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Mostly cloudy
real feel: 11°C
wind speed: 5 m/s SW
sunrise: 5:06 am
sunset: 9:57 pm


Autumn In Thurles

Autumn In Thurles

By Thurles Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

How lovely sweet autumn everywhere
In the beet leaved acres,
Under the yellow-leaved light,
Of the wistful October sun,
Engolding now the time.
Enriching the red and black and berried colours
By coloured roadside hedges all around.

The mellow mist is on the mountains,
The shadows fall fast on the declining day,
And life’s declining years.
The red and brown and golden leaves,
Kissed by the yellowing sun,
Adorn the roads and pathways of our lives,
A carpet for the guest of winter
To tread upon anon.
Now we wonder, in the Autumn-witching hour
Whom would we wish to be with us.

Shouting children down the Mall
Chase secret shadows of their dreams.
In the night, lit by the yellow hue
Of street lights in river reflected,
The perennial ghosts of Halloween
Whisper a magic in their ears,
Cast spells for a lifetime long.

Oh, who would we require to be with us,
As we gambol down the riverside path again,
Fists raised at the laughing moon
And the mocking mysterious shadows
Of all the days of youth.
Now we wonder in the Autumn witching hour
Who would we wish to follow
By secret paths under the stars
Of childhood long ago.


Tom Ryan, “Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles, Co. Tipperary


Summer Evening At Holycross Bridge

HolyCross Abbey, Thurles, Co Tipperary  on Vimeo  [Courtesy G. Willoughby.]

Summer Evening At Holycross Bridge

© Author & Poet Tom Ryan.

The Abbey of the Cross stands sentinel
In the evening summer stillness,
Dumb, splendid witness to a thousand years of time
To such as now in the ease of a May-bush summer.
The cuckoo calling,
Take time lightly
In the midst of summer scents and cherry blossom pink,
As the waters surge by the old stone bridge to the sea.
Laughing summer children tease the fish and wish,
And old men through a purple haze from pipe tobacco
Dream and dream
Of summers close to heaven.
From a quiet place beyond the weir
The river softly sings tranquillity
With its centuries old hymns to creation,
And languid by the old mill wheel – silent and still
Young lovers lose their hearts
To the spell of the evening.
The swallows of the mid summer early
Chatter circle in symphonic joy.
In the sweet, balmy air by the bridge
A girl in a long, wine summer dress,
Whispers to the waters
Words magical.
Fishermen toast their catch
And old ones in the riverbank hostelry,
In the twilight lit by yellow lanterns,
Speak of hurling, horses, hounds and fickle fortune.
On the upland past the walnut grove of the priests,
Engoldened by the evening sun,
Dumb cattle in the lush, green grass lie,
Eyes lost to a far horizon.
White washed cottages of thatch,
By lime and blossom now half hid,
Give out the light of welcome,
And a couple in a boat in a secret cove
Quietly steal the moment.
Enthralled, I bask
In a quiet warm intimacy with all,
For, as in the loveliness
Of a distant summer youth,
I am so happy here.


[Tom Ryan,”Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.]


A Case Of Vanishing Thurles Street Furniture

Before we discuss what Street Furniture has mysteriously vanished, let us discuss for a moment what, today at least, currently exists.

We pass them every day giving them little recognition; but very soon the Irish Post Box is likely to become obsolete. Indeed, were it not for that essential correspondence each November with Father Christmas and our insistence on sending other miscellaneous thingamajigs, such as invitations, Christmas cards; this service would have vanished altogether.

Walled Post boxes and Post Pillar Boxes, where they currently exist in Thurles today, remain the once symbol of a more autonomous order, which demanded at all levels, high standards. With education being encouraged during Victorian times, communication, through the writing of letters was being identified as essential. Children were being encouraged to attend schools, except of course during peak harvest times, when family run farms saw crop saving as taking precedence; deemed more necessary to the needs of family preservation, than education.

Browse in any well stocked Irish tourist shop, which sells greeting cards, and you will most likely find a postcard featuring a green post box. Check same on any real street-scape scene today however, and you will find such collection boxes in an extremely neglected state, many gagged with “Out Of Service” signs, (See picture one above). The changeover, by modern society, to mobile phone text messaging and emailing have seen the news filled, multiple page, hand written, letter to the family, become almost as extinct as the white Rhino.

Irish Post boxes erected before 1922 usually carry the insignia, or cipher, of the reigning British monarch, dating the time of is initial placement. The vast majority of such postal collecting boxes arrived here in Thurles during the reign of Edward VII, (1901 until his death in 1910).

The oldest free-standing cast-iron pillar box in use in Thurles, (c. 1879), today sits on the south side of Friar Street, placed there during the reign of Queen Victoria (1819 -1901). Same is identified by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as being an interesting example of good quality street furniture, with high-quality design and execution.

Óige Sinn Féin opposed to British symbols on post boxes in Northern Ireland believing that they could fight oppression and bring about a united Ireland by painting the red post boxes in a Republican green. Behaving rather like Islamic State (ISIS) followers in Syria and then in Iraq, they also, in a much more minor way of course, began the destruction of their heritage, attacking unsuspecting pillar boxes, foolishly believing that a two-inch paint brush, would strike terror and thus the deciding blow in attaining a united Ireland.

Alas, no one had informed their leadership that when these red postal pillar boxes were first introduced, most of same had been painted a dark green. It wasn’t until 1874 that the British Post Office had decided to paint them Royal Red, in an effort to ensure that they could be recognised more easily, by letter writers. With the arrival of Irish Independence, the Irish Post Office changed the colour red back to green here in our new Irish Republic.

Interesting to note; when a postal surveyors job came up in central Ireland in 1841, the position was quickly filled by the renowned British novelist Anthony Trollope, (1815-1882).  Trollope was based initially in Banagher, King’s County, (Co Offaly), just 10 miles from the Tipperary border, with his work consisting largely of inspection tours in the province of Connaught. Trollope remained stationed at Banagher until late 1844, when he was transferred to Clonmel, here in Co. Tipperary; living at Briarview House, Marlfield, just a couple of miles west of Clonmel town. It is he whom today we credit with the introduction of the Irish pillar box.

Missing Thurles Street Furniture.
It is described in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as a Cast-iron Water Pump, set on a platform with Stone Trough. It had a banded shaft and curved handle with fluted neck and fluted cap with pineapple finial. It had a foliate decoration where the spout met the neck.

The inventory goes on to say, “This water pump has an unusually comprehensive repertoire of artistic detailing, including banding, fluting, and foliate decoration to the spout. The pump is located at the junction of three streets, a typically busy location for a water source for the community. While no longer in use today, it still makes a positive contribution to the street-scape”.

What it wrongly stated is that it was erected c.1870; factually it was erected in the late 1980’s by the late Mr Wilbert Houben, Mr Joe O’Regan and myself, when we were members of Thurles Tidy Towns. I personally purchased the cut stone trough, referred to in this National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, from Auctioneer Mr John Gleeson who located it on my request.

The water pump and cut stone trough were removed a few years back, with the knowledge of Tipperary County Council & Thurles Urban District engineers, who stated that same would be returned, following the installation of the Cathedral Street Roundabout. This Street Furniture, consisting of a donated water pump and my cut stone trough, were never returned and I would love to know would the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage be able to confirm their current whereabouts.

Maybe our elected Municipal District Public Representatives, (all committed, as one would expect, to developing a strong sense of pride in our Thurles community); their fellow committed County Engineers and District Administrators, would stick their heads outside the door, to let a yell down the yard, so as to enquire into who might have seen them last.


A Happy St. Patrick’s Day To You From Thurles, Co. Tipperary

“Oh, the summertime is comin’, and the trees are sweetly blooming”.

The Thurles, Co. Tipperary St. Patrick’s Day parade got under-way today at 4.00pm sharp.

Despite low prevailing weather temperatures of below 5°; mostly, I might add, unusual in the Premier County for this time of year; well wrapped viewers turned up in large numbers to support this our National Saints local parade.

While it rained 21 days out of the past 30 days here in Co. Tipperary, and despite a cold 30km/h biting wind, the day remained dry here in Thurles town, with even occasional sunshine; thus, allowing our local parade to pass off, in its usual good humoured, quality style.

Other Parades which took place today included: Cahir – 12.00 noon;  Templemore – 12.30pm; Cashel and Tipperary Town – 2.00pm; Clonmel – 3.00pm; Roscrea – 3.30pm and finally Carrick-on-Suir – 5.30pm, latter followed by fireworks from Ormond Castle.

The North Tipperary town of Nenagh will hold their Annual Parade at 2.00pm tomorrow, Sunday 18th March.

Slide Show Music & Vocals: “Will Ye Go Lassie Go” courtesy of that warm, confident, haunting and hypnotic voice that is Ms Nora Fogarty, from her amazing album “One Star Awake.”

Slide Show Photography: Courtesy Stewart Willoughby.


Have Yourself A Merry Christmas In Thurles


With Christmas Day a mere 15 sleeps away, Thurles is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

All shop windows here in the centre of of the town are now displaying their festive finery, with Hummingbird’s window display (situated in Friar Street, Thurles) particularly imaginative, forcing even the busiest shopper to halt awhile and stare.

Thurles Town Council have long completed the finishing touches to the Christmas street lighting which each year, over this festive season, creates a warm and cheery atmosphere for shoppers.

Yes, Thurles is certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas and we will be featuring other shop window displays later in the week.