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International Miss Macra Festival – Girl From A Country Place.

With the International Miss Macra Festival, taking place here in Thurles this coming August Bank Holiday weekend, it is not surprising that Mr Tom Ryan (Tipperary Journalist, award winning poet, playwright and short story writer), should take this opportunity to reflect on the 46 years of this festival; producing a poem of serious reflection; nay an appreciative accolade, to all the elegant country lasses / contestants, who have in the past, and will into the future, take part in this most prestigious of rural events.

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.

Girl From A Country Place. 
By Tom Ryan. ©

Girl from a country place,
Loveliest in the isle,
Enchanting in your grace,
Elegant in your style.

How shall I call you beautiful?
How describe your art?
Breath of heaven about you,
Proud courage in your heart.

Loving the fields that bore you,
Faithful to home and hearth,
Always gentle for others
Struggling here on earth.

Never afraid to smile
Whatever the time or place,
Dignified all the while,
Resolution in your face.

Nature your guide and friend,
Its beauty like your own,
Something never to end,
Till Heaven call you home.

Girl from a country place,
Loveliest of all,
Everything you touch is grace,
And even magical.

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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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Tipperary – The Place – The Time – Thurles

“Historians have failed miserably to record notable facts, particularly regarding significant happenings in American history”, said Ethan Fernandez a Spanish American tourist who was visiting Thurles last week.  Mr Fernandez was having lunch in the Arch Bar, in Liberty Square, and was querying what holiday makers actually got up to in rural Co. Tipperary.

Regular customer and local historian, Mikey Ryan just happened to be in for his normal liquid lunch, when he heard the verbal query, aimed at no customer in particular, issue from the lips of Mr Fernandez.  “Begod”, said Mickey, “It’s not widely known, particularly in America, but the British Royal Family actually originally came from this neck of the woods.”

And so the conversation began; “You here in Ireland will not be aware that Geronimo, the once prominent leader and medicine man of the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, in his teenage years, having proven his bravery, was ordered to choose a wife”, began Mr Fernandez.

“He searched carefully through his village, eventually choosing the most beautiful of squaws (Squaw meaning ‘woman’) by the name of Chee-hash-kish and a couple of days prior to his wedding day, he rode his pony from ‘Turkey Creek’ to the ‘Indian Rock’ trading post, informing the proprietor that; “I am marrying the most beautiful squaw in my tribe and I wish to purchase a very special wedding gift for her.”

Mr Fernandez continued; “The trading post proprietor thought carefully, before suggesting a large soft buffalo hide, Now price agreed and purchase made, Geronimo following his wedding, rolled up in his buffalo hide each night with his new squaw.”

“Soon Geronimo, because of his continued bravery, was allowed by his tribe’s elders to take a second wife. Once again he searched carefully through his village, eventually choosing the most beautiful of squaws available; her name Heavier-than-air.”

“Once again, some days prior to his wedding, Geronimo galloped his pony to the ‘Indian Rock’ trading post, informing the proprietor that; “I am marrying the most beautiful squaw in my tribe and I wish to purchase a very special wedding gift to present to her.”

In an atmosphere in the Arch Bar, where you could hear a pin drop Mr Fernandez continued; “Aware of the gift to his first wife, the trading post owner suggested a beautiful bear hide, which Geronimo eagerly accepted”.

“As every historian is aware Geronimo went on to become the Chief of his Indian nation, thus earning himself the right to select a third wife; her name Zi-yeh. Jumping on his pony, some few days prior to his wedding, he again galloped to ‘Indian Rock’ trading post, informing the proprietor;  “Last month I became big Chief of my Indian nation, I soon will marry the most beautiful squaw in my tribe and I wish to purchase a very special wedding gift to give her.”

“The proprietor offered him a rare tanned hippopotamus hide, the only known article of its type in America, with the promise that it would never wear out. Pleased with his gift he returned to his village to marry his third wife”.

“Some weeks later Geronimo decided to finally settle down, but not before making the conscious decision to start a family. And true to his promise some weeks later all three squaws announced that they were pregnant.  When they gave birth some nine months later, the squaw on the buffalo hide had given birth to a baby girl, while the squaw on the bear hide had given birth to a baby boy. The squaw however on the hippopotamus hide had given birth to twins; a baby boy and a baby girl.”

“Now this Mr Ryan is what mathematical students will not be aware of today, solely due to the dismal failure of historians”, said Mr Fernandez, cutting the air with his index finger, “this important occurrence further confirms the earlier geometrical theory, by the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who first proved that the Squaw on the Hippopotamus is Equal to the Sum of the Squaws on the other two Hides.”

“Sure, mine is a pint of Guinness”, said Mickey, “that’s if you’re buying.”

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Planning Granted For Redevelopment of Cashel Palace Hotel

Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

It has been confirmed by Deputy Mr Michael Lowry TD, that planning for the redevelopment of the Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, has, this week, been granted in full.

Readers will remember that Trevester Ltd; a joint venture between the Magnier family and a group of International investors, acquired the valuable property in late 2015; which had closed without warning in 2014.

This development group also acquired the famous Cashel pub ‘Mikey Ryan’s’; which is adjacent to the hotel gardens. Refurbishment work has already started on the pub, which is due to reopen in the 3rd quarter of 2017, and will employ 25 people.

The completion of this project will ensure that the iconic Cashel Palace will once again become the heartbeat of the town as a vibrant, high quality, service provider for both locals and visiting tourists alike.

This welcome development, when fully complete will provide in total 61 bedrooms, together with top grade function facilities, a Spa & Leisure Centre, restaurants and hotel Taverns.

The construction phase will involve 100 people working on the project, which will take 18 to 24 months to fully complete.  On completion, the hotel will employ a further 100 employees; 40 of which will be retained on a full-time basis.

In addition to the expansion of the hotel, the proposal will deliver a 3-acre town park as set out in the Cashel Development Plan and further enable the reinstatement of the famed ‘Bishop’s Walk’, allowing connectivity from the Rock of Cashel to the town centre.

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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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