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A Beacon Of Hope For Lost Causes

Remember Ireland’s National Heritage Week 2019 begins August 17th – August 25th.

To the less well informed, he appears to be carrying a Hurley stick, and this comes as no surprise since his icon is to be found in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, latter the undisputed home of hurling.

He is regularly a point of focus; visited on numerous occasions daily here in the Cathedral of the Assumption Thurles, since he is also the Patron Saint of hope for ‘hopeless cases and lost causes.’

Indeed, for this latter reason we understand many hurling supporters from Co. Laois have made a pilgrimage here to Thurles Cathedral this week, hoping for a better outcome, but in the knowledge that they will be forced to do battle with the mighty Tipperary hurling selection next Sunday. 🤣 🤣 🤣

All jesting aside, the Saint to whom I refer of course is St. Jude (Judas Thaddaeus), one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. A farmer by trade; St. Jude according to legend, was the son of Clopas and Mary of Clopas, herself a sister of the Virgin Mary, latter the mother of Jesus.

St. Judas Thaddaeus became known as simply St. Jude after early translators of the New Testament sought to disassociate his similar name totally from that of another apostle named as Judas Iscariot; subsequently abbreviating his forename. The Bible informs us that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ to “a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people”, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in Jerusalem.

The icon of St. Jude (Judas Thaddaeus) can be located over to the right-hand-side, as the visitor faces the Tabernacle in Thurles Cathedral; displayed in one of the many beautiful stained-glass windows, designed and manufactured by Franz Mayer & Co of Munich, Germany. And no, he is not carrying a Hurley stick in his right hand, rather he holds a Hurley shaped club, the symbol or attribute of what was to be his eventual martyrdom.

The window asks for prayers for Anastasia Hayes, Thurles.

After Jesus Christ’s death and following his precise command, (“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”), Saint Jude began preaching the Gospel in Judea, Samaria (Palestine), Idumaea (Jordan), Syria, Mesopotamia (Iraq, Kuwait) and Libya.
He was to suffer martyrdom about 65 AD in Beirut, Syria, together with the apostle Simon the Zealot, (the Zealot – to distinguish him from Simon Peter).

Sometime after his death, his body was brought from Beirut to Rome and placed in a crypt in St. Peter’s Basilica. Today, his bones are in the left transept of St. Peter’s Basilica under the main altar of St. Joseph in one tomb with the remains of the apostle Simon the Zealot.

It should be noted that almost all Christian Saints were traditionally represented in visible format by a symbol or attribute, usually carried in their hand. These symbols associated with their life, made them easily identifiable in the past to the vast majority of earlier pilgrims, whom then would have been mostly illiterate.

If you look closely at the stained-glass icon of St Jude (see picture above); just directly above his head and under his halo you will observe a narrow strip of mustard yellow, coloured glass. Same possibly representing his presence at Pentecost, (Whit Sunday or Whitsun) when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles who were also present.

On the Thurles icon, St Jude is depicted holding in his left hand a book, said to be the ‘Epistle of Jude’, latter containing only 25 verses and to be found in the penultimate (second last) book of the New Testament series of writings.

The surname Thaddeus means ‘generous’, ‘courageous’ or ‘kind’. It is not therefore surprising that still today millions of people throughout our world and in today’s often confused and disorderly times, chat to him. Same are most often seeking a safe path away from incurable diseases found to be outside the reach of modern medical science. Their problem may be one of extreme poverty; mental depression; associated family distress or feelings of utter helplessness.

“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”. – St Mark Chapter 9: Verse 23.


Leading Sport Figure Arrested & Questioned In Tipperary Town Garda Station.

According to reports by Irishexaminer.com and Independent.ie, a leading civilian sports figure is the latest suspect to be arrested in a long-running undercover probe into Garda corruption by the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI).

To-date the investigation has already led to the arrest and suspension of at least three senior members of an Garda Síochána, including a Superintendent, an Inspector and a Detective, back last May.

We understand that the newly arrested suspect was questioned for a number of hours in Tipperary Town Garda station on Thursday of this week, following the arrest that morning by detectives from the GNBCI.

This latest arrest concerns an individual in their early 50’s, latter suspected of being the channel through which information was supplied direct from certain Garda members; and conveyed to known members of a Munster organised crime gang. Some of this channelled information was said to have compromised planned raids and seizures by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) on premises and homes of criminals residing both in Limerick City and County as well as here in County Tipperary.

The suspect arrested on Thursday morning last was released on Thursday night, following interrogation, however more arrests are now expected to follow.


Munster Final Colour

Munster Final Colour

Courtesy of Thurles Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

Hats and colours, blue & gold and green,
Munster’s hurling men are set for battle bold.
As ash and leather clash on field of green
A Cuchulainn – ancient story will be told.
Memories of “blind fiddlers” and Gaelic tunes of glee,
We walked the Ennis Road past ‘Jarveys’ in the sun,
Shirt-sleeved, sandwiches in hand, and oh so happily,
We marched to see great hurling deeds well done.
The flags, the teams, the march round with the band,
The hush the anthem and cheers to heaven soar.
The glory that the overhead and the first time pull demand,
And man for man for glory for an hour,
We cared not for the morrow or what fortune sent,
But win or lose or draw to know what hurling meant.


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


Tribute To Tipperary Senior Hurlers.

A tribute to Tipperary’s senior hurlers, fresh from the pen of poet Mr Tom Ryan and dedicated to Liam Sheedy and our mighty Tipperary men, togged out in the blue and gold.

Tribute To Tipperary Senior Hurlers
Courtesy of Thurles Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

“By Leeside you held our colours high
In gallant glorious fray against the Red
Scorned the pride of the ancient enemy,
Hurled with blood and muscle, heart and head.
Tipperary men by bold tradition brave,
No time for reputations or renown.

Who for Tipperary and her homes engrave
A glory that is greater than a crown,
Cry the fainthearted, “Tipperary hurling dead”
No! tis alive with fiercely wondrous will.
Proud wear the blue and gold upon your head,
Tipperary men are hurling warriors still”.


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


Planning For Semple’s Field In Thurles Placed On Hold

Tipperary County Council have decided to seek further planning information regarding a new multi-million Euro plan to transform the Kinane Stand at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Same is required by the council before granting their consent to planning proposals to an area, possibly better known as ‘The Old Stand’.

It had been expected that the council’s final decision would have been made known today, but further confirmation is now being sought on this proposal, through Wilson Architecture, Cork; latter commissioned to put together the initial planning application.

The Kinane Stand (Old Stand) area, with an existing holding capacity for some 14,500 sports fans, was last upgraded 12 years ago as part of a then major refurbishment project; same undertaken at a cost understood to have been in the region of €18 million.

Under this new planing application it was envisaged that an extra floor could be built to include the installation of changing rooms; a gym; physiotherapy space; a kitchen; stores; media rooms and a welcoming area.

These plans, initially lodged last April, involved the reconfiguration of the present ground floor seating area; including turnstiles; the construction of a new exit gate, together with three service hubs, latter providing access for wheelchair-accessible turnstiles to the upper floor area.