In our everyday busy worlds, sometimes we all need a little reminder of just how well off most of us really are, despite job losses, austerity and a huge reductions in our living standards.
Our video hereunder shows a clip from “No Limbs, No Limits,” a documentary film, shortly to hit our screens, which tells the inspiring story and giving us a glimpse of the extraordinary life of Joanne O’Riordan, from Millstreet, County Cork, narrated by her brother Steven.
Joanne O’Riordan is not just any normal teenager and not because she has no limbs, due to being born with the rare condition Tetra-amelia syndrome.
At just 15 years old, Joanne first shot to fame back in 2011 when she confronted and indeed shamed Taoiseach Enda Kenny into reversing budget cuts to disability allowances. On the very week of her 16th birthday, she spoke at a UN conference in New York on women in technology, receiving a standing ovation. She was the Rehab Young Person of the Year winner at the People of the Year awards in 2012 and has made multiple appearances on the Late Late Show. Today at just 17 years old she is a popular weekly columnist with The Examiner newspaper.
Which brings me next to an important Rehab event taking place here in Thurles on Friday October 11th next. The event is a Table Quiz in aid of RehabCare, Stradavoher, Thurles, which takes place at Skehan’s Bar in Liberty Square.
This quiz begins sharp at 9:00pm so start checking out your current affairs, sport, history, geography and the history of Boybands etc
Tables of four competitors will cost just €20 or €5 each per each competitor taking part.
There will be a host of fabulous Raffle and Spot Prizes on Friday night, including holiday hotel breaks, so please, please do support this very worthy cause, as your assistance is very much required.
A very pleasant comedy drama, entitled “Life’s a Breeze,” centring on a squabbling family on the hunt for their mother’s lost savings of nearly €1,000,000, arrives into Irish cinemas today, July 19th.
Starring, Fionnula Flanagan, Kelly Thornton & Thurles born comedian Pat Shortt, “Life’s a Breeze,” is directed by Lance Daly, offering its audience a viewing duration of some 87 minutes of laughter.
While not scheduled to view in IMC Thurles just yet, this well told story highlights true family relationships when matters of finance and inheritance eventually are forced to take centre stage.
Kelly Thornton plays the role of the 13-year-old schoolgirl Emma, bribed by her lazy easygoing uncle Colm (Pat Shortt) to take her Nan (Fionnula Flanagan) out for the day, so he and other siblings can give her somewhat cluttered Georgian abode a badly needed tidying.
Nan, as you can imagine, finds their interference somewhat unwelcome, and soon informs them that her mattress which had contained her life savings of close to a million Euro has been dumped. The family’s initial disbelief turns quickly to panic, as they devise ways to track down this lost future family fortune.
Uncle Colm makes matters worse by announcing on a radio show that the cash has gone missing and very soon an army of money loving unscrupulous & unprincipled individuals are soon greedily knee-high in recycling waste, searching for Nan’s little nest egg and leaving her family’s chances of recovery even more difficult. Yes and it doesn’t just stop there.
This film is hilariously funny, believable and superbly carried out by three powerful performances from Ireland’s No1 rural character comedian Pat Shortt, acting legend Fionnula Flanagan and newcomer Kelly Thornton, latter who makes her début after being spotted on the street by the film’s casting director.
Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, but no need of six degrees when we take a look at this man. He does not appear in any list of Thurles Town’s most notable ancestors as yet, but was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 11th, 1909 and died on July 11th, 1973, just 40 years ago this month.
He stood 6ft-4in in height and despite being an American actor who constantly played the screen parts of hardened cops and ruthless villains, the kind of characters that in real life he found totally despicable, he would remain until his death from lung cancer in New York City in 1973 aged just 63 years, a confirmed pacifist.
He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1932, having held the school’s heavyweight boxing title during all four years of his attendance, to begin employment as a stoker on a ship, a WPA worker, and later a ranch hand in Montana.
He was a joint founder of “The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy’s Hollywood Chapter.” He served in the cultural division of the Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and together with Bill Cosby, Robert Culp, Sidney Poitier, and other actors, he helped organize the short-lived “Artists Help All Blacks,” and was an outright opponent of McCarthyism. Despite his earlier military service in the United States Marine Corps, he fully supported civil rights issues in America.
He will be possibly also remembered for subletting his apartment in Manhattan, ‘The Dakota,’ at 72nd & Central Park West, to John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It would be here that at around 10:50 pm on December 8th 1980, as John Lennon returned to this same New York apartment, that the madman Mark David Chapman would shoot Lennon in the back four times, as the latter entered this building.
Yes, you have probably guessed it by now, I speak of Robert (Bushnell,) Ryan, famous American actor extraordinary, who played lead roles in more than 60 films and whose grandmother (Maiden Name Johanna Ryan,) and grandfather John came originally from our town of Thurles, both emigrating to America just after the Civil War sometime in the end of the 1860’s.
This same Thurles born grandfather, John Ryan, became a carpenter who quickly founded a boat yard, his aim to supply boats for the Illinois and Michigan Canal, latter which ran through Lockport. His grandfather, at some time during these years, was superintendent of that section of the Canal, thus holding a position of some importance in his small adopted town.
The township was largely Irish and Catholic and these Ryan’s were a devout Catholic family. This devout faith did not however prohibit Robert Ryan’s father, Timothy Aloysius Ryan, from marrying a Protestant girl, one Mabel Bushnell. The Ryan’s, by all the standards of then civilized society, were a very fine family, hard working, devout, honourable, and handsome. While not showing intellectual or artistic merit, they are described by Robert himself, as conventional in both their private and public lives.
Actor Robert Ryan, as already stated, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the first born child of Timothy and his wife Mabel Bushnell Ryan. He himself would go on to marry Jessica Cadwalader, a Quaker, on March 11th 1939 and father two sons, Cheyney, a research fellow at Oxford University and a Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Oregon, and Timothy (“Tim” named after his father,) and one daughter, Lisa.
His film career which began in 1940 with “Ghost Breakers,” and ended with “The Iceman Cometh,” in 1973, also included the silver screen greats; Crossfire(1947); as Nick Bradley in Born to Be Bad (1950); On Dangerous Ground (1951); as Howard Wilton in Beware My Lovely (1952); as Cass Silver in The Proud Ones (1956); Battle of the Bulge (1965); The Professionals (1966) which obtained three Academy Award nominations; The Dirty Dozen (1967); as Lieutenant General Carson in Anzio (1968); The Wild Bunch (1969); and of course The Outfit (1973).
Maybe Thurles Town Council should unveil a plaque to the memory of his grandparents during “The Ryan Gathering,” to be held here in Thurles, Co.Tipperary, on the weekend of August 23rd -25th 2013, what do you our readers think?
In April of this coming year, Thurles resident Commandant Michael Walsh (Retd & former aide de camp to H.E. the President of Ireland), will undertake a 2500k trek on foot. His trek will begin here from Holycross Abbey, Thurles, in Co Tipperary, ending eventually in Santiago de Compostella Galicia in Spain, following the Ancient Pilgrims Route, known as “The Way of St James.”
Before he sets off on this trek Michael has planned many varied fund raising events, the first of which will be held at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) here in Thurles on Wednesday next the 23rd January 2013.
This first fund raising event is a screening of the film “The Way,” starring Martin Sheen, latter no stranger to Tipperary.
The film, supported by Lisheen Mine, Tipperary and promoted by Thurles Rotary Club & Tús Nua Autism Residential & Resource Centre Thurles, is a collaboration between Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez, in an attempt to honour the Camino de Santiago and promote this traditional pilgrimage route.
The films plot highlights the story of Thomas Avery, an American ophthalmologist, who goes to France following the death of his adult son, killed in the Pyrenees during a storm, while walking the route Michael Walsh intends to follow, i.e. Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), a Catholic pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. Tom’s purpose initially is to retrieve his son’s body. However, in his combination of grief felt and in homage to his son, Tom decides to walk the ancient spiritual trail where his son died. While walking this route, Tom meets others walkers from around the world, all looking for greater meaning in their individual lives. He somewhat reluctantly falls in with three other pilgrims. Joost (Yorick van Wageningen) is an overweight pilgrim from Amsterdam who is walking the route to lose weight in time for his brother’s wedding. Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger) is a Canadian fleeing an abusive husband, and is trying to quit smoking. Jack (James Nesbitt) is an Irish travel writer who desires to be a great author like Yeats or Joyce. He is the last to join this unusual quartet of pilgrims. As they travel the Camino, they occasionally meet and talk with other pilgrims — two Frenchmen, a young Italian and an elderly priest from New York named Father Frank.
The film “The Way,” is a worthy effort from writer/director Emilio Estevez, and manages successfully to balance heartfelt emotion with clear-eyed drama, that successfully resists everyday cheap sentiment.
This event will begin at 7.00pm with a food & drinks reception and the film will begin sharp at 7.45pm. I promise you this is one moving event not to be missed.
Please do remember the time & date: Wednesday next 23rd January 2013, 7.00pm sharp at LIT Thurles.
Ladies make sure you are seated before you read any further. Are you seated comfortably? O.K. Hollywood star and heart throb Mel Gibson was in Tipperary yesterday and may still be in our midst.
The much loved actor and female icon, who stayed at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin and who is renowned for his direct Irish & Tipperary type no nonsense temperament, was out and about scouting for a suitable location for an up and coming production. Sure where else would you find such natural wild & unspoiled beauty?
Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson, born 3rd January 1956, American actor, director, producer and screenwriter was born in Peekskill, New York, moving with his parents to Sydney, Australia when he was just 12 years old. He later went on to study acting, qualifing at the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art.
Gibson got his breakthrough role as the leather-clad, post-apocalyptic, survivor in George Miller’s “Mad Max.” After appearing in the “Mad Max,” and the “Lethal Weapon,” series, he went on to direct and star in the Academy Award-winning “Braveheart,” latter which featured a few of our local residents. In 2004, he directed and produced “The Passion of the Christ,” a film portraying the last hours in the life of Jesus Christ.
So keep your eyes peeled and if you happen to spot him anywhere in the county, do give him a warm Tipperary welcome.