This year’s Christmas video advert from Sainsbury’s, the third largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, titled “Christmas is for sharing” was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion. It commemorates the extraordinary events of Christmas Day, 1914, when artillery guns fell silent and two armies met in no-man’s land, to share gifts and play football together.
Many people may not be aware that the director of this fine video advert, Mr Ringan Ledwidge, is just ‘four degrees of separation’ from our county of Tipperary. Ringan Ledwidge admits he was intimidated by the sensitivity of this his video subject; indeed his own great-uncle and Slane, Co Meath born Irish war poet, Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge, died at the Battle of Passchendaele in July 1917, aged just 29, and his paternal grandfather had fought in both world wars.
Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge was dismayed by the news of the Easter 1916 Rising, and was court-martialled and demoted for overstaying his home leave and also for being drunk in uniform. However on his return to the front, he received back his Lance Corporal’s stripe in January 1917; when he was posted to the Western Front, joining the 29th Division, 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
On July 31st 1917, a number of soldiers, including Ledwidge, were involved in road-laying in preparation for an upcoming assault during the Third Battle of Ypres, close the village of Boezinge, northwest of Ypres. While Ledwidge was drinking tea in a mud crater with his comrades, a shell exploded, killing the poet and five others. Rev. Francis Charles Devas, (S.J., D.S.O. 1917; O.B.E. 1919) latter a chaplain who knew him, recorded “Ledwidge killed, blown to bits.”
Francis Ledwidge – His Tipperary Connection
It was Francis Ledwidge, latter also a friend of W.B. Yeats, who wrote the ” Lament for Thomas MacDonagh.” Thomas MacDonagh, as we are aware, was born here in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary and educated at Rockwell College near Cashel. MacDonagh had grown up in a household filled with music, poetry and learning and was instilled by both his parents, (both teachers), with his love for both English and Irish culture from a young age and became a signatory of the Irish Proclamation.
Lament for Thomas MacDonagh – by Francis Ledwidge
“He shall not hear the bittern cry in the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds above the wailing of the rain.
Nor shall he know when loud March blows thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
Blowing to flame the golden cup of many an upset daffodil.
But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor and pastures poor with greedy weeds,
Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn, lifting her horn in pleasant meads.”
A small section of this Christmas Day, 1914 happening will be recreated during the “Carols By Candlelight,” service in St Mary’s Church, Thurles, on December 14th next at 8.00pm. (But more on that upcoming Thurles Christmas event very soon.)
While our present government currently continues to ignore Co Tipperary’s economy and history, one wonders will the memory of Thomas MacDonagh be included in any proposed future 1916 commemorations, since after all, we do reside outside of Dublin.
This year’s Upperchurch-Drombane Historical Journal will be officially launched in Upperchurch Hall this Sunday December 7th at 11.30 a.m. This is the fifth edition of the popular local publication and has the usual complement of historical records, articles, poems and photographs.
(Left Click on Image Left for larger magnification.)
Guest of honour this year will be Mr. Con Ryan of Glown, Upperchurch, whose record of activity in community affairs down through the years, is immense. Con will be joined by Mr Jimmy Duggan of Thurles, an equally tireless contributor to local activities. Jimmy will give a short talk on the history and ecosystem of bogs. The new one kilometre bog walk beside the community centre was opened just this year and excellent new interpretive signs have now been erected. Weather permitting, this talk will be given while walking around the bog. All are welcome to attend this event.
New contributors to this year’s journal will include Mr Eamon Ryan who has an interesting article on home butter making. Ms Evelyn O’Regan writes on the lives of two nuns from Drombane who were part of a group of some forty who left the Borrisoleigh area to go to Kansas in 1895. Br. Thomas Moynihan went in the opposite direction to India and his story is recounted by his nieces Margaret Hassey and Geraldine Duggan. Locals; Mr Ned Harrington and Ms Maura Armstrong have both contributed poetry.
The old reliable contributors are again led by Mr Eugene Shortt who takes us through a personal summary of parish history from the Ice Age to the new GAA dressing rooms. He also provides a list of the 133 families who lived in the towns-land of Drombane back in 1835. His brother Frankie trawls through the Civil and Down Surveys of the mid 17th century to examine the many place names no longer in use. Mr Paddy Dwyer has researched the history of the many local forges with the help of Mr Tom Stapleton and Mr Billy Clancy.
Part of the parish of Upperchurch-Drombane once belonged to the Castlefogarty estate in days gone by. Mr Thomas Fogarty explores these links and tells the tale of a member of the Fogarty family who fell foul of the Hastings born Titus Oates, latter the English perjurer who fabricated the “Popish Plot”, a supposed Catholic conspiracy to kill King Charles II. Titus Oates also inspired anti-Catholic hysteria that claimed the life of St. Oliver Plunkett.
Mr Eddie Kennedy was a world class race walker, who came from the Shanballyduff area and his remarkable story is told by Mr Tom Quinlan.
Last year Ms Joan Ryan gave an account of all the parish Priests to have ministered in Upperchurch and this year the complete list of curates is added. There are local people who can recall fifteen of them!
Mr Andy Byrne gives a history of music and musicians and also reminds us of local events held 50 to 100 years ago.
The Interment Lists relating to the local cemeteries are again added. Those who enjoyed the “Eamon an Chnoic” play two years ago will be pleased to note that the script is being published, (Act One this year and Act Two next year).
As the 2010 journal is now completely sold out it will be made available for viewing shortly in pdf format at www.upperchurch.ie.
Extra copies have been printed from subsequent years, however these are unlikely to be put on the website in the foreseeable future.
Remember the Date:- Sunday Next December 7th at 11.30 a.m.
Borrisoleigh Historical Society: Delia Ryan reports.
Local man, John Connors of Rathmoy will be the guest speaker at the next series of history lectures presented by the Borrisoleigh Historical Society on Tuesday, December 2nd 2014, beginning at 8.00 pm in the Community Centre, Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary.
John has researched extensively on the life of Tipperary man, Sean Hogan, (13 May 1901 – 24 December 1968) who was rescued on May 12th 1919 from a train at Knocklong, by his more famous IRA comrades, Sean Treacy, Séamus Robinson, Séan Lynch, Dan Breen and four other men from the IRA East Limerick Brigade.
Some of these rescuers later relocated to Dublin and undertook a range of missions under the direction of the Dublin leadership. Some of these missions were in association with a unit known as ‘The Squad,’ originally nicknamed the “Twelve Apostles,” founded by Michael Collins to counter the British intelligence efforts during the Irish War of Independence, mainly by means of assassination.
Although not yet fully eighteen years of age, Sean Hogan was one of the most wanted men in the British Empire, following the Soloheadbeg attack on January 21st 1919, in which two RIC men were killed.
This daring and deadly rescue (two RIC escorts were shot dead there also) had its origins adjacent to Borrisoleigh parish, as Hogan had been captured at Meagher’s of Annfield, by RIC Sergeant Peter Wallace from Roskeen, in an early Monday morning raid.
While many may be aware of this famous and significant event, few will know about the life of the young man who entered the history books from the Soloheadbeg and Knocklong episodes. As well as bringing us a reprise of these more famous events, John Connors will fill the gap about the further periods of Hogan’s early life and his active IRA service in both Dublin and Tipperary, as well as what became of him after the troubled times, with his well-illustrated lecture.
The lecture will be introduced by Puckane historian Sean Hogan, latter author of the much acclaimed “The Black and Tans in North Tipperary – Policing, Revolution and War – 1913 -1922″.
Attention all you ‘Sports Hobbyists,’ and ‘Serious Collectors of Sports Memorabilia’!
How do you fancy removing some of that musty smell from a little of your folding paper money, latter which we are fully aware you currently hide underneath your mattress, in your old sock or indeed stored in that old rusty biscuit tin in the kitchen?
On the other hand, have you checked through those old cluttered, untidy drawers in your kitchen Dresser recently? Perhaps you have some small piece of valuable, yet forgotten, sporting memorabilia; the sale proceeds from which would assist you in paying your expected Irish Water Bill at the end of next January.
Seriously, all joking aside, Sunday November 30th next could be your chance to purchase a little something which, if well chosen, could render some small future return on any investment.
The local Lár na Páirce GAA Museum here in Thurles, [Map Ref], will hold a GAA Memorabilia Fair in the Thurles Sarsfields Social Centre, latter overlooking Childers Park (Beside Semple Stadium) on Sunday November 30th from 12.00 noon to 4.00pm.
At this Memorabilia Fair convention, customers will be given the chance to browse and search a large selection of Match Programmes, Club Histories, Hurling, Football, Camogie and Handball publications, not to mention a host of other somewhat rare GAA material, and all in the pleasant and spacious surroundings of the Thurles Sarsfields GAA Centre.
Dealers, Collectors, Sellers and Swappers are cordially invited to attend this event, where it is hoped they will find unusual and rare material aplenty to interest everyone in attendance.
Stands will also be made available for renting to sellers / dealers, and anyone interested should contact the organisers before November 27th next.
For further information on this event, do contact Mr Seamus J. King, Tel: 087 2246245 or Mr Liam O’Donnchú, Tel: 086 6036547.
This is one upcoming event certainly not to be missed by all lovers of GAA sports, so do spread the news.
Ecumenical Solemn Commemoration Service on the Centenary of the outbreak of WW1
“If ye break faith with us who die we shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders fields.”
( Extract from the poem ‘In Flanders Fields,’ by Canadian Physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.)
“And the band plays Waltzing Matilda, and the old men still answer the call,
but year after year, their numbers get fewer; someday, no one will march there at all.”
( Extract from the song ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda,’ written by Eric Bogle.)
At the very least, some 75 soldiers and their officers from Thurles and its immediate environs, saw fit to enlist in the British Army, fought and died bravely between 1914 to 1918, and indeed even later, from wounds received, after that ” war to end all wars” period of our history.
Tomorrow night (October 28th 2014) in St Mary’s Church, here in Thurles, an Ecumenical Solemn Commemoration Service on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War (WWI) will be held, beginning at 7.30pm sharp, to which all are invited to attend. The service of Prayer, Music and Poetry will be conducted jointly by clergy representing both traditions of the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland communities, led by Rev. Ian Coulter.
Music for the event will be provided by renowned local pianist M/s Mary Rose McNally, with special guest; composer, guitarist and much-loved folk singer M/s Nora Fogarty. Retired former aide-de-camp to H.E. the President of Ireland and Co Galway native, Commandant Michael Walsh, will give the commemorative address, with a poetry reading by Mr Shane Willoughby.
Names Of Known Thurles Area Officers and Men Who Died In and Following WW1
(Our thanks to published author Mr Tom Burnell for his research.)
Anderson John, Armstrong William Maurice (Capt) M.C., Beirne John, Bermingham Patrick, Bourke James, Brett Timothy, Butler John, Byrne Patrick, Carroll Martin, Carroll Thomas, Carty John, Cassidy John, Cleary Joseph, Cleary Patrick, Cleary Thomas, Coady Edward, Coady Joseph, Coady Richard, Coffey Michael, Cooke Henry F, Cooney David,Cummins John, Conway Denis, Cunningham John V.C., Cunningham Patrick, Cusack Oliver, Dea Patrick, Dwyer Cornelius, Egan Martin, Fitzpatrick Joseph, Gouldsborough Patrick, Griffin Thomas, Hackett Martin, Hanrahan Daniel, Hayes Daniel, Hayes Thomas, Hennessey Thomas, Horan Joseph, Jordan Denis, Kelly James, Kelly William, Kennedy, Matthew, Kiely Owen, Knox Hubert Lt Col., Knox William Lt Col., Lawyer Joseph, Maher Frank, Maher James, Maher James Bernard, Maher John, McCormack Francis, McCormack Thomas, McLoughlin James J, Meany James, Mockler Patrick, Moyler George, O’Brien Lawrence, O’Grady Patrick, O’Shea John, Power Michael, Purcell Philip, Quinlan Joseph, Ryan Andrew, Ryan James, Ryan John, Ryan Martin, Ryan Michael, Ryan Patrick, Scally Patrick, Shields Matthew, Stapleton John, Sullivan Patrick, Terry Timothy, Walsh James.
A ‘Cross of Sacrifice’ was erected in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, earlier this year, to coincide with the centenary of the beginning of World War One and in particular to commemorate the many thousands of Irish soldiers nationally who lost their lives as a result of both World War One and World War Two.
In his speech at the dedication and unveiling of this ‘Cross of Sacrifice,’ on Thursday, July 31st 2014, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins stated; “We cannot give back their lives to the dead, nor whole bodies to those who were wounded, or repair the grief, undo the disrespect that was sometimes shown to those who fought or their families. But we honour them all now, even if at a distance, and we do not ask, nor would it be appropriate to interrogate, their reasons for enlisting.
To all of them in their silence we offer our own silence, without judgement, and with respect for their ideals, as they knew them, and for the humanity they expressed towards each other. And we offer our sorrow too that they and their families were not given the compassion and the understanding over the decades that they should have received.
Let us now, together, cultivate memory as a tool for the living and as a sure base for the future – memory employed in the task of building peace.”
Military personnel in particular, community elected representatives and indeed all residents of the town of Thurles are invited to attend and the short Commemoration Service will be followed by a cup of tea and some seasonal “buttered bairín breac,” plus the chance to view a rare display of primary source WWI artefacts’ pertinent to Tipperary and indeed to Thurles.
Admission is free, however a collection will be made during the service with proceeds going to the upgrading of St Mary’s War Museum. (Latter presently under re-construction and due to be reopened as a local tourist attraction on May 1st 2015 next.)