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real feel: 5°C
wind speed: 3 m/s ESE
sunrise: 6:17 am
sunset: 8:44 pm


The Session

The Session.

Courtesy Thurles Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

Come, let us life now celebrate
In the frosty night and cold,
In warm companionship, craic and ceol,
As the flames of the glowing turf fire
Wildly dance,
Dance with the spirits of our fathers
In the songs of old.

Come now to the night’s romance
And the secrets of the songs.
Come nimble-fingered accordionist, bodhranist, guitar,
Spoons, ballad-maker, fiddler, organ beil,
Waltzers, set dancers together,
All in tune with their dreaming,
Each with his separate star.


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


Early On A Silver Frosted Morning

Early On A Silver Frosted Morning

Courtesy Thurles Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

Early on a silver frosted morning
After a steaming cup of tea
In the uncle Pakie’s house out the road.
Shivering in my short trousers
At the prospect of digging the potatoes,
In the pit at the headland
Below the fence
With the cruel wire trap for the rabbits,
And beside the hen house,
With the eggs shining and white and brown
In all the secret haybarn places.
My nails would be sore with the frost
And the picking,
Then just when the winter had won
Pakie would point to the cabbage patch,
Row by frosted row
In the garden,
And urge me, whispering, to seek
The silver golden treasures
Of the Fairy of the Frost.
At seven I loved a secret,
And so, on wondrous adventure bound,
I sought the treasure,
And in the fairy foggy morning
After the search
Under a great big head of cabbage
There was the brown paper bag of wonder
With the chocolate bars
And the soft and hard papered sweets
In, oh, a myriad of magical colours.

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


Two Armistice Day Associated Events Happening Here In Thurles

A Soldier Died Today

by A. Lawrence Vaincourt.

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbours, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

Two Armistice Day Associated Events will be happening here in Thurles over the coming week.

Event No. (1):

For just 1 night only, War Dead Databases will be available for viewing and consultation by the public in The Old Abbey Inn, Holycross, Thurles, Co. Tipperary on Friday 9th November, 2018, from 7.00pm to 9.00pm. Admission to this event will be free.

So, if you have had a relative killed in the Great War, he or she will be recorded in these databases. Same are the most comprehensive roll of WW1 Irish casualties in the World and include 26,000 photographs of serving personnel published in the 26 county newspapers of the period. They cover all the casualties and include over 10,000 that are not listed in Ireland’s Memorial Records.

If you have an item from the war, e.g. medals, uniforms or equipment, do bring them along, where they will be identified.

These War Dead Databases were used to compile 31 WW1 books, including the “Tipperary War Dead” and the “26 County Casualties of the Great War”, and have been kept in Camden Fort Meagher in Crosshaven, Co. Cork. They can be searched by ‘Place’, ‘Name’, ‘Unit’, ‘Date of death’, ‘Burial place’ or ‘Memorial’ and cover all the Allied Armies, Navies, and Air Forces, in the U.S., Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

Any voluntary donations to this latter event, on the night, will go to the Suir Haven Cancer Support Centre, situated here in Thurles.

Event No. (2):

“A Nations Tribute” will take place across the world, when pipers from various countries will play the tune, ‘The Battle’s Oer’ at 6.00am on November 11th, 2018; commemorating 100 years since the signing of the Treaty, which ended the Great War.

On Nov. 11th. 2018 (Armistice Day), here in Thurles, Piper John Moloughney together with pipers from the Sean Treacy Pipe Band, representing Moycarkey & Borris, Co. Tipperary, will play at a monument dedicated to John Cunningham, V.C. at his birthplace (Born 28th of October 1890) in Stradavoher, (Hull Street), Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Educated at the Christian Brothers School, (CBS) Thurles, John, before the war, was employed as a farm labourer. John went to France on 19th December 1914, becoming a Corporal in the 2nd. Battalion, the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians).

On 12th April 1917, at Bois-en-Hache, France, he was in command of a Lewis Gun section on the most exposed flank of the attack. His section came under heavy enfilade fire and suffered severely. Although wounded he succeeded almost alone in reaching his objective with his gun, which he got into action in spite of much opposition. When counter-attacked by a party of some twenty of the enemy, he exhausted his ammunition against them, before standing in full view to throw bombs. He was again wounded and fell, but he picked himself up and continued to fight single-handed with the enemy until his bombs were exhausted. He then made his way back to his lines with a fractured arm and other wounds. Corporal Cunningham died 4 days later in hospital at Barlin from the effects of his wounds, on 16th of April 1917.

He is buried at Berlin Cemetery, Plot 1, Row A, Grave 39 near Nouex Les -Mines. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for Bravery in action. There is a tablet bearing his name in St. Mary’s cemetery, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

His brother, Pakie (Patrick) Cunningham is also buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard, Thurles. He also died at home on 4th. June 1915, from wounds received in France. He was a Lance Corporal in the 1st. Leinster Regiment.

Piper John and his companions now intend to play at John & Pakie Cunningham’s birthplace at 6.00am on the morning of November 11th. 2018 and in St. Mary’s Churchyard at 11.00am on the same date.


Duilleoga Deasa, Deasa – Thurles, Co. Tipperary

“Duilleoga deasa, deasa, duilleoga deasa, buí.
Duilleoga deasa, deasa, ar thalamh ina luí”.

[Irish language Translation:- “Nice, nice leaves, nice yellow leaves.  Nice, nice leaves on the ground, lying”.]

The town of Thurles is always extremely colourful at this time of year, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Here in the town, despite recent strong winds, the thickly matted autumn leaves, generated during last spring, are now only beginning to loosen their grip, to flutter down to earth. This same action now allows the numerous bright beams of yellow sunshine to penetrate through to the pavements and the rural mossy previous shaded grassy floors.

Here, in the coldish 12°C sunlight being experienced in Thurles in Co. Tipperary presently, a myriad of these Autumn leaves, today lie mainly underfoot, thus forming a rich carpet of yellows, golds, reds and browns. Some can be also observed performing their final dance, encouraged by a light south westerly breeze, before eventually loosing themselves in that river of earlier leaves that have fallen in love with the surface of the ground.

For all mankind, autumn is seen as that period for storing up our annual harvest, but for Mother Nature, it is that time for also undertaking the setting of seed, thus ensuring that after a brief sleep, next year’s plants are replenished.


The Missioners

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, portrayed in a 13th century stone carving at the ancient Abbey of Holycross near Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

The Missioners

Courtesy Thurles Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

In a town, in my memory now,
Strong men nourished their courage for months
For the Mission.
In the Rosary month of October,
Oh pity the pint drinker now
And he of the lusty thoughts
That travelled no further than desire,
Or to a body or mind of frustration.
I was a boy then, fit for anything,
Sure as grass will grow and water runs,
Yet feared before heaven, retribution,
For the kiss of a convent girl
In Dulanty’s cinema the night before.
The sainted ‘ould wans’,
With a fickle fierce flick of their shawls,
Told their beads for us all,
But little understood
The Missioners’ roaring renunciation
Of word, devil and flesh.
We shuffled the cards for 25
There in a chapel corner,
Cowboys, brave and defiant
In our ignorance and innocence then.
I loved the brown and silky scapulars I bought
In the little painted commercial grottos,
In the evenings, lit by the paraffin oil,
With a million wonders of rosary beads
And medals miraculous
To pray our way to Heaven.
Homeward bound by the river bank,
And rapping the occasional bell and door,
Bold, brave and thirteen,
We flew in the face of everything
But the dread of the ma and da.


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