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Upcoming Lecture On Holycross Abbey Thurles Tipperary

Borrisoleigh Historical Society will continue their successful series of historic lectures in the Community Hall Borrisoleigh, on Wednesday night next, April 30th, at 8.00pm sharp.

The title of this months lecture is “Holycross Abbey & the Medieval Treasures of Holycross,” and same will be delivered by historian and retired school principal Mr. Tom Gallagher, Ballycahill, Thurles. Refreshments as usual will be served.

Holycross Abbey, as most people are aware, is a beautifully restored medieval monastery on the banks of the River Suir here in central Tipperary and since its restoration has now returned to its original roll as a parish church.

Visitors to Holycross Abbey today experience rich history, heritage, folklore and legend, as well as breathtaking art and architecture. A Relic of the Cross has attracted millions of pilgrims from far and wide, since its foundation in 1182 AD.  In the Abbey Cistercian art can be observed in the form of the rare ‘Sedilia’ and ‘Waking Bier’ found here, carved in stone. The old bell, called Michael, hangs in the tower and is reputedly the oldest church bell in Ireland, originally cast some 800 years ago. The beautiful outdoor Stations of the Cross are the work of Enrico Manfrini, who also designed His Holiness Pope Francis’ ring.

Here also can be observed the widest range of window patterns and tracery of any medieval building and today boasts the only surviving medieval chapter house doorway in Ireland.

Then of course there is the “Whispering Arch” – but enough from me, instead do drop in on Tom Gallagher’s lecture and prepare to be fascinated by his extensive and detailed knowledge of this great Irish treasure that is, after all, Holycross Abbey, Co Tipperary.

Cloughjordan Co Tipperary Honours Thomas MacDonagh

Lament for Thomas MacDonagh – by Francis Ledwidge

“He shall not hear the bittern cry in the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds above the wailing of the rain.
Nor shall he know when loud March blows thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
Blowing to flame the golden cup of many an upset daffodil.
But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor and pastures poor with greedy weeds,
Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn, lifting her horn in pleasant meads.”

This coming May Bank Holiday Weekend (2nd – 5th May 2014) the town of Cloughjordan [ Map Ref ] here in Co Tipperary invite you to the home of the late great Poet, Writer, Gaelgóir, Dramatist, Patriot and Signatory of the Irish Proclamation, Thomas MacDonagh, (Irish: Tomás Mac Donnchadha; 1st Feb 1878 – 3rd May 1916).

macdonagh

Weekend Programme of Events

(Please do ‘Right Click’ on picture here [Left] to ‘View Image’ of Weekend Programme of events in greater magnification.)

Thomas MacDonagh was born here in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, one of eight children born to parents Joseph MacDonagh, latter a schoolteacher and Mary-Louise neé Parker. It was in this environment that he developed a love of music, poetry and education together with a passion for both English and Irish culture.  He went on to attend Rockwell College near Cashel at the age of fourteen, where he initially aspired to become a priest or brother, spending several years studying, before realising that this life was no longer for him personally. Soon after, while residing in Co Kilkenny, saw the publication of his first book of poems; “Through the Ivory Gate,” (1902), followed one year later by “April and May,” (1903) and “The Golden Joy,” (1904).

MacDonagh’s lament by Francis Ledwidge, shown above, is a metaphor where “the wailing of the rain” represents the obvious grief associated with MacDonagh’s death. The words “when loud March blows thro’ slanting snows represents the poet’s hope that perhaps out of this historic grief may come something better thus conjuring up vivid images of weather, wild daffodils, both the appearance and sensation that is the present Cloughjordan countryside and which visitors will experience, for themselves, this coming weekend. In Ledwidge’s mind “the Dark Cow leaves the moor,” is a metaphor for Ireland as a nation, in the expectation that things will improve eventually for his beloved country and perhaps MacDonagh’s own execution will become acknowledged as not being totally in vain.

This subject I feel sure will be discussed in even greater debate here in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, this May weekend, so teachers do encourage you students to attend.

Cloughjordan May Weekend Programme

The weekend long programme features talks on various aspects of the historic events that shaped our nation. Events extend out into the surrounding countryside, which was a source of inspiration for many of MacDonagh’s poems; a guided walk through Knocknacree Wood, a field trip to sites of heritage interest (Modreeny Medieval Settlement) and numerous exhibitions. Come along and enjoy music and song agus beidh fáilte roimh cách ag an Oíche Ghaelach. ( Latter translation from Irish: and everyone is welcome at the Irish Night.” )

The talks, a painting workshop, exhibitions and evenings of song and story will take place in the Thomas MacDonagh Heritage Centre, Lower Main Street, Cloughjordan and other venues in the town. In this year of commemorations Thomas MacDonagh, World War I and Cumann na mBan (Irish: Women’s Association) receive special attention. The programme invites people of all ages to reflect on our past, which is manifest in the rich heritage of this area.

Volume VIII in the Cloughjordan Heritage series will be launched on Friday at 8;00 pm. The Thomas MacDonagh Summer School begins at 11.00 am on Saturday. On Sunday Prof. Peadar Kirby presents a talk on MacDonagh and later Dr. Mary McCauliffe will speak on Cumann na mBan. Enjoy a family friendly afternoon with Heritage Games and the MacDonagh Pipe Band from Templemore. The programme concludes on Monday with a guided walk in Knocknacree Wood, a CineClub presentation of “War Horse” (based on WWI) agus Oíche Ghaelach le ceol agus caidreamh. ( Latter translation from Irish:and Irish Night music and relationships.” )

This area in North Tipperary, “in calm of middle country” (T. MacDonagh’s own words) is rich in heritage and natural environment. Cloughjordan is now home to the International Award Winning Sustainable Community and visitors are welcome to come on a guided tour of the Eco Village on Sunday at 3.00 pm. Stay in the Eco Hostel and in local B&B accommodation. Enjoy the evenings in a friendly festival atmosphere.

Bí linn ag comóradh Tomás Mhac Donnachadha ina bhaile dhúchais. ( Latter translation from Irish: Join us in commemorating Thomas MacDonagh in his home town.” )

Further information on “Cloughjordan Honours Thomas MacDonagh,” can be found by clicking Here and Here.

South Tipperary Development To Launch Derrynaflan Trail

Untitled-1The new ‘Derrynaflan Trail’ tourism project is all set to be launched; hosted in the Horse & Jockey Hotel, Thurles, at 10:00am on Friday April 25th next. Launch is by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Mr Jimmy Deenihan and note all are welcome to attend.

This project is being spearheaded by three Tipperary community organisations, namely;  Littleton Development Association, Holycross Community Network and Slieveardagh Rural Development. The project has the support and guidence of South Tipperary Development Company under the Rural Development Programme and these groups jointly have now completed the first phase in this exciting trail development.

A Fifty Eight Minute Audio Guide together with a thirty six page booklet has now been produced, together with a brochure highlighting the rich ecclesiastical heritage of this previously hidden part of middle Tipperary. These three community groups are continuing to develop guided tours of the sites with Holycross Community Network already providing tours of Holycross Abbey and it is now planned to put regular tours of other sites in place. Interpretive signage at each site is now their longer term objective. The overall aim of this project is to now provide a much needed economic boost to rural Tipperary, through increasing overall visitor numbers from both home and abroad.

The ‘Derrynaflan Trail’ will connect ancient ecclesiastical sites from the Slieveardagh Hills, across through Littleton Bog, to the banks of the River Suir.  Holycross Abbey, Kilcooley’s Cistercian Abbey, Liathmore’s two churches and of course Derrynaflan Island itself, are numbered amongst the places of significance along this most ancient of routes. This trail will span fifteen centuries of Irish history since early Christian times. Along the way travellers will encounter the rich local folklore concerning rebel priests, saintly miracles, a Viking battle, Cromwellian invaders and indeed much, much more.

All these wonderful sites are free of charge, though donations are appreciated when visiting at Holycross Abbey, latter which provide excellent professional tour guides.

“The Casket Girls” Celebrate 227 Years In Thurles

“Be bound to one another by the bond of love, respecting, helping, bearing with each other in Jesus Christ.”
(St. Angela Merici, Foundress of the Ursuline Religious Order)

The Ursuline Religious Order (Ursulines of the Roman Union) were and remain a Roman Catholic religious institute for women, founded at Brescia, Italy, by Saint Angela de Merici in November 1535. Their aim was primarily dedicated to the education of girls, while also caring for the sick and needy and bringing about a Christianising influence in existing homes and in the homes which those they came into contact with, would subsequently establish.

From Italy through Europe, this religious order began to expand, eventually spreading to Canada by 1639 and to the New Orleans French Quarter by 1727. (Latter quarter founded on May 7th, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company). Here they became affectionately known as the “Filles du’ Casket,” (Tranlation: “Casket Girls.”) because of the wooden cases which they hauled enthusiastically around, containing their meagre possessions, while in transit from Rouen in northern France to this new colony in the Americas.

Faith and education have been the very cornerstones of Ursuline philosophy since their humble beginnings and those two pillar virtues are as evident today, as they first were when the Order was first established here in Thurles. Former students from the Ursuline Convent in Thurles, today, populate the globe and their achievements in life as academics, as business people, as sporting icons, as musicians and performers, as parents, as wives, as partners and as Sisters, are as many as to quote 1 Kings 4:20 from the Bible; “as numerous as the sand on the seashore.”

The Ursuline Order first arrived in Thurles back in 1787, sixteen years after they were established in Cork. On that date 227 years ago Anastasia Tobin came back to her native Thurles having been professed as Sr. Clare Ursula in the Ursuline Convent, Cork. She took up residence in a little crude thatched cottage on the site of the present convent. Assisted by her sister Mary, she got the required permission from the Protestant Vicar General of the diocese to begin a school, thus establishing the first Catholic School in the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly.

Since then, through changing history, their work of education has continued and expanded. Efforts to be faithful to what is best in their tradition have not prevented them from moving forward as required by a constantly challenging environment.

The aims of the Ursuline Order here in Thurles, over these 227 years, still remain constant as they continue to develop primary and second level students to gain their full potential both academically, physically, socially, and spiritually.

Thurles History Decays In Favour of ‘Dubline’

“Glory looking day, glory day, glory looking day,
And all its glory, told a simple way, behold it if you may.”
Lyrics Neil Diamond (Album: Jonathan Livingston Seagull.)

Rural Ireland and in particular Co Tipperary continues to be seen as the ‘Poor Relation,’ or ‘The Lower Order,’ and unworthy of  Dublin’s well healed bourgeoisie when it comes to Fáilte Ireland and the fair distribution of taxpayer public funding.

We learn in recent weeks that well over half a million Euro (€620,000 to be precise) is to be spent on developing a number of tourist attractions in our capital city, latter aimed at our discerning International visitors who are only encouraged to stand at the gateway to Ireland. These funded projects are to be part of “Dubline,” a proposed heritage trail which will run across Dublin from East to West along a route roughly selected from College Green to Kilmainham. Proposed tourism projects here in Thurles will once again go unrewarded, not for the first time, with not one single cent of our nations central funding being spent for future tourism promotion.

Amongst these five funded Dublin restoration projects is the repair of a bell, at a cost of almost €18,000, supposedly the first Catholic bell to ring in Dublin in nearly 300 years, breaching the then existing penal laws of the 16th and 17th centuries (same laws were largely ignored in the 18th century) while also providing secure exhibition space for a few miserable artefacts found on the Smock Alley site, latter which will now move from where they are currently housed in the National Museum.

(Note: Despite a meeting in January last, to present date and some nine weeks later, Thurles cannot yet get clarification on the possibility of returning the Derrynaflan Hoard back to its native county, same being required on loan for just two months, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its finding.)

Here in Thurles, during the years 1804-1862, Archbishop Thomas Bray and later Archbishop Patrick Leahy had no problem ringing the bell at the Big Chapel here in Thurles. The cracked bell at the Smock Alley Theatre, latter which only reopened in 2012, was built originally as a Theatre Royal and now in 2014 lends itself to the myth that Daniel O’Connell rang it to celebrate Catholic Emancipation in 1829. Natives here in Co Tipperary are being now asked to augment this ‘Freedom Bell’ myth, which will be acclaimed as the Dublin equivalent of America’s also cracked ‘Liberty Bell,’ latter that iconic symbol of American Independence, and in the case of the former, therefore worthy of €18,000 of Irish public funding just to remove a few splatters of pigeon poop with a power washer.

Continue reading Thurles History Decays In Favour of ‘Dubline’