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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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Public Rally To Save Existing Footfall On Liberty Square

New premises to which An Post is expected to set up shop.

The ‘Stop the Move – Save our Square’ action committee here in Thurles have announced their intention to hold a public rally; same to take place on Friday morning, March 29th next.

The rally will start at 11.00am on Friday morning; with protesters first assembling in the area of the Parnell Street Car Park. Those attending will then make their way out onto Liberty Square, following a route around the Square, before halting outside the current An Post offices.

An Post has repeatedly proclaimed their now existing work premises in Liberty Square as not being ‘fit for purpose’ and also that it would not be financially cost effective to undertake any necessary renovation.

An Post representatives also informed the ‘Stop the Move – Save our Square’ action committee, on Wednesday last, at what was described by the latter as “a disappointing meeting”, that a lease agreement had already been signed to rent their new premises; same having been already selected 500 metres away in the Thurles shopping centre.

The organisers are encouraging as many people as possible to come out in force for this rally, thus sending a message to An Post officials that remaining businesses wish the An Post office to remain at its present location, attracting continued footfall in the town centre area.

A post of Minister for Posts and Telegraphs initially took on the responsibility for Ireland’s postal and telecommunications services for some 60 years, from 1924 right up until 1984. One of the largest civil service departments in the Irish State at its apex; attempts to reform this sector were began in 1978, with the creation of a Posts and Telegraphs Review Group.

Following the delivery of a report from the latter in 1979, same then led to the creation of An Bord Poist, then chaired by Mr Feargal Quinn, and An Bord Telecom, then chaired by Mr Michael Smurfit. Both entities continued to trade until they were replaced in 1984, as state-sponsored agencies.

Its powers and responsibilities were transferred to the newly created Department of Communications. This was one of the largest reorganisations of the civil service in modern times, the old department having had a workforce of some 30,000 employees prior to its dissolution. With the transfer of personnel to the new agencies, the number of civil service employees were almost halved overnight.

Thus An Post, our Irish postal administration, first came into being in 1984 when, under the terms of the Postal & Telecommunications Services Act of 1983, the Post Office services of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs (P&T) were divided between An Post and Telecom Eireann; with the telecommunications operator today known as Eir.

Thurles Post Office moved once before, previously having existed on the south side or ‘Money Side’ in that building known today (2019) as The County Bar, before moving across the road to the north side; where it is presently located on the ‘Sunny Side’.

The positioning of Thurles Post Office during the latter half of the 1800’s, in the then Main Street of Thurles, now renamed Liberty Square.

It was at its present location that, in 1902, the great, late General Richard (Dick) Mulcahy joined the post office’s engineering department, working first here in Thurles. Elected to the First Dáil in the 1918 General Election for Dublin / Clontarf, Mulcahy was appointed Minister for Defence in the new (alternative) government and later to the post of Assistant Minister for Defence. In March 1919 he became IRA chief of staff, a position he held until January 1922. It was he, who together with Michael Collins, was instrumental in developing IRA military strategy against the British, during the War of Independence.
General Richard Mulcahy of course was buried following his death (16th December 1971) in Ballymoreen Cemetery, Littleton, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

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Artist Richard Thomas Moynan – A Forgotten Thurles Connection

Well-known Irish painter, Richard Thomas Moynan (27th April 1856-10th April 1906) was born in Dublin at No.1 Eldon Terrace, off the South Circular Road.  He was the fourth of eight children; three sons and five daughters, born to Mr Richard Moynan (Sr.) and his wife Harriet (nee Nobel and daughter of Arthur Nobel, a Church of Ireland clergyman).  The father of Richard Moynan (Jr.) held a managerial position with the fabric importers Ferrier, Pollock and Company, who had registered offices at No. 59 William Street, Dublin 2.

Richard Moynan (Jr.) initially studied medicine; however, his artistic instincts would prove to be too strong to be resisted and shortly before his final medical examinations, he decided instead to commence his training in the arts, at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, in January 1880.

Somewhat older than his fellow students and perhaps better educated; Richard Moynan was soon winning prizes in the Taylor and Cowper competitions. [The Taylor Art Trust was formed in 1878 in response to the will of Captain George Archibald Taylor, latter who died in 1854 leaving £2,000 for the “the promotion of art and industry in Ireland”.]

In 1882 he moved on to the Royal Hibernian Academy, winning both silver and bronze medals for his talents and in the following year, 1883, achieved the Albert Scholarship for the best picture shown at the Royal Hibernian Academy by any student.  This painting entitled “The Last of the 24th at Isandula” (RHA, 1883), portrayed an imaginary episode in the Zulu wars fought in 1879 between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom.

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Dr. Michael Harty To Support ‘No Confidence’ Motion In Simon Harris

The Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Health, Dr. Michael Harty; latter an Independent TD for the County of Clare, has stated he will support a vote of ‘No Confidence’ in respect of Fine Gael Wicklow politician and Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris.

Infirmary bedstead designed by architect George Wilkinson in 1847, for the Thurles Workhouse.

The ‘No Confidence’, motion in Mr Harris has been proposed by Sinn Fein, following a number of failures in the department, under the governance of Mr Harris, which came fully to a head in recent weeks; most notably the Cervical Cancer scandal and the apparent significant cost overruns cover-up with regards to the construction of the National Children’s Hospital; latter funding for which has now caused delays in promised funding for Limerick University Hospital; same the most overcrowded medical facility in Ireland, servicing North Tipperary.

An angry and disappointed Dr. Harty, summed up his overall feelings describing the decision as; “Shocking news”; “An abysmal failure by government”A dysfunctional health system spiralling out of control; further stated; “It is an indictment of both the Government, the Minister for Health and in particular Fine Gael TD’s in Clare and Limerick, who have failed to ensure that University Hospital Limerick is a properly functioning 21st century health care facility.” 

New would-be Tipperary Fine Gael hopefuls, who sit with their tongues hanging out, in the hope of collecting large salaries and pensions into the future; e.g. Mrs Mary Newman Julian (MaryforTipperary who has set up a promotional stall in Liberty Square, Thurles) and Mr Garret Ahern, would do well to take note.

Dr Harty had previously indicated that he would abstain on the vote of ‘No Confidence’ in Minister Harris, to ensure the government did not fall in the run up to ‘Brexit’. However, the TD now says he has “lost trust in this Minister and this government”.

Interest Note: The now demolished old Thurles Workhouse was erected in 1841-2 on a 6.5-acre site, on the east side of New Street (now Racecourse Road). [For younger readers, same in later years became known as the Hospital of the Assumption].

Erected by architect Mr George Wilkinson, at the request of the then Poor Law Commission, the completed building, designed to accommodate 700 inmates, was based on one of his standard declared building plans for such building, and deemed fit for the reception of all local paupers on 25th April 1842.

Mr Wilkinson’s design for beds in the Thurles Workhouse infirmary and fever hospital in 1847, declared that they should be a minimum of 18 inches (45.72 centimetres), distant between each bed, (Remember the year was 1847).

In 2019, 172 years later, the distance between trolleys on corridors at Limerick University Hospital, are often less than 4 inches (10.16 centimetres) apart, as busy medical staff attempt to treat all attending patients, to the very best of their ability, leaving very little space for themselves to distribute their great and necessary skills.

Apart from our present government doing their very utmost to eradicate people living in rural Ireland, it is also obvious that when it comes to health, the people of North Tipperary are destined to remain in the dark and distant past.

Historians of the future will most surely ponder as to why a supposedly well educated people, residents of North Tipperary, failed to rebel, thus allowing this present calamitous and catastrophic health scenario to transpire.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail