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Tipperary Library Service, Celebrate ‘Cruinniú na nÓg’.

Ms Suzanne Brosnan, (Senior Library Assistant), Thurles Library, Cathedral Street, Thurles, Reports:-

Tipperary Library Service will celebrate Cruinniú na nÓg (Translated from the Irish language – “Meeting of the Young”), through numerous activities planned for their family fun-day here in Thurles Library, taking place on Saturday 23rd June from 11.00am4.00pm. All the child-centred events are totally free and activity based, with plenty of opportunities for children to ‘make and create’.

Thurles Library

We look forward to our magic show with Jelly Bean Julie from 11.00am in the hopes to dazzle and amaze our younger children, join in our puppet show, try balloon modelling and get your face-painted.

Our interactive drum and fun sessions area is a perfect way to bring upbeat and high energy to both children and their parents. Fergal O’Connor will be available for 3 sessions throughout the day starting, at 12.30pm.

Running alongside these events we will run Art and Crafts Work Stations throughout the day, with local artist Ms Danielle Martin of ‘Masquerade Parties’ and, weather permitting, we hope to take the artistic designs of the children onto the board-walk for a “Pavement Art” session.

For those who love to create, learn new skills and just have fun with Lego, LearnIt will host 3 workshops over the course of the day, dealing with Junior Robotics, Senior Robotics and Senior Engineering. LearnIt promotes working as a team, creative thinking,  while solving problems through this interactive and fun workshop, all by using Lego.

Please note: Bookings are now open for the Learnit Workshops, with Junior Robotics, suitable for 7-9 years taking place at 11.00am12.15pm; Senior Robotics, suitable for children aged 11 years plus, taking place at 12.30pm2.30pm; and Senior Engineering, suitable for persons aged 9 – 12 years, taking place 2.45pm4.15pm.

Summer Stars Reading Challenge 2018

Tipperary Library Service will also launch the “Summer Stars Reading Challenge 2018” at 12.00 noon. “Summer Stars” is an exciting reading-based programme which is available free of charge to all children across the country. Children are invited to register for the reading adventure and enjoy reading many books throughout the summer months. All participants will be given a Summer Stars Reading Card to record and track their own progress.

Contact: Telephone: 0761 066131 during normal working hours 9.00am to 5.00pm (Closed for Lunch 1.00pm-2.00pm) or E-Mail: thurleslibrary@tipperarycoco.ie

So, do come along and be part of Cruinniú na nÓg and enjoy a day of guaranteed fun with your family at Thurles Library, where you are guaranteed to find something for just about everyone.

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“Following The Wran”

Former Wren Boy, Mr Tom Ryan, salutes the tradition of “Following the Wran”(By Poet & Author Tom Ryan.)

As St. Stephen’s Day approaches I wish to alert the nation to a problem more immediate and more serious than even Brexit. I am an easy-going gent, and I’m normally reluctant to be provoked and I’m in favour of peace and harmony. But not at all costs!  There are strict limits to my patience and tolerance and I know where to draw the line.

What has incensed and infuriated me in recent years is the sad demise of the Wren or Wran Boys and Wran Girls, so traditional in many parts of rural Ireland, including my own native county of Tipperary.

I ask myself what is this great country of ours coming to, when we stand accused in the dock of disgracefully abandoning the noble tradition of “Following the Wran”, reneging on our heritage and culture for no acceptable reason other than laziness and neglect.  Or have we become too uppish and snobbish in these days of plenty and pride, when we know the price of everything and the value of little.  Our Education system has much to answer for, if this be the case and I am thinking of getting up a petition calling on the Government to immediately, if not sooner, proclaim National Wran Day to urgently awaken the Gaelic World, including the Diaspora, to the dangers posed by selling our cultured souls to the paltry princes of so called pride, privilege and progress, whilst shamefully neglecting a glorious old tradition.

I am proud to say I have served my country in my time by practising this old tradition on St. Stephen’s Day. My first appearance as a Junior Wran Boy was in 1957 when black in the face from shoe polish and muck (no great effort required for that in those days, of course,) I dressed up in old pyjamas and peaked caubeen (an old hat) and an ould ragged shirt and I set off proudly as to war, with my plastic mouth organ (the poor man’s accordion), accompanied by my musical pal on his melodica.

We were able, of course, to play only one tune which was Friedrich Silcher’s “Muss I Denn”, (Do I Have To); music later made more famous by Elvis Presley’s song “Wooden Heart” in 1961.

But we dutifully knocked on every door and half door in our town with our little concert. Too much acclaim, I am proud to say, and we gathered up enough pennies and half pennies for the price of the cinema, then showing a Gene Autry cowboy movie, preceded by “The Three Stooges” and a Tom and Jerry cartoon.  We had enough funds left over for a Fizz Bag, Gobstoppers and Cleeves Toffee which we purchased in the little shop on the corner on the street where I lived.

To this day I stoutly hold and maintain that it is great training for a young boy or girl to follow the Wran. It gives them a sense of appreciation that cash does not fall from the sky or Mam and Dad’s pockets all the time. But that it can be sometimes earned all by your little self while you are having craic and commotion doing it into the bargain.

I first encountered Wran boys in Fianna Road, Thurles, in the early fifties when a merry melodeon player and his fellow singers and musicians came into our kitchen and had us all soon singing popular tunes of the time such as:-  “On Top of Old Smokey”, “Red Sails in the Sunset”, “Irene, Goodnight, Irene” and other hits of the fifties. They sang and whooped and danced on the cobblestoned floor and were as merry and mirthful a company as you could ever hope to meet in a month of Sundays. They were decent people, proud to uphold their country’s ancient traditions and were rewarded with either a ‘thruppenny bit’ (a three pence coin) or a tanner (a sixpence coin) for their melodic and mirthful madness.

At first, they frightened me a little with their black polished faces and other strange attire as they carried a mock wren in a nest perched on a large bamboo stick around the streets, avenues and boreens (small roadways or lanes) of the town and district; while they sang and danced to their heart’s content. What almighty joy they bestowed on their appreciative audiences, so easily pleased in those now far off innocent days.

The perennial and mandatory favourite song of course, on La An Dreoilin (The Day of The Wren) or Stephen’s Day or Boxing Day went like this:-

“The wran, the wran, the King of all Birds,
On Stephen’s Day was caught in the Furze
Up with the kittle and down with the pan
And a penny or tuppence to bury the wran”

Such entertainment long ago usually ensured a most cordial response from the man or woman of the houses we visited, who never failed to drop at least a couple of pence (set aside for the pitch and toss) into our caps, waved in joyous anticipation under the noses of the happy people in the house.

So, let’s have an official ‘Follow the Wran Day’ to honour that immortal bird who magically, no matter how many times folks “bury” it, never fails to put in an appearance again and again on “La an Dreoilin” or St Stephen’s Day.  Sure, it wouldn’t be Christmas without our legendary feathered friend of Yuletide or Mi na Nollag.

[Tom Ryan, “Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles, County Tipperary. (Tel: 087 213100). Author of “Light Hearted Tales From The Watery Mall” ]

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Sunday 27th August 2017 – Dualla Show, Cashel, Co. Tipperary

Doing anything special on Sunday 27th August 2017 next?

Answer NO!

Well why don’t you and your family join everyone else, just 5km outside of Cashel, in Co. Tipperary, where the Dualla Show will be taking place.

Set against the picturesque backdrop of the historic 18th century Ballyowen House,  here every year you will find a broad mix of agricultural events; machinery; food stalls and kids’ entertainment.

One of this year’s big attractions this year, will be the FREE Big Top Circus – Circus Gerbola!  This year the free family and children’s entertainment will be second to none; with a FREE Big Top Circus running throughout the day, featuring clowns, jugglers, acrobats, daredevil tightrope walking, and a host of other speciality acts. The circus will perform four, forty-five-minute shows; starting at 1.00pm, so there is plenty of opportunity for everyone to view.

So too returns the incredible Tipperary Truck Show, same promising to be the biggest yet to date, with hundreds of trucks forming a true viewing spectacle.

RTE and TV3’s Chef Adrian Martin will be on hand; running cookery demonstrations throughout the day, while the Grand Prix Show Jumping and Livestock Shows will highlight the best in horses, cattle and sheep from around Ireland. This year’s livestock section alone has over 100 cattle and sheep classes, with two new classes added; Best Traditional Breeding female and Best Continental Breeding female, plus a prize of €500 cash for the Best Pair in Show. In the sheep section, exhibitors will compete in ewe, lamb, hogget and ram classes, with the highlight being the Champion Zwartbles.

For lovers of motor vehicles, the VAG Car Show is back for its second year, with some of the best in modified and classic cars.  A dedicated Volkswagen / Audi group car show that also includes Seat, Skoda and Porsche cars, will offer a rare opportunity to view some of the best in highly modified vehicles.

This year’s dog show is expected to be the biggest yet to date, with classes open to all canines, (both Mongrel and Pedigree), with two judges on hand to help get through a large number of entrants.

Featured also will be:- Modified Tractor Pulling; ‘Tug O’War’ competitions; Wrestling; a Food Village; an Emergency Services Display (Crash response re-enactments); An Auction; Local and National Trade Stand Exhibits, and most importantly a secured ‘Kidszone’, with 10 totally FREE Bouncy Castles, running non-stop, to ensure all young people are fully entertained.

The whole event is planned to ensure both you and your family enjoy a truly great one day break so looking forward to meeting with you on Sunday 27th August 2017.

Approx. Starting Times of each Event and its Duration.

09:30  Show Jumping commences – continues all day.
11:00  Tractor Pulling – continues all day.
11:30  Judging of cattle and sheep commences – continues all day.
12:45  Wrestling – 30 mins.
13:00  Circus Gerbola – 45 mins.
13:00  Tug of War commences – 3 hours.
13:30  Chef Adrian Martin – 45 mins.
13:45  Wrestling – 30 mins.
14:00  Dog Show – 2 hours.
14:15  Circus Gerbola – 45 mins.
14:30  File Services Demonstration – 30 mins.
14:45  Chef Adrian Martin – 30 mins.
15:00  Wrestling – 30 mins.
15:30  Prize Giving VAG CarFest – 15 mins.
15:45  Chef Adrian Martin –  30 mins.
16:00  Circus Gerbola – 45 mins.
16:00  Monster Auction – 1 hour.
16:15  Vintage Mementos – Presentation 15 mins.
17:00  Chef Adrian Martin – 30 mins.
17:00  Wrestling – 30 mins.
17:30  Circus Gerbola – 45 mins.

Important Notices for Visitors:
Parking:
Substantial car parking is available on site with just a short walk to the show grounds. Stewards will assist visitors on arrival.
Disability Parking and Mobility Assistance:
Disability parking is adjacent to the main entrance & the Ticket Cabin, with a very short walk to the show entrance. Here you can find disabled parking and our mobility assistance vehicle will be running all day around the main show grounds. Starting from the ticket entrance it will follow a route with a number of drop off / pick up points around the showgrounds. If you have any particular requirements please contact Michael on Mobile Tel: No. (087) 253 2406 in advance, to ensure needs where practicable, are fully met.
Food, Toilets, and other Facilities:
A food village area will provide a wide variety of hot and cold foods throughout the day.
Toilets are provided & sign posted on site.
A Baby-Changing area can be found, located behind the main stage, close to the ‘Kidszone’.

Gates will open to the public at 11.00am. Entry for adults is €15, while young people aged 16 and under are free.

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It’s International Miss Macra Festival Time Again

International Miss Macra press launch, which was held in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, last weekend.

The 46th International Miss Macra Festival 2017

This year Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra na Feirme club will celebrate the 46th anniversary of the International Miss Macra festival, to be held over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this coming August Bank Holiday weekend 2017.

Once again, this year’s festival will see girls travelling from all over the country and beyond, here to Thurles in Co. Tipperary, to compete for the honour of being crowned International Miss Macra 2017; thus succeeding the much admired 2016 winner Miss Sinead Guiney from Co. Cork.

This year again the festival will be sticking with its initial roots; remaining in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, with one new added venue on Friday night, centred in the Clonoulty community. Such is the high calibre of available venues in Thurles, that the festival this year will take place in two separate establishments both offering the very best that Thurles and Co. Tipperary has to offer e.g. ‘Coffey’s of Stouke’ on the Friday night, ‘The Dome’, Semple Stadium on Saturday and the magnificent family-run ‘Anner Hotel’ on the Sunday night and over the weekend.

Once again we welcome the tremendous support by the Anner Hotel, (Conference and Leisure Centre), latter awarded a 4 Star venue by Fáilte Ireland, which will be our primary location for this year’s ‘welcoming reception’, ‘private interviews’ and gala banquet’.  The hotel, situated on private grounds with manicured gardens is without doubt a truly beautiful, pristine location for this event, with the added bonus that its owners, the Maher brothers, are lifelong supporters of Macra na Feirme and can be thanked for facilitating the return of this festival to Thurles.

This year again Thurles will see young ladies travelling from all over Ireland and from abroad, in the hope of following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Miss Sinead Guiney (Avondhu, Co. Cork, Club).

The festival will kick-start on Friday August 4th with contestants meeting the festival committee in the Anner Hotel, Thurles.  Friday afternoon also offers contestants that rare chance to take a personal tour of the world famous Coolmore Stud Farm, followed by lunch in the Anner Hotel renowned restaurant.

Macra2016

Pictured L – R: Miss Josephine O’Dwyer, Miss Sinead Guiney (International Miss Macra 2016) and Miss Aileen Sheehan, all judged winners at the 45th International Miss Macra 2016 Festival’s Gala Banquet, held in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, last year.

Next the contestants will take part in a ‘Zumba Class’ in Clonoulty Community Hall, where contestants, host families and local people will get the chance to ‘meet and greet’ our guests; latter a long-standing tradition of this International festival.
The Friday night will be comprised of a Charity Traditional music night which allows the contestants and supporters to let their hair down and enjoy live music from the best musicians in the area, and in what will be the most enjoyable of events. Doors will open at 9:30pm sharp, with details regarding tickets available on our website.

Saturday morning heralds an intense morning for the contestants, as they must rise early and prepare for their private interviews in front of a three-person judging panel. This panel has been given the difficult task of selecting, just one young lady from the many contestants; the winner to be crowned “International Miss Macra 2017”.

Judges:
The judges for the 2017 competition this year are Mrs Joan Pollard Carew, Mr Declan Ryan and a new judge, as yet to be named, joining us this year from Radio Spin South West.  Joan Pollard Carew is representing Michael Carew Jewellers, Friar Street, Thurles, the main sponsor of the festival. Not only is Joan’s husband the main sponsor of the festival but Joan is herself a published poet and is widely known nationally in Irish Art and Irish Dancing circles. Joan and her husband also contribute greatly to the festival in terms of invaluable support, time and advice. Declan Ryan, who has held every known post of responsibility on the International Miss Macra Festival committee and also currently holds the title of President of the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra club, completes the committee. We are delighted this year to be partnering with Spin South West Radio for the entire event with DJ’s and presenters filling the roles of adjudicator and MC for the weekend’s activities.

Saturday evening’s Cabaret will take place in the Dome, Semple Stadium, Thurles, where the contestants will be interviewed on stage (two at a time), by our interviewer from Spin SW Radio.  This year, the interviews will be followed by live music from ‘The Waxies’ to which the contestants, their supporters and all those attending, can dance the night away.

Sunday morning starts with the contestants attending Mass at Clonoulty Parish Church. The choir accompanying this ceremony is comprised annually of members of Clonoulty Rossmore Macra and members of the local community. Following Mass, the contestants then take part in a family fun field day, in the Clonoulty G.A.A grounds. This enjoyable event is a mixture between a Macra Field Day and a School Sports Day. Here the contestants will have to show their worth by participating in many country-inspired activities. All this will be followed by a barbecue, (weather permitting), which will be cooked by local butcher Mr Joe Hammersley.

Sunday night is the International Miss Macra Gala Banquet in the Anner Hotel; truly the highlight of this Festival. To begin, all the contestants plus their escorts are photographed, before the champagne reception at 6.00pm. The contestants, their handsome escorts, the invaluable host-families, various supporters and Macra and non-Macra members will all sit down to enjoy a delicious five course meal.

The meal will be followed by various speeches, live music by “Silver Dollar” and dancing. At the enchanting hour of 12.00 midnight, silence will descend on the Anner Ballroom as anticipation reaches climax point; when the winner of the 2017 International Miss Macra Festival will be crowned.

As the festival now draws to a close, the entire ballroom will dance the night away, well into the early hours of Monday morning.

This event is sure to be yet another International Miss Macra festival to remember for all who make the ‘Trip to Thurles’, Co. Tipperary for this upcoming August Bank Holiday weekend. The committee of International Miss Macra look forward to seeing you all here and are more than willing and ready to give you a true taste of Tipperary hospitality and a weekend you will truly never forget.

So if we have left you wanting to know more, find us on Facebook, on Twitter or check out the Miss Macra Website for all the latest up-to-date information. If you require any further details regarding what is guaranteed to be an unforgettable weekend or if you would like to book tickets; you can contact Mr Donnacha Ryan (Festival Chairperson), on Mobile 085-7771859.

So don’t delay, book your weekend ticket, pack your dancing shoes and hit the road to Thurles, in Co. Tipperary for this August Bank Holiday weekend – it’s not a long way.

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46th Intl. Miss Macra Festival Aug Bank Holiday Thurles

International Miss Macra Secretary Ms Edel Ni Riain reports.

“Clonoulty-Rossmore Macra na Feirme are once again delighted to confirm that this year’s International Miss Macra Festival will take place over the 2017 August Bank Holiday weekend, from Friday August 4th to Sunday August 6th, inclusive, here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

This will be the Festival’s 46th year and is an exceptional representation of what just one farming organisation can achieve through hard work, determination and the full support of its local community.

This year will once again see young ladies travelling from all over Ireland and abroad, in the hope of following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Miss Sinead Guiney from Avondhu Macra Club, Co. Cork, crowned last year ‘International Miss Macra 2016.

The festival will kick off on Friday night, August 4th, with a charity night in Coffey’s of Stouke, Rossmore, Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

On Saturday night August 5th, you can join us for our Cabaret in The Dome, Semple Stadium, Thurles, while on Sunday night, August 6th, our annual Banquet takes place in the Four Star, Anner Hotel, Thurles, followed by the crowning of the winning 2017 International Miss Macra winner.”

“Looking forward to welcoming you all.”

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