T he chairman of the newly renamed ‘Youghal4All’ committee Jimmy Flanagan, speaking at the AGM on Wednesday (8th February 2012) introduced the festival’s arrival with the good news that sponsorship had been acquired for a raffle to take place over its three-day stretch from March 16th-18th. The sponsors are Michael T. Murphy, insurance brokers, who will fund the raffle tickets, Lee Travel (McDonalds), with a €100 travel voucher, likewise a €100 voucher courtesy of SuperValu, along with €200 from All for Youghal itself.
Ruth Vance then detailed the events that will comprise the first Moby Dick Literary Festival in Youghal, some 58 years after the opening scenes of the renowned film were so historically shot in the town over the summer of 1954. Its arrival, at last, is “long overdue,” as Mr Flanagan accurately reflected.
Dr. Laurie Robertson-Lorant, chairwoman of the New Bedford Historical Society Education Committee and author of Melville -A Biography is travelling to Youghal for the weekend. Other invitees include explorer Tim Severin and author John Stack.
Having been so long in surfacing, the programme compiled by Youghal Four All and Ruth Vance in particular- will create a highly impressive wave of activity and entertainment. Events commence at 4 pm on Friday March 16th with a puppet show by St. Raphael’s Puppet Theatre in the Methodist Hall. This will be followed by a ‘webinar’ in a festival marquee (venue and indeed nature of venue yet to be confirmed) in which a panel discussion on Herman Melville’s famous novel will be broadcast live to American Universities and high schools. Photographic records from the filming, taken by Pat Burke and now edited by Ed Guiry, will follow. At 6.30, Michael Hussey will show a digital version of an old silent Moby Dick film, starring John Barrymore and which preceded John Huston’s classic. There will be a flare display followed by reminiscences from extras or observers of the film recount their experience.
Saturday morning brings children’s readings in the library, Perkies art activities on a boat and a reading from Moby Dick by Tim Severin, Cork poet Thomas McCarthy, Tommy Slattery and Seán O’Neill, prior to the St. Patricks’ Day parade. A quayside display of seafaring skill by locals including Barry Claughessy, John Innes, local scouts and lifeboat members will ensue after the parade, followed by sea shanties.
Sunday sees a marine antiques fair in St. Mary’s Church followed by a maritime history talk in the marquee. Former councillor Olly Casey will compare Youghal and its new twin New Bedford Pobalscoil. Pobalscoil na Trionóide students will perform more readings and events wil close with a Moby Dick themed video presentation by actor Conor Lovett. See www.mobydick.ie for further information.
The weekend will also feature short story competitions for children and adults based on the themes Youghal or a weird experience (not that the two never merge!) , children’s storytelling a maritime history talk by local historian Frank Mills, plus angling competitions. Other inputs will include such recollections by locals as to why Moby Dick was so important to recessionary Youghal nine years after the Second World War.