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Death Has Occurred Of Comedian Brendan Grace.

It is with sadness Thurles and Tipperary residents learned this morning of the death of the much-loved comedian, actor and entertainer Mr Brendan Grace, who passed away at the aged of 68.

Born in the heart of Dublin in the inner city’s ‘Liberties’ area in 1951, he left school at the age of just 13 to begin work.

A regular visitor to Thurles, drawing massive crowds, Mr Grace had been hospitalised for the last number of weeks, while receiving treatment for pneumonia and for recently diagnosed cancer.

Mr Grace began his career in entertainment as an 18-year-old singer, joining a folk group known as “The Gingermen”. It was while with this band, he later added comedy to his list of talents, eventually turning himself into the hilarious characters of “Bottler”; “Fr Fintan Stack” and the “Father of the Bride”.

His hit songs included “Cushie Butterfield”, “Combine Harvester”, and “The Dutchman”.

In recent years although suffered from ill health, he had managed to divided his time performing between here in Ireland, England and America. In the past he supported entertainers of the magnitude of Ms Liza Minnelli, Mr John Denver, Mr Frank Sinatra and Mr Sammy Davis Junior, turning his sharp observations of daily life here in Ireland, into his hilarious brand of comedy.

As an actor, from 1995 onwards, Mr Grace starred in ‘Moondance’; ‘Father Ted’, and more recently as Big Sean in ‘Killinaskully’, before in 2015, starring in ‘The Gift’.

Adored by his fans not just in Tipperary, but all over the world, Mr Grace is survived by his wife Eileen, his children and grandchildren.

Requiescat in Pace

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Attention All Mums & Dads – Cruinniú na nÓg comes to Thurles

“A Meeting of Youth” – [Translated into the Irish language, ‘Cruinniú na nÓg’.]

Ms Suzanne Brosnan (Senior Library Assistant), Tipperary County Council Library Service, invites all our youth to let their “imagination fly with Cruinniú na nÓg”, here in Thurles Library, Cathedral Street on Saturday June 15th 2019. (That is next Saturday).

Cruinniú na nÓg represents a national day of creativity for our young people; giving them the opportunity to express themselves through a specific programme of cultural and creative activities, where they can share ideas, learn new skills while having fun.

Enjoy a day full of interactive free events for children of all age groups.

[ Note: This event is supported by the Tipperary Creative Ireland programme.]

10:30 am – 11:45 pm “Clowning Around Workshop”, hosted by Danielle Martin. A workshop for children ages 7-12 years exploring mime, comedy and lots more……

11:00 am12:00 pm Story-time”, with Sarah Tully, who believes “imagination is the magic of childhood”. Sarah will incorporate props, puppets and story sacks into her tales.

12:00 noonSummer Stars Reading Challenge” launch: A nationwide campaign promoting reader development and literacy in children.

12:00 noon – 12:30 pm“Wobbly Circus Performance”. The award-winning circus and street theatre company will provide two street performances during the day.

12:30 pm “Dance workshop” with dance instructor ‘Cerys’ from the Dwan Dance Academy, latter based in Thurles. This session is suitable for children aged 7 years and plus.

12:30 pm – 1:30 pmMobile Music School will host two workshops this first drumming session is aimed at children aged 4 – 7years. Explore the members of the percussion family and learn the importance of beat in music.

1:30 pm“Dance Workshop” with ‘Cerys’ – a fun filled lively workshop for children ages 4 years and plus.

1:30 pm2:30 pm “Mad Professor Performance”, join Niall O’Dwyer for 60 minutes of educational and fun experiments. This show will spark the imagination with mad programs and activities involving air, sound and lots more!
Session 2 of the “Mad Professor” will take place at 2:30 pm 3:30 pm.

2:30 pm3:30 pm – A 2nd session of the “Mobile Music School” suitable for children aged 8 years and plus.

3:00 pm 4:00 pm“Wobbly Circus Workshop”. Using the props provided and the guidance of excellent teachers; learn to walk the tight-wire, stilt walking, plate spinning and loads more circus skills.

4:00 pm4:30 pm“Wobbly Circus”. A final performance and a great way to end the family day.

We will also have “Pavement Art” and “Milk the Cow”; weather of course permitting, as these are outside events.

Looking forward to welcoming all in attendance.


For further Information please do contact Tel. No. 0761-06-6131

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Thurles Musical Society To Stage “Michael Collins”.

Keith O’Dwyer-Greene (Michael Collins), Marie Therese Kirby (Kitty Kiernan) and John Hayes (Harry Boland) – three of the leads in the show which has been described as “The Irish Les Mis”

PRO & Vice Chairman for Thurles Musical Society, Mr Noel Dundon, reports:-

Award winning Thurles Musical Society is delighted to be staging the Musical Drama “Michael Collins”, by arrangement with the Michael Collins Production Trust.

The show will run in The Premier Hall, Thurles from Tuesday March 26th through to Saturday March 30th inclusive, with the curtain rising each night at 8:00pm.

This truly fantastic show; described by Director Oliver Hurley as “the Irish Les Mis”, was penned by the late Bryan Flynn with musical arrangements and orchestration by David Wray, and additional vocal arrangements and original musical direction by David Hayes.

It has already been staged to great acclaim this season by Coolmine Musical Society and Oyster Lane Musical Society, and Thurles will now seek to follow in their footsteps and bring this magnificent piece of theatre to a highly expectant audiences.

Thurles and Tipperary, of course, has many connections with the real life Michael Collins and the War of Independence. Indeed, Sologheadbeg in south west Tipperary is generally accepted to have been the location for the firing the first shots of the War of Independence one centenary ago this year, and though Collins was in the United Kingdom, breaking Eamon de Valera out of jail at that time, he was to include the likes of Dan Breen, Sean Treacy and Sean Hogan as members in his hit teams; latter known as flying columns, around the country later.

Loyalties Run Deep Across Political Divides

No matter where this show is staged, there will be many local angles to it. Indeed, within the cast of Thurles Musical Society there are many links to the Michael Collins story and loyalties run deep across both sides of the political divide with currently tremendous banter and commentary within the company as pro-Collins people end up in the anti-camp, and vice-versa as a result of the bass, tenor, alto, soprano divide. Surely Bryan Flynn never anticipated such a scenario as he consigned his thoughts to paper when writing this show. Or, maybe he did?

Front Line Cast

In any event Thurles Musical Society members are really enjoying their project and with a top-class front line, which includes Keith O’Dwyer Greene as Michael Collins, Cathal O’Donoghue as Eamon de Valera, Marie Therese Kirby as Kitty Kiernan, John Hayes as Harry Boland, Peter Donnelly as Joe Emmet, Frank Tuohy, Damian Sweeney, Nina Scott and Linda Ryan as the Abbey Theatre Players, Deirdre Hayes as Mother Ireland, and Jonathan Gleeson as Cathal Brugha, not to mention many more household names playing other roles; the audience is really in for a treat.

Mary Rose McNally is at the helm as Musical Director/ Conductor while Michelle O’Connell, Tommy Sweeney, Rita Dempsey and of course Oliver Hurley complete the production team.

This musical has attracted a company of more than fifty for Thurles, and the committee and those on stage are looking forward to welcoming all those who wish to come along to enjoy what is promised to be a top class production.

Booking Office

The Ticket Booking Office is now open for this major Thurles production at Bookworm, Liberty Square, (On the junction of Liberty Square and Parnell Street in the town). Tickets can also be booked on the Thurles Society Telephone at 085 2868726.

If you do only one thing this year to cast you mind back to the time of Collins and the War of Independence, attend this show. Expect to experience a truly theatrical tour-de-force.

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David Scott To Adjudicate At Holycross Drama Festival

Australian Native, Mr David Scott will adjudicate this year at the County Tipperary Open Drama Festival in St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross, Thurles.

Local press correspondent Mr Tom Ryan now reports:

Pictured (L to R) Mr Donal Duggan (Festival Director) and Tipperary Ind. TD Mr M.Lowry

Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group and Nenagh Drama Group will be the County Tipperary representatives this year in the prestigious Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival, to be held in St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross, from March 22nd to March 30th when participating groups will bid for the “Tipperary Star” Cup in the Confined Section and the “TippFM Trophy” in the Open category.

Popular Festival Director, once again this year, is Mr Donal Duggan who together with a dedicated committee have been working diligently to maintain the proud traditional status of the “Abbeysiders” in this great festival featuring the country’s top drama groups staging some of the world’s finest drama.

Meet the Adjudicator, Mr David Scott
Mr David Scott is an Australian born actor, writer, director and acting teacher. He has worked extensively as a professional actor in both Australia and Ireland on television, stage and film, appearing in such programs as “All Saints”, “Water Rats” and “Home and Away” in Australia; “The Clinic”, “Fair City”, “Damage”, “The Tudors”, “Game of Thrones” and “The Vikings”, since his arrival here in Ireland in 2004.

He is Director of the ‘Actor’s Wednesday Workshop’ and the ‘Actor’s Friday Studio’, highly regarded part-time programmes for both developing and advanced actors. He is Director of ‘The Applied Art of Acting’, latter an intensive, single-technique three-month full-time programme for actors of exceptional ability.

Mr Scott has taught extensively in The Gaiety School of Acting, The Irish Film Academy and in many theatre companies, drama groups, schools and organisations here in Ireland, in Australia and other countries. He has also written three textbooks on acting technique, “The Beautiful Stage”, “The Art of Acting” and “The Possible Someone”.

Mr Scott is also Artistic Director of ‘Company D Theatre’, a Dublin based theatre company, focused on promoting new work, new actors and theatre artists. Company D has produced many critically acclaimed shows since its foundation in 2006, twelve of which David has written, and is one of the most highly regarded independent theatre outfits in Ireland.

He has taught actors advanced techniques since his early twenties, constantly developing his own cutting-edge approaches and exchanging with great teachers, directors and theatre and film artists. His constantly evolving work is highly valued by actors and practitioners of both theatre and film around the world

The Plays and Players who will perform in St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross

Friday, March 22nd, (Confined) ‘Eclipsed’, by Patricia Burke Brogan (Tinahealy D.G.)

Saturday, March 23rd, (Open) ‘The Lieutenant of Inishmore’, by Martin McDonagh (Kilmeen D.G.)

Sunday, March 24th, (Open) ‘What Happened Bridgie Cleary’, by Tom McIntyre (Nenagh D.G.)

Monday, March 25th, (Open) ‘The Steward of Christendom’, by Sebastian Barry (Kilrush D.G.)

Tuesday, March 26th, (Open) ‘Philadelphia Here I Come’, by Brian Friel (Brideview D.G.)

Wednesday, March 27th, (Confined) ‘The Honey Spike’, by Bryan McMahon (Tarbert D.G.)

Thursday, March 28th, (Confined) ‘Unforgiven’, by John McDwyer (Kilworth D.S.)

Friday, March 29th, (Confined) ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’, by Martin McDonagh (Holycross/Ballycahill D.G.)

Saturday, March 30th, (Confined) ‘The Righteous are Bold’, by Frank Carney (Kilmuckridge D.G.).

To all this years performers; may we use the obscure idiom, so often used in theatre circles to wish performers “good luck,” – “Break a leg” guys.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Holycross/Ballycahill – ‘Tipp Top’ in Open Drama Festival

News Flash: Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group with their production of “Bold Girls” have qualified for the All-Ireland Confined Finals of the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland; to be held in St Bridget’s Hall, Carnew, County Wicklow from Friday, April 13th to Saturday, April 21st.

Holycross/Ballycahill Are Tops in Tipp at Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival

Tom Ryan Reports:-

It’s official. The 50 year old Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group are tops in Co. Tipperary!

The winners of last year’s “Tipperary Star” Cup awarded in the Confined Section of the Co. Tipperary Drama Festival, this year have won the Dr Morris Cup for Best Tipperary Play in the Confined Section. Same was announced last Saturday night in St Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross; as a hugely successful 36th Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival drew to a close.

Ms Imelda McDonagh

Already preparations are under way for next year’s festival to be held in March, 2019.  A justifiably delighted Mr Donal Duggan, (Festival Director), thanked everybody who had contributed in any way to the success of the festival.

The “Tipperary Star Cup” in the Confined Section went to Curtain Call Productions, Dungarvan, with Neil La Bute’s “Some“Girls”.

The “Hannifin Cup” for Most Entertaining Play went to Conna Drama Group’s “Caught in the Net” and the Gallagher Award for Most Promising Actor/Actress, went to Lilly Heindich Doyle (Gorey).  Ms Jenny Bracken of the Holycross/Ballycahill Group, latter who are having a very successful year, winning many awards nationwide, won Best Actress Award for her role as
“Marie” in “Bold Girls”, to further add to other best actress awards won by this very talented Thespian.

Jacqui Lacey was nominated for Best Supporting Actress Award. Miriam Lanigan, Paddy Connolly and Conor O’Connell of Holycross /Ballycahill won an Adjudicator’s award for Imaginative and Atmospheric Lighting.

The Tipp FM Trophy for the Open Section winners was won by Bridge View, Tallow, for their truly delightful “Stolen Child” by Yvonne Quinn and Bairbre Ni Chaoimh.

Nenagh DG were second with “Duet For One”, while Thurles Drama Group were third with Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”.  Mary Bowe, playing Elvira in “Blithe Spirit” won Best Actress Award for Thurles Drama Group.  Martin Fitzgerald was nominated for Best Actor and Liam Ryan was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in “Blithe” Spirit”, while Anne O’ Dwyer won the Josie Slattery Trophy for Best Overall Set. Sandra Dunne was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Award.

Kevin Walshe of Nenagh DG was nominated for Best Actor Award and Ciara O’Sullivan of Nenagh for Best Actress Award (Open).

The Tipperary successful Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group and Dr Morris Cup winners, comprised  Elaine O’ Dwyer, Jenny Bracken, Joanne O’Neill and Jacqui Lacey, while Claire Ryan was Director. And they and their hard-working stage crew deserve many accolades. As, indeed, do all groups who participated with a wide ranging selection of top plays over the nine days of delightful theatre, a credit to rural Tipperary.

Hopefully this prestigious festival will ever receive all the support it so richly deserves.
The festival attracted theatre enthusiasts from all over Tipperary and other counties who lavished praise on the organising committee.  It was pointed out that The Tipperary and Doonbeg Drama Festivals are the only ones to feature the playing of our national anthem. And in Holycross, Martin (“Marty”) O’Neill can be proud of his dedication in this regard. He always plays “Amhrán na bhFhiann” nightly before the plays ever get under way.

The Festival committee led by Mr Donal Duggan, Festival Director, who was MC nightly, won praise from popular adjudicator, Ms Imelda McDonagh, who was a richly informative voice nightly and very helpful to groups with vast experience at her disposal.

County Tipperary Drama Festival Committee 2018
President: V Rev Fr. Celsius Tierney, Parish Priest of Holycross/Ballycahill; Chairman: Tommy Lanigan; Festival Director: Donal Duggan; Treasurer: Maudie Bourke; Secretary; Claire Ryan; P.R.O:Geraldine O’Neill; Sponsorship: Ger O’Dwyer; Raffle: Diana Lacey; Technical: Marty O’Neill and Paddy Connolly; Committee: Peg Ryan, Elaine O’Dwyer, Derek Doherty.

A special subcommittee comprises :
Jack Henchion, John Glasheen, Aisling Henchion, Gerry Kennedy.

Attendance at the festival included:
“Tipperary Star” Sports Editor, Brian McDonnell, John Quinlan (Moyne), Martin, Mary and Anna Fitzgerald (Holycross), Marian Burke (Holycross), Tim Curran and his daughter Rachel (Thurles), Fintan O Gorman (Athnid), Denis Carroll (Clonoulty), Tom Quinlan (Ballyhcahill), Gerard J Hough (Cashel), author John G O ‘Dwyer (Thurles), Nora and Mary Maher (Thurles), Mairead Ryan (Holycross), Patrick Crowe, (Thurles), Siobhan Kelly (Thurles), Josephine O’Gorman (Thurles), Tommy Kennedy (Thurles), Mike Hennessy (Tipperary Mid-West Radio), and his wife, Breda, Dolores Purcell (Athnid), Tom and Margaret Purcell (Littleton), James Finn, and Geraldine O’Neill (Tipp FM), Kitty Devane (Clonoulty) and her daughter Edel.

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