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Monks Carol Singers Helping Local Charities Again This Xmas

“Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.  –  St Matthew 25:40.

Reporter Tom Ryan.
For over two decades the multi-talented and festive, jolly Carol Singers from “The Monks” licensed hostelry here in Mitchel Street, Thurles, have been in harmony to generate the true spirit of Christmas here in Thurles town. They are familiar easy to be identified figures usually to be found located in various areas around Liberty Square at this time of year, as they entertain the local populace with perennial Christmas favourites.

This year will be no exception according to singer and guitarist Mr Peter Lanigan a member of the Monks troupe, who stated that the response by the public has always been most heartening.

The group were on duty over last weekend and will be on duty again on Thursday Dec 21st from 5.00pm until 7.30pm in Liberty Square and will be featuring that acknowledged classic Christmas favourite by ‘The Pogues’ (Tipperary’s Shane McGowan) and featuring Kirsty McColl, “Fairy Tale of New York” (written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan), regarded as the most poetic and tragic tale of shattered dreams and love gone sour, around Xmas time.

Helping local charities again this year.
“Every solitary penny goes to charity”, confirmed Mr Peter Lanigan, “with the troupe having contributed some €60,000 to good causes, locally, over the years, e.g. St.Vincent De Paul, Meals On Wheels, Thurles Mental Health Group, Thurles Day Care Centre, Thurles Community Hospital of the Assumption, Suir Haven, Anusha and ThurlesCare.  Now, for our group of volunteers that’s the true meaning of Christmas”.

The ‘Monk’s troupe have their very own rendering involving a very full repertoire, including; “Blue Christmas”, “Silent Night”, “The First Noel”, “Deck The Halls With Boughs of Holly”, “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree”, “Go tell It On The Mountain”, “White Christmas”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer”, but to name just a few.

Mr Peter Lanigan, (Moyne Road, Thurles) latter a leading member of the “Monks Carol Singers” and a regular vocalist at the weekly Monks traditional music nights; held each Wednesday evening, wishes to thank the kind folks who support their singing troupe annually, and in particular he wishes to thank Mr Declan O’Sullivan (Star Systems) for supplying amplification over the years.

“Gifted harmonica player, Mr Vic Heywood, who like carol singer Brian Keady, has worked in Lisheen Mines, has kindly prepared the books of carols for the singing troupe, who are always welcoming new members”, stated Peter.  “Vic did a lovely job on the books which this year has very much a Christmas aspect about them, thus enhancing the happy and colourful mood of this season of peace and joy”, continued Peter, latter himself renowned for his vocals, when singing poet Patrick Kavanagh’s “Raglan Road” and many other popular Irish ballads.

Traditional music, at the Monks, has been played for well over 25 years each Wednesday night and many great musicians and singers, have graced these nights regularly over the years. Eoghan O’Neill from the Rosegreen, Cashel area and who played with “Moving Hearts”, together with “Celtic Women” and is featured on Mick Hanly’s CD, “Homeland”, is certainly no stranger to the “Monks” on his nights off here in Ireland. So also, former Irish Republic striker Niall Quinn, a visitor the Monks and his sister, Annemarie (Dwyer) who performs annually with the Monks Carol Singers.

The Monks from HiddenTipperary on Vimeo.

Of course, it is all thanks to Michael O’Gorman (affectionately himself known as “The Monk Gorman”) and his family who embraced the music on his return from Dublin, to take over the running of his family’s public house, ‘O’Gormans of Mitchel Street’, Thurles.  Michael’s hospitality to all local and visiting musicians is hailed as unique in many ways, and for this he is to be congratulated, as it sets an image of our town for the many visitors from all over the world who visit Thurles and who enjoy the Wednesday night session, including them as an integral part of their visit.

Ciaran Hanrahan recorded his first “Ceili House”, ably assisted by Pat Costello, from the Monks and Ciaran still uses parts of the recorded script from that night in some of his present day Ceili House recordings.

In the past: to raise money for the Guardian Angel School, Thurles; a tape was recorded ‘Live at The Monks’ and then, was following with a recorded CD, “Ag Cuardaiocht ag an Monks”.

Then there was the night with the “D’Unbelieveables” (Comedians Pat Shortt and Jon Kenny), with one of the proudest people there on that night, the long serving Wednesday night musician, Pat’s Shortt’s dad, Christy.  This event was recorded in conjunction with a programme being compiled for television about Pat and Jon’s native towns and their association with the goings on locally. People came from far and wide to enjoy the craic on the night.

When the last County Fleadh Cheoil was held in Thurles, the Monks hosted many singers and musicians from around Tipperary and beyond.  These included Joe Barry; a piper from Templemore John Ryan; Willie Fogarty Nenagh; Nora Butler Nenagh, latter famous for her ballad singing; Dan Larkin of Garrykennedy, himself famous for his fiddle playing and in whose pub, many a great session was held. Also, not to be forgotten were Michael Harty from Cahir and formerly Ballyvoneen, Thurles; and legendary Eileen O’Brien –Minogue.

Great musicians who frequented the Monks also included Phil Murray from Upperchurch, whose accordion-playing is legendary; Teresa Bourke, whose summer schools in music are very popular; Teresa Larkin on accordion, latter who has made many recordings and of course let us not forget the many who play every Wednesday night to the delight of tourists and locals, e.g. the talented Paul Byrne, Dixie Byrne, Sean Byrne, Tony Power, Timmy Lyons, Paddy Gleeson, Toss Hayes, Johnny McCarthy, Peter Lanigan, together with Michael O’Gorman’s talented teenage daughter, to name but a few.

So, if you do see the Monks Carol Singers performing around Liberty Square next Thursday, halt awhile before sparing a thought for those worse off in our community, and please drop your spare change into their collection buckets. Even a little can mean a lot to some people at Christmas time.

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1 comment to Monks Carol Singers Helping Local Charities Again This Xmas

  • Vincent Barber

    Glad to hear they are still going strong. The original group began the Carol dining in the early 2000s around the same time as the golf society was formed. Many great days and nights and great memories.

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