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Thurles Auction Of Local Carrigan Family Heirlooms

Empress Josephine’s Bed

Thurles auction of local Carrigan Family heirlooms, will take place on Tuesday next.

More than 500 auction lots, including heirlooms from the country house of the Carrigan family of Glengarriff, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, together with items from other private clients, will be auctioned off by Fonsie Mealy’s Auction House, at the Anner Hotel, Thurles on Tuesday next, October 1st, at 11:00am.

The auction will comprise of furniture, equestrian and other paintings, miniatures, prints, silver, Chinese porcelain, sporting guns, garden furniture, books, and maps. A 4ft 6in, 18th-century rosewood, French bed, latter understood to have belonged to the Empress Joséphine (1763 – 1814), first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, is included in the items expected to go on sale.

Note: A short 4ft 6in bed does not necessarily mean that people were shorter in the 17th/18th century. Rather people often chose to slept sitting up, in the real belief that for health reasons this was a safer option. By sleeping lying flat out, evil spirits could more easily enter your body as you slept, and your soul could more easily escape from your body.

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my Soul to keep,
If I should die before I ‘wake, I pray the Lord my Soul to take.”

Lots can be viewed at Glengarriff, Thurles, from 10am-5pm tomorrow Monday, September 30th and as already stated the auction will be held in the Anner Hotel at 11:00am the following day.


What Colour Is Your Bedroom Wallpaper?

Earlier this month (August 3rd 2019) the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) moved to remove implicated batches of own brand bottled water, supplied by Co. Monaghan company ‘Celtic Pure’, which were on sale and display, in stores and food outlets nationally. Arsenic (chemical symbol As), a heavy metal, had been detected at levels above the prescribed legal limit in several branded ‘still’ and ‘sparkling’ bottled waters.

A more serious Arsenic contamination was discovered during the late 18th and early 19th century, in the form of ‘Paris Green’; also known as ‘Schloss Green’; ‘Scheele’s Green’ ; ‘Schweinfurt Green’; ‘Emerald Green‘; ‘Patent Green’, and ‘New Green’; latter compound invented in 1775 by pharmacist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, himself the initial true discoverer of the gas ‘oxygen’.

The long list of different names associated with this same compound over future years would suggests that manufacturers were anxious to continue selling their product. By ignoring known associated health issues, they simply changed its name in an effort to disguise and mislead consumers.

This product was further improved, in 1814, by chemists working at the Wilhelm Dye and White Lead Company of Schweinfurt, in the Lower Franconia region of Bavaria in Germany.

‘Paris Green’, came into use as a colourant for many household products, e.g. wallpapers and paper hangings; in paints; wax candles; artificial flowers; gloves; sweets; confectionery, particularly cake decorations; medicine; glass; dye in clothing; as a colourant in the painting of children’s toys and the product was ground down more finely, for inclusion in watercolour paints and inks.

Women were passionate about this yellowish-green pigment, same being much sought for being brighter and longer-lasting than other green colours then available in the market place. It became a particular hit amongst the then existing social elite; from the French Emperor Napoleon III’s wife, (the Empress Eugénie de Montijo), to Queen Victoria’s wallpaper decorating bedrooms Buckingham Palace.

On June 4th 1849, Dr. H. Letheby, M.B., Ph.D., a renowned chemist working at a London Hospital, confirmed that the cause of death for a female child was arsenic poisoning. The press of the time were quick to publicize that the arsenic paint used in wallpapers in that family’s home, had killed the child. Dr. Letheby further claimed that to kill any child, it did not need to eat this wallpaper paint, nor even to sleep in a room so decorated. Just a few hours of exposure breathing the dust of such wallpaper; especially flocked wallpaper, was all that was needed to bring about the death of an infant.

A French medical hygienist, known for his work in the field of occupational health and safety, one Maxime Vernois observed ten years later in 1859 that many male workers working with Scheele’s Green dye were found to have ulcerations on their green dyed hands, yellow nails, and crater-like scars on their legs. Their genital area also displayed painful lesions stretching along their inner thighs. Female cloth shapers were found to have poor appetites and suffered constant headaches, while displaying an anaemic skin pallor. His ongoing studies ended in the full knowledge that less than 1/8th of a teaspoon of arsenic, could signify a fatal dose, and this same group of employees were coming into contact with gallons of the dye substance.

Paris Green was also to become a popular colour expended by English romantic painter, printmaker and watercolour artist William Turner, and Impressionist artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, together with Post-Impressionist painters such as Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cézanne.

At the turn of the 20th century this product was further blended and used as an insecticide by fruit and tobacco producers. During 1944 and 1945 in order to control malaria it was scattered by flying crop sprayers in Italy, Sardinia and Corsica, and further used as a rodent poison in Paris underground sewers.

When Maxime Vernois reported his concluded findings, Sweden, Germany and eventually France recognized the problem and banned the product. England, now its largest consumer and producer, however did not.

It was not until the 1960’s, despite all known and long proven scientific evidence on the highly toxic nature of this product, that the manufacture of emerald green paint was finally banned.


Abandoned Thurles Child Taken In Charge

Back in October 2018 it was reported that the remains of 796 children, buried in an unmarked mass grave at a former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Co. Galway, were to be exhumed as part of a major forensic investigation.

The story emerged from research undertaken by Irish amateur historian Mrs Catherine Corless. The latter had decided to write an article about this mother and baby institution, based on her own childhood memories of the said institution; having gained an interest in local history, through her attendance at evening history courses.

A slow news day saw national and international media take up the story, likening same to Rwandan genocide, Ireland’s own Holocaust and the Srebrenica massacre of the mid 1990’s. Leading members of our Irish Parliament, the Irish Senate and the Northern Ireland Parliament, latter despite supposedly being well educated, were unaware of Ireland’s past history and now all spent valuable hours in debate, many strongly condemning Roman Catholic church authorities regarding this issue.

Since then, the current Fine Gael Minister for Children, Ms Katherine Zappone has confirmed that it is the current governments intention to exhume and if possible, to identify remains. The Minister has further ratified the costs of this project at being between €6m and €13m. The Roman Catholic religious congregation of the Sisters of Bon Secours have offered “a voluntary contribution” of €2.5m.

Thurles & Dublin Foundling’s Hospital

The Dublin Foundling’s Hospital (today the St. James’s Hospital campus and sometime in the future to become part of the new National Children’s Hospital at a cost in excess of €1.4bn) was first established in the early part of the 18th century (1702), with Dean Jonathan Swift and Arthur Guinness being amongst those who served on the Board of Governors. Its purpose was to prevent the deaths, brought about through neglect; malnourishment; climate exposure and murder, all caused due to severe poverty. The Dublin Foundling’s hospital also had one other aim; to educate and rear the children taken into charge, in the Reformed or Protestant Faith, and thereby to strengthen and promote the Protestant Interest in Ireland.


A foundling refers to an infant child that has been abandoned by one or both parents at birth. Same is brought about usually due to the mother feeling unable to care for her infant, usually for reasons of poverty, or quite often due to pressures both from family and society in general, latter being unable to accept the existence of an infant born “outside the blanket” or outside of wedlock.

You will note from the picture show above of a billet (A billet in today’s language means a ‘ticket’ or a ‘receipt’ in French, but it originally meant a ‘short note’), that a male child “by the hands of Elizabeth Blackall” from the Church of Ireland parish of Thurles, was admitted to the Dublin Foundlings Hospital on July 12th 1791. The Porter’s name is shown as Thomas Annesley.

Note from the billet, shown above, certain of the clothing names no longer in use today.
Biggins – A bonnet tied behind the neck and made of wool or linen.
Clouts – Diapers or nappies.
Flannel – A square of fabric wrapped around a child over the diaper or a long undergarment.
Forehead Clothes – Strip of cloth tied across the forehead to behind the ears for added warmth.
Pilches – Layers of cloth tied around the diaper in an effort to prevent leakage.
Swathes – Strips of cloth, usually of wool, wrapped around an infant’s body for warmth and to put pressure on the navel. Parents will be aware of the term Swaddling.

Foundling hospital’s turning wheel appliance.

A levy, of £5 per year, would have been imposed on the parish from which the child was sent.

A feature of most foundling hospitals was a turning-wheel type mechanism set in a wall near the building’s main entrance. This particular system was so designed as to encourage mothers to bring their unwanted children anonymously to the hospital building, rather than to abandon them on doorsteps or in other out-of-the-way areas.

The hospital’s turning wheel appliance allowed for a basket to be attached, into which an infant could be placed at any time, day or night. A bell was attached to attract the attention of the hospital porter then on duty. The porter would then rotate the wheel mechanism, thus bringing the infant into the building’s interior. Such porters were instructed to take in all infants left in the basket / cradle and not to have any direct conversation with the individuals who had lodged a child.

Child abandonment due to poverty and illegitimacy has always been a problem in the past, and viewed in private by governments as the unacceptable face of unnecessary expense on state coffers. In medieval times babies were often abandoned in church or monastery doorways, in the hope that the religious, of all denominations, would take on the task of providing sustenance. After all, did not Jesus Christ insist, in the Gospel according to St. Matthew (Chapter 19 – Verse 14), that Christians should – “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven”.

Once an infant was taken in charge, it was assumed that a mother gave up all future control. Mothers whose circumstances changed and who tried to contact their child, risked having it ‘exchanged’. This was undertaken by transferring infants to a sister institution in Cork in exchange for any Cork infants, who were also considered by authorities to be in similar danger of being re-contaminated by Papist parents.

Death Rates

In the year 1752, of the 691 children taken in charge by the Dublin Foundling’s Hospital, 365 children were dead by the end of that particular year. In 1757, burial of these children was described as being chucked, naked into a hole, some eight or ten infants at a time.

A report ordered by the Irish House of Commons regarding child mortality over the previous twelve years, ending in June 1796; same would reveal that of the 25,000 admitted more than 17,000 had died. Worse facts would be revealed in the five-year period between 1791 to 1796. Here, of the 5,016 infants sent to the Dublin Foundling’s Hospital infirmary, only one solitary child had survived.

The Select Committee to inquire into the Irish Miscellaneous estimates, published in 1829, recommended that no further financial assistance should now be given to the hospital. It stated the Dublin Foundling’s Hospital had not preserved life or and had failed to educate those placed in their care. Overall it found that the mortality rate amongst the foundlings were almost 4 death to every 5 infants taken in charge, while the total expenditure to the state was £10,000 per year. It was eventually shut down in 1838, by Charles Grant, 1st Baron Glenelg (Lord Glenelg then Irish Secretary) to be later used to accommodate South Co. Dublin Union Workhouse inmates.

The Modern-Day Solution to Ireland’s Unwanted Children
In our modern-day Ireland; supported by numerous politicians, currently both in government and in opposition, we have now found a new solution to this age-old problem. With effect from May 25th 2018, the Irish people to everyone’s shame, voted by 66.4% to 33.6%, to kill all unwanted infants, but this time while still in the womb.

Today, such wilful murder must be seen as an abuse of children once again funded by the Irish state, without the full consent of Irish taxpayers.


County Tipperary 1917-1921 – A History In 80 Documents

(Front L-R): Brigid Malone (Bride) & Dan Breen (Groom). (Back L-R): Sean Hogan (Best Man) & Aine Malone (Bridesmaid).

Mary Guinan Darmody (Tipperary Studies) at Tipperary County Council Library Service, Thurles, reports:-

In 2016, the Tipperary County Council Library Service published ‘County Tipperary in 1916 – a history in 40 documents’.

Now the second part of a projected three-part series, ‘Tipperary 1917-1921 – a history in 80 documents’, again from the ‘Finding Tipperary‘ series of publications, will be launched by Councillor Seamus Hanafin, in ‘The Source’ building, Cathedral Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on Saturday August 24th next at 3:00pm.

Open Invitation.
An open invitation is extended to anybody with an interest in the history of Tipperary during that dramatic period.

Tipperary 1917-1921

The publication edited by Denis G. Marnane and Mary Guinan Darmody of Tipperary Studies, ‘Tipperary 1917-1921’, looks at events and personalities in the county during the War of Independence and the years leading up to Soloheadbeg. Through a series of documents including witness statements, letters, diary entries and newspaper reports, readers can view these events through the eyes of those present at the time.

The publication has received funding under the Tipperary Commemorations programme. Copies will be available free of charge from branch libraries and Tipperary Studies, to all those with an interest in this period.

A series of accompanying banners will tell the story in a temporary exhibition which will travel round the county in the coming months.

Note: For those of you residing abroad this free publication can be obtained on advance receipt of the cost of postage.

All are welcome to the official launch and for further information, contact Tel: 076 1066123 or Email studies@tipperarycoco.ie


Recognisable Thurles Face Appears In A Window

Pic. Left: Window dedicated to St. Thomas Aquinas. Pic. Top Right: Summa Theologiae. Pic. Bottom Right: Archbp. Dr. Thomas Croke.

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

Forgetting briefly the everyday religious benefits obtained by Thurles and Tipperary people; not to mention the same religious spiritual advantages enjoyed by hundreds of visiting day-trippers down through the centuries; it remains necessary to continue to reveal the history, relating to the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles, latter a truly magnificent edifice, built to the glory of God.

Slightly to the right hand side and to the rear as you face the Cathedral’s interior Tabernacle, can be viewed a stained-glass window, dedicated to Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274), probably born in the castle of Roccasecca in the Province of Frosinone, in the Lazio region of Italy, and who became a Dominican priest and Scriptural Theologian.

The dedicated window portrays the Saint, the son of Landulf of Aquino and his wife Theodora, holding a scroll containing the text of his Summa Theologiae, latter written between 1265 & 1274 and also known as the Summa Theologica or simply the Summa.

Summa Theologiae, Summa Theologica or Summa

The Summa Theologiae is the best-known work of St. Thomas Aquinas. Although never completed, same remains one of the most influential works within Western literature and a compendium of all of the main theological teachings held by the Catholic Church.

Same was intended as an instructional guide, not just for the few literate laity of that period, but also for theology students, including seminarians; to whom are extolled the five arguments required to prove the existence of God, which are known as the “five ways” or “five proofs” (In Latin: quinque viae).

The stained-glass window is the work of the renowned German stained-glass designer and manufacturing company of Franz Mayer, Munich. It is interesting to note that on closer inspection of this stained-glass window, the facial features of the late Archbishop Dr. Thomas William Croke appear; thus, replacing the unknown facial characteristics of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Text on the base of the window asks for prayers for Dr. Thomas Croke (D.Div.), [1824 – 1902], latter former Archbishop of Cashel and Emly and first patron of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Currently the largest Irish GAA stadium, Croke Park, situated at Jones’ Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 3, in which Tipperary will meet and hopefully defeat old rivals Kilkenny, in the 2019 Senior All Ireland hurling challenge, continues to be named in his honour.