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Monks Carol Singers Helping Local Charities Again This Xmas

“Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.  –  St Matthew 25:40.

Reporter Tom Ryan.
For over two decades the multi-talented and festive, jolly Carol Singers from “The Monks” licensed hostelry here in Mitchel Street, Thurles, have been in harmony to generate the true spirit of Christmas here in Thurles town. They are familiar easy to be identified figures usually to be found located in various areas around Liberty Square at this time of year, as they entertain the local populace with perennial Christmas favourites.

This year will be no exception according to singer and guitarist Mr Peter Lanigan a member of the Monks troupe, who stated that the response by the public has always been most heartening.

The group were on duty over last weekend and will be on duty again on Thursday Dec 21st from 5.00pm until 7.30pm in Liberty Square and will be featuring that acknowledged classic Christmas favourite by ‘The Pogues’ (Tipperary’s Shane McGowan) and featuring Kirsty McColl, “Fairy Tale of New York” (written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan), regarded as the most poetic and tragic tale of shattered dreams and love gone sour, around Xmas time.

Helping local charities again this year.
“Every solitary penny goes to charity”, confirmed Mr Peter Lanigan, “with the troupe having contributed some €60,000 to good causes, locally, over the years, e.g. St.Vincent De Paul, Meals On Wheels, Thurles Mental Health Group, Thurles Day Care Centre, Thurles Community Hospital of the Assumption, Suir Haven, Anusha and ThurlesCare.  Now, for our group of volunteers that’s the true meaning of Christmas”.

The ‘Monk’s troupe have their very own rendering involving a very full repertoire, including; “Blue Christmas”, “Silent Night”, “The First Noel”, “Deck The Halls With Boughs of Holly”, “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree”, “Go tell It On The Mountain”, “White Christmas”, “Jingle Bells”, and “Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer”, but to name just a few.

Mr Peter Lanigan, (Moyne Road, Thurles) latter a leading member of the “Monks Carol Singers” and a regular vocalist at the weekly Monks traditional music nights; held each Wednesday evening, wishes to thank the kind folks who support their singing troupe annually, and in particular he wishes to thank Mr Declan O’Sullivan (Star Systems) for supplying amplification over the years.

“Gifted harmonica player, Mr Vic Heywood, who like carol singer Brian Keady, has worked in Lisheen Mines, has kindly prepared the books of carols for the singing troupe, who are always welcoming new members”, stated Peter.  “Vic did a lovely job on the books which this year has very much a Christmas aspect about them, thus enhancing the happy and colourful mood of this season of peace and joy”, continued Peter, latter himself renowned for his vocals, when singing poet Patrick Kavanagh’s “Raglan Road” and many other popular Irish ballads.

Traditional music, at the Monks, has been played for well over 25 years each Wednesday night and many great musicians and singers, have graced these nights regularly over the years. Eoghan O’Neill from the Rosegreen, Cashel area and who played with “Moving Hearts”, together with “Celtic Women” and is featured on Mick Hanly’s CD, “Homeland”, is certainly no stranger to the “Monks” on his nights off here in Ireland. So also, former Irish Republic striker Niall Quinn, a visitor the Monks and his sister, Annemarie (Dwyer) who performs annually with the Monks Carol Singers.

The Monks from HiddenTipperary on Vimeo.

Of course, it is all thanks to Michael O’Gorman (affectionately himself known as “The Monk Gorman”) and his family who embraced the music on his return from Dublin, to take over the running of his family’s public house, ‘O’Gormans of Mitchel Street’, Thurles.  Michael’s hospitality to all local and visiting musicians is hailed as unique in many ways, and for this he is to be congratulated, as it sets an image of our town for the many visitors from all over the world who visit Thurles and who enjoy the Wednesday night session, including them as an integral part of their visit.

Ciaran Hanrahan recorded his first “Ceili House”, ably assisted by Pat Costello, from the Monks and Ciaran still uses parts of the recorded script from that night in some of his present day Ceili House recordings.

In the past: to raise money for the Guardian Angel School, Thurles; a tape was recorded ‘Live at The Monks’ and then, was following with a recorded CD, “Ag Cuardaiocht ag an Monks”.

Then there was the night with the “D’Unbelieveables” (Comedians Pat Shortt and Jon Kenny), with one of the proudest people there on that night, the long serving Wednesday night musician, Pat’s Shortt’s dad, Christy.  This event was recorded in conjunction with a programme being compiled for television about Pat and Jon’s native towns and their association with the goings on locally. People came from far and wide to enjoy the craic on the night.

When the last County Fleadh Cheoil was held in Thurles, the Monks hosted many singers and musicians from around Tipperary and beyond.  These included Joe Barry; a piper from Templemore John Ryan; Willie Fogarty Nenagh; Nora Butler Nenagh, latter famous for her ballad singing; Dan Larkin of Garrykennedy, himself famous for his fiddle playing and in whose pub, many a great session was held. Also, not to be forgotten were Michael Harty from Cahir and formerly Ballyvoneen, Thurles; and legendary Eileen O’Brien –Minogue.

Great musicians who frequented the Monks also included Phil Murray from Upperchurch, whose accordion-playing is legendary; Teresa Bourke, whose summer schools in music are very popular; Teresa Larkin on accordion, latter who has made many recordings and of course let us not forget the many who play every Wednesday night to the delight of tourists and locals, e.g. the talented Paul Byrne, Dixie Byrne, Sean Byrne, Tony Power, Timmy Lyons, Paddy Gleeson, Toss Hayes, Johnny McCarthy, Peter Lanigan, together with Michael O’Gorman’s talented teenage daughter, to name but a few.

So, if you do see the Monks Carol Singers performing around Liberty Square next Thursday, halt awhile before sparing a thought for those worse off in our community, and please drop your spare change into their collection buckets. Even a little can mean a lot to some people at Christmas time.


Phoenix Productions Annual Coffee Morning

“Music is one of the most powerful things the world has to offer.
No matter what race or religion or nationality or sexual orientation or gender that you are, it has the power to unite us.”     

(Latter quote attributed to Lady Gaga)

“What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play,
Life is a cabaret, old chum, Come to the cabaret.”
(From the musical “Cabaret”, with Music by John Kander, and Lyrics by Fred Ebb.

M/s Miriam Callanan [Denis Kinane Motors (Honda Centre)] Reports:-

For many years here in Thurles, the youth musical theatre group, known as ‘Phoenix Productions’ have been bringing to the stage, annually, performances par excellence.

As the years have progressed, many of these young performers have continued on in their great love of theatre and are regularly invited to join other well known musical theatre groups and societies around this country and abroad, because of their undoubted talent and knowledge based stage craft.

To ensure and encourage that such talent is continued on into the future here in Thurles, Phoenix Productions will hold a fund raising coffee morning in The Source Library on Saturday next December 16th 2017, from 9.20am12.30pm.

So do take a break from your busy Christmas shopping and pop into Thurles Library for a relaxing cup of coffee, a piece of delicious home-made cake.   All support as usual will be greatly appreciated.


Horse & Jockey Concerts Support Suir Haven Cancer Centre

Above photo shows a cheque being presented to Suir Haven Cancer Support Centre; the proceeds from two Variety Concerts performed by the renowned Horse and Jockey Singers.
Featured (L to R) are: Anna Ryan, Clare Bohan, Marie McGrath, (All 3 ladies representing Suir Haven), with Liam Ó Donnchú, Connie O’Keeffe and Tom Ryan, (Latter 3 representing the Horse and Jockey Singers).

The Horse and Jockey Singers recently hosted two packed performances; part of their highly successful series of Christmas Variety Concerts, the proceeds of which were donated in support of Suir Haven Cancer Support Centre, situated on Clongour Road, here in Thurles.  Both enjoyable events were staged in the Horse and Jockey Hotel Theatre, Horse and Jockey, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Suir Haven  Cancer Support Centre in Thurles is a community based centre, where everyone is welcome; whether one is living with cancer or simply modified by it, through affected family members, their carers, their children or friends.

All of the cancer support services delivered by the Centre are provided free of charge.


Nathaniel Cabanero & Wife Judie Win Tipp Int. Song of Peace Contest

Mr Nathaniel Cabanero and his wife Judie Alegarme were the winners of the ‘Tipperary International Song of Peace Contest‘, held at Tipperary Excel theatre in Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary.

Best Irish Entry in the contest went to M/s Katie Gallagher from Ballymahon, Co. Longford for her entry titled ‘Borders’. Her prize was the Mick Tuohy Memorial Cup which was presented by Mr John Halligan, latter a grandson of the late Mr Mick Tuohy.

Currently residing in Co. Donegal, but originally from the Philippines; the overall winning couple received 38 marks out of a possible 40, from the panel of adjudicators. With lyrics composed by Nathaniel, based on his thoughts regarding human rights and titled ‘Only When’, the song was performed with beautiful vocals by his wife, Judie.

The deserving winners received a prize fund of €1,500, together with a crystal glass trophy; with same being presented by Mr Martin and Mr Joseph Quinn, both representing the Tipperary Peace Convention.

With 10 finalists, in all, taking part; the event also featured a guest appearance from the 2014 Song of Peace winner, Mr Kenny Grant.


Lest We Forget – Who Was Born 77 Years Ago Today?

He was born 77 years ago today, November 17th, 1940, into a Dublin city working-class household, living at No. 1. Lattimore Cottages, Sheriff Street, the son of a of Jacob’s Biscuit Factory employee.

In his late teens, in 1958, he would move to England, undertaking various manual jobs including; steel fixing on a building site, a vacuum cleaner salesman and an oil barrel cleaner.

But it was as a musician and singer that he was to attract world wide attention. Playing in the style of Pete Seeger and Tommy Makem, he undeniably became one of Ireland’s greatest folk singers. Yes, we speak of the Irish singer, folk musician and actor, Luke Kelly, who alas passed away on January 30th 1984, having been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

His final resting place is to be found in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, with his grave marker bearing the simply inscription: Luke Kelly – Dubliner.

The Unquiet Grave

The wind doth blow today my love, a few small drops of rain.
Never have I had but one true love, in cold clay she is lain.
I’ll do as much for my true love, as any young man may.
I’ll sit and mourn all on her grave, a twelve month and a day.

The twelve month and the day being gone, a voice spoke from the deep.
Who is it sits all on my grave and will not let me sleep?
‘Tis I ’tis I, thine own true love who sits upon your grave,
For I crave one kiss from your sweet lips and that is all I seek.

You crave one kiss from my clay cold lips but my breath is earthy strong,
Had you one kiss from my clay cold lips, your time would not be long.
My time be long, my time be short, tomorrow or today,
May God in heaven have all my soul, but I’ll kiss your lips of clay.

See down in yonder garden green Love, where we used to walk.
The sweetest flower that ever grew is withered to the stalk.
The stalk is withered dry my love, so will our hearts decay,
So make yourself content my love, till death calls you away.