25th annual open day on Sunday, July 28th
There was a good turnout for last Wednesday’s (3rd) launch of the annual Family Picnic Day at Donamon Castle, which will take place on Sunday, July 28th.
In his opening address, MC Sean Beirne said that this was an important year for the picnic, it being the 25th anniversary of the event as well as the 80th anniversary of the arrival of The Divine World Missionaries to Donamon. He singled out Fr. Norman Davitt SVD, who was present, as being the first novice to arrive at the castle in 1939. He also paid tribute to his fellow committee members, Roscommon County Council and to Danny Burke of Castlerea, who had been MC of the event since it began.
Special guest, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Paschal Fitzmaurice described the castle as a “unique location which deserves to be supported and maintained”. He also praised the committee for their dedication.
Fr. Norman Davitt recalled his first day in Donamon having arrived by boat and train to Donamon Station from Birmingham on the very day that World War Two broke out. He mentioned how tough it was with the castle being in very bad repair and then having to cope with the sudden death of Fr. Ignatius Huelmeier so shortly after his arrival. But with help and donations ranging from food to furniture the novitiate was up and running on September 8th 1939.
Those in attendance also heard from speakers such as Cllrs. Tony Waldron and Ivan Connaughton as well as Danny Burke.
Sean Beirne then concluded by highlighting how events such as the Donamon Picnic Day contribute to tourism in the area. He wished neighbouring Athleague well in their Pride of Place competition, while also expressing best wishes to Ballygar Carnival and Ballintubber Heritage Festival which are both set to take place in coming weeks.