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SuperValu’s TidyTown’s Award Comes To Tipperary

Birdhill, Co. Tipperary, Tidy Towns Winners 2017 & Ireland’s Tidiest Village.

The village of Birdhill (Irish: Cnocán an Éin Fhinn, or the Hill of the Fair Bird) in North, West Co. Tipperary has beaten off stiff competition, to be named overall winner of the Tidy Towns 2017 competition, (Sponsored by SuperValu) with 332 points.

No Graffiti Here.
Situated off the N7 motorway, midway between Limerick city and Nenagh, and overlooking Lough Derg; Birdhill received a double accolade by also being named ‘Ireland’s Tidiest Village’.

SuperValu Managing Director Mr Martin Kelleher paid tribute to the winners and indeed all 870 other towns and villages and their communities who had entered the competition during the current year.

Birdhill’s Tidy Town’s Committee are no strangers to community awards, with the village previously named “Tidiest Village” in the Tidy Towns Awards in recent years; e.g. 2006, 2007, 2008 and again in 2016. They also won a gold medal in the European Entente Florale competition back in 20o7.

Tidy Towns (Irish: Bailte Slachtmhara) is an annual competition here in Ireland, first begun back in 1958, organised through the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and currently sponsored by SuperValu. The overall aim is to honour the tidiest and most attractive cities, towns and villages throughout the country.

The Competition is judged during the summer months May – August, using independent adjudicators, who issue each town / community with a written report, latter highlighting positive advancement and offering future recommendations on how each area can further improve their immediate surroundings.

Representatives from Birdhill’s Tidy Towns Committee picked up their trophy and a cheque for €10,000 in Dublin this morning.

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Austrian Investor Purchases Anner Hotel

Anner Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Weeks of speculation locally that the Anner Hotel, Dublin Road, Thurles was about to change hands, was confirmed on Sunday last with the news that Capital Investment Fund plc., latter owned by Austrian Invester Mr Thomas Roeggla, has indeed purchased the property.

Capital Investment Fund plc. already own several hotel here in Ireland including:- Mount Wolsey, Tullow, Co. Carlow; Aghadoe Heights, Killarney, Co. Kerry; Metro Hotel, Dublin Airport, Santry Cross, Ballymun Rd, Ballymun, Co. Dublin; Diamond Coast, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo; Cavan Crystal Hotel, Dublin Road, Cavan and Farnham Estate Spa & Golf Club, Coras Point, Co. Cavan.

The 95 bedroomed Anner Hotel was rescued from receivership status, in February 2014 last, by the local Maher brothers; namely Michael, Seamus and P.J., latter with extensive development and legal experience.

Over the past three years the brothers completed a total refurbishment of the property, raising its standards to that of a highly acclaimed 4 Star Hotel. With wonderful landscaped gardens ideal for photo opportunities, and banqueting facilities offering a varied selection of menus, the Anner Hotel Thurles soon became renowned not just as a popular wedding venue, but also an inescapable stop over for those wishing to avoid, for a time at least, the hectic pace of city life.

The handover of the property is expected to take place slowly over the coming weeks, to ensure that all confirmed future business contracted, remains totally uninterrupted.

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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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