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Thurles Actress Kerry Condon Joins The Walking Dead 4

The Walking Dead‘ Season 4, shattered all ‘Ratings Records,’ in the US on Sunday night last, attracting some 16.1 million viewers. To Thurles people this will come as no great shock, since at least some of this same acclaim can be attributed to the stunning performance given by a Thurles, Co Tipperary actress, the very lovely Ms Kerry Condon.


(Left pic) Actress Kerry Condon, – Group (L-R) Actors Nick Nolte, Kerry Condon, Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina and Tom Payne pictured at the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Ms Condon, (Born January 4th, 1983) will be well remembered here in Thurles for her annual talented performances as a teenager in local school plays and her community routines spent as a performer in the now defunct “John Player Tops,” where she took on roles in song and dance routines with others including Una Healy of the Saturdays, in the local Premier Hall in the town.

Ms Condon who was nominated in 2011 for an IFTA for Best Supporting Actress of her portrayal of Grace Thomas in ‘The Runway,’ appears in the ‘The Walking Dead‘ as Clara, a mentally unstable female survivor and character driven to the brink of lunacy, while trying to survive a zombie apocalypse.

The Walking Dead,’ Season 4, created by Frank Darabont, based on the popular graphic novel of the same name, follows police sheriff Rick Grimes and a hard pressed small band of survivors, that face the constant daily threat of the flesh-eating ‘Walker,’ is expected to go on air next year on RTÉ Two.

Ms Condon, who won ‘Best Supporting Actress,’ at the 2009 Lucille Lortel Awards for her performance in the Atlantic Theater’s Off-Broadway production of “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” will be even better known for her performance as Octavia in ‘Rome,’ and her other screen characters of course which include Theresa in Frank McCourt’s ‘Angela’s Ashes,’ Masha in ‘The Last Station,’ Rachel in ‘This Must Be The Place,’ the Cafe Waitress in the comedy, romance and crime drama ‘Intermission,’ and Mairead Reilly in ‘Ballykissangel,‘ to name but a few.

Ms Condon we follow your career with pride – well done.


Thurles Born Mark Maher Joins W5

W5, Ireland’s award winning science and discovery centre has acquired the services of Thurles-born model maker Mark Maher for an enchanting new model display called “Once Upon A Christmas.”  W5, for those not familiar with this incredible exhibition centre, is part of the Odyssey, Northern Ireland’s Landmark Millennium Project, based in the Abercorn Basin, beside the River Lagan in Belfast.

So what has Mark Maher been getting up to recently. Well Mark has spent the last three years working in New Zealand as special effects artist for none other than Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of “The Hobbit.”

Master model and effects craftsman Mark Maher from Thurles, Co Tipperary

Mark has now been enlisted by W5 for his expertise as a miniature model maker and sculptor to recreate scenes for a brand new Christmas experience, where families will step into a world of ‘fairy tales’ and ‘happily ever afters’ as they stroll round a mythical castle square filled with Christmas ambience in the Odyssey Centre.

Wandering throughout this square will be wonderfully costumed fairytale and storybook characters, both meeting, greeting and posing for photos with all those who visit. To reach this castle square in the centre, visitors will enter through a display of old-style fashioned Christmas windows and discover model sets from six classic children’s books and fairy tales.
Each of these beautifully detailed models have been lovingly created by Mark especially for W5 and will feature scenes from Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and The Snow Queen.

Mark has been working on these models at W5 now since July of this year and already some of his work has been described as “simply breathtaking.”

Of course Mark’s other work can be seen on the big screen (Trailer above) when the much anticipated “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” gets its cinema release on December 13th next. In this forthcoming screen episode the Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf  have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains, and Bilbo has gained the One Ring and they will all continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon, Smaug.

Visitors can get up close and personal with Mark Maher’s mini masterpieces for W5 when the festive fun starts at the Odyssey centre on Saturday November 23rd next.

Note: This model collection will go on tour as “Once Upon a Fairytale,” later in the year, as it has strong links to the National Curriculum for Literacy and Creativity.


Thurles Table Quiz In Aid Of RehabCare

No Limbs No Limits

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.


Thurles Comedian Pat Shortt – Life’s A Breeze

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.


Seeking Degrees Of Separation For The Thurles Ryan Gathering In August

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?