones and tea headed to Louth Village. Maeve’s horse was indifferent to tidy town’s judges and they could lose a few points this year after our visit.
Fear gripped the village of Louth with the exception of Eddie Murphy in his shop who spotted an opportunity to trade. The rest of the populous peered out from house windows as the army moved through in pelting rain. On then to Knockbridge their army blocking Maeve’s path but following wise council from their representative Declan Breathnach and maid Marion Scanlon, everyone headed for Stephenstown’s Pond to again partake of the areas hospitality and fine food.
The sun broke through for the march from Knockbridge to Bellurgan on Friday morning. The great warrior of the Muirheivne Plains Michaél Mc Cabe (and of Louth Co. Council) resplendent on his white horse and dressed to kill (metaphorically) joined us with other mounted warriors and marched towards the great Sq. in Dundalk.
And so it was we came to the great Square where water cascades endlessly and crowds had gathered to witness another re-enactment and great battle between brother’s Paul and Sean Wheelan. It was brilliant. Ferdia as usual lost and even Maeve’s enemies were hoping that he could win just once - It was not to be.
From Bellurgan Park they marched across the great mountains of Cooley in search of the Bull. Some warriors fell by the way side and thank God for the Red Cross and HSE ambulance service, for if what happened to them happened 2000 years ago those injured would have been left to lie where they lay.
And they marched into Carlingford led by warrior drummers of the new Carlingford Samba Band to the cheers of the crowds that lined the streets, and down on to the village green where they found a great feast awaiting and the Brown Bull grazing.