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Public Information Day Outlining Stanwix Home Refurbishment

Thurles Lions Trust To Hold Information Day On Stanwix Homes Refurbishment

Stannix Home, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

The Department of Housing has granted an allocation €3.15 million for the upgrade of the Stanwix Homes to Thurles Lions Housing Trust Association, who intend to carry out repairs to the existing building, as well as building new housing structures on the adjoining land.

To learn more regarding the history of the Stanwix Homes, click HERE.

Thurles Lions Club members through Thurles Lions Housing Trust Association, are now asking the community to please note that a public information day regarding The Stanwix Homes will be held on Saturday next, 13th January 2018, in the Order of Malta Hall, Boheravoroon (Borroway), Thurles Townparks, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, from 11.00am to 4.00pm.

Plans for the proposed refurbishment of The Stanwix Home, Upper Kickham Street, Thurles are now taking shape. This iconic building, known with affection as “The Widow’s Homes”, has provided sheltered accommodation for some 129 years. However, despite upgrading by Thurles Lions Club in the past, this accommodation is no longer suitable to modern day required standards, and thus a major refurbishment of the property is now well overdue. Future proposed works will ensure that the property can continue to provide sheltered accommodation, to a modern standard, for the next 100 years.

The plans to be put forward by Thurles Lions Trust Housing Association are to oversee the refurbishment of the existing building, latter a protected structure, to the highest possible standards; this together with the construction of new units of accommodation on the site. It is hoped to submit an application for planning permission to Tipperary County Council for works in the very near future, which, if approved, will deliver a total of 19 accommodation units for the site.

The new proposals include for the provision of the following facilities:-

(1) Nine one bedroomed apartments, to modern accommodation standards, following the refurbishment of the existing Stanwix apartments.
(2) Five new own-door one bedroomed apartments in a new block.
(3) A community home to accommodate 4 adults who will require 24 hour supported accommodation in addition to accommodation for 1 carer, and
(4) A communal facility in the former Director’s House which will combine community facilities for the residents of the development, with a support centre for the local community.

Prior to submitting the application for planning permission, Thurles Lions Trust are holding an information day where the plans for the proposed development can be viewed and where comments and suggestions from the public are welcome.

Thurles Lions Club are now inviting people to come along to Saturday’s public information day and give them your views.

For further information email john.mccormack@tlh.ie


Currently Used Everyday Phrases Need Explaining

Here in rural Ireland in particular, we use English everyday phrases with little understanding of their age or initial origin. So where did these, often descriptive, phrases originate?

“It’s Raining Cats and Dogs”: How often have you heard the phrase, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs outside”.  This saying is associated with the days, back when a large amount of homes had thick thatched straw or reed roofs, supported strongly with thick, wooden branches underneath. (Pic. 1 hereunder.)   Same straw/reed thatched low roofs would often become home to domestic animals on cold winter nights; all attempting to keep themselves warm against freezing conditions, e.g. cats and dogs.  When it rained the reed or straw would become slimy and sometimes the animals would slip and fall from the roof, particularly when cats went searching for mice, who also shared their thatched environment.

                (Pic. 1)                                                            (Pic. 2)                                           (Pic. 3)

“Dirt Poor”: The description “Dirt Poor”, came from the fact that floors in most labourer’s cottages were simply dry clay/dirt upon which the house had been originally built. Only those wealthy could afford flag limestone or slate floors.

“Carry a Bride Over the Threshold”: So too the phrase, “Carrying a Bride Over the Threshold”.  A threshold, as most people are aware, is usually a piece of timber planking or cut stone, forming the bottom of a doorway and crossed when entering any house or out-office. In earlier times floors coated in flag limestone or slate became greasy with muck and water carried in on boots and shoes. To avoid slipping, on wet well-travelled floors particularly in Inns, Hostelry’s and farmhouse kitchens; same were kept covered in threshed straw, with a board across the doorway to hold the straw back at the entrance, hence “Thresh Hold”.

To deviate slightly; the necessity to carry a bride over the threshold first began with the ancient Romans. The bride had to show, and even sometimes pretend, that she was not at all excited about leaving her father’s home, and so she had to be dragged across the threshold of her new groom’s house. Ancients believed also that evil spirits could curse the newly married couple, and would wait at the threshold of their new home.  To avoid this curse the bride had to be lifted up to ensure that the evil spirits could not enter her body through the soles of her feet. These days, this exercise is carried out just for fun; then again, based on a few brides I have met in the past, the custom could have some basic truth. 😉

“Sleep Tight and Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite”: “Sleep Tight”, which was later enlarged to “Sleep Tight and Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite”; comes from way back in the 1500’s and indeed long before, when middle and upper-class persons began sleeping on wooden bed frames to avoid sleeping on damp floors. These bed frames were strung from side to side with heavy lengths of rope, which in turn supported a stuffed mattress. These ropes would stretch over time, forming a hollow in the bed, so it became necessary to tighten them. Hence the saying, “Sleep tight.”

Later of course was added, “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite”, referring to the need for a canopy over the bed. (Pic. 2 above.)    It may have been “Raining Cats and Dogs” outside, but with straw or reed roofs, there was little to stop creepy crawler’s, dust, foreign matter and mice falling from non-plastered ceilings inside the house; messing up your bed linen. It now became necessary to construct bed frames with four tall posts at each corner, covered over with cloth to offer roof protection to sleepers. Curtains around the beds would be later added to cut down on draughts.  With the move to plastered interior ceilings, along came the ‘Half Canopy Bed’, (Pic. 3 above.) making sure to protect just the heads of those sleeping on their backs, snoring, with their mouths wide open.

Of course the belief that we all swallow, in our sleep, eight spiders on average each year is a total myth; flying in the face of both a spider’s intelligence and human biology, making it most unlikely that a live spider would ever end up in a mouth breathing out hot air in the first place.


Health, Happiness & Prosperity For 2018

The poem “Auld Lang Syne” meaning “Old Times Sake” or “Days Gone By” sung hereunder by Scottish singer, songwriter and composer Dougie MacLean O.B.E., was sent, first in 1788, to the Scots Musical Museum by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. He informed the museum that he understood it to be an ancient song and disclaimed all rights to having composed the song himself; rather stating he had recorded it on paper, possibly for the first time, after an elderly acquaintance had dictated the words to him.

The song is usually performed on New Year’s Eve and encourages every person to remember those who mean most to them in their everyday lives and not fail, but to remember good friends from the past, as we move forward into yet another uncertain New Year.

Since the song is about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the past year, we here at Thurles.Info would like to thank our many readers, those who took the time to comment or to email us, together with friends and supporters of the site.

So, to all of you:-
Thank You, and it is our fervent wish that the year 2018, and future years, will bring Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity into your homes, wherever in the world you reside.

Athbhliain faoi shéan is faoi mhaise daoibh”.  (Translated from Irish “A Prosperous New Year to you all.”)


Cathedral Of The Assumption, Thurles – Christmas 2017

The magnificent recently restored Cathedral of The Assumption, situated here in Cathedral Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, looks particularly attractive at Christmas time each year; enhanced by the construction of the Nativity Scene.  Same takes the form of a manger or crib located in a stable, together with other art objects (e.g. figures of the three wise men or Magi, shepherds, camels, donkeys, sheep and cattle, and of course Mary the mother of Jesus, with her husband Joseph) each and all representing and reminding us of the birth of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate and as recounted to us through Bible stories, to be found referred too, in particular, in some of the 27 books which make up the New Testament.

At this time each year the manger scene annually reminds me of the actions of my now long deceased (1969) grandmother. In her later years she would request her local friendly postman (Mr Walsh) to visit the local crib, giving him between a sixpenny piece and a half crown (latter a former denomination of money, equivalent to two shillings and sixpence or almost one day’s labourer’s pay back in the late 1950’s) to put into the collection box. The postman would remove a piece of straw from the crib and this would be placed in my grandmother’s purse, where it would remain until the following week of Christmas.

This action she assured me would guarantee that regardless of prevailing economic conditions, God would continue to supply all her needs. Strangely, I must admit that despite living in lowly impoverished circumstances all of her 90-year life span, her purse never appeared to empty, and saw her paying all her bills on time, while never having reason to be sent into hospital ever. Today our own home continues with this Christmas and Christian practise.

Of course, it is St. Francis of Assisi, (Patron Saint of Italy and one of the most venerated religious figures in our history) who is credited with creating the first live nativity scene, way back around 1223; his objective to cultivate the worship of Jesus Christ. We are given to understand that he had recently been inspired by his own personal visit to the Holy Land, where he had viewed the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.  The nativity scene, therefore, which he presented, can be viewed as his ‘physical modern-day holiday snap’.

So if you are in and around town over Christmas or if you are attending tonight’s Service of Christmas Carols in the Cathedral of The Assumption, do visit with your kids; it makes for nostalgia; long remembered reminiscences of happy family togetherness.


Littleton, Thurles, Co. Tipperary – The World War II Connection

One minute after Britain formally declared war against Germany, which took effect on September 3rd, 1939, a Blenheim IV of No 139 Squadron took off to fly the first sortie of the war for the Royal Air Force. Same was a photo-reconnaissance operation. In the future these aircraft were to become involved in the defence of London and would serve with Coastal Command in anti-shipping, reconnaissance, and a variety of other roles, right up until 1942.

Pictures L-R (1) Laurence Slattery, Littleton Thurles, Co. Tipperary, pictured in a Berlin POW hospital bed. (Celtic studies expert & Nazi propaganda radio broadcaster Dr. Hans Hartmann is to be seen standing on the left of his bed). Picture (2) Rare picture of Laurence Slattery after WW II, with a violin case under his arm. Picture (3) A Bristol Blenheim IV, which Laurence Slattery navigated. Picture (4) Today, the once home of Laurence (Larry) Slattery, and his father Michael Slattery (a National School Teacher), situated in the townsland of Ballymoreen, Littleton, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

The fighter version of the Blenheim IV aircraft normally carried four machine guns in the bomb bay, while the standard crew would comprise of a pilot; a navigator/bomb-aimer; and a wireless operator/gunner. The navigator would sit in the nose of the aircraft at a plotting table, situated just below the port side of the canopy.

On September 4th 1939, just one day later, Laurence (Known locally by the shortened name of Larry) Slattery, a native of Littleton, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, took off on a Bristol Blenheim IV.  His aircraft was later shot down over the sea at Wilhemshaven, west of Hamburg, latter a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany, while attempting to drop leaflets; as confirmed by Irish Military Archives.

The aircraft’s pilot, Willie Murphy, a native of Mitchelstown, Co Cork, died some days later from his injuries, whilst Larry Slattery survived, sustaining wounds which included a broken foot and a broken jaw, latter obtained when his face struck a machine gun-turret.  The pilot, Murphy would become the first recorded British fatality of World War II, and Larry Slattery from Littleton village, would became the first British Prisoner of War (P.O.W.) to be captured by the Germans.

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