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November 2015
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Thurles Rare Famine Relief Book 1847 On Public Display

The recently discovered ‘Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,’ (or the ‘Distribution Book,’ as it was also called,) for the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill in 1847, has now been digitized, allowing an instant search facility for those anxious to trace their family roots.

The rare book, found in private collection, is now on public display at St. Mary’s Famine Museum here in Thurles and will be available to be viewed by all those attending the forthcoming Thurles Sarsfields International Festival Of Gaelic Sport (July 4th – 12th 2014).

This book contains the names of those who were classed as paupers in the hinterland / towns-lands of these aforementioned areas, during that most harrowing period of the Great Irish Famine, referred to as ‘Black ’47’.

This extremely rare ‘Rations Record Book,’ contains the names of the heads of each household and in many cases the names of all the adults in each household. It also contains the number of rations each householder was allowed. Details of how, where and when it was located will be discussed here on Thurles.Info later this month.

Just over 3 million Irish people were being supported by outdoor relief in July 1847. To those it supported, covering the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill while providing records of the food rations distributed in the period May – Sept. `47 and part of `48, it was a very humiliating and an insufficient system. Nevertheless it did keep starvation at bay for a very sizeable portion of Tipperary people at that crucial time in Black ’47.

Meanwhile four other ancient manuscripts, one found close to Thurles here in Co Tipperary are to undergo special preservation work and to be digitized and put on show beside the Book of Kells, in Trinity College, Dublin.

These priceless manuscripts, going back to the fifth and eighth century, will include the eighth century “Book of Dimma,”  possibly written originally at St. Crónán‘s Monastery, Roscrea, Co Tipperary.

In 1789, the Book of Dimma was supposedly discovered in a small cave on “The Devils Bit” near Thurles. The little known Book of Dimma, was preserved by Thady O’Carroll, Prince of Ely, and later during possibly the mid-twelfth century was encased in a rich gilt case. The book is a copy of the four Gospels written in Old Latin and is representative of Irish ‘Pocket Gospel’ manuscripts.

The book, which had a blessing dedicated to the sick and dying added in the 10th or 11th century, can be viewed in Trinity College, Dublin, together with many other articles of Ireland’s rich historical treasures found in Tipperary, now bringing prosperity to our capital city’s economy at the expense of Tipperary and indeed mid rural Ireland.

M/s Susie Bioletti, head of conservation at Trinity, said that this funding for the project, obtained from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is the most generous grant the library has secured for works on early Irish manuscripts and will enable scholarship and public engagement with the manuscripts, sharing these national treasures with our Irish and visitors from abroad.

The funding obtained by Trinity College is part of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s global art conservation project which has awarded grants to museums in 26 other countries for 71 conservation projects since 2010.

Admission to St Mary’s Famine Museum, Thurles, to view this rare ‘Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,’ costs just €2.00.

Tipp Mid West Radio 104.8 Visits Thurles

S KingPopular local radio presenter Mr Seamus King, broadcasting on Tipperary Mid West Community Radio, is out and about around Tipperary over the coming weeks visiting the various tourist attractions to be found here in our native Premier County.

Tipperary Mid West Community Radio, as everyone will be aware, aims to inform, educate and entertain, through providing a service dedicated to celebrating local music, sports, culture and that rich heritage contained in our ever diverse and picturesque local communities.

Seamus will be broadcasting from St Mary’s Famine & War Museum here in Thurles, just after 11.00am tomorrow morning, (Friday June 13th 2014) in the first of what we hope will be many  Friday half-hour broadcasts over the coming months which will be featured and highlighted live on air.

So do turn your radio dials to 104.8 FM106.7 FM, beginning tomorrow morning, just after 11.00am to listen to radio’s “The Voice of Tipperary” and over the coming weeks be prepared to learn from Seamus King that there is, and I quote; “a hell of a lot more to be found in our historic haven of Co Tipperary, than that which just simply meets the eye.”

Of course if your radio is out of reach you can always catch this broadcast simply by ‘Live Streaming’ same on your computer at http://www.tippmidwestradio.com/radioplayer/listenlive.html

History Lecture In Borrisoleigh Community Centre

borrisoleighMr. Paddy Gleeson, acting tour guide with Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, will present a lecture entitled “Glasnevin Cemetery, Ireland’s Necropolis,” in the Community Centre, behind the Church in Borrisoleigh, tomorrow night (Wednesday 28th May) at 8.00 pm sharp.

Expect an informative historic lecture based in particular on famous political funerals from Daniel O’Connell (6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847) often referred to as ‘The Liberator’ or ‘The Emancipator,’ to the great Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins (16 October 1890 – 22 August 1922), latter Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA and member of the Irish delegation sent to England to parley during Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

This event promises to be extremely informative and all are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

Note: Borrisoleigh Historical Society in conjunction with Sr. Aine Historical Society will travel to Glasnevin Cemetery on June 14th and note a few seats are still available on the bus for those who would like to take advantage of what promises to be a marvellous and informative history outing.

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).


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.