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Upcoming Heritage Week – Thurles Cathedral, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

“History is who we are and why we are the way we are” – Quote by David McCullough

Here on thurles.info we raised the issue of required entry road signage for Thurles back in July 2018, and again on March 21st, 2019. The current signage into our Cathedral Town remains 12 years outdated, outworn, archaic and a source of shameful embarrassment to local business and residents.

On April 3rd, 2019, we again wrote about this signage. Amazingly and just prior to our recent local Municipal District election, new approach road sinage for Thurles was, shall we say, “conveniently mooted”.

The four key strengths of the town which were identified were:- Arts & Culture, Business, Sport and Education.

According to the Minutes of our Municipal District, dated March 27th last, the four key strengths of Thurles, identified above, were recognised following public consultation. How come town residents, missed this public consultation invitation? Did any member of our electorate get an invitation? In the case of secretarial error, will these minutes be now fully corrected? After all (See picture (4) above) Tipperary Co. Council are committed to :- “AG OBAIR LEIS AN BPOBAL” – “WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY“.

Suggested New Thurles entry road signage

We here on Thurles.Info noted, with disappointment, that while Thurles is more often referred to as the “Cathedral Town”, no Cathedral building appears to feature in any of these hastily prepared proposals, that we have so far previewed.

Where is that “Identified Strength” known as ‘Thurles History’ recognised?

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. Quote by Marcus Garvey

Thurles Chamber of Commerce take note:- From purely a local economic prospective; Thurles Cathedral possibly brings more footfall to our Thurles town centre, than even the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA); attracting people through their daily Mass, Funerals, Weddings, Communions, Confirmations etc. Unless I am gravely mistaken, Thurles Cathedral will never be driven out by Tipperary Co. Council’s crippling parking charges, to move to the freedom generated by Thurles Shopping Centre, unlike so many of our other fine town centre businesses.

Arts & Culture; are they really a local strength or simply consist of a theatre and exhibition space, built with taxpayers money, to be controlled, once again, to provide financial benefit to Tipperary Co. Council. For the most part our Arts & Culture strengths locally consist of inviting lesser talented Dublin based theatre companies, to rent our ‘The Source’ theatre space, before racing back to Dublin, clutching tightly our €25 Euro per head ticket charge.

Our history, on the other hand, is a real strength and by not identifying same with intense pride, we greatly disrespect and gravely slight those who have gone before, latter having achieved so much on behalf of this present, often ingrate, generation.

According to Minutes published, it was agreed that this signage would be erected on the N75 (Dublin Road), N62 (Templemore Road), N62 (Slievenamon Road) and the R498 (Nenagh Road, Thurles). The time frame for completion of the signage is dependent on the selection of an agreed design.

There were, it appears, some conflicting views expressed on the imagery being used on this proposed signage and it was therefore unanimously agreed that a separate meeting should be convened on Tuesday 2nd. April, 2019 at 5:00pm to finalise the design. Any decisions agreed at that same meeting once again remain withheld from the ears of the great unwashed electorate.

In our most recent local Municipal district elections we, the electorate, voted for “more of the same”, and it was therefore with some further disenchantment, not to mention cynicism, that I listened to a radio pod-cast, featuring the newly elected Cathaoirleach (Chairperson) of Tipperary County Council, Mr Michael Murphy (Fine Gael), speaking on what was to be “high on his agenda”, over the next 12 months. Mr Murphy appeared to be solely focusing on projects in his home town of Clonmel. May we take this opportunity to remind Mr Murphy that he was elected as Cathaoirleach to serve all of Co. Tipperary, not just Clonmel.

Ireland’s National Heritage Week 2019 – August 17th – August 25th.

Over the coming weeks in preparation for Thurles National Heritage Week; Thurles.Info will attempt to highlight the massive national, historical importance and physical presence of Thurles Cathedral of the Assumption.

Forgetting briefly the everyday religious benefits obtained by Thurles and Tipperary people, not to mention that same religious spiritual advantage enjoyed by hundreds of visiting day-trippers down the centuries; it is important to again reveal the many untold stories relating to this iconic building, latter which symbolises a Cathedral Church, built to the glory of God; holding many now forgotten yet true stories.

“We learn from history that we don’t learn from history”. Quote by Bishop Desmond Mplio Tutu, latter South African Anglican cleric, theologian, awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.
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Update To Irish Civil Records

New historical birth, marriage and death registers have now become available for the public to access online.

These records, available to view online HERE, without charge, will show:-
* Births for the years 1917 and 1918.
* Marriages which took place between 1864 / 1869, 1942 / 1943.
* Deaths for the years 1878 through to 1968, adding 2 further years to previous online civil records.

As researchers will be aware back in 2016, more than 2.5 million historic records of deaths, marriages and births were made freely available online by the Irish Government. Ireland continues to lead the way in giving such access to historical genealogical information, by now adding 2 further years of historic records to those already available.

This latest release is part of an initiative to provide online access to historical records and registers, compiled by the Civil Registration Service.

As already stated, there is no financial charge for those wishing to access these records available to research in both Gaeilge and English.

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What Do We Know About The Thurles Knaggs Family?

Brief research was undertaken by Thurles.Info on the Thurles Knaggs family, following a request by one Ms Charlotte L. Roberts on the Ireland Reaching Out website.

“Things I Remember About My Father and Mother” was a published document written by Ms Charlotte L. Roberts, whose mother was Charlotte Knaggs-Roberts, latter originally from Thurles, in Co. Tipperary.

Charlotte L. Roberts writes fondly about her mother:-

“We walked to church and mother always went except when she had a small baby or someone was ill.
Mother loved music but had never had an opportunity to learn to play. She sometimes played on a Jew’s Harp. Will Atkins, a brother-in-law, directed the church choir at the First Methodist Church. She sang in the choir whenever possible. Sunday evenings she could go because my father would stay home with Olive and me. He would hold me on his lap and sing many hymns – usually gospel hymns.

Mother was a very good cook and we always had plenty of good food. She made pickles of the little cucumbers; mustard pickle, red cabbage pickle which was kept in a big crock down cellar; string bean pickles and many kinds of jelly. She also made her own bread and pies and cakes. We had many family picnics, usually at the Trout Ponds.

Mother was always patient with her children. She was born in Thurles, Ireland. Her father and mother were staunch Protestants. There were, Jane, Annie, Sarah, and Charlotte and several sons: Tom, Jim, George, and I think, one other. There was an Anne Jane, two with the name Hannah, [one died as a baby], Elizabeth, Robert, and Benjamin.

They came to America in 1864 and stayed in New York City for a few years. At Duane Street, Methodist Church they met many young people. My mother married John Oliver Roberts. They lived in Ohio for a time where my father bought butter and eggs and shipped them to New York. Later he came to Smithboro and finally to Newark Valley (New York) where they spent the rest of their lives”.

Charlotte L. Roberts writes also about her father John Oliver Roberts:-

John Oliver Roberts 1848 was from Middleton. Co. Cork, was the son of John Oliver Roberts. We were always at church every Sunday. My father was treasurer of the Sunday School. Also, teacher of a men’s class. He knew the Bible well. I found books that had been given to him as awards for his Bible study. I believe Father was also on the Official Board. He always liked to have his family look nice and he himself, was very meticulous about his own appearance.

He was a wonderful gardener – no weeds in his garden. He raised all kinds of vegetables, so we had good food summer and winter. Apple trees in the back garden furnished fruit and jelly.

He was fond of games. On afternoons when he could get away from the store, he would go with Bert Livermore to the Trout Ponds to play croquet. They each had their own special mallet and ball. At home he liked to play Checkers and Crokinole, (Latter a dexterity board game similar to marbles, and shove ha’penny).

As children we had Parcheesi (Played with two dice), Dominos, Authors (Card Game), Devil Among the Tailors (Table skittles), Jack Straws (Game involving a bundle of “sticks”, between 8 and 20 centimetres long, which are dropped loosely in a bunch onto a table top, jumbled into a random pile), and Croquet. He enjoyed company and we had cousins from Jersey who used to visit us in the summer. One year 15 cousins had their pictures taken at our home, though all were not visiting us.

Father was born in Middleton, Co. Cork, Ireland. Roberts is a Welsh name, but I know nothing about his family, his ancestors. There was an Uncle Ben who lived in London. Father’s brother James lived in this country and all his later years were spent in Smithboro. There were two sisters who visited in New York, but there is no further information about them. My father came to this country when he was 18 years of age in 1865″.

James Knaggs, eldest son of Robert Knaggs, Archerstown Mills, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Our brief research undertaken will first deal with Mr James Knaggs who through a Codicil in 1816 [Codicil being an additional formal legal document, added to a will, through which the Testator can make valid changes to their estate], obtained a lease from his father, latter Robert Knaggs (Surveyor of Excise), with an address at New Ross, Co. Wexford; of cabins including mills and a brewery on Littleton Road, Thurles, for 3 lives.

Mr James Knaggs married Ms Elizabeth Langford on February 11th, 1839 here in Thurles. They had 10 children – five daughters; Charlotte, Sarah, Anna Jane, Hannah Marie and Elizabeth, together with 5 sons; James, George, Robert, Benjamin and Thomas.

We are aware that Ms Ann Jane Knaggs, daughter of above named, Mr James & Elizabeth Knaggs, married Mr Sexton Roane, here in Thurles on June 29th 1860.

The Archerstown brewery and bakery, in 1846, was situated on the left side of the road, while the Archerstown water mill was situated on the right-hand side, as commuters travelled southwards from Thurles to Littleton via the Mill Road, latter formerly known as “Manor Mill Road”.

‘Poulaneigh’ is a pond in the townland of Galboola near Littleton. Same is the source or starting point of the Poulaneigh river. Joined by the river ‘Bréagagh’ same fed this 6-acre property of Archerstown mill, leased to Mr James Knaggs.

[Take time to halt and view the Ordnance Survey map, 6-inch to a mile, first edition, first surveyed 1840-1841, engraved in 1843, in the video shown above.]

‘Poulaneigh’ – (“Poll an eigh”) Irish translation “the pool of the horse”. ‘Bréagagh’ – Irish adjective for “false, deceptive or lying”, from the noun ‘bréag’ meaning a lie.

Regrettably today, Archerstown Mill (later which later become Dan Brady’s Mill) no longer exists. All that remains today is a narrow section of the millrace that provided fast running water to the old mill wheel. The archway leading into the once Brewery yard, (also shown in the above video) stands situated across the roadway remaining today, somewhat in decline.

You can read more about Knaggs Mill, same later to be known as Dan Brady’s Mill, by clicking HERE.

As exists today; the Poulaneigh river then continues on, to be joined by the ‘Drish’ river, as a tributary, and then continues to the Manor Mills [The Manor Mills, today better known as Byrne’s Mills, are marked on the 1840’s map as the “old tuck mill” and the “old flour mill”] situated on the Mill Road side of today’s Drish Bridge [Marked on the map as the “Old Mills bridge”] near the entrance to Lady’s Well. The output or mill-race from the Manor Mills is still marked as the “Poulaneigh or Manor river” until it feeds into the Suir river, just beside ‘Lady’s Well’. The river Breagagh is marked as a tributary of the Poulaneigh river, joining it just after it has begun to flow out of Poulaneigh pond.

The Old Tuck Mill Reference

Cloth washing areas go back a long way. Old Testament Bible Quote: “Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear-jashub and go out to meet King Ahaz. You will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed”. [From Book of Isaiah: Chapter 7, Verse 3. Written in the 8th century before Christ (BC)]

The concept of ‘Tucking’, also known as ‘Fulling’, ‘Walking’ or ‘Waulking’; was a stage in the manufacture of woollen cloth, which in turn involved the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool), thus eliminating oils, dirt, and other impurities, and to make it thicker. The workers undertaking this work were known as ‘fullers’, ‘tuckers’, or ‘walkers’.

Tucking involves two processes: (1) Scouring and (2) Thickening; each carried out originally by the pounding of the woollen cloth with a club, or the tucker’s own feet or hands.

By the time of the Crusades; in the late eleventh century, ‘Fulling / Tucking Mills’ were active throughout the medieval world. From this medieval period, tucking was often carried out in a water mill, followed by the stretching of the cloth on large frames known as ‘tenters’, to which the ‘Tucking’ product is attached by hooks. [It is from here that the phrase “being on tenterhooks” is derived, usually meaning that one is being held in suspense.]

The second function of fulling (Thickening) was to thicken cloth by matting the fibres together thus giving it strength and increased waterproofing (known as felting). After this stage, water would then be used to rinse out any foul-smelling residue.

‘Tucking’ or ‘Fulling’ in Roman times was labour consigned usually to slaves who worked the cloth, while ankle deep in tubs of human urine. Stale urine, known as ‘Wash’, was a source of ammonium salts which assisted in cleansing and bleaching the cloth. It is understood that urine from the Thurles Workhouse (Hospital of the Assumption, Thurles) and from the wealthier houses was collected and used to bleach such cloth.

As already stated, marked on the 1840’s map, the Breagagh river finished where it flowed into the Poulaneigh river, latter which then continued on as the Poulaneigh river, to feed Archerstown [Brady’s] Mill first and having being joined by the Drish river; to feed Manor [Byrne’s] Mills.

Same river in turn would then also contribute to the running of the Turtulla Mill, same once existing close to the Meagher residence, better known today as Thurles Golf Club. In all 4 mills operated on this less than 1 kilometre stretch of water.

On the 1904 Ordinance Survey map a new feature or attribute appears in 1846, on the Thurles landscape – namely a Leat.

Leat (also spelt lete or leet) is the name for an artificial watercourse or aqueduct dug into the ground, especially one supplying water to a watermill or its mill pond. Here also we come across the welcome activity of yet another of the Knaggs Family; namely Robert Charles Knaggs [Medical Doctor (MD)], latter who resided where the Ulster Bank operates today, at no 49 Liberty Square, Thurles previously then known as Main Street Thurles.

Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs (MD) Main Street Thurles

Monday April 20th, 1846
On Monday April 20th, 1846; according to the ‘Minutes of the Thurles / Rahealty Famine Food Committee’ [Minutes of Great Famine 1845 -1849]; members of same met with Rev. Henry Cotton (Chairman), Dr. O’Connor, Rev. Mr Barron (RC), Rev. Mr Baker, Rev. Mr Lanigan, Mr. Francis O’Brien (Treasurer), Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs and Mr J. B. Kennedy present.

We learn: “Dr R.C. Knaggs also reports – he having inspected the works to be done at Limekiln Lane, College Lane and the Double Ditch – calculated the expense of the works at College Lane at £20.
Proposals from P. MGrath and Danl Carroll for barrows –
½ a doz ordered from MGrath at 9/- each.
½ doz from Carroll at 9/6 each.
½ doz also to be got from Dan Dwyer, (if he wishes to make them)”
.
(1.) Hours of labour for all employees to be from 7:00am to 7:00pm; minus 2 hours for meals.
(2.) Any labourer found to shirk from reasonable and fair work or refusing to follow the directions of his overseer, shall forthwith be discharged and not admitted to the works again.
(3.) That the persons employed shall be paid every evening.
(4.) That in case a greater number of labourers shall offer themselves, than the funds will enable the committee to pay, a preference shall be given to those who have the largest and most necessitous families.

The ‘Double Ditch’ would act as a badly needed short cut / raised path to James Knaggs mill in Archerstown, beginning from College Lane, Kickham Street.

Later a ‘Leat’ would travel from the grounds of today’s St. Patrick’s College as far as ‘Lady’s Well’, before travelling under the Poulaneigh river, thus removing flood water from the Thurles river Suir end; draining it further downstream back into the River Suir once again. This ‘Leat’ remains visible to this very day.

17th Oct 1846
On October 17th, 1846 we also learn that:- “On discussion as to the appointment of an assistant secretary and providing the use of a room for a future sitting of the Committee; it was deemed advisable to do so and it was accordingly arranged with Dr. R.C. Knaggs to allow his parlour (in the now Ulster Bank building) to be continued to be used by them and that he should be appointed assistant secretary and paid a stipulated sum to be hereafter agreed upon, out of the sums of money granted by the Lord Lieutenant.”

Friday November 13th 1846.
At the 3:00pm meeting on Friday November 13th 1846 we read:- “Dr. R.C. Knaggs states that a large number of men could be employed on making sewers through the town, if there was a quarry to be had. Venerable Archdeacon Dr. H. Cotton offers the use of a quarry on his land.”

Note: Here we have the first ever sewage system being built here in Thurles, making the then existing ‘Shit Wells’ / ‘Honey Wells’ positioned in the back lanes of the town, now redundant. Indeed, so well designed was this sewer system; that in more modern times pipes were, for the most part, laid directly into this same old sewer system, when it was being upgraded.

According to Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland, Dr. Robert C. Knaggs owned property at Pike Road (Today’s Kickham Street, Thurles), at Wrensborough, Thurles (Dublin Road), and at Monakeeba, Thurles.

Perhaps the existing Knaggs Clan around the world, might like to take a trip back here to Thurles, Co. Tipperary, in the not too distant future and we will be happy to walk you in the footsteps of your ancestors.

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Bomb Thrown At Train In Thurles Railway Station.

The Constabulary of Ireland, (RIC) was first established back in 1814 by Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850), latter once a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Irish ‘rotten borough’ of Cashel, here in Co. Tipperary; an administrative division that had very few voters yet was represented in Parliament.

The Constabulary of Ireland were a trained and disciplined force under the central control of the English governments; which administered its affairs out of Dublin Castle. Members served under a strict code, that governed all aspects of their lives, both on duty and off. They were obliged to display strict impartiality at all times. For this reason, no serving member could be posted to their native district. They held no right to vote in elections or to hold membership of any political or religious grouping.

View this short video hereunder, to gain familiarisation of the Thurles area and the persons discussed, before continuing.

The Constabulary of Ireland, first had their barracks in Thurles, opposite what Thurles Confraternity Hall, then Thurles Gaol, on Rossa Street, then known as Pudding Lane or Gaol Street. Same was positioned on the opposite side of the street from the Gaol and currently rxisting Court House. The Barracks would later move to the north-east side of Main Street Thurles; today’s Liberty Square, until 1903, (where part of the Ursuline Primary School currently stands today in 2019). After 1903 it moved to Friar Street, to the premises today bearing the name ‘T. Mason’ over the door. It remained there until sometime around 1949, when the present-day Thurles Garda Station came into being on Slievenamon Road.

Here within this same Friar Street building, in the past, Sean Hogan and the recently pardoned Harry Gleeson; latter hanged by Albert Pierrepoint in Mountjoy jail in April of 1941; spent some in detention.

The former named detainee, Seán Hogan, was a known Irish Republican Army member, and then one of the most wanted men in Ireland, due mainly to his role in the Soloheadbeg ambush. Hogan was arrested on May 12th 1919 by the RIC, having attending a dance near Clonoulty, Co. Tipperary and was held at the Friar Street, Thurles RIC barracks. On May 13th 1919 he was rescued from a train by his comrades, including Dan Breen, while he was under guard by four armed RIC officers. Two of the RIC officers lost their lives and several IRA volunteers, including Breen, were wounded. This rescue, took place on Hogan’s 18th birthday, while the Thurles to Cork train halted briefly at Knocklong railway station in Co. Limerick.

Sergeant Thomas Enright

RIC officer Thomas Enright was the eldest of ten children of a second marriage born on a small farm in Listowel Co. Kerry in 1889. Forced to emigrated, he found work with the Canadian Pacific Railway; ending up in Vancouver. With the outbreak of World War 1, he chose to enlist with the 29th Vancouver Battalion and fought with them at the battle of the Somme during September of 1916. Seriously wounded in trench combat on the morning of August 21st. 1917, during a Canadians attack on Hill 70, near Lens, north-east France; he was field hospitalised before being invalided back to Canada to spent the remainder of the war recovering from Tuberculosis (TB) in a sanatorium near Vancouver.

It was here he met a nurse, Ms Mary White, a near neighbour of his from Bedford, Listowel, Co. Kerry. They were married the following year; both returning to Ireland in the summer (July) of 1919.

January 1919: The first shots in the war of the War of Independence had been fired in Soloheadbeg, placing Co. Tipperary under martial law. In April 1920, Thomas Enright, now back home here in Ireland, decided to join the RIC force, and was sent to Thurles. On August 6th 1920 he resigned from the RIC and was absorbed into the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary, (ADRIC), becoming a Barracks Defence sergeant. (Service No. 147).

1921 Mar 10. [Witness Statement 1454]. Five masked and armed policemen raided the house of Larry Hickey, publican, Main St., Thurles,
(now Liberty Square South), when they found the owner in bed. [Premises known as Jackie Griffins News Agency shop, recently eradicated to build a new car park entrance, by Tipperary Co. Council]. He was ordered out in his night attire and when he reached the head of the stairs he was tripped and thrown downstairs by an R.I.C. man named Jackson. In the fall, Hickey’s neck was broken and he was in great pain at the foot of the stairs when Sergeant Thomas Enright, who was in charge of the raiders, shot him dead, to put an end to his agony. Hickey was a well-known republican in Thurles, and a detailed account of his shooting was given to me during the truce period by Sergeant Enright himself.

1921 May. [Witness Statement 1454]. The Thurles R.I.C. tried out a new deception; in the hope of being able to inflict damaging losses on the I.R.A. Parties or police, attired in I.R.A. fashion and numbering about 20 men, went at night time, on foot, into the districts of Horse & Jockey, Littleton and Moycarkey. These parties were always led by the notorious Sgt. Enright, a North Kerry man and an ex-Canadian soldier. His accent did not require a great deal of changing to make it rather similar to that of the Tipperary people. A favourite dodge of his was to knock at a house owned by people of republican sympathies and pretend to the owner or his family that it was “Leahy and the boys” who were outside and that they were looking for some “wanted” I.R.A. men. These tricks never worked, as the civilian population was too wary to disclose anything they knew until they were very sure of those to whom they were speaking. After about four abortive attempts the police got wise to themselves and abandoned the idea entirely.

Sergeant Enright then figured in another form of activity. About once or twice a week he led about a dozen policemen on patrol from Thurles into the country, varying the itinerary each time. Mick Small made an effort to engage this patrol on the Mall road, half a mile from the town. With a force of 25 men he waited there for about five hours but without result, as the patrol did not come out, In or about the same fortnight two more efforts made by Small to engage the police were also unsuccessful.

November 21st 1921. In the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, November 21st 1921, the British authorities arrested hundreds of republicans and opened several internment camps throughout Ireland. The first internment camp was at Ballykinlar, in Co. Down, where 2,000 men were interned. Additional camps had to be established at Gormanstown, Co. Dublin, on Bere Island and Spike Island, in Co. Cork, and at the Curragh, in Co. Kildare. Some three days after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, on December 9th 1921, all republican prisoners were released from Ballykinlar.

1921 Dec 9th. A train carrying IRA men home from internment under the truce was attacked near Thurles. Certainly, the IRA believed Sgt. Enright was the man responsible.

December 10th 1921. According to a report in the TIMES newspaper carried on December 10th 1921; Three of the ex-prisoners were wounded, one Deelan Horton of Ardnaree, Co. Waterford dangerously, (Horton later died). Another man, James Coleman was wounded in the head, and other people in the station including the stationmaster, his wife,and his sister-in-law were slightly wounded by splinters. The bombs were thrown under cover of fog signals, which were being exploded as a greeting to the returning men.

December 1921 [Witness Statement 1100]. Sometime about the second week in December, a bomb was thrown at a passenger train just as it was about to enter the railway station in Thurles. The train was carrying a number of released political prisoners who were on their way home from various prisons and internment camps. One such released prisoner named Declan Horton was killed by the bomb. Sean Fitzpatrick and I went to Thurles to investigate the matter. Our information was that the bomb had been thrown by a Sergeant Enright of the R.I.C. and that it had been thrown from the bridge over the railway near Thurles Station

December 10th, 1921 [Witness Statement 952]. The camp went on until our release which was on the 10th December, 1921. Our trains were attacked by hooligans with stones. One train was fired on. The train on which I was travelling stopped at Thurles. An R.I.C. man named Enright threw a bomb at the carriage next to mine, mortally wounding a Cork Volunteer.

A truce was declared in July 1921 and a treaty agreed on the 6th December. It was mid-December 1921, with the Truce now fully in operation, when Sergeant Thomas Enright decided to attend a coursing meeting in the town of Kilmallock with his dogs. One of the dogs was ‘Bedford Lass’, entered under the name of his brother-in-law, Mr Patrick White. By pure coincidence, latter dog was drawn against ‘Political Duchess’, same owned by Mr Shawn Forde (also known as Thomas Malone), a well-known East Limerick IRA leader. The dog ‘Political Duchess’ won out to ‘Bedford Lass’ leaving a disappointed Sergeant Enright and his colleague, Constable Edward Timoney (latter a native of Tyrone), to return to Clery’s hotel that night to learn of the next day’s draw.

Among the attendance at that coursing meeting on that fateful Wednesday, was Mr Maurice Meade (1893- 1972), then a 28-year-old from Elton, Co. Limerick, (just 3.4 km (2.11mls) from Knocklong, Co. Limerick). Mr Meade had served with the British Army in World War I, and then with Casement’s Brigade in Germany, before becoming a member of the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) East Limerick Flying Column, latter commanded by Donnchadh O’Hannigan. Latter had played an active role in the raid on Kilmallock Barracks (May 1920) and were involved in the ambush at Dromkeen (February 1921).

In “The Memoirs of Maurice Meade: A Forgotten Freedom Fighter”, an incident is recalled.

1921 December 12th. Meade shot at two RIC men at Kilmallock, Co Limerick. Sergeant Enright was killed and Constable Timoney was wounded in the shooting. The two policemen were in plain clothes and had left a hotel in Killmallock at 10.30. A group of men standing in the street fired a number of shots at them as they came out of the hotel.

Without going into much detail, Maurice Meade himself claimed that he was among the group that shot Sgt. Enright and Constable Timoney that night.

“Sean Fitzpatrick and I went to Thurles to investigate the matter. Our information was that the bomb had been thrown by a Sergeant Enright of the R.I.C. and that it had been thrown from the bridge over the railway near Thurles Station.

“On the previous day there was a Black and Tan named Enright who had a dog running there. This man was the brother of Enright, the RIC man who was killed at Knocklong, [Note this was not Sergeant Thomas Enright’s brother, rather another man with a similar surname.] and he was particularly active and bitter against our men, on one occasion bombing some of our captured men. For this we decided he should pay the death penalty. No opportunity to carry this out had arisen until the truce occurred, but when we saw him at the coursing meeting, even though the truce was then in operation, we agreed to shoot him and we did so that night.”

The Southern Star newspaper, reported the shooting in its Saturday issue, which read as follows:-

[Kilmallock, Thursday] A startling tragedy took place at Kilmallock last night, when Sergeant Enright, R.I.C. Thurles, was shot dead and a constable named Timoney seriously wounded. Only meagre particulars are available, but it appears that the Sergeant and Constable travelled to Kilmallock on Tuesday night to attend the coursing. The Sergeant and Constable travelled in plain clothes together with another man who had charge of dogs. The latter returned to Thurles last night with the dogs. The Sergeant and Constable proceeded to Cleary’s Hotel, where the card was being called over for today’s event. After leaving the hotel, shortly after 10.30pm, they were fired at from behind, by a party of eight or nine civilians, near the Post Office. The Sergeant was shot dead and the Constable seriously wounded. The report of the firing created considerable alarm in the town.

The then Cabinet of the Dáil and the Chief Liaison Officer of the IRA both condemned the killing, the latter stating, according to Saturday’s Irish Times, that ‘such deeds are not the acts of members of the I.R.A., but are the acts of cowardly individuals who endeavour to cloak their misdeeds in such a manner that they may be interpreted as the actions of soldiers of the Republican Army’. Sergeant Thomas Enright’s inquest details can be found HERE.

Sergeant Thomas Enright was one of the last casualties of the War of Independence. His body was taken from Limerick; back to Listowel Co. Kerry, for burial on Friday 16th, the same day as the Westminster Parliament voted to accept the terms of the Treaty, before being finally accepted by our own government on the January 7th 1922.

Those who shot him were not to know, or indeed those who would go on to report his death in the days ahead, that Sergeant Thomas Enright carried a tattoo on his right arm. The tattoo read “Erin go Bragh”, the Anglicisation of an Irish language phrase, “Éirinn go Brách”; which translated literally into English means, “Ireland until Eternity”.

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Thurles Musical Society – History Brought To Life – The Local Connections

P.R.O. & Vice Chairman of Thurles Musical Society, Mr Noel Dundon, reports:-

Thurles Muscial Society – Just some of the experienced Cast & Crew performing in the musical drama “Michael Collins”, all anxious to meet their audience for the first time on stage tonight, Tuesday 26/3/2019.

Even within the comparatively small community of Thurles Musical Society, the story of Michael Collins; the Treaty; the War of Independence and Eamon de Valera still resonates.

We could hardly have chosen a better year to stage a musical about his life and times given that the centenary of the Sologheadbeg incident, which kick- started the Irish War of Independence, commemorated just a few weeks ago just a few miles from our Cathedral Town.

The spotlight has certainly been cast upon the exigencies of those days, the fallout, the follow-up, the human tragedy and the loss of life, in a civil war which could be described as anything but civil.

The bandaged body of Michael Collins with bloodied army jacket and Crucifix clasped in his fingers, before being prepared for final burial.

Michael Collins was out of the country at the time of the Sologheadbeg, Co. Tipperary incident, however his connections with Dan Breen, Sean Treacy, Seamus Robinson, Sean Hogan and the flying columns remained close. Many Tipperary freedom fighters were assigned duties in the capital when the heat was on back at home. A number took part in the killing of British intelligence agents in Dublin on November 21st 1920. Thirty-two people were killed or fatally wounded on that ‘Bloody Sunday’: thirteen British soldiers and police, sixteen Irish civilians, and three Irish republican prisoners.

The day began with an IRA operation, organised by Collins, to assassinate the ‘Cairo Gang’ – a team of undercover British intelligence agents working and living in Dublin. IRA members went to a number of addresses and killed or fatally wounded fifteen people: nine British Army Officers; a Royal Irish Constabulary Officer; two members of the Auxiliary Division; two civilians; and another man who is believed to have been an intelligence agent.

Later that afternoon, members of the Auxiliary Division, the Black and Tans, and RIC opened fire on the crowd at a Gaelic football match in Croke Park, Dublin, killing or fatally wounding fourteen civilians and wounding at least sixty others. That evening, three Irish republican suspects, latter being held in Dublin Castle were beaten and killed by their captors, who claimed they were trying to escape. Overall Bloody Sunday was considered a victory for the IRA, as the Collins operation severely damaged British intelligence, while the later reprisals did no real harm to the guerrillas; instead increasing support for the IRA both at home and abroad.

‘But, Bloody Sunday has many connections to this locality – not just for the fact that Tipperary were playing Dublin in a football tournament game at the time. Michael Hogan, a Tipperary player, was killed on the field – his name forever remembered these days through ‘The Hogan Stand’ in Croke Park. Also, Jim Ryan and Bill Ryan ‘Laha’ from just out the road in Loughmore / Castleiney were on that Tipperary team and TMS has many connections with the parish of Loughmore Castleiney.

Furthermore, one of the umpires on Bloody Sunday was Thurles man John Joe Callanan, who would go on to captain Tipperary to win the 1930 All-Ireland hurling final (He was the only Tipperary man to win senior All-Ireland’s with two different counties at the time, having won an All-Ireland in 1920 with Dublin. Many of John Joe’s relatives are involved in Thurles Musical Society today, including Mary and Rita Callanan, and Gary Dempsey. John Joe hurled in Dublin with the Faughs club – Harry Boland played full forward for that club and was also chairman of the Dublin County Board from 1911-1916. Throughout this time too, the famous Bob Mockler of Horse and Jockey was a major influence for Faughs in what was their most successful era.

Back to John Joe; the story goes that he held a revolver in his pocket as he umpired the game for the Galway referee Joe Sammon. As people, particularly men of his age at the time, were being searched as they raced from Jones Road in a panic, which followed the shootings, John Joe disposed of the revolver, throwing it over a wall, and therefore getting away to tell the tale.

Further links to Michael Collins and our Society – Thurles man Denis Byrne was one of those who fired the gun salute at his funeral and also flanked the cortège, in uniform, as thousands lined the street to pay their final respects. Denis Byrne, father of legendary Tipperary hurler Mickey ‘Rattler’ Byrne, is great grandfather of John Hayes, who, ironically, plays the part of Harry Boland in our production.

There are many, many more local connections to Michael Collins, De Valera and the events which have framed our history – far too many to get into in this brief account. The happenings have left a real mark on our psyche and even within our on-stage company, it has been very interesting to see the dynamic of Collins people having to play anti-treaty roles and vice versa. As one quipped – “If my father was alive today he’d die of the shame.”

Perhaps though, what this show highlights more than anything else, is the sense of lost opportunity for our country. Had Collins and De Valera gotten back on track and together, where would we be today? It’s a question to which there are so many answers – the answers raising possibly even more and more questions.

History might all be in the past, but each expiring day is shaping our future more and more.

Yes, as Thomas Davis once stated, “Where Tipperary Leads, Ireland follows”.

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