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Statue Of Archbishop Patrick Leahy, Thurles Cathedral

Statue of Archbishop Dr. P. Leahy, in Thurles Cathedral yard.

Destined to become one of the most prominent Roman Catholic churchmen in Ireland, Patrick Leahy (1806–1875) was born at Fennor, in the parish of Gortnahoe, Co. Tipperary, on May 31st 1806, the son of Patrick Leahy, a moderately successful Civil Engineer and Surveyor in Co Tipperary and Co. Cork, and Mary Margaret (née Cormack), a native of Gortnahoe.

Following his ordination he became the Roman Catholic curate of a small parish in the diocese of Cashel and was later appointed professor of Theology and Scripture here in St. Patrick’s College in Thurles, and a short time later President of that same Institution.

By August 22nd 1850 he was one of the Secretaries of the Synod of Thurles, and was afterwards appointed parish priest of Thurles and vicar-general of the Diocese of Cashel.

When the Catholic University was first opened in Dublin in 1854, he was selected for the office of Vice-Rector under then Rector Dr. John Henry Newman, (afterwards Cardinal Newman), thus filling a Professor’s chair.

He was elected Archbishop of Cashel on April 27th 1857 and consecrated on June 29th of that same year. In 1866 and 1867 he was deputed, with John Derry Bishop of Clonfert, to conduct the negotiations with Lord Mayo (Richard Bourke),[1] the Chief Secretary for Ireland, with respect to the proposed endowment of the Roman Catholic university.

[1] Five years later, on February 8th 1872, the same Lord Mayo (Richard Bourke), stopped off at Ross Island near the entrance to the harbour at Port Blair in the South Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, then a British penal colony.  Here Lord Mayo was stabbed to death by Sher Alia a convict from the North West Frontier, who was on a sick leave. His death caused great disturbance in diplomatic circles but the decision was made to play down the incident; quietly hang the murderer and appoint a new Viceroy.

A strong advocate of the cause of temperance, Archbishop Leahy enforced the Sunday closing of all public-houses in his Diocese. Owing to his energy the Cathedral of The Assumption at Thurles was built, at a cost of £45,000 pounds.

He died on January 26th 1875, and was buried in Thurles Cathedral on February 3rd of that year.

Hereunder find the following extract, relating to the erection of the statue to Archbishop Leahy in the yard of the Cathedral of The Assumption Thurles, taken from the journal of Fr. Michael Maher C.C., Thurles, and dated 1911.

“At the end of the year, the Archbishop (Thomas Fennelly 1901-1913) got a statue of Dr. Patrick Leahy erected in the Cathedral enclosure. It was sculptured at Carrara [2] by Professor Pietro Lazzerini and it is made of Sicilian or Bastard Statuary Marble. [3]

It was ready for shipment when the strike occurred on the railways in Great Britain and Ireland in August 1911. [4] We wrote to the sculptor not to send it until matters would be settled. It was sent from Leghorn [5] when the strike ceased, but arrived in Liverpool when the Irish strike was at its height in October. It was delayed some time on that account, but arrived safely in Thurles from Liverpool and Dublin in November. It weighs two tons and cost £120. I sent the cheque to Lazzerini.”

[2] Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564), the Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance period, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art, worked here at the Carrara marble quarries.

[3] Statuary Second or Bastard blue-grey Marble was used since the time of Ancient Rome.

[4] This strike arose after widespread dissatisfaction with the activities of conciliation boards set up to negotiate between workers and their employers the Rail Companies. Local disputes led to unofficial strike action in July and early August of 1911, with a meeting of all the main rail unions arranged in Liverpool to coordinate action nationally. These Unions issued an ultimatum to the Rail Companies to accept direct negotiation with their representatives within 24 hours or suffer a national strike. Keen to ensure that the railways would not be shut down. The Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, son of a Yorkshire clothing manufacturer, told the rail companies that police and troops would be deployed to help keep the trains running, resulting with soldiers being brought into London and 32 other towns in England and Wales. The then Home Secretary, Winston Churchill supported the police and troops against the striking union employees.

[5] Traditionally known in English as Leghorn, Livorno is a port city on the Ligurian Sea on the western coast of Tuscany, in Italy.

“The pedestal was fashioned by Mr P. Best of Cashel from stones got in the quarry at Camas, (Cashel). It cost £70. The Archbishop composed the inscription which is simplicity itself and a Galway man named Laurence Clane cut the letters.

Messr Leahy Brothers of Thurles had charge of the erection. It was no small work to get the statue in position without cranes or other powerful leverage. It was done this way. They constructed a large framework of wood around the base of the pedestal, then they hauled up the great box (2 tons 5 cwt.) containing the statue with pulleys attached to a horizontal iron bar above and let it rest on planks. They next built the pedestal and when that was finished they opened the box and got the statue into position by means of the pulleys. They finished the work a few days before Christmas.”

Overall Cost of Monument £214-10-0
[Statue £120-0-0; Pedestal £70-0-0; Leahy erection £12-0-0; Carriage from Leghorn  (Livorno) to Thurles £12-10-0.]

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Phoenix Productions Coffee Morning

phoenix“Ah, music,”  he said, wiping his eyes. A magic beyond all we do here!”
[Quote J.K. Rowling, – (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) ]

Miriam Callanan [Denis Kinane Motors (Honda Centre)] Reports:-

For many years here in Thurles, the youth musical theatre group, ‘Phoenix Productions’ have been bringing, annually to the stage, performances par excellence.

As the years have progressed, many of these young performers have continued in their great love of theatre and are regularly invited to join other musical groups and societies nationally, because of their acknowledged talents.

To ensure and encourage that such talent is continued on into the future, Phoenix Productions are holding a fund raising coffee morning in the Source Library on tomorrow (Saturday November 19th), from 10.00am 1.00pm.

So do take a well deserved break from your busy shopping and pop into Thurles Library for a relaxing cup of  coffee, a piece of delicious home-made cake and of course ‘that inevitable good humoured banter’. All support will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for the Music.

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Arrests Following Murder Of Musical Director John Donnelly

John-Donnelly-(2)Two brothers have been detained in custody in Turkey; accused of the murder of Irish theatre Director Mr John Donnelly.

Well known to members of Thurles Musical Society and indeed older members of Vincé Productions and Phoenix Productions, based in Thurles; the lifeless body of Mr Donnelly, aged 64, was found dead in an apartment he was renting on June 3rd 2016, after police were alerted to a bloodied knife, found outside the building.

Two brothers, named as Mehmet Irmak aged 28 and Sinan Irmak aged 20, have both been charged in connection with the fatal stabbing. A date for their court appearance has yet to be announced.

Mr Donnelly had travelled to Turkey on holidays shortly after his production of the hit Wexford Light Opera’s musical ‘Evita’. Turkish police confirmed that Mr Donnelly’s apartment had been ransacked and robbery was believed to have been the possible motive for his death. The victim’s body was reportedly found lying naked on the floor of his apartment on the morning following the vicious attack; his death attributed to a single stab wound.

It is believed that both men arrested were identified following the release of CCTV images which showed two men leaving his apartment building on the night Mr Donnelly died.

One of Mr Donnelly’s most recent connections with Thurles was his Direction of Spring Awakening, which contained cast members from Thurles and which walked off stage taking multiple awards; including; ‘Best Lighting’, ‘Best Costumes’, ‘Best Set’, ‘Special Adjudicators Award’, ‘Best Musical Direction’ and the much coveted ‘Best Overall Show Award’, for the 50th anniversary of the Waterford’s International Festival of Light Opera.

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“The Curious Eye” An Exhibition By Catherine Daly

I had the privilege, last week, of viewing the latest exhibition, featuring the work of Thurles artist Catherine Daly; currently on display in the exhibition space at The Source Arts Centre here in Cathedral Street, Thurles.

ArtThis new exhibition, entitled “The Curious Eye”, marks a somewhat unexpected departure from her previous wonderful watercolour exhibition which enjoyed unprecedented success last year touring nationwide; and somewhat similarly entitled “The Delighted Eye”.

Catherine new collection takes inspiration from the stunning photographs of Earth from the International Space Station by the Canadian astronaut and Irish Tourism Ambassador Chris Hadfield. This her newest work is extremely textural, achieved through the use of wax and acrylic and influenced by Rembrandt’s use of impasto; latter a technique used in painting, where paint is laid on an area of the surface very thickly, allowing for the brush  strokes viewed close-up to be readily visible.

Strong colour as always continues to be of huge import in Catherine’s labours; same complimenting her imagery as being both real and abstract, while also bringing about a wonderful alliance between the artist and the viewer.

It comes as no surprise that Catherine’s work has had the honour of being featuring in the RHA annual Banquet Exhibition; won the 2014 North Tipperary County Council solo exhibition prize at Nenagh’s Civic Offices; while also featuring in a collaborative exhibition in Spain at the Aviles Asturias Gallery.

The exhibition, which was officially opened by Liz O’ Donnell (Irish Independent Columnist) on the 3rd of November last, will continue to run until the 24th of November.  For further information on this and her other work go on line at www.catherinedalyartist.com and for further queries contact (087) 2991503.

For anyone with a little ‘time to kill’, while ‘hanging out’ here in Thurles, over the next week; this exhibition comes highly recommended and is a ‘must see’ for all students and lovers of art.

The exhibition is presented by Thurles Library.

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Thurles – National Credit Union Art Competition

National Credit Union Art Competition 2015

“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”  – George Bernard Shaw.

TCU

Congratulations to the very talented Miss Emily Bourke, latter a student attending the Ursuline Secondary School, Templemore Rd, here in Thurles; on receiving a Merit Award in the recent prestigious National Credit Union Art Competition.

Miss Bourke qualified for the National Credit Union level competition having received a first prize in both the popular Thurles Credit Union art competition and the subsequent Chapter 14 art competition, held recently.

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