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real feel: 3°C
wind speed: 3 m/s SE
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sunset: 5:57 pm


A Song For Christmas Coming

“A Song For Christmas Coming” By Author & Poet Tom Ryan.

Not all the gifts in bright lit windows
In all the Christmas shops in town
Shall I now choose,
But prefer to sit in silence and reflect
On the joy you are to me.

There is no present you can buy,
Though you parcel up creation,
That will bring more sparkle to my eye
Than the love I have for you.

I sing sweet carols under the stars
And hymns by the Milky Way,
And I am happy wandering,
In dreams, to gently touch
Your hand, your face, your eyes, your soul,
And, contemplating bliss, a kiss,
There is no happy Christmas if there is not this.

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


To Absent Ones At Christmas

To Absent Ones At ChristmasBy Author & Poet Tom Ryan

We shall not, in drawing up to the red-coaled fire
In a profusion of spirits in the hollied room,
Your presence dishonour with forgetfulness,
But rather shall we in music and wine
And in the memory of another place and happy time,
Toast you, our absent ones.

Nor as the carols reach to the Christmas stars
In praise of the glorious grandeur of the world,
Nor as children’s voices herald a new awakening,
Shall we forget the warmth
Of a time of togetherness,
But in a quiet prayer, pure as snow crystals,
Give thanks for what you were to our hearts
For what you’ll ever be
Unto the last Yuletide.

So, in a good spirit,
Glad for the plenty and the peace,
Joyous for our family and our friends.
With all the people of the earth
And in our merriment and mirth
We do remember you, our dear and absent ones.

Tom Ryan, “Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles. Co. Tipperary, Republic of Ireland.
From “Cherry Blossoms” by Tom Ryan.


O, To Have A Little House Mr Varadkar

Old Woman Of The Roads
by Padraic Colum.

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house – a house of my own
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.

One wonders if the Co. Longford poet Padraic Colum (1881 – 1972) were penning his poem “Old Woman Of The Roads” in today’s Ireland, what would be the title? “The Lament Of A Homeless Person Neglected by Government” perhaps.

“Ireland has one of the lowest levels of homelessness,” stated Mr Leo Eric Varadkar yesterday which perhaps suggests that the problem is being ignored.

You will of course remember Mr Varadkar, the Irish Fine Gael politician and now the leader of a minority coalition government since June of this year; same government which includes quite a number of Fine Gael members. Representing the Dublin West constituency and ‘people who get up early in the morning’, since 2007, Mr Varadkar has previously served as a Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (2011 to 2014, the period that himself and Mr Alan Kelly increased train fares from Thurles to Dublin by 100%); a Minister for Health (2014 to 2016), and yes, actually the Minister for Social Protection from 2016 to 2017.

The Cabinet, which Mr Varadkar presides over, of course contain numerous individuals who, like himself occasionally demonstrate ‘Learner Driver Syndrome’, in their cases continuously failing to ‘engage brain, before operating mouth’.

Take a look at just one other example; TD Mr John Halligan, the Irish Independent politician who has served as Minister of State for Training and Skills since May 2016 and who is surprisingly an elected TD for the Waterford constituency. This same week Mr Halligan; (anxious to grab a “see me appearing to do important work” headline with the national press), threatened to visit North Korea on a diplomatic mission to halt a nuclear Armageddon.

An impressed Chairman of the Workers’ Party and the supreme leader of North Korea, Mr Kim Jong-un, (as one does in every good home these days), got his wife Mrs Ri Sol-ju to polished the silver and run their china under the tap, before laying it out in the parlour. He himself nipped out to clip the hedges and mow the lawn at the front. Now after all that effort, what happens?  Mr Halligan decides (following a rumoured kicking from civil servants at the Dept. of Foreign Affairs), not to travel. Now between you and me and without in anyway trying to cause panic; Waterford people should be keeping one eye gazing skyward, as I can confirm from first hand sources that Mr Kim Jong-un and the wife are feeling rather ‘pissed off ‘ over the whole damned affair.

I mean Mr Halligan, having failed to acquire a permanent second Catheterisation laboratory down in Waterford, actually instead nipped out to meet with the Palestinian authorities on the West Bank, not to mention the Israeli authorities on the opposite bank, just a few months previously, and you can visibly see today the almighty changes immediately brought about by his diplomacy, which focused the world on his true political ability as a possible leader in Europe.

Anyway, enough on Mr Halligan, sorry, we were chatting about Mr Varadkar and his excuse yesterday for allowing 8,374 Irish people remain homeless during the week of September 18th to the 24th, 2017, across Ireland.

Homelessness, as everyone knows, has had its roots well-watered by past and present Governments failing to legislate. Their failures to correct a broken housing system; low Rent Supplement Payments; low Incomes; forced Social Welfare reductions; Landlords selling; Bank repossessions; Shortages of property stock; Properties refusing to accept Rent Supplement in an effort to avoid Income Tax; High Rents charged by Irish Get-Rich-Quick Landlords, acting out similar sagas as that which existed when we were being exploited by England Landlords; Vulture Funds, and finally a Governments decision to cut spending on social housing by a colossal 72%, between 2008 and 2012, and which now talks about reducing taxes, while they themselves have granted themselves massive salary increases.

Surely it’s time to change our system of elections.


A Poem From The Late Sister Stephaine R.I.P.

The late Sister Stephaine Purcell, formerly of Littleton, Thurles Co Tipperary is pictured here with family and friends during her 100th birthday celebrations in Castleconnell, Co. Limerick, back in July, 2017 last.

Sister Stephaine died on August 3rd of this year, however prior to her death she composed the poem herewith and found hereunder for her birthday, which we are happy to share with you.

By Sr. S. Purcell (1917-2017)

All seemed to be going well
Until hidden knots revealed
The latent many weaknesses
Still needing to be healed;
‘Twas then with sand paper and plane
Our Master Craftsman cleaned
Until the veins were flowing free
And knots no longer seen.

My father was a tradesman,
And I did often see
Him sandpapering the knots
And planing timber clean;
But God above, who Master is
Of Heaven, Earth and all for us,
Sees our very deepest needs
Before we go on bended knees
He uses means, words and deeds
Until we truly cleansed are
And thus becomes – God’s Work of Art.


Heritage Week In Thurles

By Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918),
[Latter killed by sniper fire near Muercy Farm, beside the Ourcq River, near the village of Seringes-et-Nesles, in France during WW1]

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear a nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain; who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”

One of the events taking place in Co. Tipperary during Heritage Week will be an illustrative and informative talk by Author and historian Mr George Cunningham, entitled “Trees at Home and Abroad”.

The event will take place on Monday next, August 21st, beginning 7:30pm9.00pm, courtesy of Tipperary County Council Library Service, in The Source building, Cathedral Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Mr Cunningham will take his audience to such places as the redwoods and protected Bristlecone Pines Forest area, latter high in the White Mountains in Inyo County in eastern California, as well to many other such places here at home, which remain a ‘tree treasury’.

Mr Cunningham has had, and continues to strongly retain, a lifelong interest in trees; building up a significant tree library and travelled to many world-famous places adorned by trees and rich forests.

He is a director of ‘Crann(Translated from the Irish – ‘Tree’), formed in 1986; latter an organisation which it attempting to re-leaf Ireland.  Crann is Ireland’s leading voluntary tree organisation dedicated to the promotion, protection and awareness of the importance of our trees, hedgerows and woodlands. It is a membership-based, non-profit registered charity, uniting people with a love of trees.

Admission to this Heritage Week event is free of charge.

You can find other events taking place throughout Co. Tipperary, during Heritage Week, by simply clicking HERE.