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Dónal Ó Céilleachair To Visit Cabragh Wetlands

“The Camino Voyage”; a film, described by the Dingle Film Festival as “Enchanting, Inspiring and ultimately very deeply moving”, will be shown in its entirety to an assembled audience at Cabragh Wetlands on Thursday next, March 28th, at 7.30pm.

A large crowd is expected to be in attendance with an opportunity to meet film directer Mr Dónal Ó Céilleachair, latter who will answer questions regarding all aspects of the making of this unhurried, epic and soulful film.

This truly heart warming, spirited documentary film tells the true story of a Writer, two Musicians, an Artist and a Stonemason, who embark on an inspiring, yet dangerous 2,500 km (some 1554 miles), journeying by sea, in a traditional boat (a currach / naomhóg) that they built themselves; rowing all the way from Ireland to Northern Spain.

Four men; poet Danny Sheehy, artist Liam Holden, musician Brendan Begley and stonemason Breandán Moriarty, set out on this journey, in three yearly stages, beginning in 2014. Musician and Academy Award winner Glen Hansard replaced Breandán Moriarty on the final leg, introducing new acquaintances to Irish song and merriment.

The very real dangers that attend such voyages were confirmed when last year, poet Danny Sheehy died when the currach / naomhóg capsized off the coast of Portugal; the film now remaining as his memorial.

Released to selected Cinemas across Ireland for just 9 weeks, this film has won numerous awards; including two “Audience Awards” from the Dingle International Film Festival and the Luxembourg British & Irish Film Season, and two “Documentary Awards” from Irish Screen America Film Festival NYC and An tOireachtas Media Awards, 2018.

Thurles resident Mr Michael Walsh [Latter who undertook the same journey on foot in 2013] and his son Ben, are both acquainted with the boats crew members and the film makers, and both confirm that this event is a major coup for Cabragh Wetlands. They are encouraging as many people as possible to attend on Thursday night. Note: A suggested contribution for this major event is just €5, with full proceeds donated, going directly to the Cabragh Wetland Development Trust.


Thurles Born Kerry Condon One Women On The Verge

The very lovely Thurles actress, Ms Kerry Condon, will be appearing on RTÉ2 this month; on Thursday, October 11th, at 10.30pm to be precise, in the highly anticipated TV comedy dubbed “Women on the Verge”.

Talented Actress Ms Kerry Condon.

“Women on the Verge” is set in Dublin, and tells the comical tale of three career-driven friends all in their 30’s, each at various stages of their chosen careers. Their friends and colleagues appear to be ever increasingly in full and total control of their daily lives, while these 3 aforementioned friends seem to be moving in quite the opposite direction. These same three friends referred, are played by Ms Kerry Condon (35); Ms Eileen Walsh(41) and Ms Nina Sosanya (48).

The blue eyed, Ms Condon stars as ‘Laura’, an investigative journalist who is at serious risk of ruining her career, following a ‘sleepover’ with none other than her boss. Ms Walsh, stars in the character of ‘Alison’, latter who is back with her old ex-boyfriend Martin yet again, trying for a baby, following her series of disastrous previous one-night stands, while Ms Sosanya, staring as Laura’s (Kerry Condon) friend ‘Katie’, persuades her to go for a series of psychotherapy sessions with a psychologist played by Ms Sharon Horgan.

The very talented and unassuming Miss Condon first shot to fame in “Angela’s Ashes” in 1999, following it up with a string of films including “Rat”; “How Harry Became a Tree”; “Ned Kelly”; “Intermission”; “The Halo Effect”; “Unleashed”; “The Last Station”; “The Runway”; “This Must Be the Place”; “The Shore”“Dom Hemingway”; “Gold”; “Avengers: Age of Ultron”; “Captain America: Civil War”“Spider-Man”: “Homecoming”; “Breaking Bad”; “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”; “Avengers: Infinity War”; “Bad Samaritan”  and finally “Dreamland”, latter, an upcoming American drama thriller completed and set for full release sometime next year.

Ms Condon, since 1999 has also appeared in numerous TV series including:-  “Ballykissangel”; “Born and Bred”; “Rome”; “Anatomy of Hope”; “Five Days”; “Luck” “The Walking Dead”; “Believe”; 12 episodes being presently broadcast in Series 4 of “Better Call Saul” and “Brace for Impact”.

Ms Condon first developed her love for stage, as a schoolgirl in the late 1980’s performing here for local audiences in the Premier Hall Thurles, in the Thurles  John Player “Tops of the Town” performances; latter a cigarette-sponsored talent show, that surely rivalled nationally, today’s X Factor. Having honed her considerable talents both locally and nationally; today she performs, on an equal footing, rubbing shoulders alongside Hollywood greats like Colin Farrell, Tom Hanks, Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Nick Nolte, Dustin Hoffman, to name but a few.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Irish Broadcaster George Hook Visits Thurles


Well known and popular Irish broadcaster, journalist and rugby union pundit Mr George Hook visited Thurles yesterday.

During his visit to StakeFest at Stakelums Home & Hardware premises on Racecourse Retail Park, Thurles, the former coach of London Irish, Connacht and the United States National Team of the 1987 Rugby World Cup era met up with members and supporters of Thurles Rugby Club.

(L-R pictured here above) are Colin O’Shaughnessy, Mary Telford, Larry Moloney, George Hook, Eddie Smyth, Shane Moloney, Barry Cagney, Christina Telford.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

New Tipperary Film Premier – “The Minnitts of Anabeg”

MinnittsA new Tipperary film “The Minnitts of Anabeg,” will receive its very first screening at the Nenagh Arts Centre, North Tipperary, this coming Wednesday night, December 18th, beginning at 7.30pm sharp.

(Click on image left for larger image of poster.)

This excellent film production was made on a micro budget and filmed around Nenagh and Thurles, here in Co Tipperary, using localised and very talented actors from amateur drama groups representing Nenagh Players and our own much enjoyed award winning Thurles Drama Group.

The film “The Minnitts of Anabeg,” tells the true factual story of the Minnitt family and the generations who lived in Anabeg house near Nenagh, from the 1600’s to the early 1900’s.   The Film focuses in particular on one Joshua Minnitt, latter a prominent landowner living around the period of the Great Famine era (1845 -1849) and his assistance in helping the local impoverished community through that tragic, black period in our Irish history.

While managing to greatly assist and save a community, Joshua Minnitt failed however to save his own family.  His only son against his wishes married a local Catholic girl resulting in the former being disinherited.

The film’s factual storyline however is not just a tale dominated by religious bigotry, but also an account of a family torn apart by politics and power.

The soundtrack for this low budget film was written by Roscrea music composer Thersa Larkin, while the original Anabeg House building was used as the film’s main location. Other scenes were filmed at locations in Thurles, at St Mary’s Famine Museum and at Nenagh Convent, latter which still has a laundry room from the days of the old workhouse regime.

Tickets: Tickets for this very first screening of a Tipperary based production cost just €8.00 and will give the audience a chance to meet many of the talented actors, musicians, technical people and producers involved, many who will be in attendance.

This is a must see event for lovers of real romance, drama, history and in particular Tipperary history. So if you are tired of looking at the same old Dublin produced rubbish, currently sold and eluded to as ‘celebrity entertainment,’ by our various Irish TV channels presently, get out there and see real Tipperary talent perform on screen.

DVD: A limited edition DVD will also be available to purchase on the night.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Lost Tipperary Child To A ‘Fallen Woman’

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.St. Matthews Gospel Chapter 7: v 1-2

PhilomenaRegularly we receive requests, mainly from Tipperary expatriates, inviting us to recommend titles to books about Tipperary, its past history and its undoubted scenic beauty.

In relation to our past, one such compelling book comes highly recommended, from the pen of ex-BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, published some three years ago. It is “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee,” now also about to be launched as a new film directed by Stephen Frears and entitled ‘Philomena.’

In the film version the main role of Philomena Lee, an Irishwoman in her 70’s, is played by the Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench, supported by actor, comedian and producer Steve Coogan.

Both the book and film tell the heart rending story of Anthony Lee, a three year old boy who was born in the mother and baby home, run by the nuns and known as Sean Ross Abbey, here in Roscrea, Co Tipperary. It details in particular the trials of his unwed mother Philomena, who was forced to give up her baby for adoption, a few years after his birth.

At the time of Anthony’s birth, readers must understand that the democratically elected Irish government of the period were paying the church £1 a week for every woman in its care, and two shillings and sixpence for every baby in similar circumstances. This same Irish government, however, were not so generous to the babies born of unwed mothers, who choose to run this gauntlet of assumed shame while remaining outside this prescribed ‘mother and baby home,’ system.

In the 1950’s young unwed mothers were harshly judged by the vast majority of Irish society, not just Roman Catholics. As horrible and tragic as this compelling story will read, one must remember that society, the nuns and the church who undertook this social remedy, did not perceive themselves as evil, instead the motivation behind their actions, while misguided, was mostly seen from the point of view as being for a child’s future betterment.

The girls’ parents, because of perceived social family shame and secrecy, together with these nuns truly believed that these adopted children would possibly be better off with the stability of a two parent family. The nuns firmly believed as did unnecessarily embarrassed families that by hard work in these religious establishments girls would somehow atone for their sexual transgressions and thus redeem themselves morally in their lifetime. Of course these actions undertaken did not take into account the feelings of the mother and child.  Both then and even in more recent times, with the church’s role in these adoptions emerging and with much of the incriminating paperwork disappearing in somewhat unexplained circumstances, the church continues to guard itself in its role played in these adoptions.

When she became pregnant as a teenager in the Ireland of 1952, Limerick native Philomena Lee, aged 19, was sent to Sean Ross Abbey convent in Roscrea Co. Tipperary, to be cared for as a ‘fallen,’ woman. Having given birth, she was permitted to care for her new born for three years until the Church took him from her and sold him, like countless others, to America for adoption.

After giving birth, these ‘fallen women,’ mere girls, were allowed to leave the convent, but only if they or their family could afford to pay the nuns £100. Those who couldn’t afford this substantial sum, which were the vast majority, had to leave these girls in the convent for three years, where the latter occupied themselves in kitchens, laundries, greenhouses or making rosary beads and religious artefacts, while the church kept the profits from their labours.

Like all the other girls in similar circumstances, Philomena Lee would be made to sign a ‘Renunciation Document,’ agreeing to give up her son, while swearing on oath: “I relinquish full claim for ever to my child and surrender him to Sister Barbara, Superioress of Sean Ross Abbey. The purpose is to enable Sister Barbara to make my child available for adoption to any person she considers fit and proper, inside or outside the state.”  From the end of the Second World War until the 1970s, such oaths would now entitle these children born out of wedlock to be the property of the church and now with or without the consent of their mothers, these babies could be sold.  In fact the only condition laid down by the then Archbishop McQuaid was that adopting parents should be acknowledged as fully practising Roman Catholics.

Philomena cried when Anthony was taken from her that Christmas period of 1955.  She was not told he was being taken and it was felt that it was in her best interests that she should not be allowed to say goodbye.

Philomena’s son Anthony would now vanish from Ireland; sold to an American couple from St Louis, Missouri, USA, to re-emerge under the adoptive name of Michael Hess.  Anthony (Michael Hess) would go on become a Senior Counsel to both the George Bush Snr and Ronald Reagan administrations. Philomena and Anthony, despite much searching for each other, would never be reunited, though both he and his mother visited Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, Co Tipperary several times over the decades, both individually inquiring about the whereabouts of each other.

Truly a heart rending remarkable true story and a must read‘, for all book lovers in Tipperary and further afield.

Highly recommended as a stocking filler for all those loving dedicated mothers out there, with Christmas just some eight weeks away.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail