Lines hereunder extracted from a poem “The Deserted Village” by Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) an essayist, poet, novelist, dramatist and eccentric.
“And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue, pants to the place from whence at first she flew, I still had hopes, my long vexations passed, here to return-and die at home at last.”
Dr. Mark Turner, a proud member of the O’Brien Clan (on his mother Hanora’s side) reports here on Thurles.Info.
Armorial of the O’Brien’s
“Members of the O’Brien Clan family will meet here, in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on the weekend beginning Friday August 25th, 26th & 27th of 2017.
Quite a few of our gathering have already booked accommodation at the Horse and Jockey Hotel, Thurles, with family members arriving from England, Canada and South Carolina, USA. The Clan grouping are all cousins and last met up in the 70’s/80’s.
“There are lots of us, and we hope to partake of the food & drink available in the local eateries and licensed hostilities, while visiting the house where most of our parents were born,” stated Dr. Mark , who has confirmed that he last visited Tipperary in 2006 with his mums cousins Paddy and Hannah looking after him; while dishing up delicious obligatory ham, potatoes and cabbage. “Bloody gorgeous it was too, stated Dr. Mark.”
“As an extended family we are all very excited by this clan gathering in Thurles, Co. Tipperary,” Dr. Mark Turner concluded.
Of course the original O’Brien (Ua Briain or Ó Briain) dynasty, were a royal and noble house founded in the 10th century by Brian Boru leader of the Gaelic Irish tribe known as the Dál gCais or Dalcassians. After becoming King of Munster, through conquest, Brian Boru established himself as High King of Ireland (Ard Rí na hÉireann).
We didn’t want to upset everyone before Christmas, but Santa Claus we can confirm is well and truly dead for some 800 years. But not to worry children thankfully his spirit still lives on and be assured, providing you are of the very best behaviour, come Christmas Eve night next he will be doing his rounds as usual, unless of course our government or the European Union (EU) (Who presently run this country) raise difficulties surrounding Santa Claus’s permit to travel in Irish airspace.
Saint Nicholas is buried in the ruined Church of St Nicholas, Jerpoint, across the Tipperary border in Co. Kilkenny, just 67.4 km (42mls) from Thurles.
Today the church itself is all that remains of the medieval village of Newtown Jerpoint, (Name Jerpoint means ‘Nore Bridge). The village had been surrounded by the Cistercian Jerpoint Abbey, founded in 1183 before slowly falling into ruins in the 17th century.
The original Abbey had been originally located on some 1,880 acres; boasting its own gardens, watermills, a cemetery, granary, and kitchens and had served as a launching point in the past for Irish-Norman Crusaders from Kilkenny, before being dissolved in 1540.
A now ruined church can be found on privately held farm land, located to the west of the abbey. This ruin contains an unusual grave slab with a carved image of a cleric and two other carved heads. These images are understood to be that of St Nicholas and the two crusaders who brought the remains of Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) back to Ireland. Though the church dates from 1170, the grave slab itself appears to be dated back to the early 1300’s.
According to legend a band of Irish-Norman knights from Jerpoint, travelled to the Holy Land to take part in the Crusades. However on heading back to Ireland, they seized the remains St. Nicholas, and brought him back to Kilkenny, and to where his bones are now buried. What lends some credence to this legend is the fact that firstly Norman knights from Kilkenny did participate in the Holy Land Crusades and secondly, Normans knights were keen collectors of religious relics. Relics placed on public show encouraged annual pilgrimages, in turn creating revenues, which in turn paid the logistical costs associated with Crusade participation.
Of course human memory is short lived and often recounted recollections in history vary somewhat. Thus another version of this story tells of the de Frainet family, who removed Santa’s remains from Myra to Bari, Italy, in 1169, while Bari remained under the Norman control. The de Frainet family were crusaders to the Holy Land and when the Normans lost power in France, Nicholas de Frainet finally settled in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny; taking with him the relic; buring Santa Claus in Jerpoint around the year 1200.
Whatever the real truth; a poem, ‘The Bones of Santa Claus’ commemorates this legend today.
‘The Bones of Santa Claus’(Author Bill Watkins)
Where lie the bones of Santa Claus, to what holy spot each pilgrim draws Which crypt conceals his pious remains, safe from the wild wind, snows and rains.
It’s not in Rome his body lies, or under Egypt’s azure skies Constantinople or Madrid, his reliquary and bones are hid.
That saint protector of the child, whose relics pure lie undefiled His casket safe within its shrine, where the shamrocks grow and rose entwine.
Devout wayfarer, cease your search, for in Kilkenny’s ancient church Saint Nicholas’ sepulchre is found, enshrined in Ireland’s holy ground.
So traveller rest and pray a while, to the patron saint of orphaned child Whose bones were brought to Ireland’s shore, safe from the Vandal, Hun and Moor.
Here lie the bones of Santa Claus, secure beneath these marble floors So gentle pilgrim, hear the call, and may Saint Nicholas bless you all!
Three Irishmen who fought in France in the Second World War; namely, Mr Albert Sutton, Mr James Moore and Mr Jack Allshire (Latter named whose award was posthumously accepted by his wife, Mrs Barbara Allshire) were awarded with the Legion of Honour by Minister Jean-Marc Todeschini at a ceremony in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin today.
The Legion of Honour; full name National Order of the Legion of Honour (In French: Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur) is the highest French order for military and civil merits, established by Napoléon Bonaparte in 1802 and divided into five degrees of increasing distinction: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand-Croix (Grand Cross). The order’s motto is “Honneur et Patrie” (“Honour and Fatherland”).
Mr James Moore, aged 92, was born on June 5th 1924 in Borrioskane, Co. Tipperary, and presently resides in the Coolbawn area of North Tipperary. After the ceremony Mr Moore spoke briefly of the landing on a Normandy beach just a few days after D-Day while being bombed from the air. Indeed the first dead German he remembers seeing was an airman who had been shot down, aged, he believes, no more than 19 or 20 years old.
Meanwhile back here in Thurles on today, Remembrance Sunday(The closest Sunday to eleventh day of the eleventh month), let us never forget some 73 soldiers, including one Victoria Cross recipient; all who were residents of the area and who lost their lives during WW1.
For the Fallen. [Extract from the poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)]
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.”
Huge congratulations to American songwriter, singer, artist, and writer Bob Dylan, who earlier today, in Stockholm, Sweden, was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Described today by the Swedish Academy as “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, Dylan most certainly brought a form of beauty and feeling to life’s greatest tragedies and during more than six decades his poetic songs have reflected his thoughts on death, betrayal, war and heartbreak, with each deserving of being read in their own right as simply a poem.
“Visions of Johanna” – words by Bob Dylan
“Lights flicker from the opposite loft In this room the heat pipes just cough The country music station plays soft But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off Just Louise and her lover so entwined And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind.”
Born Robert Allen Zimmerman in May 24th, 1941; at the age of 20 years Dylan was playing at clubs around Greenwich Village befriending many folk singers and musicians including the “The Clancy Brothers” from Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.
“Blowin’in the Wind” (Video shown above – Words possibly more relevant today than in the 1960’s), and “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” were songs that established Dylan as the voice of his mid 20th century generation and demonstrated his unique understanding of how concerned American youth felt about issues like nuclear disarmament and the then fast growing movement for civil rights.
Dylan in his lifetime to-date has already and deservedly won many awards throughout his long career. These include: – eleven ‘Grammy Awards’, one ‘Academy Award’, one ‘Golden Globe Award’ and the ‘Polar Music Prize’, latter from Sweden’s King Carl XVI. He has been inducted into: – the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’, ‘Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame’, and ‘Songwriters Hall of Fame’. Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in May 2012, and in February 2015, he accepted the ‘MusiCares Person of the Year award’ from the National Academy of Recording Arts.
Originally planned as simply a one night performance, such was the interest shown in this musical event that the company have now been invited to undertake a second extra performancewhich will take place on Saturday March 19th at 8.00 p.m. In order not to disappoint patrons the Horse and Jockey Singers will now present ‘Tipperary Echoes of 1916’ on stage at the Derrynaflan Theatre, in the Horse and Jockey Hotel on both Friday and Saturday18th and 19thMarch.
Enjoying the rehearsals for ‘Tipperary Echoes of 1916’ at the Horse and Jockey Hotel are: – Liam O’Neill, Mary Egan, Flan Quigney, Peggy Morris and John Gorman.
This event is a Tipperary commemoration of the historic events of Easter 1916, remembered in music, verse, song and story. The content of the show is compiled by Kilkenny historian, Jim Maher and features many of the songs of the period including:- A Nation Once Again, A Soldier’s Song, Banna Strand, Grace, Tri-Coloured Ribbon, James Connolly, etc. The poems of William Butler Yeats get notable inclusion as does the poetry of 1916 ‘Proclamation Signatories’ – Pádraig Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh and Joseph Mary Plunkett.
Extra Attraction on both Show Nights(Friday and Saturday 18th & 19th March).
An extra commemoration attraction for patrons holding tickets on each night, will be a chance to view a small but rare collection of actual artefacts connecting Co. Tipperary’s history with the 1916 – 1922 period. Same will go on show at 7.00 pm, just one hour prior to patrons taking their seats for the main event, latter as already stated which begins sharp at 8.00pm. So do arrive early on both nights for a truly enjoyable 1916 experience.
The Horse and Jockey Singers & Musicians
The Horse and Jockey Singers, who come mostly from the mid Tipperary area, have been together now for some years and are under the music direction of Patrick Conlon. Included among the musicians performing will be: John Gorman, Liam O’Neill, John Harnett and the Uilleann piper Michael Cooney.
On the opening night, Muriel McAuley and her husband Dermot will be guests at the show. Muriel is grand-daughter of Thomas MacDonagh, one of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, who was executed at Kilmainham Gaol, following the Rising.
As tickets for the opening night on Friday 18th, have now been sold out, tickets for Saturday 19th March, costing €15, are now again available from the Horse & Jockey Hotel reception or from Connie O’Keeffe, Tel: 087 6667988.
Please do book early to avoid disappointment and remember patrons may wear period costume should they so desire.