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Thurles – St Mary’s Graveyard Project Update

A project undertaken to reclaim / transform the old late 13th century St. Mary’s graveyard, begun last November (2014) here in Thurles, is progressing very satisfactory. The former part dump and weed infested “Gods Acre” is now 50% complete thanks to Tús operatives, Thurles Municipal District Council and the many local people who have undertaken to support this project.

With three car trailer loads of broken dishes, plastic and glass bottles, bicycle and electrical parts etc now removed, some interesting pieces of old Thurles history were also uncovered. These located surface artefacts included two badly decomposed 19th and 20th century hand guns, some interesting old bottles, a few 19th and 20th century coins and a hand-made, open fire, wire, fish griddle (Great Famine Period); this latter now fully restored by the ingenuity of Littleton resident Mr Michael Bannon.

The part proceeds of a local crime were also uncovered; hidden under a large stone, taking on the form of a 14 year old stolen purse, containing various credit type cards.  (In all cases the appropriate authorities were notified.)

Click HERE to view progress to date in High Definition.

Thurles – Undertaking A Visitor Attraction Project For Themselves

Of course the spring crop of Cherry blossom, Blue Bells, Three Cornered Leeks, Snowdrops and Lent Lilies have all departed for yet another year. So too now fading are the summer crop of Solomon Seal, Lily of the Valley, Primroses, Yellow Loosestrife and Lungworth. However the Common Poppy, Chinese Black Mondo Grass, White Foxgloves, Fleece Flower, Buddleia Bushes, Elephant Ears, African daisy, Marigolds and Feverfew all continue to grant late summer /autumn colour to this most historic of Tipperary graveyards.

The first gravelled footpath, one of four planned to guide visitors around this historic oasis, is also in place, joining the existing Thurles Memorial Garden.

To date this project has cost a minuscule €800.00 in financial funding for the massive work undertaken and a huge ‘Thank You’ must now go to all the volunteer supporters / advisor’s to this project and in particular to the Tús operatives and Thurles Municipal District Council (Administrator Michael Ryan).  A ‘Thank You’ also to Aileen O’Sullivan and family (U.S.A.) who handsomely contributed to the purchase of garden furniture, yet to be installed later this year in this area, (More details will appear regarding this installation later).

Of course if there are any Politicians out there who feel that funding should /can be made available to support / progress this ongoing project more speedily, perhaps they could let us know.

How can you the people of this community further assist in this new project?
(1) Do you have any “Overcrowded Perennials” in your garden drastically in need of thinning? Remember overcrowded perennials often have fewer and smaller flowers than their well-spaced and divided counterparts.

(2) Do you have relatives buried in St Mary’s Graveyard? Perhaps, finance permitting of course, you would like to take this opportunity to have the headstone cleaned, lettering repainted or a grave kerb added, replaced or repaired. Unable to undertake this work yourself, then talk to James Slattery, Tel 0504 – 22219, who specialises in dealing with ancient limestone headstones.

(3) Are you feeling generous? Why not make a small financial contribution to this worthwhile Thurles history / environmental conservation project. Your donation and full details of how your money was spent will be publicly acknowledged here on Thurles.Info in future regular news updates.

Note: Extreme care has been taken to ensure that this historic burial ground is respected in full, firstly, with regards to the rights of the living family members of those deceased, and secondly, in regard to the rules already put in place by the Heritage Council with regard to the Guidance for the Care, Conservation and Recording of Historic Graveyards.

Common Teasel – A Manna From Heaven

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin and yet I say unto you,
that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
St. Luke – Chapter 12, Verses 28 & 29.

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The Common Teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris) plant is just one of many wild flowers recently introduced into St. Mary’s Graveyard here in Thurles Co. Tipperary, as part of restoration work being carried out to convert the latter into a garden and urban wild flower reserve.

Observed by many as just a species of weed, the Common Teasel (Teazel) plant is well worth growing in well managed gardens, if only for use in dried flower arrangements. Teasel is a biennial plant which germinates in its first year; while flowering in its second. In the first year it appears as a rosette of spine-coated leaves, which die in the second year, as it diverts its energy into growing its tall, often up to 2 meter high stems.

Common Teasel is a real nature lover’s plants, protected by thorns the full length of its stem. Its cone shaped flower heads, the seeds of which begin turning brown in winter; gives to the observer the impression of being a giant cotton bud. Prior to seeding, it displays tiny lavender / purple coloured flowers to be found clustered together in the form of separated rings appearing up and down its flower head. These flowers quickly attract bumblebees, butterflies and other flying creatures and the later seeds produced, entice many wild birds, particularly Goldfinches, who arrive in vast numbers to feast.

The many uses attributed to the Common Teasel plant.

The first references to the huge important uses of the Teasel plant began before the 12th century. The Romans called the plant ‘Lavacrum Veneris’, meaning the ‘Basin (or Bath-house) of Venus’. This name refers to the fact that the plant collects little pools of water at the base of its lower stem leaves (See picture no.2 above) providing drinking water for insects. However this water collected also insures that it keeps its own roots watered, when, aided by the wind, it sways to spill this collected water supply unto the soil at its base. Irish Water (Uisce Eireann) activists who today correctly (to my mind) argue that water is more than just a human need; that it is in fact a God given human right, would do well to observe this plant.  Such observation will surely prove that access to safe drinking water should never depend on affordability; but rather that the provision of future clean water to the less well-off, be no longer perceived as charity, but rather as a legal entitlement to be shared by all God’s creatures equally.

During the eighteenth century, the water collected by the leaves of Teasel plants was believed to remove freckles and was also used to soothe sore eyes. The roots have also been used to treat warts, sores and other skin problems, as a stomach aid, as an analgesic for pain relief, as an anti-inflammatory and as a stimulant for the nervous system.  Teasel Root is widely used in conjunction with antibiotics to treat Lyme Disease. It has the ability to pull bacteria from muscle tissue into the blood stream, thus enabling the human immune system to do its work naturally.

Whereas most modern textile processes have been mechanised, the barbs of Teasel plants continue to be used today in the woollen trade, since the spiny heads of this plant are gentler on wool and cloth materials; where stubborn tangles are encountered. In this process some 2,000 to 4,000 dried teasel heads are hand-picked and mounted on rotating drums known as a ‘Gigs’. The Gig then spins rapidly over the stretched surface of woollen cloth, thus separating the surface fibres, “raising the nap”.

Today modern snooker-table cloth surfaces, guardsmen’s tunics and the roof linings of Rolls-Royce cars are all still finished with Teasel heads and no machine has ever been devised that can do the job on cloth better than the Teasel. Indeed the Coat of Arms of the Cloth Workers’ Company, granted first in 1530, still proudly displays a golden Teasel head.

Teasel with its thorny spiked stems, when used in dried flower arranging, soon teaches the florist to wear gloves when cutting or handling the plant. In drying, remember to leave the stems to fully shed their seeds naturally, before cutting and hanging upside down. Properly handled and correctly dried these flowers will last for many years, making a bold statement in any future designed floral display.

Comm’r Karmenu Vella Lunches At Anner Hotel Thurles

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Pictured L- R: Commissioner Karmenu Vella with Mrs Anne & Mr Michael Maher, Anner Hotel.

“If our oceans are not healthy, our economy will be sick.” – Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment.

The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Mr. Karmenu Vella, together with leading business people from Thurles, visited the Anner Hotel for a business lunch last week.

Commissioners Vella’s present EU responsibilities include protecting our environment while maintaining Europe’s competitiveness, harnessing the potential of our land and seas to create sustainable jobs that preserve our natural resources, implementing the new Common Fisheries Policy and leading the task of defining the management and governance of our planet’s oceans with our global partners.

Commissioner Vella is also part of the Project Team which promotes Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Energy Union, Better Regulation and Inter institutional Affairs and Budget and Human Resources.

Commissioner Vella later travelled to the Co. Cork hosted national maritime festival ‘Seafest 2015’ where he spoke of the progress being delivered through the Harnessing of our Ocean Wealth strategy, which positioned Ireland as a world leader on Ocean Governance.

The invisible side of our oceans wealth

“The seas are a new frontier”, stated Commissioner Vella. “New technologies such as underwater robotics and DNA sequencing mean that marine resources have become ever more accessible. Today, perhaps more than ever before, the seas offer new opportunities and new types of jobs.

The seas can deliver food. The UN reckons that aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food-producing sectors. The seas can deliver medicine. Scientists wondered why certain marine sponges caused a decline in nearby species – and found a substance that inhibits breast cancer.

The seas can deliver energy. Some 13% of new wind turbine capacity was installed offshore in 2014. And this is creating new jobs: since 2008, employment in offshore wind has grown at an astonishing 30% a year.

The seas are the destination of choice for our holidays. Some 45% of all nights spent by tourists in paid accommodation are in coastal areas. The turnover of the European cruise industry has grown at 3% a year since 2008. Surfing schools and yachting marinas are thriving.

As islanders, the Irish people understand the importance of the sea, adept at making the most of the opportunities that it provides, from aquaculture and marine biotechnology to coastal tourism. Taking the risks that go with a drive for innovation, for instance in ocean energy, is part of the make-up.

But as a people who are so closely linked to the sea, the Irish also understand the importance of preserving this shared resource for the future. Our seas are a huge economic asset. Europe’s maritime economy employs around 5 million people and contributes with around 550 billion Euros to our wealth. The Irish maritime economy is growing nearly twice as fast as the overall economy: by 9% between 2010 and 2012 and by over 8% for 2012 to 2014.

But there is also the ‘invisible side’ of our oceans’ wealth. Our oceans regulate the climate, their wetlands and dunes protect our coasts. If we are to preserve these benefits it is crucial that we preserve our natural assets. If our oceans are not healthy, our economy will be sick”, stated Commissioner Vella.

New Waste Management Plan For Co. Tipperary

WasteTipperary County Council has been set a number of key targets in relation to waste prevention activities under a new plan launched today.

Among the policies and actions included in this Southern Region Waste Management Plan (one of three such plans being launched in Ireland) is a 1% reduction per annum in the quantity of household waste generated per capita over the six-year period of the plan, a recycling rate of 50% of managed municipal waste by 2020 and a reduction to 0% the direct disposal of unprocessed residual municipal waste to landfill, commencing in 2016.

The preparation of these new regional waste management plans for the regions,  have been under-way since late 2013, following an evaluation of the previous plans which covered ten regions nationally. The Southern Waste Region encompasses the local authorities in counties Carlow, Clare, Cork City & County, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick City & County, Tipperary, Waterford City & County and Wexford.

Welcoming the new plan at a launch event held at LIT Thurles today, Cllr. Michael Fitzgerald, (Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council), stated: “This Plan seeks to assist and support the community and local business to develop resource efficiency and waste prevention initiatives. I am delighted to see that an extensive public consultation period featured in its development, which is important in terms of guiding future waste prevention and management in Co. Tipperary. The ‘Do One More Thing’ series of initiatives is also helping to promote the message that members of the public can play a central roll in preventing waste.”

Mr Joe MacGrath, (Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council) commented: “The preparation period for the plan extended over 18 months and afforded the Council an opportunity to take stock and evaluate the many ways in which waste have been managed in our County. Now that the plan has been published, I would urge householders, businesses and schools to visit www.southernwasteregion.ie and learn how they can directly play a role in boosting household and commercial recycling rates and reduce waste disposal levels in Co. Tipperary.”

The Southern Region Waste Management Office, which prepared the plan in conjunction with the Region’s 10 local authorities, say the new plan will build on the progress that has already been made in relation to waste prevention throughout the Southern Region.

Since the last waste management plans were published between 2004 and 2006, a Southern Region network of 770 Bottle bank sites and 50 Civic Amenity Sites, accepting more than 25 categories of waste has been maintained, while a household recovery/recycling rate of 63% and a commercial recovery/recycling rate of 61% have also been achieved.

“The focus of the new plan is to build on these achievements and to ensure that the Southern Region moves its management of waste from a traditional disposal model to a circular economy model so that waste becomes a future resource,” explained Philippa King, Regional Waste Co-ordinator, Southern Waste Region.

“What we do with our waste will become increasingly important in years to come. As natural resources deplete; we will have to reuse, repair and recycle more. The targets set out in this new plan will encourage such action,” added Ms. King.

Other key targets and key measures of the Southern Region Waste Management Plan:

(1) Encourage more reuse and repair activities in the region, particularly at civic amenity facilities.

(2) Deliver communication, awareness and on-the-ground activities which lead to a lasting change in the behaviours of citizens and businesses towards their wastes.

(3) Increase the level of source – segregated kerbside collections in the region, with a strong focus on ensuring that a three bin system becomes commonplace at household and commercial levels.

(4) Enforce the regulations related to household and commercial waste to tackle the problem of unmanaged waste and other issues.

(5) Plan and encourage higher quality waste treatment infrastructure including new reprocessing, biological treatment, thermal recovery and pre-treatment facilities.

(6) Ensure existing and future waste facilities do not impact on environmentally sensitive sites through proper assessments and siting.

(7) Grow the waste management sector into a prosperous and sustainable industry, which in turn creates and maintains healthy employment.

For more on the Southern Region Waste Management Plan visit Southern Waste Region (SRWMO) @ www.southernwasteregion.ie.

Launch Of Lough Derg Nature Trail

Part of Tipperary's Lough Derg shore line.

Tipperary’s Lough Derg shore line.

The new Lough Derg (On the river Shannon) Nature Trail will be officially launched at a seminar being held at The Workhouse Centre in Portumna, County Galway, next Thursday, April 30th .

This event, which takes place from 10.30am to 1.15pm, will feature presentations by Dr. Alan Mee on the ‘White Tailed Sea Eagles on Lough Derg’, consultant ecologist and writer Dr. Janice Fuller on ‘Going Wild on the Lough Derg Nature Trail’, and Lorcán O’Toole of the ‘Golden Eagle Trust’, on the effectiveness of existing tourism policies for rural communities.

A detailed guide to accompany the Nature Trail will also be launched on the day. Cllr. Michael Fitzgerald, Cathaoirleach, Tipperary County Council, Cllr. Mary Hoade, Cathaoirleach, Galway County Council & Cllr. John Crowe, Cathaoirleach, Clare County Council, will be in attendance.

This seminar is hosted by County Councils representing Tipperary, Clare and Galway, as well as the Heritage Council and Lakelands & Inland Waterways, Ireland.

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