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The Ryan Gathering Festival Begins In Thurles Next Friday

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
Lines from “The Deserted Village,” by Oliver Goldsmith.

Like the rest of my well informed Local Council colleagues seated here on our Town Council, when it came to “The Ryan Gathering 2013,” I am on public record as being totally opposed and have stated as much, during one or other of the few meetings that I actually managed to attend in the Town Council offices last year.

Ryan GatheringTourism only causes problems, encouraging complete total strangers to come into our midst, staring at the ‘labouring swain,’ asking stupid questions and wasting the working man’s time, as he toils in this lovely bower of innocence and ease.  Tourism might be perfect for those that reside in Dublin, but opening up our town to stranger here in Thurles can only lead to non-desirable elements being attracted from overseas. Very soon, as you can imagine, we could have members of al-Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Military Wing of the Marxist–Leninist Communist Party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, The Taliban or as I will explain, Simone Ryan-Oosterhouse, all converging here to visit St Mary’ Famine & War museum.

(Click on Poster for larger image)

These would be followed by foreigners setting up Cocaine and Cannabis factories in unsuspecting private rented accommodations all over the county.  Sure according to local Gardaí, it is very possible there wouldn’t be a drop of Gucci, Chanel, Dior or Armani toilet water left in chemist shops for the locals, what with Romanian, Ukrainian, Latvian and Bulgarian gangs flooding over here, stealing that which, we in Thurles, have grown accustomed to splashing daily on the whole of our bodies.

No there were far more important decisions to be getting on with over the past year at Town Council level and all far more suitable for discussion during those laborious two hour long meetings, held once a month.  Major problems like Boy Racers, Dog Defecation, Solitary Tearful Individuals to be prevented from visiting local graveyards praying late at night, Skateboard Parks, Free Car Parking for window shoppers, Proposed Multi Storey Car Parks in Liberty Square etc. and all guaranteed to give us a front page headlines on the Tipperary Star Newspaper.

Now while I am aware we as Local Councillors were totally unsuccessful in finding even one single, solitary solution to any of these aforementioned problems, we nevertheless, with the assistance of North Tipperary Tourism Company (NTTCL) and our village statesmen, namely Noel Coonan and Allan Kelly, we all as a team with looks profound, soon put a stop to this tourism nonsense. Thank God, no more can we expect an influx of militant strangers, terrorists at best, frolicking here in our quiet, sweet smiling, hamlet of Thurles.

However strictly between you and me, behind the scenes I can tell you, this “The Ryan Gathering 2013,” has personally been a private disaster for me, so permit me to further elaborate, if you will.

I suppose it was following a little ‘pillow talk,’ with the Widow Ryan that I first let slip brief details of this nonsense about “The Ryan Gathering 2013.”  The Widow Ryan, as most of you will understand, is always anxious to hear first hand if possible, details of all high brow proceedings at Town Council level. Sure same understandably following her husband’s recent demise, now gives her a sense of social position and power, connected remotely as she is to someone like myself, being a man of high social standing, revered intellect and a recognised driving force within this small Thurles community.

Ah no, the Widow Ryan like myself would not be the sort simply happy to “pick the wintry faggot from the thorn,” as you might say but going against my best advice didn’t she (despite no Leader funding, Failte Ireland or Arts Council Grants being made available, and I checked), decided this was a prime opportunity to invite her five times married and only sister, Mrs Simone Ryan-Oosterhouse, (formally one of the Ryan Scarteen’s)  a locally renowned arrogant expatriate, back home here from Boston.

I had met this sister of hers only once before, many moons ago and a short time after she had discovered that land existed to the west, over on the far side of the Atlantic Ocean. Back then she was known affectionately in the town as “The Exorcist.” If you don’t believe me just ask any local publican; for it was well known that Simone could shift more spirits in one night than anyone else in the town.

Simone was always a big girl if I remember even before she left our shores some ten years back. I faintly remember having to grease her hips and throw four Mars Bars into the elevator in Shannon Airport, just to fit her into the lift, to move her upstairs to the Departure Lounge. But sure I suppose what else could one expect from a woman who ate a full box of Chocolate Coco Pops every morning, from her father’s large cast iron frying pan. Ah yes those were the good old days, unlike today when our noses run, our feet smell and round oven-baked Pizza’s come in square boxes.

Anyway, soon enough that dreaded Email arrived, Simone Ryan had accepted our Widow’s invitation to this “Ryan Gathering,” duly announcing that she would be landing in Shannon Airport to visit for three weeks, together with her inseparable, cinnamon coloured, pet Chinese Chow Chow dog.  This Email set my alarm bells ringing, but nevertheless gave me sufficient warning to feign an urgent Town Council meeting, thus managing to avoid collecting her and her accursed hound from the airport last Friday.

The Widow Ryan, due now to my unavoidable detention and absence, decided to go meet her sister mid-day on Friday last and use Irish Rail as her chosen mode of alternative transport.  According to the same Widowed lady, (who outrageously now claims she cannot locate me), this same train journey from Limerick to Thurles, last Friday night, was far from uneventful.

I haven’t got the full story yet, but it appears that some weary, worn out, civil servant commuting from his labours between River House in Limerick, back here to Thurles, unable to find a seat, suggested to Simone that she might remove “Fifi,”  her Chow Chow, who was taking up a perfectly good passenger’s seat, all on her own. Simone was heard to accuse this weary overworked male of being rude and refused him access to the seat. Having walked the entire train again and finding the only seat available was under Fifi’s arse, our weary civil servant, in anger and frustration, picked up the dog and tossed it out the carriage window, before then occupying the now vacant seat. It seems Simone’s shrieks and wails failed to block out the remarks of another passenger, who was heard to state, disingenuously perhaps, that the wrong bitch was thrown out the window.

Note, if you find a cinnamon coloured Chinese Chow Chow wandering, apparently homeless, around Limerick Junction, kindly keep this information to yourself until next Thursday week, when Simone hopefully will make her exit.

So go on Thurles, white wash your walls, spread sand on your limestone floors, portray all your transitory splendours for the visiting hordes expected next Friday, but do not say I didn’t warn you on the nonsense of encouraging tourism and watch out and be warned, Simone Ryan – Oosterhouse is already in town for The Ryan Gathering.

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