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Six Thousand Year Old Bog-Oak Erected In Littleton, Co Tipp

Two-Mile-Borris /Littleton district correspondent Mr Gerry Bowe reports:-

On Wednesday August 29th 2018 last, cross-roads in Littleton Village, Thurles, Co. Tipperary has gained an original six to seven-thousand-year-old unique, work of art.

Local butcher Mr Paudie Fitzpatrick has presented to Littleton village; a piece of rare bog-oak which he has been restoring and preserving over many months.

Bog-wood, in this case Oak, is a material from trees that have been buried in peat bogs and preserved from decay by the acidic and anaerobic bog conditions, sometimes for thousands of years. The wood is usually stained brown by tannins dissolved in the bog’s acidic water. Bog-wood may come from any tree species naturally growing near or in bogs, including oak; Quercus – “bog oak”; Pine – “Pinus”; Yew – “Taxus”; Swamp Cypress – “Taxodium”, and Kauri, latter regarded as the most exotic wood in the world – “Agathis”.  Such bog preserved timber remains comparable to some of the world’s most expensive tropical hard woods.

Pictured Centre L to R: Mr Tom Ryan, Mr Paudie Fitzpatrick, Mr Dan Fitzpatrick, & Mr John Darmody taking time out to relax having successfully erected the Bog Oak Art piece in Littleton village, Co. Tipperary.

For the past twenty-eight years, Mr Fitzpatrick together with his wife Karen and family, has been providing a quality meat service, which also includes home deliveries, not just to the village itself but also to the surrounding area. But surely his most unique delivery to date, must be the conveyance of a large, ancient, seven-foot-high oak tree trunk with roots attached; same now perfectly preserved with numerous coatings of Danish oil, followed by intense and passionate sandpapering, to extract its ancient, bog preserved, hidden colours.

What was once left to the elements to decay, has now become a visible symbol and a real reminder of the rich, bog-land chronicle that is Tipperary’s biodiversity. This visible symbol must surely challenge us to try to fully comprehend and preserve our local bogs for environmental, recreational and inspirational purposes. The heathers, ferns and fir tree, planted alongside, are but a trivial reminder of this rich variety of rural bog vegetation.

An artistic and wood-working gene is most definitely ingrained within the Fitzpatrick family. Proof, as if proof was needed, can be quickly observed in the ‘butcher’s block’ that was so patiently and lovingly assembled, piece by piece, from maple wood, by Mr Paudie Fitzpatrick’s son Shane; same undertaken as part of his Leaving Cert woodwork project at Colaiste Mhuire here in Thurles. Shane has rightly been granted an award for this work, with the project remaining on display in the school, to further inspire and encourage new incoming students and school visitors alike.

A massive ‘Thank You’ also to Mr John Darmody, Mr Dan Fitzpatrick and Mr Thomas Ryan; all who helped pour the concrete base and secure the bog oak piece with iron stays, having delivered it safely on a tractor loader.

Positive comments are now pouring in from the many who pass through Littleton village on a daily basis and so to from the villagers who are grateful to Mr Fitzpatrick and family for the patient work and generosity in the donating of this artistic creation to further beautify the already picturesque village. With a new Tidy Towns Committee in formation, this feature makes a most excellent beginning to all future work planned.

In his book (P.58), “The Bogs of Ireland” (John Feehan), the author tells us that “bog is an Irish word, derived from the word for soft; ‘bogach’ means in Irish -‘soft ground.’ As roads become busier and life becomes a constant rush, we might recall that another Irish phrase: “Tog go bog è “, means literally “Take it easy”, or “Slow down”, or “Breathe deep”.  So why not“Tog go bog è “, and take a look around and admire this ancient and unique piece of bog-oak art, which has full certified Littleton, Co. Tipperary origins?

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Mac Donagh Pipe Band To Open Annual Killea “Field Day”

Make the village of  Killea, Templemore, Co. Tipperary you destination on Sunday, June 24th next.

Journalist Tom Ryan reports:

A rural Tipperary village will revive its traditional lifestyle of some 80 years ago, when it takes a step back in time for its 11th annual fun day; in the old -fashioned tradition, on Sunday, June 24th next. It will be officially opened by the Thomas Mac Donagh Pipe Band, from Templemore, starting at 1.30pm.

Children will be admitted free of charge on what should be a colourful day at Killea Sportsfield, latter a nice gesture, indeed, from the organising committee, who are hoping for yet another sunny day for this eagerly awaited annual event, which has gone from strength to strength; sheltering in the shade of the famous 480m high (1575 ft) Bearnan Eile (Translation from the Irish – “Devil’s Bit”) mountain.

Events Taking Place at Killea “Field Day” in Co. Tipperary.

Sean-nós Dancing will feature in this popular “Field Day”, same to be held in conjunction with the hugely popular Margaret O’Sullivan Feile. This old style dance, very popular in the Gaeltachtaí will have seen Tipperary persons; Katie Bourke, Sean Bourke and Tadhg Quinlan, very much to the fore in the GAA’s Scór na bPaisti competitions. Jim Hamill, (Field Day Secretary), stated “The dance requires intricate body movement, using head, hips and hands as well as feet.”

Face painting, Bouncy castles and music will all be “free of charge”, as will entry to a five-aside mini-soccer tournament. A competition will also be held to find the fastest sheep in County Tipperary. Killea will stage a mammoth 30 plus events, to stir nostalgia among older Tipperary people.

A local celebrity will be there to judge the “Elegant Lady”  Competition, to raise cash for local groups; including Killea National School, Killea GAA and the Tidy Villages and graveyard committees.

Other events will include set-dancing, figure-dancing, horseshoe-throwing, pillow fights, skittles, penalty taking, pony rides, stock-judging, sheaf pitching, a tug of war competition, a dog show, darts and a tractor run. Participants in the Co. Tipperary Fleadh Cheoil in Templemore are expected to feature among the many musicians who will entertain those in attendance.

Local GAA personalities, including Tipp Senior Hurling panellist, Tomas Hamill, son of Jim, will be present and perhaps others from outside the village who will be involved in hurling skills events.

There will be a five a side mini-Soccer Tournament for children from local schools in the under 10 and under-13 years age groups. [Maybe Martin O’ Neill might pop in in search of talent for the Republic of Ireland squad and find a future star like Shane Long].

There will be a canteen and shop in operation during the day, with locally baked confectionery, home-made Colcannon and sides of bacon at the barbecue provided.  A local ladies committee here are in charge, and they will have many home-cooked goodies for folks, including pancakes, which are always very popular in Killea.

All the fun of this event will get under way with a tractor run at 11.00am, which will return to Killea Sportsfield. There will be a set-dancing display from the top senior and junior dancers of Killea & district, together with a host of traditional musicians , singers and dancers from various parts of the county, many of whom have won awards, who will entertain from 1.00pm to 6.00pm. Local musicians will also grace the occasion, which should prove most entertaining.

There are a talented 200 member music class in Killea, which ‘Matt The Thresher’ himself would surely have approved, as would indeed Charles J. Kickham, author of “Sliabh na mBan”, latter the Co Tipperary ‘anthem’.

The officers of the organising committee are:-  Chairman – Michael Duff; Secretary – Jim Hamill, & Treasurer – John Fogarty.

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Tipperary Library Service, Celebrate ‘Cruinniú na nÓg’.

Ms Suzanne Brosnan, (Senior Library Assistant), Thurles Library, Cathedral Street, Thurles, Reports:-

Tipperary Library Service will celebrate Cruinniú na nÓg (Translated from the Irish language – “Meeting of the Young”), through numerous activities planned for their family fun-day here in Thurles Library, taking place on Saturday 23rd June from 11.00am4.00pm. All the child-centred events are totally free and activity based, with plenty of opportunities for children to ‘make and create’.

Thurles Library

We look forward to our magic show with Jelly Bean Julie from 11.00am in the hopes to dazzle and amaze our younger children, join in our puppet show, try balloon modelling and get your face-painted.

Our interactive drum and fun sessions area is a perfect way to bring upbeat and high energy to both children and their parents. Fergal O’Connor will be available for 3 sessions throughout the day starting, at 12.30pm.

Running alongside these events we will run Art and Crafts Work Stations throughout the day, with local artist Ms Danielle Martin of ‘Masquerade Parties’ and, weather permitting, we hope to take the artistic designs of the children onto the board-walk for a “Pavement Art” session.

For those who love to create, learn new skills and just have fun with Lego, LearnIt will host 3 workshops over the course of the day, dealing with Junior Robotics, Senior Robotics and Senior Engineering. LearnIt promotes working as a team, creative thinking,  while solving problems through this interactive and fun workshop, all by using Lego.

Please note: Bookings are now open for the Learnit Workshops, with Junior Robotics, suitable for 7-9 years taking place at 11.00am12.15pm; Senior Robotics, suitable for children aged 11 years plus, taking place at 12.30pm2.30pm; and Senior Engineering, suitable for persons aged 9 – 12 years, taking place 2.45pm4.15pm.

Summer Stars Reading Challenge 2018

Tipperary Library Service will also launch the “Summer Stars Reading Challenge 2018” at 12.00 noon. “Summer Stars” is an exciting reading-based programme which is available free of charge to all children across the country. Children are invited to register for the reading adventure and enjoy reading many books throughout the summer months. All participants will be given a Summer Stars Reading Card to record and track their own progress.

Contact: Telephone: 0761 066131 during normal working hours 9.00am to 5.00pm (Closed for Lunch 1.00pm-2.00pm) or E-Mail: thurleslibrary@tipperarycoco.ie

So, do come along and be part of Cruinniú na nÓg and enjoy a day of guaranteed fun with your family at Thurles Library, where you are guaranteed to find something for just about everyone.

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Tipperary Drama Festival Gets Under Way In Holycross, Thurles

Reporter: Tom Ryan.

County Tipperary Drama Festival Committee 2018
President: Very Rev. Fr. Celsius Tierney, Parish Priest of Holycross/ Ballycahill; Chairman: Tommy Lanigan; Festival Director: Donal Duggan; Treasurer: Maudie Bourke; Secretary: Clare Ryan; P.R.O: Geraldine Henchion; Sponsorship: Ger O’Dwyer; Raffle: Diana Lacey; Technical Support: Marty O’Neill and Paddy Connolly; Subcommittee Members: Peg Ryan, Elaine O’Dwyer, Derek Doherty, Jack Henchion, John Glasheen, Aisling Henchion and Gerry Kennedy.

Ms Imelda McDonagh

The 36th annual County Tipperary Open Drama Festival got under way in style at St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross, last Friday night, following a glitzy ‘Cheese and Wine’ reception, hosted by the Festival Committee and attended by many local dignitaries.

The festival was officially opened by International Festival Adjudicator, Ms Imelda McDonagh , who was welcomed by Mr Donal Duggan, latter Festival Director for over three decades and the amiable and informative Master of Ceremonies nightly.

Amongst those introduced to the attendance by Mr Duggan were:-  Archbishop Emeritus Dermot Clifford; Very Rev Celsius Tierney PP; Festival Committee President Mr Tommy Lanigan; an old friend to the festival and its Chairman Mr Michael Lowry, TD; County Councillors Mr Micheal Lowry and Mr Seamus Hanafin and Ms Kay Cahill, (sister of TD Mr Jackie Cahill).

As former adjudicator, Mr Larry McCluskey, pointed out that audiences are very perceptive and appreciative in Holycross and not only do Holycross host the actual annual festival, but they also compete themselves nationally, with great successfully.

There were lovely tributes in this year’s Festival Programme; to the late Eibhlis Quirke, former Secretary of the Festival Committee and to the late Dan Gallagher of Thurles. (Ar dheis De a n-anamacha). The late Dan and his wife, Breda, previously sponsored the “Gallagher Award” for “Most Promising Actor/Actress” and Breda Gallagher and her daughter Mary, were most welcome guests on the night, upholding a proud tradition for the popular Gallagher family.

The festival continues until next Saturday, March 24th, when results will be announced and prizes presented, including the “Tipperary Star Cup” for Best Play in the Confined Section, and the “Tipp FM Trophy” for Best Play in the Open Section.

Wednesday, March 21st (Open section) Noel Coward’s “Blyth Spirit”, – Thurles D.G.
Thursday, March 22nd (Confined) “Some Girls”, Curtain Call, Dungarvan.
Friday, March 23rd (Confined) “Bold Girls”, Holycross/Ballycahill D.G.
Saturday, March 24th (Open) “Duet For Two”, Nenagh Drama Group.

Festival fever is particularly strong in the Suirside village currently, with the Holycross/Ballycahill group’s Jenny Bracken winning “Best Actress Award” in the Rush, County, Dublin, Drama Festival and Aisling Henchion nominated for “Best Sound” at the same festival.

There is a lot of buzz about “Bold Girls”.
It looks like being a very successful year for the talented Abbeysiders. There is huge excitement about the group locally and a record attendance is expected next Friday night to see them on stage in “Bold Girls”.  Early attendance is certainly most advisable and note the ever-popular Festival Club Tea Room will be in operation on a nightly basis.

“Bold Girls”, is a stirring play based around the lives of three women; Marie, Nora and Cassie, all living in war-torn Belfast. Although their men have been either killed or imprisoned for their political activities; everyday life must go on. But the appearance of a disturbing young girl, and Cassie’s revelations, suddenly threaten Marie’s carefully structured widowhood.

This impressive Holycross/Ballycahill group, directed by Claire Ryan; winners of the Confined Section in the Roscommon Drama Festival, comprise the formidable cast of:- Joanne O’Neill, Jacqui Lacey, Eleanor O’ Dwyer and Jenny Bracken, together with a top-class backup team. At time of writing they still have more festivals in which to compete, to bring them even possibly more honour.

Looking back at the Tipperary Open Drama Festival.
A number of other groups in this festival are no strangers to both the Confined and Open All-Ireland finals. Simply only the best groups take to the stage in Holycross, offering that rare opportunity to meet; not only theatre enthusiasts, but also talented Thespians from all over Ireland.

Holycross-Ballycahill Drama Group are in existence for over fifty years. The group have reached the All Ireland Confined Finals on many occasions, including, 2016, in Castleblayney with “The Thrill of Love” by Amanda Whittington and in 2013 in Rossmore Co. Cork with “The God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza. They have won numerous acting, directing and set awards, not only on the country’s festival circuit, but also in All Ireland competitions.

“Sive” by J.B. Keane, “Run For Your Wife” by Ray Cooney, “Woman and Scarecrow” by Marina Carr and T.S. Elliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” are among the critically acclaimed productions that the group have performed around the country. They have even brought “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”, by Martin Mc Donagh to Germany, following a special request by the American forces stationed there to perform at their base in Heidelberg.

The above group have won a string of nominations e.g. Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Set (Andy Slattery) awards around the country. A magnificent achievement for Director, Claire Ryan and her talented cast and stage crew.

Ursuline Convent Secondary Win Glasheen Trophy in Schools Drama Festival
With a hugely impressive production, Ursuline Convent, Thurles won the coveted Glasheen Trophy in the unique Schools Drama Festival, in which Presentation Secondary School, Thurles and two groups from Doon also participated.  Sponsors were Stakelum’s Office Supplies here in Thurles, who were thanked. Mr Donal Duggan, Festival Director went on to thank the teachers for their committed involvement in and contribution to the festival and for fostering local drama and an interest in drama from an early age.

So, it remains a fact; to quote the words of Festival Adjudicator for the “Schools Drama Festival”, Mr Conor O’Connell, (to massive applause, I might add), “Drama is alive and well in Tipperary”.

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Thurles History Goes Under Auctioneers Hammer

Yet another chunk of Thurles and Co. Tipperary’s amazing history has been sold off at an auction held in Chatsworth Street, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny, on Wednesday March 7th last.

Four rare works of art, once commissioned by the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, back in the early to mid 19th century, went under the hammer at Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers, in their recent Chatsworth Fine Art Sale.

Pictured L-R: Oil painted portraits of three Cashel & Emly Archbishops & one senior Priest (1) Michael Slattery (1833-1857), (2) Patrick Leahy (1857-1875), (3) Rev Edmund Ryan (1856-1868), & (4) Patrick Everard (1820-1821).

Lots numbered 268 to 271, which comprised the four oil paintings, of a former Senior Priest and three former Archbishops were sold off for between €300 to €500 each.

(1) Lot 268, estimated between €400-€600 was sold for €500, featuring Archbishop of Cashel, Michael Slattery, in a half length portrait of a gentleman seated in clerical garb, [Approx. size 89cms x 69cms (35″ x 27″)] in a heavy gilt frame.

Archbishop Slattery served as Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cashel & Emly from 1833 to 1857. Born in Tipperary Town 1783, he was educated at the Abbey School before entering Trinity College, Dublin at fifteen years of age, one of the first Roman Catholics ever to do so, eventually earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. Having decided to become a Roman Catholic priest, he was enrolled at St. Patrick’s  College, Carlow, before being ordained in 1809 and continued on at the collage as a professor of Philosophy and of Moral Theology. Later he served in the parishes of Ulla, Co. Limerick for two years, and in Borrisoleigh, Thurles, Co. Tipperary for over twenty years.

In 1832 he was elected president of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth and served for two years. A supporter of moderate Nationalism and of Daniel O’Connell (Latter responsible for Catholic Emancipation passed by Parliament in 1829), he regularly spoke out against militant nationalism.

He was elected to succeed Archbishop Robert Laffan as head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly later that year, and was installed at Thurles Cathedral on February 24th 1834, going on to established a foreign missions department in St. Patrick’s College, Thurles in 1842.

Archbishop Slattery passed away in Thurles on February 4th 1857.

(2) Lot 269, estimated between: €400-€600 was sold for €340, and featured Archbishop of Cashel, Patrick Leahy, in a half length portrait of a gentleman in religious attire, [Approx. size 92cms x 71cms (36″ x 28″)] in a heavy gilt frame. (This sale must surely be to our greatest shame.)
Archbishop Leahy, son of Patrick Leahy, a civil engineer and Cork county surveyor, was born near Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on May 31st 1806, before being educated at Maynooth.

Serving as a curate in the diocese of Cashel, he was soon appointed professor of Theology and Scripture in St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, and shortly afterwards became President of the same institution. On August 22nd 1850 he became one of the secretaries of the Synod of Thurles, before being appointed parish priest of Thurles and Vicar General of the Diocese of Cashel.

When the Catholic University was opened in Dublin in 1854, he was selected for the office of vice-rector, under the then rector Dr. J. H. Newman, (later Cardinal Newman), filling a professor’s chair. He was elected Archbishop of Cashel on April 27th 1857 before being consecrated on June 29th of the same year. In 1866 and 1867 he, tiogether with the Bishop of Clonfert were both deputed, to conduct the negotiations with Lord Mayo, (Styled Lord Naas between 1842 and 1867, a statesman, Viceroy of India and prominent member of the British Conservative Party from Dublin), the chief secretary for Ireland, with respect to the proposed endowment of the Roman Catholic university.

He was a strong advocate in the cause for temperance; enforcing the Sunday closing of public-houses in his Diocese. Indeed it was due to his energy that the Cathedral of The Assumption, in Thurles was constructed at a cost of £45,000 then pounds.

Archbishop Leahy died at the Bishops residence here in Thurles on January 26th 1875, and is interred (February 3rd 1875) within Thurles Cathedral.

(3)Lot 270, with a value estimated between: €400-€600 same was sold for €300, and featured Cashel and Emly Priest Rev. Edmund Ryan, in a half length Portrait of a gentleman seated, book in hand, in priests collar, [Approx. size 89cms x 69cms (35″ x 27″)] in heavy gilt frame.

(4) Lot 271, estimated between €400-€600 was sold for €300, and featured Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Patrick Everard, in a portrait of a gentleman seated in clerical attire, with Bishop’s coat of arms in top right corner, [Approx. size 89cms x 69cms (35″ x 27″)].

Archbishop Everard was born in Fethard, Co. Tipperary, and attended a local classical school. He was educated at the University of Salamanca in Spain where he had moved in 1776. He was ordained in 1783 and obtained a doctorate of Divinity from Bordeaux University. Following his studies, he was elected President of the Irish College in Bordeaux and Vicar General to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, until the French Revolution drove him out of the country. He spent some time in England as principal of a lay academy at Ulverstone, in the South Lakeland district of Cumbria, Lancashire, North West England, which he had purchased from the Jesuits, before becoming the president of Maynooth College in Ireland.

Following the death of Archbishop Thomas Bray on December 15th 1820, Patrick Everard automatically succeeded as the metropolitan archbishop of Cashel and Emly, until his death in 1821.

All four paintings were sold for a total final hammer price of just €1,440, or if you like, less than a current TD’s weekly minimum wage of €1,800.

It would appear that no one, to our shame here in Co. Tipperary, is minding our shop.

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