Joe Mahon returns to our screens on Monday night with a visit to Co. Fermanagh, where he’ll spend the next two episodes in the picturesque, historic town of Irvinestown.
In this week’s episode Joe Mahon finally achieves one of his long-held ambitions which is, – to meet Joe Mahon! The other Joe Mahon that is, hotelier, festival organiser, charity fund-raiser, and creator of much mayhem and fun in and around Irvinestown. We witness some of his antics at the Lady of the Lake Festival over the years and hear about the incredible annual convoy of lorries that, at one stage, stretched 23 miles across the countryside before entering Irvinestown.
Joe then meets Jenny Irvine of the ARC Healthy Living Centre, a voluntary organisation based in Irvinestown that has become a byword for innovative responses to the healthcare and education needs of local people. He also learns of the important role of the Fairs and Markets Committee, formed over 100 years ago, yet continuing to plot the way forward on a number of fronts in the interests of the entire population.
In episode 5 which airs the following Monday,Joe Mahon returns to Irvinestown to celebrate the heritage of the town and the county through two distinguished members of its community and also with the help of an absentee who might be regarded as an honorary native. Former schoolteacher, Breege McCusker, is a local historian whose thirst for knowledge of her birthplace began in the public house her parents ran in the Main Street of Irvinestown. The stories of the “old folk” at the bar counter inspired her in later in life to research and write her own books about the town’s colourful history.
Canon Michael McGourty is the former parish priest of the Sacred Heart Church in Irvinestown, and in the grounds of that church, with the help of an extraordinarily talented Lithuanian wood-sculptor named Jonas Raiskas, he has created a veritable forest of life-size, oak figures representing a pantheon of Irish saints and scholars. Needless to say, Fermanagh’s contribution to monastic scholarship features prominently, and Canon McGourty gives Joe a tour of, what is surely destined to become, a major tourist attraction for the county for many decades to come.
Mahon’s Way is produced by Westway Film Productions for UTV and is sponsored by ‘Mid & East Antrim – A Place Shaped by Sea & Stone.’ You can watch these episodes on Monday 26th July and Monday 2nd August at 8pm on UTV and on catch up on www.itv.com/utvprogrammes .