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Gráinne Ryan Wins ‘Wedding Singer of the Year’ Award

Tipperary female vocalist Ms Grainne Ryan has been named “Wedding Singer of the Year” at an awards ceremony, latter hosted by WeddingsOnline.

Grainne, a native of Templederry, is one half of the duo ‘Grainne & John – Harpist & Wedding Singers.’

Grainne and John are both professionally trained vocalists who joined together some four years ago, bringing their vocal talents to the fore performing at wedding, corporate and social events. Grainne has also been playing the harp professionally for some ten years, while John also plays guitar.

They perform at churches across Munster and further afield and in a wide range of hotel venues including Bunratty Castle, Adare Manor and Kinnitty Castle.

In receiving her prize, same was accepted by Grainne on behalf of both herself and John. In 2016 the singing duo, who were also finalists in WeddingOnline, received a ‘commendation’ from adjudicators.

Contact Details: ‘Grainne & John – Harpist & Wedding Singers.’ Tel: +353 861577293, or Email: info@grainneandjohnsing.com

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Thurles Musical Society – History Brought To Life – The Local Connections

P.R.O. & Vice Chairman of Thurles Musical Society, Mr Noel Dundon, reports:-

Thurles Muscial Society – Just some of the experienced Cast & Crew performing in the musical drama “Michael Collins”, all anxious to meet their audience for the first time on stage tonight, Tuesday 26/3/2019.

Even within the comparatively small community of Thurles Musical Society, the story of Michael Collins; the Treaty; the War of Independence and Eamon de Valera still resonates.

We could hardly have chosen a better year to stage a musical about his life and times given that the centenary of the Sologheadbeg incident, which kick- started the Irish War of Independence, commemorated just a few weeks ago just a few miles from our Cathedral Town.

The spotlight has certainly been cast upon the exigencies of those days, the fallout, the follow-up, the human tragedy and the loss of life, in a civil war which could be described as anything but civil.

The bandaged body of Michael Collins with bloodied army jacket and Crucifix clasped in his fingers, before being prepared for final burial.

Michael Collins was out of the country at the time of the Sologheadbeg, Co. Tipperary incident, however his connections with Dan Breen, Sean Treacy, Seamus Robinson, Sean Hogan and the flying columns remained close. Many Tipperary freedom fighters were assigned duties in the capital when the heat was on back at home. A number took part in the killing of British intelligence agents in Dublin on November 21st 1920. Thirty-two people were killed or fatally wounded on that ‘Bloody Sunday’: thirteen British soldiers and police, sixteen Irish civilians, and three Irish republican prisoners.

The day began with an IRA operation, organised by Collins, to assassinate the ‘Cairo Gang’ – a team of undercover British intelligence agents working and living in Dublin. IRA members went to a number of addresses and killed or fatally wounded fifteen people: nine British Army Officers; a Royal Irish Constabulary Officer; two members of the Auxiliary Division; two civilians; and another man who is believed to have been an intelligence agent.

Later that afternoon, members of the Auxiliary Division, the Black and Tans, and RIC opened fire on the crowd at a Gaelic football match in Croke Park, Dublin, killing or fatally wounding fourteen civilians and wounding at least sixty others. That evening, three Irish republican suspects, latter being held in Dublin Castle were beaten and killed by their captors, who claimed they were trying to escape. Overall Bloody Sunday was considered a victory for the IRA, as the Collins operation severely damaged British intelligence, while the later reprisals did no real harm to the guerrillas; instead increasing support for the IRA both at home and abroad.

‘But, Bloody Sunday has many connections to this locality – not just for the fact that Tipperary were playing Dublin in a football tournament game at the time. Michael Hogan, a Tipperary player, was killed on the field – his name forever remembered these days through ‘The Hogan Stand’ in Croke Park. Also, Jim Ryan and Bill Ryan ‘Laha’ from just out the road in Loughmore / Castleiney were on that Tipperary team and TMS has many connections with the parish of Loughmore Castleiney.

Furthermore, one of the umpires on Bloody Sunday was Thurles man John Joe Callanan, who would go on to captain Tipperary to win the 1930 All-Ireland hurling final (He was the only Tipperary man to win senior All-Ireland’s with two different counties at the time, having won an All-Ireland in 1920 with Dublin. Many of John Joe’s relatives are involved in Thurles Musical Society today, including Mary and Rita Callanan, and Gary Dempsey. John Joe hurled in Dublin with the Faughs club – Harry Boland played full forward for that club and was also chairman of the Dublin County Board from 1911-1916. Throughout this time too, the famous Bob Mockler of Horse and Jockey was a major influence for Faughs in what was their most successful era.

Back to John Joe; the story goes that he held a revolver in his pocket as he umpired the game for the Galway referee Joe Sammon. As people, particularly men of his age at the time, were being searched as they raced from Jones Road in a panic, which followed the shootings, John Joe disposed of the revolver, throwing it over a wall, and therefore getting away to tell the tale.

Further links to Michael Collins and our Society – Thurles man Denis Byrne was one of those who fired the gun salute at his funeral and also flanked the cortège, in uniform, as thousands lined the street to pay their final respects. Denis Byrne, father of legendary Tipperary hurler Mickey ‘Rattler’ Byrne, is great grandfather of John Hayes, who, ironically, plays the part of Harry Boland in our production.

There are many, many more local connections to Michael Collins, De Valera and the events which have framed our history – far too many to get into in this brief account. The happenings have left a real mark on our psyche and even within our on-stage company, it has been very interesting to see the dynamic of Collins people having to play anti-treaty roles and vice versa. As one quipped – “If my father was alive today he’d die of the shame.”

Perhaps though, what this show highlights more than anything else, is the sense of lost opportunity for our country. Had Collins and De Valera gotten back on track and together, where would we be today? It’s a question to which there are so many answers – the answers raising possibly even more and more questions.

History might all be in the past, but each expiring day is shaping our future more and more.

Yes, as Thomas Davis once stated, “Where Tipperary Leads, Ireland follows”.

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Dónal Ó Céilleachair To Visit Cabragh Wetlands

“The Camino Voyage”; a film, described by the Dingle Film Festival as “Enchanting, Inspiring and ultimately very deeply moving”, will be shown in its entirety to an assembled audience at Cabragh Wetlands on Thursday next, March 28th, at 7.30pm.

A large crowd is expected to be in attendance with an opportunity to meet film directer Mr Dónal Ó Céilleachair, latter who will answer questions regarding all aspects of the making of this unhurried, epic and soulful film.

This truly heart warming, spirited documentary film tells the true story of a Writer, two Musicians, an Artist and a Stonemason, who embark on an inspiring, yet dangerous 2,500 km (some 1554 miles), journeying by sea, in a traditional boat (a currach / naomhóg) that they built themselves; rowing all the way from Ireland to Northern Spain.

Four men; poet Danny Sheehy, artist Liam Holden, musician Brendan Begley and stonemason Breandán Moriarty, set out on this journey, in three yearly stages, beginning in 2014. Musician and Academy Award winner Glen Hansard replaced Breandán Moriarty on the final leg, introducing new acquaintances to Irish song and merriment.

The very real dangers that attend such voyages were confirmed when last year, poet Danny Sheehy died when the currach / naomhóg capsized off the coast of Portugal; the film now remaining as his memorial.

Released to selected Cinemas across Ireland for just 9 weeks, this film has won numerous awards; including two “Audience Awards” from the Dingle International Film Festival and the Luxembourg British & Irish Film Season, and two “Documentary Awards” from Irish Screen America Film Festival NYC and An tOireachtas Media Awards, 2018.

Thurles resident Mr Michael Walsh [Latter who undertook the same journey on foot in 2013] and his son Ben, are both acquainted with the boats crew members and the film makers, and both confirm that this event is a major coup for Cabragh Wetlands. They are encouraging as many people as possible to attend on Thursday night. Note: A suggested contribution for this major event is just €5, with full proceeds donated, going directly to the Cabragh Wetland Development Trust.

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Thurles Teenager Wows ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’ Judges

Fourteen-year-old Thurles teenager, Miss Iveta Tumasonyte not surprisingly wowed not only her audience, but more importantly the judges last night, with her rendition of Lady Gaga’s ‘I’ll Never Love Again’, from the 2018 American musical romantic film drama “A Star Is Born”, latter produced and directed by Bradley Cooper.

A truly surprised and visibly shocked Miss Tumasonyte will now go straight into the live shows having been, most deservedly, awarded a “Golden Buzzer”, by American TV personality on ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’, judge Ms Michelle Visage.

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Thurles Musical Society To Stage “Michael Collins”.

Keith O’Dwyer-Greene (Michael Collins), Marie Therese Kirby (Kitty Kiernan) and John Hayes (Harry Boland) – three of the leads in the show which has been described as “The Irish Les Mis”

PRO & Vice Chairman for Thurles Musical Society, Mr Noel Dundon, reports:-

Award winning Thurles Musical Society is delighted to be staging the Musical Drama “Michael Collins”, by arrangement with the Michael Collins Production Trust.

The show will run in The Premier Hall, Thurles from Tuesday March 26th through to Saturday March 30th inclusive, with the curtain rising each night at 8:00pm.

This truly fantastic show; described by Director Oliver Hurley as “the Irish Les Mis”, was penned by the late Bryan Flynn with musical arrangements and orchestration by David Wray, and additional vocal arrangements and original musical direction by David Hayes.

It has already been staged to great acclaim this season by Coolmine Musical Society and Oyster Lane Musical Society, and Thurles will now seek to follow in their footsteps and bring this magnificent piece of theatre to a highly expectant audiences.

Thurles and Tipperary, of course, has many connections with the real life Michael Collins and the War of Independence. Indeed, Sologheadbeg in south west Tipperary is generally accepted to have been the location for the firing the first shots of the War of Independence one centenary ago this year, and though Collins was in the United Kingdom, breaking Eamon de Valera out of jail at that time, he was to include the likes of Dan Breen, Sean Treacy and Sean Hogan as members in his hit teams; latter known as flying columns, around the country later.

Loyalties Run Deep Across Political Divides

No matter where this show is staged, there will be many local angles to it. Indeed, within the cast of Thurles Musical Society there are many links to the Michael Collins story and loyalties run deep across both sides of the political divide with currently tremendous banter and commentary within the company as pro-Collins people end up in the anti-camp, and vice-versa as a result of the bass, tenor, alto, soprano divide. Surely Bryan Flynn never anticipated such a scenario as he consigned his thoughts to paper when writing this show. Or, maybe he did?

Front Line Cast

In any event Thurles Musical Society members are really enjoying their project and with a top-class front line, which includes Keith O’Dwyer Greene as Michael Collins, Cathal O’Donoghue as Eamon de Valera, Marie Therese Kirby as Kitty Kiernan, John Hayes as Harry Boland, Peter Donnelly as Joe Emmet, Frank Tuohy, Damian Sweeney, Nina Scott and Linda Ryan as the Abbey Theatre Players, Deirdre Hayes as Mother Ireland, and Jonathan Gleeson as Cathal Brugha, not to mention many more household names playing other roles; the audience is really in for a treat.

Mary Rose McNally is at the helm as Musical Director/ Conductor while Michelle O’Connell, Tommy Sweeney, Rita Dempsey and of course Oliver Hurley complete the production team.

This musical has attracted a company of more than fifty for Thurles, and the committee and those on stage are looking forward to welcoming all those who wish to come along to enjoy what is promised to be a top class production.

Booking Office

The Ticket Booking Office is now open for this major Thurles production at Bookworm, Liberty Square, (On the junction of Liberty Square and Parnell Street in the town). Tickets can also be booked on the Thurles Society Telephone at 085 2868726.

If you do only one thing this year to cast you mind back to the time of Collins and the War of Independence, attend this show. Expect to experience a truly theatrical tour-de-force.

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