Bridget Cleary Connections
Dear Friends, Happy New Year to all from Lou, Rose, and Genevieve!
We ended 2007 in grand style, taking part in Bethlehem’s spectacular First Night Celebration. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate and dance in the New Year! The acoustics at the Salem Lutheran church were stellar! It was a blast! There are some exciting new gigs coming up, and, we want to take this opportunity to share some related “Bridget Cleary” events.
First! This Saturday, January 19th, we’ll be appearing at the SnowBlast Winter Festival Blizzard Ball in Emmaus. (It’s fun just to say that)! The SnowBlast Festival runs Friday night and Saturday with all kinds of family activities – indoors and out. For details and ball tickets, check out their website at www.snowblastwinterfestival.org or call them at 484-201-0026.
Next – an intriguing story about our connection with Bridget Cleary. Most of you have heard Bridget’s cruel story, the story of a lively young woman who fell ill, was accused of being a “fairy witch” by her husband, and was eventually burned to death by his hand. Michael Cleary, and those who passively stood by, were eventually convicted of murder and sent to prison. Thereafter, laws were changed in order to protect women from such terrible acts. Our band, Rose and Genevieve especially, found this a compelling story and one which should be remembered.
This past November, Lou and Rose’s family traveled to Ireland for a long awaited family holiday. Of course, it was a priority mission to find Bridget Cleary’s house! Along the way, asking directions, we found that the cottage is well known among local people as the “Fairy Cottage”. After several u-turns, we found it, on a narrow farm lane, between the little towns of Cloneen and Drangan in Co. Tipperary.
It was unoccupied, with a realtor’s sign out front that read “Sale Agreed”. We recognized it from pictures that we had found on various internet sites – there is no identifying marker. It was a thrilling moment to have found the place and we couldn’t resist looking around the vacant property. (See attached photo of the front door).
On a whim, we left one of our CDs and a note, hoping that the new owners would write us. On Christmas Eve, we got an e-mail with “Fairy Cottage” in the subject line. It was from the brother of the new owners, passing along a message of thanks for the CD and an invitation to tour the house the next time we were in Ireland.
We were excited beyond belief and so thankful for this Christmas greeting! And, this brings us to the next bit of news in Bridget’s ongoing saga.
There is a theater company, from Waterford, Ireland, traveling to NYC this week to put on a play, “Are you the Wife of Michael Cleary?”. Below, I have copied an e-mail from Philip Furnell, the brother of the owners of the fairy cottage. He gives the details about the play (only 6 shows, running Tuesday through Sunday of this coming week). There has been very little, if any, publicity about the production. We are going to drive up on Friday night to see the show.
We know it’s not “around the corner”, but if anyone has friends or relations in the New York area, please pass this on, as we would like to support our Irish friends in their venture to bring this piece of history to life. As John Seraphin says, “We’re all in this together”!
Here’s the e-mail: Hi Lou I spoke to my brother and he will send you some pics. Have you read the book that came out last year about it, there was a tv documentary made from it also. Its very good and has photos of the inside of the house. see here...
We all went to Waterford last wednesday night to see the play thats going to new york, "Are you the wife of Michael Cleary". It’s on in the Irish Arts Centre, 553 west 51st street, NY. Tickets at www.smarttix.com It’s on 15th to 20th of January. We spoke to some of the theatre group, and ticket sales are slow so they need people to go!!! We told them about your band and they said they would love to meet you! I think my girlfriend Linda is going on the Friday night with some friends. She says it is not well advertised.
Sorry we could not get to you on new years but we had a full schedule. Maybe another time? I am watching seattle against green bay right now (in Ireland). very exciting, 14 to 7!! all the best Philip