For the Benefit of Master Kite

 

In February of the year 1839 there was what is still referred to in Ireland by local historians  as the "Night of the Big Storm". On that night and for a few weeks before the Royal Circus was performing in Newry County Down. Shortly after that the circus moved to Dundalk in county Louth. Not too far from Newry.

 

For the record I am from Dundalk and have done a lot of research in the local library which is why I can pass on this info to you.

 

One of the equestrian acts was a Master Kite.

 

I have somewhere in the house a copy of their newspaper ads. One of them advertised A Benefit for Master Kite. Being a one time big Beatles fan I knew the significance of the ad. I phoned my brother who had the album and got him to sing a little bit of the lyrics from the album to me.

 

As I did not know then the exact date of Pablo Fanque's Fair I thought I had found a copy of the ad that inspired John Lennon. Believe it or not, that night I was watching a French/German arts channel on satellite TV when they played a clip from the Bee Gees Film Sergeant Pepper. The clip they showed featured the few lines my brother had sung on the phone.

 

The coincidence of this amused me so much actually wrote to the station and told them the story. To my surprise they wrote back to me. Something not many Irish Presenters would do.

 

There were other posters which did not include Master Kite by name.

 

They changed their acts around every week . For example The Polish Acrobats were replaced by The Swiss Acrobats!!

 

The Night of the Big Wind was on the night of Sunday 6th and the morning of Monday 7th of January 1839. Not only did it cause havoc in Ireland it caused havoc in England as well.

Not only does it give a sense of time and place it means that anyone looking for the Night of the Big Wind could be linked into your page on Mister Kite. The story of Master Kite in Newry on the Night of the Big Wind is something that very few know about.

 

It is possible that Master Kite was not Mister Kite but there are no references to Mister Kite in the ads. They also did benefits for some of the other performers. It was their way of making sure the performers got paid?

 

They moved to Dundalk at the beginning of February but the advertisement is very bland compared to these.

 

Anthony O' Hagan

 

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More to Come

 

Information and ads submitted by Anthony O' Hagan

 


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