Y oughal is set to pursue Moby Dick once again as the town’s Concerned Citizen’s group is poised to harpoon a literary festival to Herman Melville’s tale of the great white whale. The one-day festival will be launched on March 16th and is intended to target to American market in particular, with the bait of St. Patrick’s Day 24 hours later an added, cleverly laid lure for attention.
While generally recognised in this part of the world, Melville is extremely acclaimed in the US and anything pertaining to celebrate his name and fame is certain to attract American attention.
The festival hopes to include live webcast debates between American colleges and locals who played parts or extras in the opening scenes. Other ideas being developed include “readings, a photography exhibition and re-enactments,” according to PRO for the YCC, Ruth Vance. “But we are inviting other proposals from the public as well,” she adds.
The initiative comes fifty eight years after director John Huston and his entourage temporarily transformed the east Cork town into a the whaling centre of New Bedford on America’s eastern seaboard. Huston and stars such as Gregory Peck, Richard Basehart, Leo Genn and Ireland’s Noel Purcell dazzled locals while considerably boosting the local economy over three glorious months of glamour as they shot the opening scenes of the much acclaimed film. Youghal has long prided itself on its associations with Moby Dick but the link has remained undeveloped from a tourist perspective until now.
Recently retired town councillor and mayor, Olly Casey, visited New Bedford, as guest of ex-pat association Sons of Saint Patrick.
As a 12 year-old, Mr. Casey witnessed the 1954 filming and his reminiscences regaled large gatherings over three days in which Paris-based Irish theatre company Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland, performed a one-man adaption of the story. “I was struck by the people’s fascination for everything about Moby Dick,” says Olly. “They all wanted to come to Youghal and that interest indicates a major potential for our town’s tourism.”
Youghal Concerned Citizens, which was founded last February, adds the Moby Dick Literary Festival to its growing list of annual events, including Mackerel & Regatta and Halloween festivals and a Teddy Bears’ picnic. A Dickens-themed Christmas commences next week.
Inquiries etc., to Ruth Vance on 086-3252278 or Adrian Hyde (024) 91355; e mail: email@example.com.
Thursday December 8, 2011