Frank Cadam in the role of Percy French
Frank Cadam is a founder and producer of the Sliabh an Iarainn Players, takes the part of Percy French with the Leitrim Percy French Society. He has been involved with the performing arts for nearly 50 years.
What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend in Leitrim?
For me, a perfect day/weekend in Leitrim is a walk along Garadice Lake with its beautiful shrubs and trees followed by a relaxing bite to eat while admiring the beautiful views that surround Aughawillan. Even in the winter, the Sliabh An Iarainn mountains covered in snow always look spectacular.
Who has made the greatest contribution to Leitrim in your lifetime - and why?
I believe John O'Mahoney has made the greatest contribution to Leitrim in my lifetime.
The people of Leitrim will never forget the historic days of the summer of 1994, culminating in Leitrim playing in an All Ireland semi-final against Dublin in Croke Park, something that will live in the memories of Leitrim people far and wide.
What's your first Leitrim memory?
As a young boy growing up in North Longford, I remember my neighbour Larry Cunningham singing 'Lovely Leitrim' in 1965, This song introduced me to Co Leitrim and many of its towns. I still get very emotional when I hear a gathering of people sing 'Lovely Leitrim'.
What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
Leitrim is a beautiful county but if I have to pick one particular place then it has to be Aughawillan. The landscape around Aughawillan is a sight to behold. The sense of community is admirable and I am very proud to be part of that community.
What do you think gives Leitrim its unique identity?
There are three things , for me, that give Leitrim its unique identity,
1 - The beauty of Leitrim, mountains, lakes, rivers, wildlife.
2 - The people, a good tradition of belonging and pride in the County
3 - The culture and heritage of Leitrim.
Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
There are many great writers/authors from Leitrim such as John McGahern and Seamus O'Rourke but I have always admired John McDwyer. John's plays have great comical content despite dealing with real human issues. Of course John wrote an aptly named play called 'Lovely Leitrim'.
What about a local walk - or view?
My favourite walk is around Garadice Lake. The peace and tranquility has to be experienced to be believed. The view across the lake, with the silhouette of the Church of Ireland as a back drop is wonderful. If I could bottle it, I would be a billionaire although no money could buy it!
What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?
The revitalising of small towns with a willingness by Leitrim County Council to change the planning regulations is a big challenge facing Leitrim. There needs to be a strong focus on encouraging and securing direct investment in the county to create long term employment for young people.
If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Leitrim, what would it be?
If I could change anything in Leitrim it would have to be the planning regulations. Rural Leitrim is being suffocated by the current planning regulations. I would ensure that potential developers had a more positive customer experience when dealing with the planning authorities.
The Percy Party takes place on May 4 and 5 as part of The Big Hello
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