A TRADITION spanning the past few decades on Halloween night in one Enniskillen estate is the bonfire.
Centred on Kilmacormick estate and the surrounding area, the last remaining ‘big’ bonfire in Enniskillen currently sits on the old Unipork factory site.
While in previous times the area would have had large bonfires in Cornagrade, and Kilmacormick 1; now children and adults in the area work together on the Kilmacormick 2 site. Other smaller bonfires are scattered throughout the town.
A resident in the area, who at 26 said he has been involved in building the bonfire since the age of ‘five or six – and said that while the bonfire may have got a bad reputation in the past, in recent years it has been all about the community.
“The younger boys would usually go out from about August time, usually about two months before. They’d start it and the older ones would come out for the last two weeks and help and give them a hand,” the resident explained.
“Everybody joins in, the young ones go out together. They’ll go all around the town lifting bits of pallets – I’ve seen them walking to the other end of town just for a lock of pallets.”
Up to 50 young people get involved in the collecting – with the bonfire generally reaching up to 60 feet in height.
And while the resident was keen to promote the community aspect of the bonfire, he admitted that they have caused controversy in the past.
“They do get a very bad reputation. A way back it would have been to do with fighting with the police and that – that would have been maybe fifteen years ago, and the troubles and that.”
He said that the burning of flags is something that no longer takes place.
“It used to be done more year ago but not so much now, that’s not really what it’s all about any more. At one time it would have been about that. The Protestants would have had bonfires on the Twelfth, we would have had bonfires on Halloween and it would have been ‘tit-for-tat’ over flags and stuff like that.
“But it’s gone away from that. Years ago Chanterhill might have had a bonfire and the Kilmacormick boys might have tried to steal Chanterhill’s things without them knowing.”
He went on: “I’d say maybe five six years ago it stopped. The younger boys at 15 or 16 might be thinking when I was nine or ten, you put union jacks on top of the fire, but it’s not like that any more. It’s nothing to do with that anymore, it’s more a community thing now.”
Those in the area collect pallets and rubbish from businesses in the town and from neighbours.
“They go around business in the town and ask have they any pallets – they’ll knock all the doors around Kilmacormick – and the big question they’ll ask at the doors is ‘Have you any rubbish for Halloween?’ And people might through an old mattress or cupboard and the boys will take it over to the bonfire.”
The bonfire is usually lit after the fireworks display in Enniskillen on Halloween night.
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