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February 2016
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Lowry Salutes Purchase Of Cashel Palace Hotel.

DSC_0144Tipperary Independent TD, Mr Michael Lowry has welcomed the news that the sale of the historic Cashel Palace Hotel has now been successfully concluded. “The substantial investment involved in this transaction is most positive news, not just for the town of Cashel, but also for tourism service providers throughout the county of Co. Tipperary and surrounding counties” stated Lowry.

Speaking yesterday Deputy Lowry said that he is pleased to have had the opportunity to assist and encourage this project from conception to conclusion.

“I am extremely impressed by the dedicated commitment given by the new purchasers; to restoring and expanding their latest acquisition as a commercial venture and in particular their enthusiasm in planning to make the existing hotel an integral part of the town, thus boosting, not just the present local economy but others further afield”, stated Deputy Lowry

Confirming the identification of the purchasing consortium, Deputy Lowry stated “Both the Magnier and O’Brien families have had a long and treasured association with the Cashel Place Hotel. It has been a pleasure to meet with their partner in this business, Mr. Teo AH Khing, (Mr Teo Ah Khing is the architect who designed the fabulous grandstand at Meydan in Dubai; latter truly an extraordinary architectural feat.) who is an impressive International businessman with interests already in the hospitality sector. The consortium are currently formulating exciting plans for their new acquisition, latter which will bring about enormous value to Cashel and indeed the surrounding areas.”

Deputy Lowry continued, “The Rock of Cashel remains a renowned ‘International Jewel’ within the Irish tourism sector, attracting over 300,000 visitors annually to Co. Tipperary. In the past, the town centre has not truly reaped the full benefits financially  normally associated with this high volume of tourist traffic.

Indeed from a tourism perspective Cashel has had a major infrastructure deficit. In the past it did not have the necessary capacity to accommodate a fraction of the visitors, who may have wished to ‘halt awhile’ in this historic town and to explore the many other magnificent visitor attractions not just in Cashel, but in Co. Tipperary, now being marketed as a fully con-joined county.

The appointed design team and archaeological specialists now have developed an exciting vision which will include and respect the traditions and heritage associated with Mikey Ryan’s Pub. They are having regular on-going discussions with senior management in Tipperary County Council and other appropriate state agencies.

The design team are familiarising themselves with the Cashel town plan, latter which emphasises the benefit of closer connectivity between the actual Rock of Cashel and the town which has developed ‘neath its shadow. They are confident that plans can be achieved through the reconfiguration of parking, improved access to the town and newly recreated pedestrian walkways”.

Michael Lowry is confident that the new owners of the Cashel Palace are more than willing to co-operate where practical, with the implementation of any future envisioned Cashel town plan.

“This is a most welcome development by this consortium, who have not just the financial resources, but also the vision, commitment and expertise to ensure and future sustain this acquired hotel amenity well into the future. The hospitality and catering on offer under this new plan will bring lasting long-term benefits to the economy of the whole town of Cashel”, concluded Michael Lowry, T.D.

Lowry Calls On Tipperary Tourism Providers To Reach Out

Independent TD Deputy Michael Lowry has called on all Tipperary Tourism Providers, in communities throughout Co. Tipperary, to “Reach Out”.

Speaking recently on the subject of Tipperary Tourism, Deputy Michael Lowry TD has called on all urban and rural communities, across Co. Tipperary, to familiarise themselves with the website “Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO)” (http://www.irelandxo.com/) and to become fully involved locally, through the many voluntary roles offered.

The Independent Deputy stated;  “Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO)” is a volunteer-based, non-profit initiative which can build lasting links between the widely spread global Diaspora; estimated at some 70 million people of Irish decent, many of whom can, through past family discussion, already identify with their particular parish of origin here in Co. Tipperary.”

“The ‘Ireland Reaching Out’ website is simple but intelligent, based on the idea of ‘involved reverse genealogy’. So instead of waiting for our global Tipperary Diaspora to trace their roots themselves, Ireland XO volunteers can network directly with people from around Tipperary in their local communities. By doing so local communities can assist in building bridges between the present and the past; through connecting people with their Irish home parishes and discovering very often lost ancestry. This in turn will results in badly needed tourism being attracted to all areas of Tipperary; while creating some small, yet instant full time and part time employment in the county through our excellent Hotel Accommodation, B&B’s, Restaurants, Museums and Visitor Centres”, stated Lowry.

“Tipperary published brochures, while necessary to some degree, can be no substitute, in our modern day Ireland, for on-line world-wide-web marketing. With the unset of the new tourism initiative ‘Ireland’s Ancient East”, focused on heritage and history and themed along the four pillars of; Ancient Ireland; Early Christian Ireland; Medieval Ireland and Anglo Ireland, there is a very grave possibility that our northern Tipperary countryside; north of the Rock of Cashel & Holycross, will remain somewhat neglected” continued Lowry.

“To-date, Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) has helped thousands of Irish people discover the history of their long lost relatives, their existing families, endevering to reconnect them, where possible, with their Irish parish / community of origin. Whether people have emigrated recently or have never set foot on our sandy shores, Irish people will always welcome visitors from all over the world and particularly those who share an existing affinity for our rich and varied Tipperary heritage. It should therefore remain our aim to assist those now resident abroad to return and discover the real story of their families, their past history and reconnect them with the Tipperary of 2016.” concluded Michael Lowry.

Wind Turbines In Scenic Tipperary Gets Green Light

spire“Wind turbines may not be a big issue in the centre of Dublin.” – Westmeath TD Robert Troy.

Dublin we understand has spent one million Euro re-branding itself from ‘Dirty Aul Town’ to, despite its unprecedented current daily carbon emissions, ‘Dublin – A breath of Fresh Air.’

Perhaps now is the time to attach a Wind Turbine to the ‘Stiletto in the Ghetto’, – the ‘Nail in the Pale,’ – the ‘Pin in the Bin,’ also sometimes known as the ‘Millenium Spire’, rising above Dublin’s O’Connell Street.  This Spire, were such wind equipment to be installed, could then be re-branded ‘The Gale in the Pale’.

Certainly the introduction of a wind turbine would grant Dublin’s visiting overcharged tourists a more deceptive view of our green, clean, modern environment; its blades permanently spinning, aided by never ending hot air being exhaled by certain elected representatives in our present Cabinet.

Down here in Tipperary, where the buses no longer run; which is also home to the emotional Minister for ‘Waterworks’, Mr Alan Kelly, increasing public frustrations are being regularly expressed on five major pre-election issues, identified as currently destroying our rural economy.

These issues refer to; (A) The most cost-effective way we introduced Irish water charges; (B) The proposed construction of a 165km water pipeline to be located south of Lough Derg on the Tipperary side of the Parteen Basin, to suck water across Ireland for seriously dehydrated Dublin residents; (C) The unwarranted introduction of Property Tax on people regardless of their ability to pay; (D) Absence of rural GP care, due to the removal by this government of the Rural Practice Allowance for doctors; (E) and finally Wind Turbine Farming ventures, one in particular proposed for scenic ‘Keeper Hill’ in the Silvermines Mountains, by ESB Wind Development Ltd and Coillte.  Keeper Hill, by the way, marks the highest point of rural North Tipperary and is one of Ireland’s highest scenic inland mountains; but who outside of Tipperary gives a ‘Tinkers Curse’?

Issues (A), (B), (C) and (D) we will leave alone just for the moment and deal exclusively with issue surrounding (E); Wind Turbine Farming close to Keeper Hill.

I believe it was Charles Stewart Parnell who once prophesied that when Irish men got ownership of land, the boundaries of their farms would become the boundaries of their country. The high lease payments being offered by developers to poorer upland farmers for permission to erect destructive unsightly wind turbines on their properties, now confirms Parnells worst fears and identifies a major problem for rural Tipperary.  Those offered leases by developers are not taking into account the natural beauty of the landscapes they own, the views of their neighbours or the future real destruction of a slow growing Irish tourism industry.

Minister Kelly stated publicly last week that ‘he is confident’ (well he would say that, wouldn’t he) that the Government will produce details of a new ‘set-back’ distance for future wind turbines, prior to the Spring 2016 General Election. Question is; will his proposed changes to current rules governing wind turbine farming make any difference to Ms Edel Grace, Grouse Hall, Milestone, Thurles, Co. Tipperary or environmental consultant Peter Sweetman, Bunahowen, Cashel, Co Galway? Will changes make any difference to Tipperary in attracting tourism or to the other current residents and rare wildlife who share our planet, presently residing in the full view of picturesque Keeper Hill, Co. Tipperary?

This past week Tipperary’s Edel and Galway’s Peter lost their High Court case, brought in their lonely attempt to highlight the catastrophic adverse impact wind turbines will have on the locale of the Hen Harrier population. The High Court was made aware that some 400 acres of this rare bird’s natural foraging habitat would be irrevocably destroyed by the presence of such wind turbines.   [To Hell with Hen Harriers, we can live without them, can’t we?.]

The couple also argued that a proper environmental impact assessment had not been carried out and this planned, proposed development; would significantly detract from the protected view of Keeper Hill, Co. Tipperary.   [To Hell with environmental impact assessments, more EU red tape. Who invited them to stick their noses into Irish affairs – just keeping sending us the eco-innovation and biodiversity cheques?]

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and an inspector on behalf of An Bord Pleanála had both recommended that permissions regarding this wind farm should be refused.    [To Hell with governmental and independent bodies, what right have they to be interfering in our greedy grabbing financial affairs, just hand over the grant aided  funding?]

Despite the Court applicants both claiming that the original permissions granted breached the EU Habitats Directive and the EU Environment Impact Assessment Directive, Mr Justice Raymond Fullan refused to refer a decision permitting the development of this planned wind farm to the European Court of Justice. He also refused to certify that the case raised points of law of such exceptional importance that it was in the public’s interest that same be further determined by a Court of Appeal.

This decision now clears the way for the planned unsightly development of this wind farm, which comprises; 16 turbines each 127 meters high; together with access tracks; an electrical transformer station; control buildings and a substation close to Edel Grace’s private home in Co Tipperary.

The contentious issue of erecting rural wind turbines dominated ‘Leaders Questions’ in our national parliament, Dáil Éireann, last Thursday, leading to angry exchanges and as usual no answers. From these exchanges the general public did glean that the facts around wind turbines was a ‘bone of contention’ between Labour Minister Alan Kelly and his Cabinet Labour colleague, Dublin-Rathdown Communications Minister Alex White. It appears that an urbanised Minister White is adamant that the development of more onshore wind turbines must be strongly supported within rural Ireland; warning that overly rigorous rural planning guidelines could result in Ireland missing EU renewable energy targets, thus leaving our country liable for massive fines. It appears that a Rural Ireland must continue to suffer to ensure ‘Urban Progress’ and ‘Urban Job Creation’.

Robert Troy, Fianna Fáil’s Children’s spokesperson argued strongly that such turbine development may not be a big issue in the centre of Dublin city, but that rural Ireland are deeply and understandably worried over the continuous impact of such wind farm developments in rural areas. Some rural groups, which are understood to include major figures involved in Ireland’s equine industry, have been demanding that the Government immediately introduce significant ‘set-back distances’ and rightly regulate future turbine construction.

Any new rules if introduced are expected to increase the minimum distance between these noisy, ground vibrating, eye-sores (which are currently supposed to stands a mere 500m from a private home), while continuing to destroy natural areas of scenic beauty and drastically reduce the market value of existing private residences. Wind energy companies are also expected to be halted in the construction of Mega-Wind Turbines into the future, from reaching heights of higher than 170m.

Alan Kelly made promises, also prior to the 2011 General Election, in relation to rural Ireland and his native Co. Tipperary; e.g. Employment, Industry, Tourism. Now five years on and despite his own personal elevation to the post of Deputy Labour Party Leader, not even one of his promises have ever materialised.

No doubt the posters for 2016 will again read;  VOTE NO 1Alan Kelly – Labour Party.

B&B Road Trip To Feature Thurles Area

Last Monday night marked the half-way point of the popular TV series, “Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip“, featuring Daniel and Majella O’Donnell. The UTV Ireland series saw more than half a million people or 19% share of Ireland’s TV viewing audience across Ireland, tuning in to view last week’s programme.

Daniel and his Thurles native wife Majella spend the night at John and Norah Egan’s B&B (Inch House) situated on their farm in Inch, Bouladuff, Thurles, latter a Georgian building, constructed originally back in 1720.

Click Here To view video shown below in HD

Daniel and Majella are proving to be a huge hit amongst TV audiences of all ages and their episode on next Monday night (16th November) will feature the Thurles area of Co Tipperary. This broadcast will go out at 8:00pm and feature a segment from this year’s “Cut Loose Country Music Festival”, where headline act Nathan Carter invites Daniel to join him for a song.

Remember to tune in on Monday night (16th November) next at 8:00pm

Launch Of Upperchurch-Drombane Historical Journal 2015

“Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield! How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not ambition mock their useful toil, Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile, The short and simple annals of the poor.”

[Extract from a poem by Thomas Gray – “Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard]

Tipperary’s new Senior Hurling manager, Michael Ryan, will officially launch the eagerly awaited 2015 Upperchurch-Drombane Historical Journal this Saturday night Nov. 7th in Upperchurch Hall, starting at 8:00pm. This sixth annual publication, in this very successful series, has stories, poems and photographs dealing with many aspects of the history and heritage of the parish and indeed the frequent and continuous demand for back volumes prove the lasting value of each past publication.

UCH2015cover-(2)-1

Martin Greene, Dooree, Upperchurch, Co. Tipperary, at work.

At this official launch there will be a short talk about the history of local emigration by a regular contributor to the Journal, Eugene Shortt. Same will be followed by discussion and a question and answer session. Stories and accounts from the floor are always much welcomed at such events.

While tales of G.A.A. sports have historically been the most prominent locally, the book this year puts the spotlight on other sports where there were local connections, e.g. American Gerry Britt, a frequent visitor whose ancestors came from the area and who has published an account of his travels in Ireland, writes about the famous baseball player and manager John McGraw, who dominated the game in the USA in the early years of the last century. McGraw’s father had parents who emigrated from the parish.

The victory of locally owned ‘Rugged Lucy’ in the 1981 Galway Plate is recalled by John Ryan (C) while Tom Quinlan writes about the three Irish Senior Soccer Internationals, Shane Long, Seamus McDonagh and Mike Milligan whose ancestors were local. Billy Clancy writes about one of the greatest ever scandals in greyhound racing; which occurred sixty five years ago, involving a greyhound from Upperchurch, which today has a street in England named after it.

Sports including handball and racquet ball also feature in Paddy Dwyer’s reminiscences entitled “Gortahoola Memories”, along with the story of Gortahoola School, latter which operated for only nineteen years. ‘Courting’ (That period in a couple’s relationship which precedes marraige.) might also be considered a type of ‘sport’ by some and in verse Ned Harrington describes the goings on at the Metal Bridge Platform, in more innocent times.

A hundred years ago Ned’s grandfather John wrote a stirring patriotic ode to the green flag of Ireland, which demonstrated an encyclopaedic knowledge of Irish history, and the poem is given in full. Also on a patriotic theme, Thomas Fogarty tells of a few local connections with the 1916 rising, which also includes is the first half of Paddy Kinnane’s statement to the Bureau of Military History concerning his involvement in the War of Independence. The final part of the ‘Eamon an Chnoic‘ play is also in this new publication, as well as a continuation examining the local burial records.

Andy Byrne completes his list of local musicians and reproduces the happenings of a hundred years ago from the newspaper archives. Among the hundreds of religious and missionaries, the parish produced, were seven priests from the O’Rourke family and Joan Ryan gives a short account of each of them.

Nowadays we take for granted and frequently complain about our road networks, failing to appreciate the hardships suffered by our ancestors in putting them there in the first place; using pick, shovel, horse and cart. Eugene Shortt has researched the subject and gives the details of the various roads, fences, bridges and gullets and who put them there and when. There is also an account of the legal case concerning the Mulgrave Bridge at Drombane Creamery, which was built on a disputed land site and the ensuing tragic aftermath.

Like the road networks, it took centuries of work and nurturing to bring our agricultural land to its present state of fertility. One of the big breakthroughs was the introduction of lime from kilns and Frankie Shortt describes the process of burning lime in the various local kilns. Eamonn Ryan also deals with the subject in later years when lime from Killough Quarry became available. He also recounts early drivers and their cars and the impact of Hogan’s bus service together with wartime shortages.

All are welcome to attend this launch on Saturday night and this latest publication will be available from the usual outlets from Sunday onwards. Overseas buyers can of course order online from www.upperchurch.ie.

Wherever you reside today, this latest publication promises to be a truly heart warming read on the long expected winter nights ahead.

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