Clones Flower Festival - A Great Success!


Adam and Eve

The Flower Festival in St Tighernach's Church, Clones last weekend was a wonderful success. The Church doors were opened on Friday afternoon after Mrs Cassandra Hand' had cut the purple ribbons at the church-gates. After her short speech, Mr Willie Stinson played the bagpipes and the crowd who were gathered on the Diamond climbed the fourteen steps to the Church.

The Church was busy from Friday afternoon until it closed on Sunday evening. There were seventeen stunning floral exhibits in the Church, all looking different in colour, shape and size. Fifteen of these were designed by Mr Timothy Elliott, Manor Gardens, Lisnaskea, another display was created by parishioner, Mrs Sandra Irwin, and a floral interpretation, in the Sunday School room, was made by the children and their teachers. These arrangements represented various aspects of love as it is found in the Bible and in Christian history. The vintage bridal dress exhibition in the Protestant Hall was greatly admired and everyone enjoyed the delicious refreshments that were served. Those who went on Mr George Knight's historical tours were amazed to learn how much history there is in Clones.

At the opening service on Friday evening, Bishop John McDowell encouraged everyone not only to enjoy the beauty of flowers and creation, but also to look beyond and see the Creator. At this service, Mrs Cassandra Hand' preformed a monologue, describing Clones where she lived during the famine years and how the lace-making skills she introduced made a difference to so many individuals and families.

It was Mrs Cassandra Hand, the wife of the Revd Thomas Hand, who donated the fine Walker organ to the parish. The organ was played throughout the weekend by organists from the parishes as well as from neighbouring churches. In addition the Sheridan family played traditional folk music which added to the ambience and atmosphere in the Church.

Canon Noel Regan Fr Cathal Deery Canon Helene T-Steed and Mr Charles Mills

The Church was almost filled to capacity for the closing service on Sunday evening with people from Clones and beyond. Mr Glenn Moore, the organist, performed a recital of organ music and accompanied the congregation in the hymn singing. Soloist Mr Roy Crowe sang two hymns which expressed the wonder and amazement of God's creation. The Sacred Heart Choir sang some beautiful pieces accompanied by Roisin Sheridan.

In her sermon, Canon Steed said: There is both a complexity and simplicity about flowers. Did you know that a flower contains the wind, the rain, the sun, the breath of countless people and the air of all continents? And yet is so simple: a stem and petals. We look at it, and just love its beauty. Like flowers, we are complex and simple at the same time. Just as a flower contains a universe within itself, so we contain within us, the sum total of all our experiences and relationships that have made us what we are. So much and yet we are so simple. Looking at you today, you are a wonderful looking bunch of flowers. You would look great on your own in a vase, but all put together create a stunning arrangement. An arrangement called community.'

Congregation at the Closing Service

After this very successful weekend, speaking on behalf of the Church of Ireland parishioners in Clones, Canon Steed said: The weekend was truly remarkable. We were overwhelmed by the tremendous support from the people of Clones, Co Monaghan, Co Fermanagh and further afield. It is humbling that people travelled all the way from all 'arts and parts' to admire the flowers and support our Church. Our sincere thanks for all their kindness and generosity.' The Flower Festival has to date raised 14,000 towards the restoration of the windows in the Church and donations are still being received.