Irish Phrase Of The Day

"Cad atá ar súil agat ?" - What are you doing?


July 2014
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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.

John Carden Tipperary – Stalker Or A Victim Of Love ?

Carden’s Wild Domain.

“And the turtle dove sits cooing there, upon the tall oak trees.
The thrush and blackbird warbles loud, their notes come through the breeze.
The cuckoo’s notes are heard to sound along those flowery vales
And echo all the woodland around Carden’s Wild Domain.”

Extract from Lyrics by Rev. Timothy Corcoran (1857-1928)

Very recent public discussions on the “Stalking” of a named RTE1 newsreader; the subsequent arrest of a suspect and the later treatment of the female victim herself by at least one gutter press photographer, leads me to pen this particular article.

John Rutter Carden

John Rutter Carden was born on February 5th 1811 in Oxford, the eldest son of parents John Carden and his wife Ann Rutter. His parents took up residence in Barnane Castle outside Templemore, Co Tipperary in or about the year 1815. In 1822, when John was just 11 years old, his father died.  John’s mother Ann then continued to run the large Estate at Barnane until John himself came of age some ten years later.

The once grand

The once grand Yew Tree Terrace Walk and Barnane Castle, Templemore, Tipperary – Circa 1865.

On inheriting a somewhat run-down Estate, John Rutter Carden set about demanding that tenants on his lands should now pay rent. Under his mother’s management these Irish tenants had paid little or no rent in the past and would now greatly resent being requested to do so under their new landlord, into the future. The inevitable result of this action was that John Carden then began proceedings to evict up to 100 families from their homes on his estate. Because of these evictions Carden’s tenants tried repeatedly to kill him. However all attempts failed, earning him the nickname ‘The Woodcock Carden’ (Scolopax rusticola), because as any lover of gun sports will confirm, Woodcock, when startled, fly with great speed in an erratic and twisting movement, making them difficult to kill while airborne.

Ireland around this period was beginning to be seen as a hostile place (e.g. The Doneraile Conspiracy) in which to live and as a consequence absentee landlords were very common, with some visiting their property only once or twice in a lifetime, and often never at all. These rents acquired in Ireland were then mostly only spent in England, with an estimated £6,000,000 being remitted and spent outside of Ireland in 1842. John, contrary to still locally held beliefs, possibly was not the worst of the Landlord classes then operating in Ireland; he would go on to invest in his locality and even build a local non denominational school for his tenants, offering them free education. He improved the then existing housing stock on his estate and eventually his employee’s and tenants would learn to look on him with a certain respect and admiration, despite he having participated in a couple of them being hanged for an attempt on his life.

Miss Eleanor Louisa Arbuthnot

Miss Eleanor Arbuthnot (1833 – 1894) was the youngest daughter of thirteen children born to George Arbuthnot (1772 – 1843) of Elderslie, Surrey, England and his wife formally Eliza Fraser (1791 – 1834).  Her mother died when she was just one year old and by the age of ten her father was also deceased.  In 1852, Eleanor and her sister Laura (born 1830), latter three years her senior, were residing with their sister Jane, (Born 1816) who had married (1846) the Hon. Viscount George Gough, latter who lived at Rathronan House, two miles from Clonmel, near to Fethard Co.Tipperary.

Continue reading John Carden Tipperary – Stalker Or A Victim Of Love ?

The Clothesline – Thurles Neighbourhood Watch


Lament On The Absence Of The Thurles Clothesline.

(Author Unknown)

The clothesline was a news forecast to the neighbours passing bye. There were no secrets you could keep when clothes hung out to dry.
It also was a friendly link for the neighbours always knew, if company had stopped on bye, to spend the night with you.

For then they’d see those “fancy sheets,” that towel upon the line; they’d see that “special table cloth,” with its elaborate design.
This line announced a baby’s birth from the folks who lived inside, as brand new infant clothes were hung, so carefully with pride.

The ages of their children too, could so readily be known, by watching how their sizes changed; you’d know how much they’d grown.
It also told when illness struck, as extra sheets were hung; your nightclothes and a bathrobe too, when irregularly were strung.

It also said, “On holidays now,” when lines swung limp and bare. It told, “We’re back,” when full lines sagged, with not an inch to spare.
New folks in town were scorned upon, if their wash was dull and grey; as neighbours carefully raised their brows, then turned their eyes away.

But clotheslines now are of the past, for dryers make work much less. Sure now what goes on inside a house, is anybody’s guess.
Ah sure I really miss that way of life; it was a friendly sign, when neighbours knew each other best, by what hung upon their line.

World Famous Irish Poet Seamus Heaney Dies

seamus-heaney-portrait3The greatest poet of our age has died today. The world-famous poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1995), Seamus Heaney (13th April 1939 – 30th August 2013) passed away today following ill health, at the age of 74.

Heaney was born one of 9 children, on the 13th of April 1939 at the family farmhouse known as Mossbawn, between Castledawson and Toomebridge in Northern Ireland. His family later moved to Bellaghy, a few miles away, in 1953.

Heaney won a scholarship to St. Columb’s College from Anahorish Primary School and in 1957 he travelled to Belfast to study English Language and Literature at the Queen’s University of Belfast, graduating in 1961 with a First Class Honours degree. It was while in St. Columb’s College that he learned of the death of his four year old brother, Christopher, from a traffic accident and which led to the poem “Mid-Term Break.”

Mid-Term Break -  (Extract)
Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.
A four foot box, a foot for every year.

Heaney first began to publish poetry in 1962. In August 1965 he married Marie Devlin, a school teacher and native of Ardboe, County Tyrone, herself also a writer, (Over Nine Waves, a collection of traditional Irish myths and legends.). In 1966, he was appointed as a lecturer in Modern English Literature at Queen’s University Belfast and his first son, Michael, was born. A second son, Christopher, was born in 1968 and later a daughter Catherine Ann.

Following a short spell as guest lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972, Heaney left his lectureship at Belfast and moved to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, working as a teacher at Carysfort College.  He was also the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University from1985-1997 and Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence, at Harvard 1998-2006.

In August 2006 he suffered a stroke from which he recovered, and in 2011 he was named one of “Britain’s top 300 intellectuals” by The Observer newspaper.

A member of Aosdána, amongst the numerous awards that this ‘master of words’ received were the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (1968), the E. M. Forster Award (1975), the PEN Translation Prize (1985), the Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001), T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and two Whitbread Prizes (1996 and 1999).

Thurles born poet, the late great Declan O’Driscoll, in his book, Stepping Stones, (published in 2008) interviewed Seamus Heaney, and was short-listed for the ‘Book of the Decade,’ in the Irish Book Awards 2010. In this book Heaney’s responses to Dennis O’Driscoll’s subtle questioning, casts an intimate light on Heaney’s work and on the artistic and moral challenges he faced, providing an original, diverting and fascinating collection of reflections, attitudes and memories.

Funeral Arrangements: Removal to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Donnybrook, Dublin, arriving at 6.45 pm on Sunday evening. Burial on Monday after 11.30 am Mass, remains then brought to Bellaghy Cemetery, Co. Derry (arriving there at 5.00 pm approx.).

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

Kathleen Blanchfield – The Paraffin Lamp

By Kathleen Blanchfield
No time to stop in this world, no time to stare awhile
At the beauty of a budding rose, or the warmth of a smile.
No time to watch the summer skies or rainbow’s pretty hue.
No time to stop and listen to the pigeon’s husky coo.
No time to linger silently and view the stars at night.
No time to stroll on moonlit strands and watch the oceans might.
No time to gaze at meadows, swaying in the summer breeze.
No time to quietly listen to the gently rustling trees.
No time to linger wistfully at soil so neatly planted.
No time for God’s own beauty, all’s taken now for granted.
No time.  No time.  No time.

We featured a music video recently, performed by singing star Nora Fogarty and entitled, “Shattered Dreams.”  The lyrics of this wonderful song were written by Kathleen Blanchfield a poet and song writer, residing here on the borders of Tipperary and Kilkenny.

Kathleen, now enjoying her middle years, has always enjoyed writing, but back in her early years due to the then pace of living, she found little opportunity.  She began taking her rare talent more seriously following the Pat Kenny “All Write” Letter-writing competition in 1995 and 1996 gaining huge recognition for her work.  Gay Byrne gave her a welcome prize for an old fashioned Christmas story back in 1998, and being a great fan of both, and now finding more time on her hand, she was encouraged to write short stories, poems, song lyrics, letters and articles.

The song “Shattered Dreams,” was conceived by her observations of this atrocity on T.V.  The sheer thought of people dying in this inhuman and evil way drew her to write down her feelings of grief, with the chorus becoming a real prayer from the heart. “Perhaps it is really a lament,” Kathleen explains as she thinks back to those dreadful days of 2001.

 All of Kathleen’s current work is based on real life stories and family events. Many more celebrate nature and the community and are formed in a profoundly simple style, hopefully holding as she states, “the music of the everyday.”

Kathleen’s latest book of Song & Verse is entitled “The Paraffin Lamp.” Same includes the poem shown above which she has kindly permitted us to reproduce.  This excellent read came about while she lived in a temporary, tiny, snug, but charming house for one year, while her main dwelling was being renovated. This same temporary dwelling ensured much less house work and gardening, latter which she greatly enjoys. Now surrounded, as this tiny dwelling was, by a haunting natural serenity, more poems and songs began to trickle down to the point of her pen, ending up materialising on paper.

Kathleen hopes to publish another similar book of poetry in the not too distant future. Her current publication “The Paraffin Lamp,” may be purchased from “The Book Centre,” O’Connell Street, Clonmel, Tipperary, or most other reputable bookshops or we can put you in direct contact with the Authoress, should you use the “Contact Us,” tag latter situated on the top of this page, after all a signed copy is always nice to own.

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