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A Beacon Of Hope For Lost Causes

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

To the less well informed, he appears to be carrying a Hurley stick, and this comes as no surprise since his icon is to be found in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, latter the undisputed home of hurling.

He is regularly a point of focus; visited on numerous occasions daily here in the Cathedral of the Assumption Thurles, since he is also the Patron Saint of hope for ‘hopeless cases and lost causes.’

Indeed, for this latter reason we understand many hurling supporters from Co. Laois have made a pilgrimage here to Thurles Cathedral this week, hoping for a better outcome, but in the knowledge that they will be forced to do battle with the mighty Tipperary hurling selection next Sunday. 🤣 🤣 🤣

All jesting aside, the Saint to whom I refer of course is St. Jude (Judas Thaddaeus), one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. A farmer by trade; St. Jude according to legend, was the son of Clopas and Mary of Clopas, herself a sister of the Virgin Mary, latter the mother of Jesus.

St. Judas Thaddaeus became known as simply St. Jude after early translators of the New Testament sought to disassociate his similar name totally from that of another apostle named as Judas Iscariot; subsequently abbreviating his forename. The Bible informs us that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ to “a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people”, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in Jerusalem.

The icon of St. Jude (Judas Thaddaeus) can be located over to the right-hand-side, as the visitor faces the Tabernacle in Thurles Cathedral; displayed in one of the many beautiful stained-glass windows, designed and manufactured by Franz Mayer & Co of Munich, Germany. And no, he is not carrying a Hurley stick in his right hand, rather he holds a Hurley shaped club, the symbol or attribute of what was to be his eventual martyrdom.

The window asks for prayers for Anastasia Hayes, Thurles.

After Jesus Christ’s death and following his precise command, (“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”), Saint Jude began preaching the Gospel in Judea, Samaria (Palestine), Idumaea (Jordan), Syria, Mesopotamia (Iraq, Kuwait) and Libya.
He was to suffer martyrdom about 65 AD in Beirut, Syria, together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, (the Zealot – to distinguish him from Simon Peter).

Sometime after his death, his body was brought from Beirut to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter’s Basilica. Today, his bones are in the left transept of St. Peter’s Basilica under the main altar of St. Joseph in one tomb with the remains of the apostle Simon the Zealot.

It should be noted that almost all Christian Saints were traditionally represented in visible format by a symbol or attribute, usually carried in their hand. These symbols associated with their life, made them easily identifiable in the past to the vast majority of earlier pilgrims, whom then would have been mostly illiterate.

If you look closely at the stained-glass icon of St Jude (see picture above); just directly above his head and under his halo you will observe a narrow strip of mustard yellow, coloured glass. Same possibly representing his presence at Pentecost, (Whit Sunday or Whitsun) when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles who were also present.

On the Thurles icon, St Jude is depicted holding in his left hand a book, said to be the ‘Epistle of Jude’, latter containing only 25 verses and to be found in the penultimate (second last) book of the New Testament series of writings.

The surname Thaddeus means ‘generous’, ‘courageous’ or ‘kind’. It is not therefore surprising that still today millions of people throughout our world and in today’s often confused and disorderly times, chat to him. Same are most often seeking a safe path away from incurable diseases found to be outside the reach of modern medical science. Their problem may be one of extreme poverty; mental depression; associated family distress or feelings of utter helplessness.

“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”. – St Mark Chapter 9: Verse 23.

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Is Thurles CCTV System Just A €100,000 Bird Perch?

Thurles residents were informed, back in December 2012, that a new Public Area Surveillance System (a 10 unit Pan, Tilt and Zoom camera CCTV system) would cost in the region of one hundred thousand Euro, with 70% of this cost being funded by Pobal.

Pobal, formerly known as Area Development Management, was first established in 1992 by the Irish Government together with the European Commission, to manage an EU Grant for local development. Same EU grant aid was designed to support local communities and agencies, in achieving social inclusion, reconciliation and equality.

A further 15% of this one hundred thousand Euro costing was to be provided by the former Thurles Town Council, while the final 15% was to be aided by Thurles Chamber of Commerce.

In November 2015 residents of Thurles were informed that the existing Local Authority (Thurles Town Council) was required to assume responsibility for the management and operation of this CCTV system, in compliance with Data Protection legislation, [See pdf link page 3 – Crime Prevention – Installation of CCTV Cameras].

Two years on following its installation, we understand from Town Councillors that this one hundred thousand Euro CCTV system had not properly functioned since early 2017, and while just some of the cameras continue to operate, the actual equipment used to record surveillance footage had ceased to function.

The one question now being asked, by Thurles residents, requires a simple Yes or No answer; “Was any video footage recovered from the camera presently tacked on to the Thurles castle, latter situated on Barry’s Bridge, thus offering possible evidence as to who wilfully decapitated the statue of Archbishop Dr. Patrick Leahy?”

As the video footage hereunder shows, the damage is not confined only to the statues head, but also to the edge of the precisely sculptured short cape, latter known as a ‘mozzetta’, which today is still worn by some ecclesiastics, e.g. His Holiness the Pope and Cardinals.

But what was the legacy granted to the small rural town of Thurles, by Archbishop Dr. Patrick Leahy (1806–1875)?

It has to be of course the priceless tabernacle in our town’s Cathedral of the Assumption. Today it remains one the most beautiful and precious of art objects, to be found openly displayed anywhere here in Ireland.

Archbishop Dr. Patrick Leahy had learned through personal contacts in the city of Rome, (Urbs Aeterna (Latin) The Eternal City), Italy, that a Tabernacle was being disposed of from the high alter of the mother church of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) called ‘Gesú’, located in Via degli Astalli. The Gesù had been the home of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, until the suppression of that order in 1773.

Leading Italian sculptors, painters, architects and poets of the High Renaissance period, including Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, (more commonly known by his first name Michelangelo), Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, (architect of the Farnese family, latter who could trace their origins back to around AD 984) and Giacomo della Porta would have received Communion from this same tabernacle, in the then Gesù church.

This tabernacle, a work of the sixteenth century, was purchased for £50.00 and transported to Thurles for a similar financial sum, having been somewhat refitted in the workshop of Signor Filippo Leonardi of Rome.

The Tabernacle doorway is adorned with a Corinthian portico which rests on two beautiful pillars of ‘verde antico’ (antique green) marble, two feet ten inches (86.36cm) in high; each pillar with bases and capitals made of bronze.

Jesuit emblem from a former 1586 print

The front door access is made of bronze with a silver host featured in the centre, bearing the letters I.H.S. (ΙΗΣ), (a monogram denoting the first three letters of the Greek name for Jesus), set over three arrows, signifying three nails standing on converging points; same an emblem of the Jesuit community. See Picture left.

Two small bronze statues formerly belonging to this tabernacle, representing St. Peter and St. Paul, occupy niched recesses to be found either side of the front portico.

Initially the tabernacle had rested against the Gesù church wall, so it became necessary to now decorate the back end, since same, positioned out from the wall, could now be viewed from all sides by visiting faithful.

A locking rear door was introduced, made of cream oriental alabaster or onyx marble in which a large cross of blue ‘lapis lazuli’ is inlaid, supposedly by Dr. Leahy own hand. Dr. Leahy after all was the son of a civil engineer and Cork County Surveyor. (Lapis lazuli is a deep blue metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense colour).

Unable to acquire two blocks of ‘verde antico’ to match the existing front pillars, he was forced to settled for two pillars manufactured from Galway green marble, which to the uneducated eye, appears to match almost perfectly. A frame of pale reddish marble, called ‘Porta Santa’ or ‘Holy Door’ surrounds the onyx back door slab. Latter marble is named after the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, which was carved from this stone.

Now began the difficult task of building the main alter and lectern to match this most beautiful and priceless of tabernacles, while matching both in a similar design vein as the now existing installed tabernacle.

Some of the marbles used here and on the floor area were presented by Pope Pius IX at the request of Dr. Leahy; same mined, to a large extent, by Christian slaves sent to work in marble quarries by Roman Emperors. Here in Thurles cathedral today we can view at close range these rare and priceless semi-precious stones like the green porphyry and multicoloured agate (mined in Greece), sienna (mined in Italy), green malachite (mined in England), reddish brown rosso, brown giallo antico, black nero antico (Latter all mined in Italy), blue lapis (latter a symbol of royalty, honor, power, spirit, vision and a universal symbol of wisdom and truth), the black, red, beige, white, and grey africano (mined in Turkey), etc.

Other marble was now acquired in Dublin and England and all this marble was cut and inlaid by an Irish workforce under the guidance of Dublin man John Chapman, operating here in Thurles.

It is truly necessary for visitors to examine this tabernacle in closer detail to appreciate fully the sheer perfection and priceless beauty of what is just one small part of the legacy of Dr. Leahy, bestowed on rural Thurles.

One Final Question: The missing head removed from Dr. Leahy’s statue, possibly weighs about 30 – 50 lbs; this being the case has anyone searched around in the immediate vicinity of this statue in the event that the vandals / offender may have thrown it away nearby?

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Police Seek Help Regarding Dr. P. Leahy Statue, Thurles

The statue of Archbishop Dr. Patrick Leahy so wilfully and shamefully destroyed in a gross act of vandalism this week, was first erected 108 years ago, in 1911.

A strong advocate in the cause of temperance, and one who enforced the Sunday closing of all public-houses in his diocese, his sculpture was first executed at Carrara in Italy, by Professor Pietro Lazzerini. The material used was high quality Sicilian statuary marble.

The figure 8ft (2.4384m) in height, standing on a limestone pedestal 7ft (2.1336m) high; represents the deceased Prelate attired in his episcopal soutane, rochet and mozetta, while his now decapitated and missing head remained uncovered. In his hand right hand he holds a breviary.

Harmonising well with its surroundings; the limestone pedestal was initially fashioned in Cashel, Co. Tipperary by one Mr Best and consists of four great blocks, chiselled, moulded and panelled, in accordance with the designs of Mr J.C. Ashlin of Dublin. The pedestal and statue, long regarded as a work of fine art, was erected by Messrs. Leahy Brothers of Thurles.

Highly regarded at the time by those who knew and remembered Dr. leahy; same stated that it was an admirable and a remarkable likeness of him portraying his fine commanding presence and his handsome features.

An inscription on the limestone pedestal declares, “In commemoration of the Most Rev. Patrick Leahy, D.D., Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, 1857-1875, by whom this Cathedral Church of the Assumption was erected”.

The expenses incurred to complete the then entire work was £215.00 and was defrayed by his succeeding prelate, Most Rev. Dr. Fennelly, out of his own personal finances. Today a similar completed work could conceivably cost in excess of €500,000.

So, how was a head removed from a statue 15ft (4.572m) high? What uncouth barbarians were involved in this wanton act? Thurles police would like your help. They can be contacted at Tel: (0504) 25100, or on the Garda Confidential Line on Tel: 1800 666 111.

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Beatified Archbishop Of Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

Thurles History, our unidentified ‘Key Strength’.

If I mention just a few names :- ‘The National Gallery of Ireland’; ‘The valley of Glendalough’; ‘The Rock of Cashel’; ‘Newgrange’; ‘St Patrick’s Cathedral’; ‘The Old Library at Trinity College’; ‘Glasnevin Cemetery’; ‘The Chester Beatty Library’; ‘The Jeanie Johnston Tallship’; ‘Kilmainham Gaol’; ‘Christ Church Cathedral’ and finally ‘Kilkenny Castle’, you will immediately identify same as household names in relation to just some of Ireland’s many tourist attractions.

So, ask yourself what have all of the above got in common? Upon reflection you will find the answer is of course ‘History’, and while some of the above national visitor attractions named are free to enter, others are costing our tourists, according to Tripadvisor, (Click on the shown links to see for yourself), some are €49.00, other €19.80 or even €60.00 per person, in order to get a guided tour.

Here in Thurles Co. Tipperary while we whine and moan about limited footfall on our streets, we have failed miserably, down through the years, to fully acknowledge and highlight our rich history. We also continue to appoint individuals with absolutely no knowledge, not just of our history, but also with limited ability in encouraging tourism.

Tipperary, The Place, The Time

Remember the embarrassing Tipperary, the Place, the Time PR stunt and the expensive lunch ordered for political and sporting dignitaries! Read here all about the then:- International Access, Unrivalled talent pools, Proven success stories, World-class infrastructure, Lifestyle and Culture, attempting to attract business to a Tipperary devoid of basic rural broadband and any advance factories. Here is where resignations should have been offered and not just by officials in IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, for their sheer PR stupidity, not to mention the waste of taxpayers’ money.

March 4 Tipp Group, we salute and support your endeavours, you got at least a promise of your ‘Ring Road’.

We first raised the question of ‘Key Strengths’ here on Thurles.Info on June 15th last (2019), [Click Here] pointing out that History had not been included in the list of key fortes and strong suits, identified with regard to Thurles town.

[The Key strengths that were identified were named:- Arts & Culture, Business, Sport and Education. Note: Arts being creative endeavours and disciplines, while Culture demonstrates the shared values, practices and goals, that define people residing in a particular or in this case a forgotten region.]

You can read our History Category Blogs from here.

Honouring our promise made on June 15th last, and in preparation for National Heritage Week in Thurles; we will attempt to highlight the massive national, historical importance and physical presence of the Cathedral of the Assumption. So do please now read on.

Archbishop of Cashel, Dr. Dermot (Darby) O’Hurley

The word “Cathedral” derives from the Latin word “Cathedra” meaning ‘a chair with armrests. A cathedral is simply an ordinary church, but unlike an ordinary church, in a cathedral church the presiding bishop has an ‘Episcopal Chair’, thus signifying his teaching authority. The chair is not solely associated with just Roman Catholic churches, but is found similarly in Orthodox and Anglican Communion churches also.

Episcopal Chair in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles.

The Episcopal Chair or more commonly called a “Bishop’s Throne” in the Cathedral of the Assumption, here in Thurles, can be found positioned to the viewers right hand side, as they face the main Altar.

Dr. Dermot (Darby) O’Hurley (Irish-Diarmaid Ó hUrthuile), Archbishop of Cashel, was born in Lickadoon Castle, Co. Limerick in 1530, about 80.0km (50 mls), from Thurles. His father William O’Hurley, being a Steward to James Fitzgerald, 14th Earl of Desmond, ensured that Dermot gained a good education through tutors and was later sent abroad to study law at the Catholic University of Louvain, (Leuven), back then part of the Burgundian Netherlands, now part of today’s Belgium, where from here he graduated with an M.A. in 1551.

In 1581 Pope Gregory XIII (Ugo Boncompagni 1502- 1585) asked Dermot O’Hurley, then still a layman, to become the new Archbishop of Cashel. Having accepted this post; he was ordained on 13th August 1581 in Rome and on September 11th of that same year he was officially appointed Archbishop of Cashel. He would never arrive.

Here in Ireland then under English Rule, the Penal Laws were in force, leaving the new Archbishop no alternative but to return to Ireland in secret, to avoid capture by the spies of the reigning English Queen Elizabeth 1st. In 1570 latter Queen had been excommunicated by Pope Pius V; leaving Dr. Dermot O’Hurley under no illusion as to his new appointment. Same would mean that he must reside living as a fugitive, in order to carry on his ministry.

Smuggled into Ireland in 1583 he landed at Drogheda in the midst of the second Desmond Rebellion (1579-1583), to stay with Thomas Fleming, an Irish Peer and 10th Baron of Slane. Departing for his diocese Dr. O’Hurley arrived in Carrick-on-Suir, where he expected to come under the protection of the then 10th Earl of Ormond, Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles.

Before leaving and possibly unknown to himself, he was recognised by government spies; the latter who notified Adam Loftus (then Protestant Archbishop of Dublin), and Sir Henry Wallop, (Lord Justice).

Now faced with the prospect of being arrested himself, and under threat, the forenamed Baron Thomas Fleming immediately set out in pursuit, apprehending the Archbishop in Carrick-on-Suir, where he was then residing with the Protestant Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond and Lord Treasurer of Ireland.

Arrest & Torture of Dr Dermot O’Hurley

Baron Fleming now took Dr. O’Hurley back to Dublin Castle and by October 8th 1583, he was a prisoner in Dublin Castle.

Upon being questioned he admitted to being a Roman Catholic, however any effort to make him inform on other leading Roman Catholic members was to prove fruitless.
Lord Justice Sir Henry Wallop and the Earl of Kildare, Thomas Walsingham (Secretary to Queen Elizabeth 1st), both feared that Dr. O’Hurley was actively participating in a plot to overthrow English rule here in Ireland. Walsingham now ordered that Dr. O’Hurley be subjected to torture; accused of being a member of the Roman Inquisition. His torture included the filling of his booted legs with oil, before roasting them over an open fire.

Historian Richard Stanihurst, latter an Irish alchemist, translator, poet and historian, born in Dublin (1547–1618), described his particular gruesome torture: “In the Castle Yard, before the officials of the government, the executioner placed the archbishop’s feet and calves in tin boots filled with oil. They then fastened his feet in wooden shackles or stocks, and placed fire under them. The boiling oil so penetrated the feet and legs that morsels of skin and flesh fell off and left the bones bare.”

Screaming throughout his torturous agony, “Jesus, son of David, protect me”, he persistently continued to protest stating that his mission was one of peace and that he had no information whatsoever to give to his captors.

His captors then resorted to bribery, demanding that he renounce his Catholic faith and embrace Protestantism, but to no avail.

Fearing that they might kill him; his torturers then discontinued their actions and later he was sent for trial by a Military Tribunal, before being quickly sentenced to death.

Execution of Dr. Dermot O’Hurley Archbishop of Cashel.

On Saturday June 20th, 1584, an order for Dr. O’Hurley’s execution was received from England. He was taken early in the morning from his cell in Ship Street, to a swampy area near St. Stephen’s Green, latter then known as Hoggen Green, (Today the College Green/Dame Street area) to be hanged.

We understand that his corpse was thrown into a ditch, where it was later recovered by friends of the Archbishop. Same took his remains and buried them in the small churchyard of St. Kevin in Camden Row, Dublin.

Today the Church is in ruins, but for many years afterwards his burial plot became a place of pilgrimage for many Dublin Roman Catholic believers.

Dr. Dermot O’Hurley remains one of the most celebrated of Irish Catholic Martyrs, and was ‘beatified’ [Declared officially to be a holy person, usually the first step towards making them a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.] by Pope John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła 1920 – 2005) on September 27th 1992.

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Policeman Murdered On Liberty Square, Thurles.

It happened 100 years ago on Monday evening June 23rd, 1919.
Remember Ireland’s National Heritage Week 2019 begins August 17th – August 25th.

A centenary commemorative service will be held at 2.30pm on Saturday next, June 22nd 2019, in Passlands Cemetery, Monasterevin, Co Kildare. The service will be held at the graveside of District Inspector Michael Hunt, Royal Irish Constabulary, (55727 D.I., R.I.C.), killed while on duty in Thurles, Co. Tipperary one hundred years ago on Monday evening, June 23rd, 1919.

The Royal Irish Constabulary remained at the front line of the British government’s war against the IRA especially between 1919 and 1921. Policemen were targeted by the IRA while alone or sometimes when off duty. They were by far the highest number of crown force casualties, with more than 400 killed, almost double the number of army fatalities during the same period. The number of R.I.C. officers killed in Tipperary numbered 46 during the War of Independence; with the vast majority of them being Irishmen.

Some of those R.I.C. Officers killed in Tipperary included:-
Toomevara: Constable James Rocke aged 26 and Constable Charles Healy aged 25.
Rearcross / Newport: Constable William Finn aged 22 and Constable Daniel McCarthy aged 27.
Gooldscross / Clonoulty: Sergeant Patrick McDonnell
Tipperary: RIC Constable Michael Horan, Constable Joseph Daly aged 20, Constable Thomas Gallivan aged 20, Head Constable Christopher Davis aged 41, and Constable William Cummings aged 25.
Templemore: District Inspector William Harding Wilson.
Mullinahone: Constable William Campbell.
Ballylooby: District Inspector Gilbert Norman Potter aged 42.
Cloughjordan: Constable John Cantlon and Constable William Walsh, Constable Martin Feeney and Constable James Briggs.
Carrick-on-Suir: Constable Dennis Patrick O’Leary.
Soloheadbeg: Constable James McDonnell aged 50 years and Constable Patrick O’Connell.
Lorrha: Sergeant, Philip Brady
Thurles: Constable Luke Finnegan and District Inspector Michael Hunt.
Inch (The Ragg); Constable John Heany.

The then British Prime Minister David Lloyd George had emphasised that this same Irish conflict was for police to handle, supported by military personnel and not vice versa. It was logical therefore that members of the IRA should target armed police, in order to acquire necessary weapons.

This commemorative event on Saturday afternoon next will be followed by light refreshments; same to be served appropriately in a former R.I.C. Barracks, which today serves as the Monasterevin Local Community Centre.

District Inspector Michael Hunt

Born the son of a Co. Sligo father, Mr Martin Hunt, on September 3rd, 1873, Michael Hunt joined the Royal Irish Constabulary on January 2nd, 1893, serving in Co. Longford, Co. Kerry and later in Co. Tipperary.

He was married on May 16th, 1900, to Ms Kathleen Mary Bell, the daughter of Mr John Bell, Co. Kildare. They parented six children; with their eldest son, Michael John Hunt, going on to receive a commission in the Royal Irish Regiment; quickly to be promoted to the rank of Captain, before later joining the R.I.C. in his own right.

His younger sister Eva Hunt, aged 15 years, had passed away just seven months prior to her father’s murder. Buried in Thurles; her later erected small white marble headstone reads:- “In loving memory of Eva Hunt, daughter of the late Michael Hunt, (55727 D.I., R.I.C.) Thurles, died 27th Nov 1918, aged 15 years.”

It was on Monday June 23rd, 1919, one hundred years ago this coming week, that District Inspector (DI) Michael Hunt was murdered, as he carried out police duties during a Thurles Race meeting and while in the company of at least two other RIC officers.

Uniformed and walking near the top of Main Street, Thurles (Today renamed Liberty Square), at approximately 5.30pm in the evening, he was shot from the rear at very close range, the ammunition used – large calibre, blunt nosed revolver bullets.

Colleagues R.I.C officers Sergeant Joseph Grove and Constable Patrick Murphy, were both walking some yards ahead and on hearing the gun retorts, they rushed back to find Hunt’s prostrate form face down in the street, before lifting him to the safety of the footpath. Race goers and others, on witnessing the action, now in fear scattered in all directions, thus aiding his murderers to escape with ease into their midst.

Thurles doctor, Thomas Barry attended to District Inspector Hunt, however he was declared dead at the scene. His lifeless body was taken to the nearby home of a Mrs Scully. Further investigation showed that three shots had been fired, two of which achieved accuracy, with one shot severing two of the largest blood vessels in his body, directly causing him to bleed to death; while a third shot fired wounded a nearby child, named as Danny Maher, in the left kneecap. According to a local doctor’s statement to police, the injured 12-year-old boy was spotted soon after the initial mayhem had subsided. He was taken to the doctor’s house for treatment, before being allowed to go on his way.

At Monasterevin Railway Station, Hunt’s coffin was met by a party of constabulary colleagues together with his son, the aforementioned Captain Michael John Hunt (Royal Irish Regiment), latter who had journeyed from London to be in attendance.

Grave of
William Harding Wilson in Templemore.

The gun used in the murder had been brought to Thurles town from the area of Loughmore village; transported in a pony and trap and hidden under the clothing being worn by a baby. Some 20 soldiers with fixed bayonets were on duty at the race meeting and persons were being searched entering the town. At least two of the three shots were fired at close range, with the gun being fired through the pocket of an overcoat, possibly touching the District Inspector’s vertebrae.

Two days later at an inquest in Thurles, held on Wednesday, June 25th, 1919, it was revealed by witness Sergeant Joseph Grove, that a crowd had began to again collect around the dead man on the pavement. District Inspector William Harding Wilson asked if they offered assistance, to which the witness replied in the negative, further confirming that some of those who gathered were observed to be laughing and jeering.

The then Foreman of the Jury, after brief consultation with Jury members, stated that their majority verdict, was that Mr Hunt met his death in accordance with the reasons stated in the medical evidence put forward and that the bullet wounds were inflicted by a person or persons unknown.

District Inspector Wilson then enquired if the Jury did not confirm that it was “Wilful Murder”. The Foreman confirmed that the Jury were not unanimous. Inspector Wilson then declared that he couldn’t understand their hesitation regarding this case. In his opinion it was very clear that Mr Hunt had been shot twice in the back, in a position where he could not view his assailant. This to him was a case of wilful murder and he remained at a loss as to what other interpretation could be honestly construed.

Note: District Inspector William Harding Wilson would have a narrow escape himself in June 1920, when his head was grazed by bullets fired at an R.I.C. patrol, as they passed through the village of Templetouhy. On August 16th 1920 an IRA party was dispatched to Templemore to kill Wilson. At 6.45pm as Wilson was about to enter Templemore post office, he was shot once in the head from an adjoining lane way.

The epitaph on his headstone reads “In loving memory of my dear husband William Harding Wilson, District Inspector Royal Irish Constabulary. Died 16th August 1920 aged 56 years. His life for his country, his soul to God”

District Inspector Hunt was buried with full military honours, with his coffin covered in the Union Jack, in Passlands Cemetery, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare on June 26th, 1919. He was interred in the family burial plot of his wife, (nee Bell). Shots were fired over his grave.

On September 9th, of the same year, Hunt was posthumously awarded £5 for excellent police duty in connection with the successful suppression of a Sinn Fein meeting on Sunday May 25th, 1919 in Co Tipperary, latter which resulted in the arrest of the Sinn Fein MP for North Monaghan, Ernest Blythe.

Blythe was found to be in possession of an incriminating document, latter which contained instructions on how to intimidate police through terrorizing their known associates and next of kin. Blythe was convicted by a court-martial in Dublin and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

A Tipperary Court awarded £5,800 to the widow of Hunt, latter who had initiated a compensation claim amounting to £12,000. She successfully appealed against the sum awarded and at the Four Courts, Dublin, in March 1920 his widow and their full siblings were awarded £7,800 in final compensation.

Two first cousins Jim and Tommy Stapleton from Finnahy, Upperchurch and Jim Murphy (Latter known as “The Jennett”), from Curreeney, Kilcommon, would later be named as responsible for the killing of R.I.C. District Inspector Michael Hunt; named in a statement made by James Leahy, Commandant No.2 Irish Republican Army (I.R.A.) (Mid) Tipp-Brigade.

Jim Stapleton was also named for the aforementioned killing of District Inspector William Harding Wilson outside Templemore post office.

Unlike other military or civilian cataclysms, to date here in Ireland no single memorial now exists to remember all R.I.C. officers, latter killed in the line of what they saw as their duty. Perhaps Tipperary could now rectify this situation, thus allowing those, mostly young Irishmen who lost their lives, to be remembered by their relatives and indeed the public in general.

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