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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.


“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.


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.


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.


James Watson Stained Glass Window Thurles


“A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”
[Extract from a poem by William Henry Davies (1871 – 1940)]

All too often these days, in the hustle and bustle of our individual daily life, we fail to take time to‘stand and stare’, to observe and enjoy with local pride the many historic symbolic gems contained within our own individual communities. Many of these gems are to be found staring us in the face on a daily basis, their significance now perhaps partially erased from the blackboards of our minds, as we go about scratching a livelihood for ourselves and our dependants.

The Watson stained glass window in St Mary’s Church, Thurles, which we discuss hereunder, is one such perhaps temporary forgotten artistic gem.


Left To Right: (1) The ‘Watson of Youghal’ stained glass window, St Mary’s Church, Thurles, Tipperary. (2) William Holman Hunt’s original painting “The Light of the World”.  (3) Photo of artist William Holman Hunt in eastern dress.

The original allegorical portrait (centre above) depicted by James Watson in this stained glass window is the work of renowned Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt. This work, entitled “The Light of the World,” was originally painted by night in a makeshift hut at Worcester Park Farm in Surrey, England, between the years 1851 & 1853. Due to Holman Hunt’s failing eyesight, he was assisted in the completion of a larger version of this painting by the English painter Edward Robert Hughes.

The painting (Centre above) and stained glass depiction (Left above) both show the figure of Jesus Christ knocking on a door and careful further study indicates that this same painted overgrown entrance has remained unopened for some considerable time.  In his painting Holman Hunt is attempting to illustrate a quote from the New Testament scriptures; to be precise the Book of Revelation: Chapter 3: Verse 20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me”.  Viewers of the original painting will note that this depicted door has no visible handle and can therefore only be opened from the inside, thus representing the choice given to the closed and unsure minds of both lapsed Christians and non-believers.

Here in Thurles regrettably, we do not have Holman Hunt’s wonderful painting “The Light of the World,” to view; same lovers of art must travel to the Chapel at Keble College, Oxford, or to St Paul’s Cathedral in London, where a later version, latter which once toured the world, has now taken up residents. However here in Thurles we do own the next best thing; “The Light of the World,” as depicted by renowned stained glass artist James Watson of Youghal, Co Cork.

James Watson, born in England circa 1860, came from a long line of English stained-glass manufacturing artists. In 1888, attracted by the growth in church building in Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant, James moved to Youghal, with his wife, Mary and his sons Hubert and Maurice. His reputation as a stained glass artist soon became a by-word for artistic excellence, with the importing of brilliantly coloured glass from Europe; the red from England, the best blue’s, orange and yellow’s coming from France and the green’s coming from Germany. Watson would eventually go on to exhibit his stained glass at the St Louis World’s Fair of 1904.

Using large detailed artistic drawings called “cartoons,” painting was undertaken using a translucent stain
which was then applied in numerous layers, giving that masterful effect of light and shade. The final tiny details achieved often using a needle and each complex masterpiece produced demanding several firings. The required leading, joining each piece of painted glass, had to be made by a hand cranked machine, while thermally insulated chambers or kilns used, took days to fire up.

Although the Watson workshop survived until recently, maintained by successive generations of the Watson family, much of the firm’s finest work was done in the early years of the 20th century, as can be seen in the designs and drawings displayed currently at the Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork, under the stewardship of Exhibition Curator M/s  Vera Ryan, latter who recently visited Thurles to view the Watson window in St Mary’s Church.

Note: A truly magnificent “Watson Archive Exhibition” is currently on display at the Crawford Art Gallery, Emmet Place, Cork, containing some one thousand works on paper, including records, account books and other material. This exhibition will only run until March 2015, but is a must see for lovers of art and indeed Tipperary history.


Frank Rafter Art Exhibition To Open In The Source Thurles


Artist Frank Rafter.

M/s Lorraine Treacy, Thurles Library, The Source, Cathedral Street, Thurles,  Co Tipperary, reports:-

An exhibition of the selected artistic work of former Thurles dentist and keen environmentalist Mr Frank Rafter will go on display in the Source exhibition centre on Wednesday next November 5th at 7.00 p.m.

Presented to the public by Thurles Library and entitled ‘From the Edge,’ the exhibition will give an idea of how Frank’s work has progressed over recent years; from mainly painting through a return to drawing and on to printmaking, which is now this artists main preoccupation.

This exciting exhibition will also feature some of the books that Frank has made; these being artists’ books which he has made and books of his photographic work which document some of his very welcome obsessions.

Frank says, “Much of my drawing and print work is concerned with the concept of binary opposites, such as smoothness, rust, growth, decay, glitz, dereliction;, all derived initially from the idea of edge – a persistent obsession in my thinking.”

The area of artists’ books exerts a deep fascination for Frank as they unite his two great interests, art and literature.

The exhibition will run from Wednesday 5th to Tuesday 25th of November 2014 during normal library opening hours and later on at selected performance evenings.

For further information contact Thurles Libraries’ M/s Ann Marie Brophy –  Tel: 0504-29720.

A visit to this upcoming exhibition is truly not to be missed and comes highly recommended.

Remember:  Wednesday next November 5th at 7.00 p.m.