*An overview of the large crowd which attended the exhibition launch. Photograph: Chris Copley

ST MICHAEL’S VILLAS residents were the proudest members of the large crowd who attended the opening of the SMV70 Exhibition at the Clare Museum on Friday last.

Members of the St Michael’s Villas diaspora had travelled from the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom and all over Ireland for the weekend of celebrations to mark seventy years of the housing estate in Ennis.

Formed by the first children of the Villas, the SMV70 Choir performed for the crowd on Friday evening. Fr. Brendan Quinlivan, resident of St. Michael’s Villas was MC for the evening and there was much excitement when he introduced Olympian and St. Michael’s native Neil Ryan to officially launch the exhibition which runs until the end of August, daily from 10am to 5pm.

A memorial was unveiled at the Grotto in St Michael’s Villas on Saturday to all the residents who have died in its seventy year history. This was followed by a mass, celebrated by Fr Tom Ryan, a native of St Michael’s Villas anD Fr. Brendan Quinlivan. The SMV70 choir performed at Mass accompanied by musicians, Vincent McMahon, Maeve Kearse, Ann Larkin and John Hanrahan.

Michael Donnellan, two times World Irish dancing champion, star of several shows and choreographer danced during mass with his mother Carrie O’Brien Donnellan, herself a dancing champion. Carrie is a proud native of St. Michael’s Villas and Michael spent many happy days in the Villas with his grandparents the late Maureen and Ronnie O’Brien. This was followed by a recital by Ennis Brass Band, luckily the rain held off to give way to a wonderful street party.

Later in the evening performances by the Villas Band, Los Paddys, Seanie Leahy and Nathalie Leahy were greeted by delight by the community. The highlight of the event was performances of the St. Michael’s Villas anthem ‘We Had It All’ written by Mike Hanrahan of Stockton’s Wing fame and performed by his brother John and accompanied by the SMV70 choir.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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