Welcome to Hollywood
Terraced thousands died, shaking scythes at cannon.
The hillside blushed, soaked in our broken wave.
They buried us without shroud or coffin
And in August... the barley grew up out of our grave."
Printed in Door into The Dark, Seamus Heany, 1969.
Given the week in it with the passing of Seamus Heany, it seemed appropriate to open with a poem from Seamus Heany. To be honest, prior to this week, my knowledge of Irish literature was somewhat limited and thus I knew little of the recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. In winning the Nobel prize, Heany brought the total of Irish Nobel Laureates to four alongside the greats of William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett.
In some ways, today's post on the Hollywood Fair is somewhat appropriate given Heany's writings of Irish rural life.
The Hollywood is refer to is the small village of Hollywood, Co Wicklow. In existing long before its star encrusted namesake, the village boasts its own smaller hillside Hollywood sign and has also seen it's own share of movie stars and film productions. However, it has not lost its traditional rural roots and for the last three years has hosted its own rural fair. The fair is run under a pre-1950's rural Ireland theme which the locals have truly taken to heart. The pre-1950s attire is not only adorned by the stall holders and demonstrators, but also by nearly all the villagers and visitors, whether helping out at the fair or merely attending the local pub for a quick half. This definitely adds to the overall atmosphere of the fair and I think this is what sets it aside from other country fairs.
The fair demonstrates pre-1950 rural Ireland through traditional woodcraft, stone carving and farriery as well as shows on vintage cars, farm machinery and steam engines. In addition, various events are held over the weekend from the traditional mass held in latin, reenactments of the famine evictions of the 1840 through to competitive sheepdog trails and sheep shearing. The event was so popular this year that the local village pub was rumoured to have ran out of beer on the Saturday night!