The Office of Public Works (OPW) are pleased to announce that as and from today (6/4/2016), or on the first Wednesday of every month, during 2016, all their managed Heritage Sites in Tipperary and throughout Ireland will offer FREE ADMISSION to individuals wishing to visit their sites, for the duration of their tourism opening season.
* Note: Where an asterisk is shown above; same venues are open all year-round while others may have more limited seasonal periods of operation.
Details on the above venues and other national Irish tourist attractions can be found by simply clicking HERE
That means sites like Kilkenny Castle and Clonmacnoise, which usually charge €17 for a family visit, the recently-restored Kilmainham Gaol (€16) and Ross Castle in Killarney (€10), won’t cost a cent to visit, except perhaps for parking in some instances.
Tickets will be allocated on a ‘first come / first served’ basis with normal conditions of admission applying at all sites. Visitors may experience delays at some of the busier sites and are therefore advised to arrive early.
If allocated a time, visitors are asked to arrive promptly for the start of their tour. There is no guarantee that visitors who miss their allocated tour-slot can be accommodated at a later time. Children must be supervised at all times and access to some sites will be by guided tour only. Visitors are also warned that opening times can change at short notice.
So please, old age pensioners & those enjoying free travel, do take advantage and use this opportunity “To see old Ireland free.”
In 2016 we commemorate, rightfully, those who took part in the Irish 1916 Easter Rising. From a Thurles commemorative perspective however, perhaps the name Richard James Mulcahy was somewhat sidelined, due to the 1916 Easter Rising being mostly confined to Dublin city.
This in mind, let us not forget that one action, if not the most successful of all 1916 actions undertaken by Irish Volunteers, took place in Ashbourne, County Meath. It was here on April 28th 1916, under the leadership of Thomas Ashe (A national school teacher from Lusk, who would later die on hunger strike), and his second-in-command, Richard James Mulcahy (A post office engineer from Thurles), together with 45 Fingal Volunteers, attacked a Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks.
History credits Richard Mulcahy with the defeat of the RIC at Ashbourne, through his engagement in a flanking movement made on an opposing police column; latter who were rushed to reinforce their already surrendered comrades.
Arrested after the rising, Mulcahy was later interned at Knutsford and at the Frongoch internment camps in Wales, until his release on in 1917.
Pic (1) Michael Collins (center) with Richard Mulcahy; Pic (2) General Richard Mulcahy TD; Pic (3) Mulcahy with his wife Mary (Affectionately known as ‘Min’) in 1922.
Who was Richard James Mulcahy?
Richard (Dick) James Mulcahy [Irish: Risteárd Séamus Ó Maolchatha (1886 -1971)] was originally born in Manor Street, Co. Waterford on May 10th, 1886. He began his educated, first at Mount Sion Christian Brothers School, Waterford and later at Thurles C.B.S, when his father and family transferred to reside in Thurles, County Tipperary. In 1902 he joined the post office Engineering Department, working first in Thurles and later in Bantry, Co Cork, Dublin and Wexford. Shortly after his arrival in Dublin, Mulcahy joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1907 and later in 1913, joined the Irish Volunteers.
A reminder to all; this Sunday, between 1:00am and 2:00am, our clocks and watches will require to be skipped forward by one hour, thus depriving everyone of 60 minutes of precious shut-eye. Those with high tech gadgets e.g. Mobile Phones, Computers, Laptops etc. need not worry, as same time change will automatically occur without any required personal intervention on our part.
With 1916 on everyone’s lips this weekend, due to our celebrations commemorating the Irish Easter Rising, keep in mind that the ‘Daylight Saving Act’ was first introduced in that very same year. The first notion of attempting to not waste our daylight came about following a campaign which was begun in 1907, by the Edwardian British builder William Willett. It took until 1916 for those in authority to realise that this same time changing action would reduce considerable unnecessary energy consumption; while also saving countless lives, since fewer accidents occur in the mornings, when compared to our darker evenings.
So how did Thurles people and residents of our surrounding hinterland take to the first introduction of the ‘Daylight Saving Act’ in 1916? We find our answer recorded in the journal kept by Fr. Michael Maher C.C., Thurles, and then Secretary to the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr. John Mary Harty.
May 21st 1916 “A new ordinance came into force in the middle of May; it was called the ‘Daylight Saving Act‘. It meant that all clocks were to be put forward an hour on the morning of Sunday the 21st May at two o’clock and they were to be left at that standard until the night of the 1st of October.
William Willett (1856 – 1915)
In former years, a Mr. [William] Willet of London frequently introduced a bill into the House of Commons to this effect, but it was always killed with ridicule. The poor man died a short time ago without having his hopes realised and now, when it was found that an immense saving would be effected through the curtailing of artificial light, and as economy was recommended in all possible directions, the bill was introduced again and became an act of parliament without laughter or opposition.
We did not put on the Cathedral clock [Cathedral of The Assumption, Thurles] until after the devotions on Sunday night, because we did not know on the previous Sunday whether the act would apply to Ireland, and so we could not forewarn the people about the change in the hours of the services. The people in the towns fell in with the change without demur and everything went on just as before. We altered nothing except the hands of the clock. Some of the country people kept to the old time except on Sunday, when they had to go to Mass an hour earlier.
It did not suit the country parts as much as the towns, because the morning is not a good time for saving hay or carrying on harvesting operations, the evening is much better, so if the men stopped work at six o’clock by the new time they would leave off when the hay or corn was in the best condition to be put together or cut down. On dairy farms too, the milkers who had to rise at 4:30 or 5:00 o’clock by the old time, would have to part with their beds at an unearthly hour by the new reckoning.
In towns on the other hand it suited admirably because it gave a long bright evening to the populace after shops were closed and work abandoned. It made no difference to the clergy except that the 12:00 o’clock Mass in towns was much more convenient according to the new regulations.”
The Irish Easter Rebellion or Easter Rising (Éirí Amach na Cásca) began on Easter Monday, April 24th, 1916 and lasted for six days. It was launched by seven members of the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, led by schoolmaster and Irish language activist Patrick Pearse, joined by the Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly, together with 200 members of Cumann na mBan.
It ended with unconditional surrender on Saturday April 29th, following by the courts-martial and execution of most of the leaders.
Old I.R.A. / Cumann na mBan Easter Meeting: Market House, Liberty Square, Thurles, Co Tipperary, (Circa 1957).
Some faces identified in this picture; Travelling L-R: (1) Con Spain, (2) Billy Maher, (3) Paddy (The Master) Ryan, (4) Dinny Byrne, (5) ?, (6) ?, (7) T.Long, (Gortnahoe). (8) Andrew Hackett, (9) ?, (10) ?, (11) Jimmy Carroll, (12) John Burns, (13) Patsy Doran, (14) Jimmy Loughnane, (15) Mrs O’Brien (16) Mrs O’Shea, (17) Bill Coman (Known fondly as ‘Bill the Black’, Connaught Rangers, Holycross,)(18) Mrs Delaney, (19) Tommy Griffin, (20) Ml Cleary, (21) Mick Quinn (CIE), (22) Joe Carroll, (23) Mick Leamy, (24) Stephen Troy, (25) Tom Doran, (26) Pakie Gorman, (27) Tom Duggan (Gortnahoe), (28) ?, (29) ?, (29a) Martin Dwyer, (30) Ml Cooney, (31) ?, (32) Hugh Long (Gortnahoe), (33) Tade Gleeson, (34) Jack Hackett, (35) Paddy Maher (Moyne), (36) Jack Kelly, (37) Sean Hayes, (38) ?, (39) Charles Steward Parnell O’Donnell (Gortnahoe), (40) James Mooney. (Can anyone help us by putting names to the unknown faces captured in the above image?)
(Our sincere thanks to historians; Monseignor Dr. M. Dooley, Liam O’Donoghue and Sean Spain for their research.)
The following extracts, relating to life in Thurles during the week of the Easter Rising 1916, are taken from the journal of Fr. Michael Maher C.C., Thurles, then Secretary to the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr. John Mary Harty.
Easter Monday, 24th April 1916
“On Easter Monday, everything was peaceable to all appearances and we spent a quiet day, as the weather was cold and rainy. It appears that a notice was inserted in the evening papers of Saturday calling on the Irish or Sinn Féin Volunteers* not to have any parades on Easter Monday. It was signed by Eoin MacNeill who was regarded as their head.
[ * Note: In an effort to thwart both informers and the Volunteers’ own leadership, Pearse issued orders in early April for three days of “Parades and Manoeuvres” by the Volunteers for Easter Sunday. His idea was that the republicans within the organisation (particularly IRB members) would know exactly what this meant, while men such as MacNeill and the British authorities in Dublin Castle would take it at only face value. MacNeill got wind of the truth and threatened to “do everything possible short of phoning Dublin Castle”, to prevent such a rising. ]
I did hear on Sunday morning that a motor car with Sinn Féin Volunteers ran into the sea near Killorglin* in Kerry and that the bodies of the occupants, who were drowned, were on recovery, found to have contained several rounds of ammunition as well as arms and Sinn Féin badges. The man that told me had it by letter and he seemed rather excited, but I paid no heed to it because I knew that the Sinn Féiners had no following or strength except in Dublin, where it was known that they had a force of about five thousand trained and equipped men.
[ * Same news refers to the incident at Ballykissane Pier, on Good Friday 1916, when Con Keating, Charlie Monaghan and Donal Sheehan were drowned. The driver of the car, Thomas McInerney, managed to swim to safety. ]
Around us there were about 50 in Dualla, headed by Mr. Pierce McCan of Ballyowen, and more in Ballagh under the leadership of Éamon O’Dwyer, who is a small farmer near that village. There were a few in Tipperary town and a few in Clonmel and Fethard, but none in Cashel or Templemore. Four was the number in Thurles, but we knew that only one could be counted on to take up arms. There were about a dozen in Drom and that was the sum total of their strength in Tipperary. They were mostly men who had seceded from the National Volunteers when McNeill and his followers took exception to Mr. Redmond’s tendency towards recruiting.
We got the papers on Monday morning April 24th  and there was an account of the motor car incident as well as something about a ship that had been seized off the Kerry coast, but all these things did not disturb us in the least.
After dinner I was sitting in my room with Dr. Heffernan of the College, when Fr. M.K. Ryan came in and told us that the Sinn Féiners had begun a rebellion in Dublin, that the trains were not running and, as far as he could learn, it was on a large scale. I did not pay much heed to the tale because I knew that the Sinn Féiners had only a comparatively small force in Dublin and that they had practically no following in the remainder of Ireland. Yet I knew that a comparatively small body of men well trained and operating in a city could occupy houses and give a great deal of trouble to a military force sent to dislodge them. On the other hand, England had never as many soldiers at her call as now, and I believed that all the forces of the Crown would be sent to the work of suppressing any rising in Ireland, even though it meant shelling Dublin. We got no papers that night and no trains came from Cork or Dublin.”
National Pilgrim Paths Week in Tipperary – March 22nd to March 29th, 2016
Over the coming Easter 2016 period, thousands of Irish residents and foreign visitors are expected to retrace ancestral heritage as they take to Ireland’s ancient pilgrim paths to celebrate the inaugural National Pilgrim Paths Week. This Easter Festival will see a nationwide series of pilgrim walks taking place on Ireland’s medieval penitential trails. Knowledgeable local guides will lead each event, outline the story of the route and explain how medieval penitents coped with their arduous and often dangerous journeys.
Pictured above, taken at the launch of Pilgrim Paths Week, shows (L – R): John G O’Dwyer (Thurles), Chairman of Pilgrim Paths Ireland; Diarmaid Conden, Knockmealdown Active; Isabel Cambie, Manager South Tipperary Development Company; Mark Rylands, Knockmealdown Active; Beatrice Kelly, Heritage Council and John Egan ( Drom & Inch), Secretary of Pilgrim Paths Ireland.
Speaking at the launch of the new festival, Chairman of Pilgrim Paths Ireland, Mr John G O’Dwyer stated; “National Pilgrim Paths Week was created to raise awareness and use of Ireland’s historic pilgrim routes. The event is targeted, not only at those who enjoy exploring Ireland’s ancient tracks, but also the growing number of people seeking to escape from the daily grind of life and take some time out to reflect and enjoy the outdoors.
The medieval pilgrimage was originally a journey combining prayer and sacrifice – with an element of physical discomfort – by which the pilgrim could become closer to God. In recent times, there has been a renewed interest in following the footsteps of pilgrims past and over the last number of years we in Pilgrim Paths Ireland have worked to develop these routes for the enjoyment of walkers and pilgrims alike.”
Upcoming Events In Tipperary St. Declan’s Way: In Co Tipperary two pilgrim walks are planned for Holy Saturday, March 26th. Knockmealdown Active will retrace the footsteps of St. Declan over the scenic Knockmealdown Mountains on the border of Tipperary and Waterford. St. Declan’s Way is an ancient pilgrimage route linking the 5th century monastery of St. Declan in Ardmore, County Waterford with Cashel in County Tipperary. This event commences from Mount Melleray Abbey at 11:00am. For further information contact Kevin O’Donnell on Mobile (086) 354 1700.
Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop: On Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop the event will commence at 12:30 pm from Kilcommon Community Hall, with registration and a ‘Welcome Lecture’ by Fr. Dan Woods, P.P., (Kilcommon Parish), on the spiritual heritage of the walking route and the surrounding landscape. Further details available here by telephoning (062) 78103.
To find out more about these two events and the nationwide series of walks for National Pilgrim Paths Week, go to website www.pilgrimpath.ie