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Thurles
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15°C
real feel: 11°C
wind speed: 4 m/s NE
sunrise: 5:18 am
sunset: 9:39 pm
 

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Bring Early Spring Colour To Your Garden.

Japanese Pink Pussy Willow (Salix gracilistyla ‘Mt Aso’) [Salix = Willow, – gracilistyla = slender style, – Mt Aso (Aso-san) = largest active volcano in Japan and overall amongst the largest in the world.

The above ‘Mt Aso’ Willow shrub, with its changing pink, to purple, to red coloured catkins was first selected in Japan by a cut-flower developer.

In your garden, this shrub spreads to a maximum size 6ft x 6ft, with handsome bluish-grey leaves that are silky underneath. The twigs are covered with a greyish-tan fuzz and here in Ireland the catkins will begin to swell in late January; opening fully in February and March, depending of course, on the prevailing climate temperature.

The wonderful shrub will grow almost anywhere in full sun and in either sandy, average or moist soil, but will insists on being watered regularly, if residing in an area of low rainfall.

Little troubled by disease; the soft and silky catkins grow from 1 inch, expanding as they mature to around 2 inches in length. If coppiced (cut back annually) firmly; this truly ornamental shrub will maintain a steady annual supply of young stems, producing maximum flowering.  The cut stems can be brought indoors from late January onwards and placed in 3-4 inches of water until the flowers expand. Then remove the water and the dried stems will hold the pussy catkins, literally for months.

Currently, while stocks last, this rare and unusual shrub is available at O’Driscolls Garden Centre, Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary [Tel: (0504) 21636] and is categorised under our ‘Good Deals‘ section, retailing for the amazing price of just €8.50.

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Time For Primrose Power

English Country Garden

“How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We’ll tell you now of some that we know,
Those we miss you’ll surely pardon.”

Lyrics extricated from the song “English Country Garden”, by James Frederick “Jimmie” Rodgers.

Following on from the snows which arrived courtesy of Storm Emma last week, looking out through our kitchen windows we must admit that our gardens, with the exceptions of those few daffodils growing in one corner, are looking just a bit deadbeat and colourless.

However, this would not have been the case if we had planted some of the earliest of spring bloomers those delightful primroses, (Primula polyantha), which with today’s variations, offer such a multiplicity of form, size, and colour. Primroses, which range in colours from white, traditional creamy-yellow, cream, purple and blue, yellow to orange, and red to pink, have easily shrugged off the severe cold of Storm Emma, and will continue to bloom right into the summer, adding magnificent colour well after spring bedding plants have come into maturity.

Take Note: Right now, while stocks last, these colourful plants can be found right here in Thurles, in the O’Driscoll Garden Centre, Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary (Telephone: (0504) 21636).

Ten assorted, mature primrose plants will cost you a mere €12.50 (inclusive) for all 10 plants, thus offering spectacular value for truly extravagant colour.

This garden centre is renowned countrywide for all manner of garden lovelies, such as trees, shrubs, perennials, alpines, climbing plants, ferns and herbs and is an oasis for those anxious to locate that extremely rare and unusual plant.

Primrose
The name primrose, of course, comes from the Latin ‘prima rosa’ meaning “first rose”.  These perennials (Perennial … meaning plants that remain leafy from year to year or evergreen), should be planted in a lightly shaded area with well-drained soil, preferably amended with organic matter. Set the plants about 6 to 12 inches apart with roots set 4 to 6 inches deep. Do water thoroughly after planting, trying not pour over the plants themselves. Good idea also to add a layer of mulch around each plant to assist in retaining moisture.

Suitable for planting almost anywhere in garden flower beds and borders, as well as in window boxes and other larger flower containers; once given proper growing conditions, these vigorous plants will multiply each year, adding stunning colours to your garden space.  Remember, primroses do appreciate a light application of organic fertilizer, throughout the growing season.

Like most other garden plants, the primrose will come under attack from slugs, snails and aphids, but these can be easily controlled using non-toxic slug bait in the case of the slugs and snails, together with soapy water in the case of aphids.
Of course, if these delightful flowers are simply left in the ground, when they have finished flowering this spring, they will sit happily throughout the late summer and winter, to once again burst into flower next spring.

Try Crystallize Your Primrose Blossoms
Primrose flowers are edible and while they do not exactly taste delicious on their own; when coated with sugar they can be transformed into rather a tasty decoration, with which to beautify your baking, e.g. cakes and even desserts.

  • Lightly beat the white of one egg with a teaspoon of cold water to make up an egg wash.
  • Make sure the flower blossoms are clean and if you have to wash them, allow them to dry on kitchen paper towelling, before continuing.
  • Dip or use a clean previously unused artists brush or a pastry brush to paint the egg wash unto the entire surface of each flower blossom, both back and front.
  • Pour approximately 1/4 cup of white or brown granulated sugar into a bowl, (Note: Icing sugar is not fit for purpose in this case). With the flower bloom now coated in egg wash, place it in with the sugar; coating as much of the flower’s surface as you can, before placing it face-down on a surface lined with greaseproof paper. Leave your blooms to dry for 1-2 days; until they stiffen up.

Once hardened, these decorations will decorate delightfully, your cakes, buns, and desserts.

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It’s International Miss Macra Festival Time Again

International Miss Macra press launch, which was held in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, last weekend.

The 46th International Miss Macra Festival 2017

This year Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra na Feirme club will celebrate the 46th anniversary of the International Miss Macra festival, to be held over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this coming August Bank Holiday weekend 2017.

Once again, this year’s festival will see girls travelling from all over the country and beyond, here to Thurles in Co. Tipperary, to compete for the honour of being crowned International Miss Macra 2017; thus succeeding the much admired 2016 winner Miss Sinead Guiney from Co. Cork.

This year again the festival will be sticking with its initial roots; remaining in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, with one new added venue on Friday night, centred in the Clonoulty community. Such is the high calibre of available venues in Thurles, that the festival this year will take place in two separate establishments both offering the very best that Thurles and Co. Tipperary has to offer e.g. ‘Coffey’s of Stouke’ on the Friday night, ‘The Dome’, Semple Stadium on Saturday and the magnificent family-run ‘Anner Hotel’ on the Sunday night and over the weekend.

Once again we welcome the tremendous support by the Anner Hotel, (Conference and Leisure Centre), latter awarded a 4 Star venue by Fáilte Ireland, which will be our primary location for this year’s ‘welcoming reception’, ‘private interviews’ and gala banquet’.  The hotel, situated on private grounds with manicured gardens is without doubt a truly beautiful, pristine location for this event, with the added bonus that its owners, the Maher brothers, are lifelong supporters of Macra na Feirme and can be thanked for facilitating the return of this festival to Thurles.

This year again Thurles will see young ladies travelling from all over Ireland and from abroad, in the hope of following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Miss Sinead Guiney (Avondhu, Co. Cork, Club).

The festival will kick-start on Friday August 4th with contestants meeting the festival committee in the Anner Hotel, Thurles.  Friday afternoon also offers contestants that rare chance to take a personal tour of the world famous Coolmore Stud Farm, followed by lunch in the Anner Hotel renowned restaurant.

Macra2016

Pictured L – R: Miss Josephine O’Dwyer, Miss Sinead Guiney (International Miss Macra 2016) and Miss Aileen Sheehan, all judged winners at the 45th International Miss Macra 2016 Festival’s Gala Banquet, held in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, last year.

Next the contestants will take part in a ‘Zumba Class’ in Clonoulty Community Hall, where contestants, host families and local people will get the chance to ‘meet and greet’ our guests; latter a long-standing tradition of this International festival.
The Friday night will be comprised of a Charity Traditional music night which allows the contestants and supporters to let their hair down and enjoy live music from the best musicians in the area, and in what will be the most enjoyable of events. Doors will open at 9:30pm sharp, with details regarding tickets available on our website.

Saturday morning heralds an intense morning for the contestants, as they must rise early and prepare for their private interviews in front of a three-person judging panel. This panel has been given the difficult task of selecting, just one young lady from the many contestants; the winner to be crowned “International Miss Macra 2017”.

Judges:
The judges for the 2017 competition this year are Mrs Joan Pollard Carew, Mr Declan Ryan and a new judge, as yet to be named, joining us this year from Radio Spin South West.  Joan Pollard Carew is representing Michael Carew Jewellers, Friar Street, Thurles, the main sponsor of the festival. Not only is Joan’s husband the main sponsor of the festival but Joan is herself a published poet and is widely known nationally in Irish Art and Irish Dancing circles. Joan and her husband also contribute greatly to the festival in terms of invaluable support, time and advice. Declan Ryan, who has held every known post of responsibility on the International Miss Macra Festival committee and also currently holds the title of President of the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra club, completes the committee. We are delighted this year to be partnering with Spin South West Radio for the entire event with DJ’s and presenters filling the roles of adjudicator and MC for the weekend’s activities.

Saturday evening’s Cabaret will take place in the Dome, Semple Stadium, Thurles, where the contestants will be interviewed on stage (two at a time), by our interviewer from Spin SW Radio.  This year, the interviews will be followed by live music from ‘The Waxies’ to which the contestants, their supporters and all those attending, can dance the night away.

Sunday morning starts with the contestants attending Mass at Clonoulty Parish Church. The choir accompanying this ceremony is comprised annually of members of Clonoulty Rossmore Macra and members of the local community. Following Mass, the contestants then take part in a family fun field day, in the Clonoulty G.A.A grounds. This enjoyable event is a mixture between a Macra Field Day and a School Sports Day. Here the contestants will have to show their worth by participating in many country-inspired activities. All this will be followed by a barbecue, (weather permitting), which will be cooked by local butcher Mr Joe Hammersley.

Sunday night is the International Miss Macra Gala Banquet in the Anner Hotel; truly the highlight of this Festival. To begin, all the contestants plus their escorts are photographed, before the champagne reception at 6.00pm. The contestants, their handsome escorts, the invaluable host-families, various supporters and Macra and non-Macra members will all sit down to enjoy a delicious five course meal.

The meal will be followed by various speeches, live music by “Silver Dollar” and dancing. At the enchanting hour of 12.00 midnight, silence will descend on the Anner Ballroom as anticipation reaches climax point; when the winner of the 2017 International Miss Macra Festival will be crowned.

As the festival now draws to a close, the entire ballroom will dance the night away, well into the early hours of Monday morning.

This event is sure to be yet another International Miss Macra festival to remember for all who make the ‘Trip to Thurles’, Co. Tipperary for this upcoming August Bank Holiday weekend. The committee of International Miss Macra look forward to seeing you all here and are more than willing and ready to give you a true taste of Tipperary hospitality and a weekend you will truly never forget.

So if we have left you wanting to know more, find us on Facebook, on Twitter or check out the Miss Macra Website for all the latest up-to-date information. If you require any further details regarding what is guaranteed to be an unforgettable weekend or if you would like to book tickets; you can contact Mr Donnacha Ryan (Festival Chairperson), on Mobile 085-7771859.

So don’t delay, book your weekend ticket, pack your dancing shoes and hit the road to Thurles, in Co. Tipperary for this August Bank Holiday weekend – it’s not a long way.

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Black Friday Weekend At Thurles Centenary Co-Op

thurles-centenaryBlack Friday Weekend begins at Thurles Centenary Co-Op today (Friday 25th- Sat 26th November 2016), with massive saving to all consumers.

Call and check out Centenary Home & Garden at Templemore Rd. Thurles today and tomorrow.

Coal 40kg Premium bag €15.00 – a saving of €2.25 per bag.

Bord na Móna Briquettes – normally €3.85 per bale (Cheapest price currently in Thurles) are now even further reduced in price to just €3.50 per bale.

Broxo Water Softening Salt – normally €7.25 per bag – this weekend 5 x 1 bags for just €30.00.

Dog FoodsGain and Star Brands  – normally €18.70 per bag and €16.95 per bag – this weekend €32.00 and €28.00 respectively, per 2 x 1 bags purchased.

There are huge reductions also on Household Paint and special offers on other DIY Goods including Stanley, Bacho and Tata branded hand tools.

The Black Friday Sale will continue into Saturday only, to ensure that those unable to take advantage, due to work or other commitments, are given an opportunity to take full advantage of the huge discounts on offer.

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Thurles – Real Back To School Bargain

pencilsParents, Teachers – Note Bargain of the Week.

‘Crayola Twistable Pencils’ have become increasingly popular with children; also their parents and teachers, in recent years.

No more pencil sharpening and associated mess; you simply twist the top and continue to colour. The only disadvantage however has been the associated price tag, with a set of tenCrayola Twistable Pencils‘ typically retailing at €3.99; both online and in the shops.

However, this week in Tesco Thurles, ‘Crayola Twistable Pencils’ are on sale (while stocks last), for the incredible low price of just €1.29 per pack of 10. That’s cheaper than their no-brand equivalent!

A Real Back to School Bargain Folks!

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