January 25, 1964.
Mountrath, although for years hard hit by unemployment and emigration, excels most small towns and many towns of much larger population in the sphere of social activities. While the cry throughout the country, particularly among the younger generation, is for something to do, it can be honestly said of Mountrath that if people availed themselves of all sources of entertainment and social activities in the town, they would have too much to do.
There is a GAA club, golf club, thriving branches of the CYMSI and Macra Na Feirme, the latter putting the town in the focus of national attention quite recently by winning a national championship. Lastly there is the arts group, a society which proves conclusively that the town has more than its share of individual and collective talent.
Fiona Wallis, wife of well-known business man and farmer, Joe Wallis, on last Sunday night spotlighted the town and the arts group, when she appeared on Telefis Eireann on the Joe Linnane national talent contest. Her singing was very high commended by each of the adjudicators, and her performance was a source of pride to all Mountrath and many Laois people as she is the first from the county to appear on that show.
Since the initiation of the arts group in 1958, she has taken a leading part in all their musical presentations. Her talent however is not confined to musical activities, because she has very successfully played parts in most of the group’s dramatic presentations as well. She will appear in this year’s play ‘The Money Doesn’t Matter’ by Louis Dalton, which the arts group will present in St Fintan’s Hall on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Noel Barry, whose stage experiences and achievements would constitute a fair-sized volume, plays a leading part in this production. Joe Wallis, who has been prominent in plays for many years now, is back once again to give what should be one of his most memorable performances. Dinny Walsh, who has been in a number of plays, promises to be one of the highlights in the production.