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A Dedication To The Late Lamented Phil Cooney

The postman had been and gone this morning, so I assumed that the loud clatter raised by the lid of my letterbox closing, was yet just another piece of classified daily advertising material. The communication turned out to be in fact no piece of unwelcome junk mail, rather an anonymous hurried note, stating that an enclosed poem was a dedication to the late lamented passing of Mr Phil Cooney, and asking if we might like to publish same.

Due to my slowness in reacting to the noise posed by my letterbox lid, I am now unaware of the person who delivered this communication or indeed the author of this thoughtful and most solicitous elegy.

Phil Cooney (R.I.P.)

The Piper.

The days and nights
Blur into one.
The heart and soul
Are brought to ruin.
A part of us forever changed.
The Piper plays no tune.

The sombre feet
Don’t beat in time.
The hands don’t clap,
But clasp in prayer.
Nothing fills the sudden space.
No Piper music stirs the air.

Gone the Piper.
Gone to rest
All is changed
From that before,
And yet I hear his music still,
Though his music plays no more.

To those involved in communicating this poem to us; should he/she (the author), update us as to their identity, we remain happy to update our social media accordingly.

Our sincere thanks.


Human Rights Are About Ensuring Human Dignity

handsWe saw the despicable decision, made earlier this week, in the case of an elderly couple in their mid to late 80’s, who had applied as a couple for the Fair Deal Scheme. It was decided that the couple should be separated for the first time, after 63 years of marriage together.

This decision was taken by one or more over paid bureaucrats in the employment of the Health Service Executive (HSE), devoid of Christianity and ignorant of the very notion of human rights.  It would appear that the press together with TV and Radio coverage, are now essential in order to gain some small modicum of social justice in this country.

Living, as I once believed, in a mainly Christian country; this couple’s particular plight, brought about by these thoughtless individuals, reminded me of the following poem:-

“An Old Lady’s Poem”

(The original author of this poem is unknown.)

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try!”
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse; you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
As I do your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten, with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty, my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide them in a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty; my young now growing fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man is beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again, we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old woman, and nature is cruel;
It is jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart,
There is now a stone, where once was a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years, all too few, gone so fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So, open your eyes people, open and see
Not a crabby old woman; look closer, see me.

Human rights are, after all, about safeguarding human dignity, as opposed to just catering for human need, and therefore must embody Christian standards, when decisions regarding old people are to be determined.


O’Brien Clan Set To Visit Thurles In 2017

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).

Brian Boru’s descendants carried the name Ó Briain, and continued to rule the Kingdom of Munster into the 12th century. It should also be noted that the current reigning British Monarch, namely Queen Elizabeth II, [Herself a direct descendant of Thomas and Elizabeth Butler (nee Elizabeth Poyntz – then hailed Lady Thurles)] through her eight maternal great-grand-mother, was indeed of the same O’Brien Clan.

Thurles.Info greatly look forward to further communicating and eventually meeting with the O’Brien Clan here in their ancestral home of Thurles, during August 2017.


Santa Claus Is Deceased

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!


North Tipperary Man Awarded With ‘Legion of Honour’


Mr James Moore – ‘Legion of Honour’ recipient.

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.

Thurles WW1
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.”

Anderson John, – Beirne John, – Bermingham Patrick, – Bourke James, – Brett Timothy, – Butler John, – Byrne Patrick, – Carroll Martin, – Carroll Thomas, – Carty John, – Cassidy John, – Cleary Joseph, – Cleary Patrick, – Cleary Thomas, – Coady Edward, – Coady Joseph, – Coady Richard, – Coffey Michael, – Cooke Henry F, – Cooney David, – Cummins John, – Conway Denis, – Cunningham John V.C., – Cunningham Patrick, – Cusack Oliver, – Dea Patrick, – Dwyer Cornelius, – Egan Martin, – Fitzpatrick Joseph, – Gouldsborough Patrick, – Griffin Thomas, – Hackett Martin, – Hanrahan Daniel, – Hayes Daniel, – Hayes Thomas, – Hennessey Thomas, – Horan Joseph, – Jordan Denis, – Kelly James, – Kelly William, – Kennedy Matthew, – Kiely Owen, – Knox Hubert Lt Col., – Knox William Lt Col., – Lawyer Joseph, – Maher Frank, – Maher James, – Maher James Bernard, – Maher John, – McCormack Francis, – McCormack Thomas, – McLoughlin James J, – Meany James, – Mockler Patrick, – Moyler George, – O’Brien Lawrence, – O’Grady Patrick, – O’Shea John, – Power Michael, – Purcell Philip, – Quinlan Joseph, – Ryan Andrew, – Ryan James, – Ryan John, – Ryan Martin, – Ryan Michael, – Ryan Patrick, – Scally Patrick, – Shields Matthew, – Stapleton John, – Sullivan Patrick, – Terry Timothy, – Walsh James.

In all at least 50,000 families in Ireland were affected by the loss of a loved one during the First World War.