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A Day Out In Historic Thurles Costs Just €12 – Read On

Every person aged 66 and over, living permanently in the Irish State, are entitled to avail of the Free Travel Scheme. Some people under 66 also qualify. If you qualify for free travel, you are issued with a card that you must carry with you when using public transport. In some cases, a Free Travel Companion Card is also available which allows a person to travel with the holder (if they are unable to travel alone).

This Free Travel Scheme allows for free travel being made available on all Irish State public transport systems, e.g. Bus, Rail and Dublin’s LUAS service, with some minor exceptions.

Left-Right: Ms Joan Farrally, Mr Vincent McNally (Group Organiser), Mrs Eilish McNally, and Mrs Brid McMenaman. Mr McNally (Pictured above) headed up a most wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable and well travelled group of 45 retired persons from Co. Dublin, on Wednesday, March 7th last, all who arrived by train to Thurles Railway Station.

Answer two simple questions.
(1) “Have any of you retired persons, aged 66 and over ever visited the historic town of Thurles?”

(2) “Do you realise that you can have a most enjoyable day out in Thurles town for a maximum of €12.00?”

So what can you get for €12.00 in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, armed with a Free Travel Scheme pass card?

  • First, remember your travel is free and Thurles Town enjoys the luxury of an excellent and regular Iarnród Éireann daily train service.

  • Lunch in the historic Hayes Hotel, Liberty Square, offers a full Lunch Menu in the comfort of their attractive Carvery. [e.g. main course of Roast Beef & 3 Veg, plus Tea or Coffee will cost you just €11.00.]

  • The Davin Room in Hayes Hotel will be made available, free of charge, for groups of twenty persons or more, with a charge of just €1 per head to attend a one-hour lecture on the Great Famine (1845-1850) and to view, up close, some of the extremely rare artefacts, collected from that period; not available to see anywhere else in Ireland.

  • Other activities can also be arranged around your day trip, subject to your particular interests.

    So, here is a perfect opportunity for those of you benefiting from the Free Travel Scheme, to round up a group of friends and give yourselves a well deserved day out; one to remember here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, with an opportunity to meet the friendliest and most obliging people in the world.

    A must for anyone interested in Irish history.
    It was an eye opener for all of us active retirees to learn about the famine history, from a very well spoken orator, who delivered an excellent talk about this sad period in Irish history.

    Lots of very interesting displays of what life was like during the famine. Has original “Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book” (or the ‘Distribution Book,’ as it was also called,) for the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill for 1847. Admission is only a nominal donation.

    Further details can be had by phoning at any time, Mobile – (086) 8785859, and we will endeavour to ensure you enjoy your day trip to this most historic of Tipperary towns; Thurles.

    [Please Note: All money, in total, collected from these “Great Famine” lectures goes to Thurles Lions Club, for use at their discretion, with a total of €140.00, having already been handed over to this very worthy organisation, to date this year.]


A Valued Piece Of Choctaw Indian Costumery Resides In Thurles

Picture shows a beaded, star shaped, neck tie medallion, latter a gift from International Artist and Choctaw Indian nation member Mr Waylon Gary White Deer, which will go on show at this year’s Lions Club, Vintage & Classic Car Show, scheduled for Sunday May 13th next in St. Patrick’s College Campus Thurles.

The tale of the Choctaw Indian Nation (Name derived from the Choctaw phrase ‘Hacha hatak’ meaning ‘River People’), and their donation to Ireland’s Great Famine (1845-1850) victims is indeed one of firstly, great association and secondly, responsive compassion.

In the year 1847 referred to as “Black 47”, the Choctaw Indian community collected $170 to send to the Irish victims of the Great Famine, which is today’s equivalent of, in or around, €4,000. This great sacrifice by the Choctaw Indian Nation was sent despite the fact that they themselves had undergone a similar hardship involving exposure, disease, and starvation, some 15 years previously; same being forced to move west of the Mississippi by the government of Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), in a journey known and remembered today in history as the “Trail of Tears”.  In 1831, the Choctaw Nation became the first to be removed, and their removal served as the model for all future relocations.

[Note: After two wars, the Seminoles Indian nation were removed in 1832. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation were removed in 1834, the Chickasaw Nation in 1837, and finally the Cherokee Nation in 1838].

Choctaw Indian Nation member Mr Waylon Gary White Deer, himself an Internationally Renowned Artist, visited Thurles back in 1999, leaving a gift of the beaded neck medallion, which can be seen at this year’s Lions Club, Vintage & Classic Car Show, scheduled for Sunday May 13th next in St. Patrick’s College Campus Thurles.

During World War I, Choctaw soldiers served in the U.S. military as the first Native American ‘Codetalkers’. 1

Yesterday the Irish Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar, met with Choctaw leaders and addressed members of the nation community at an event in Oklahoma, 2 the 28th-most populous of the 50 United States of America, where he thanked members of the Choctaw Nation for the generosity shown by their ancestors to the island of Ireland during this period in Irish History.  Mr Varadkar stated that at a time when the Irish people were being oppressed, abused, neglected and degraded by our Irish colonial master, the Choctaw spirit of generosity was at its highest.

He went on to announce a new scholarship programme, which in the future will allow members of the Choctaw Native American community to come here to Ireland to undertake further study; with the first scholarship commencing in the autumn of 2019.

  Codetalkers: The use of obscure or little understood language, in this case the Choctaw language, for to provide a form of coded radio and telephone transmissions during wartime, offering secret communication.

2  Oklahoma: The name is actually derived from the Choctaw words ‘okla’ and ‘humma’, meaning “Red People”.


Official Launch Of 2018 Thurles, St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Mr Johnny Kenehan, (Chairperson),  St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Thurles, reports:-

The official launch of the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Thurles took place in the Thurles Chamber Enterprise Centre, LIT Campus, Gortataggart, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on Monday last, March 5th.

Photo Courtesy Sarah Kenehan.

The launch was attended by local dignitaries and sponsors, including the Municipal Area Chairperson, Cllr. Seamus Hanafin, Mr. Michael Carew (Jeweller), Mr. John Butler (President Thurles Chamber), Mr. Gary Roche (President Thurles Lions Club), Fr. James Purcell (P.P. Thurles), Cllr. Seán Ryan, Lt. Michael Black (RDF) together with Thurles St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and friends.

The wheels are now in motion for the 2018 Thurles St. Patrick’s Day Parade, starting from Abbey Road, Thurles at 4.00pm on Saturday March 17th, 2018.

N.B. The parade starting time has been put back one hour (to 4.00pm); changed from the information previously advertised at the request of Thurles Chamber, to allow a full day Saturday trading, thus making up for lost business as a result of last weeks Storm Emma.

A number of new entries are taking part in this year’s parade and we eagerly await their participation, e.g. Dúrlas Éile Archers and Munster Blades Fencing Club, all feels like the Game of Thrones could be coming to Thurles on St. Patrick’s Day.

We await more entries, and Entries Forms can be downloaded from the following websites;  Thurles Chamber and Thurles St. Patrick’s Day Parade or contact the Chairperson, Mr Johnny Kenehan at Mobile (087) 9964587.

A total of €1,500 in prize funding and trophies are there for the taking for the different, unusual, interesting and entertaining entries. There are a wide variety of categories; from best business entry to best overall entry. There is no special theme for this years parade, leaving scope for all entrants to deliver something special in the way of innovation and entertainment.

There will be a number of attractions, consisting of a marching band, the Thurles Silver Band, the Jim O’The Mills traditional group will also feature and play in the centre of Liberty Square, presenting once again a great treat in live traditional music. There will be a small farm animal attraction in Lower Liberty Square, and in O’Meara’s car park a selection of carnival attractions provided by 5 Star Fun Entertainment.

Thurles St. Patrick’s Day Parade Sponsors:

The Thurles St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee would like to thank all our sponsors to date:-

Lyons Tyre & Battery, Stakelum’s Fashions, Morans Menswear, Silver Needles, Daly’s Seafood, Frank Roche & Sons Ltd., Centenary Thurles Co-Op, Jackie Cahill T.D., Dan Kennedy Funeral Director Inc., Kennedy’s County Bar, Sparrow Insurances Ltd, Orion Broadband & IT Services, Hanafins Furniture Store, Sammons Pharmacy, United Nations Veteran Association, Michaels Jewellers, Supermacs Thurles, Thurles Shopping Centre, Air Impact, Boomerang Recycling, Cleary Motors, Premier Health Clinic, Thurles Golf Club,  Tim Looby Accountants, 5 Star Fun, Bowe Travel, Nico’s Shoe Repairs, Mary Hanna’s Curtains and Blinds, Gordan’s Turkish Barbers, Martin Shanahan’s Tyres, Murphy Machinery, Eoin Dunne School of Motoring, Denis Kinane Motors, Ryans Cleaning, The Monks Bar, The Irish CountryWoman’s Association, Thurles Credit Union, Thurles Hardware, Larry Fogarty Public House, Walter Drohan’s Mace Shop, Peoples of:-  Thurles, Holycross, Ballycahill, Moyne, Drombane, Upperchurch and Borrisoleigh.


Imelda McDonagh To Adjudicate Co. Tipp. Open Drama Festival

M/s Imelda McDonagh to Adjudicate at the Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival in Holycross, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, from March 16th to March 24th.

Author and Freelance Journalist Tom Ryan Reports:-

M/s Imelda McDonagh

Holycross/Ballycahill Drama Group, Thurles Drama Group and Nenagh Drama Group will be the Co. Tipperary representatives in the prestigious Co. Tipperary Open Drama Festival to be held in St. Michael’s Community Centre, Holycross. Competitors will bid for an array of awards, including the “Tipperary Star Cup” in the Confined Section and the “Tipp FM Trophy” in the Open Category.
The Festival Director is Mr Donal Duggan as usual and 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 Adjudicator M/s Imelda McDonagh
Adjudicator, Imelda McDonagh, is an award-winning director and actress with a first-class Honours M.A. in Theatre Studies. She is a qualified Make-Up Artist and holds a Licentiate (Speech and Drama) from The London College of Music.
Well known for her various acting roles as ‘Lady Bracknell’, in Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”; ‘Blanche’, in Tennessee William’s “A Streetcar Named Desire”; ‘Baglady’, in the rarely performed Frank McGuinness play of the same name; ‘Stephanie’, in Tom Kempinski’s “Duet for One”; ‘Gertrude’, in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, and ‘Kate’, in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”.

She recently performed with The Dublin Shakespeare Society, as part of the Shakespeare 400 celebrations and as ‘Maisie Madigan’ in the second of Sean O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy, “Juno And The Paycock”.

Also, much at home in the world of musical theatre, M/s McDonagh has won the coveted Association of Irish Musical Societies’ award for ‘Best Director’, for her production of Samuel and Bella Spewack / Cole Porter’s, “Kiss Me Kate”, for Gorey, (Co. Wexford) Musical Society, and was nominated as ‘Best Director’ for the Irish Premiere of Alistair McGuckian’s “The Ha’penny Bridge”.

Her most recent production was the loosely based on actual events musical, “Footloose” (Music is by Tom Snow, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and book by Pitchford and Walter Bobbie), for the Oyster Lane Theatre Group, her seventeenth musical to date.

Imelda has enjoyed adjudicating throughout Ireland since 2001, including the finals for Macra and the Irish Country Women’s Association (ICA) and the Confined All-Ireland Drama Finals, in Tubbercurry in 2017.

She is also secretary of The Association of Drama Adjudicators and has recently been awarded “The Civic Merit Award” for her services to the community by Irish President, Michael D. Higgins.

Programme of Plays and Drama Groups (D.G.)

Friday, March 16th, – (Open) – “Unbroken Circle”, – Gorey L.T.G..
Saturday, 17th March,(Confined) – “The Beauty Queen of Leenane”, – Kilworth D.G..
Sunday, 18th March, – (Confined)“Abigail’s Party”, – Skibbereen D.G..
Monday, 19th March – (Confined) – “Caught in the Net”, – Conna D.G..
Tuesday 20th March –  (Open)“Stolen Child”, – Brideview D.G..
Wednesday 21st March(Open)“Blyth Spirit”, – Thurles D.G..
Thursday 22nd March(Confined)“Some Girls”, – Curtain Call, Dungarvan D.G..
Friday 23rd March(Confined)“Bold Girls”, – Holycross/Ballycahill D.G..
Saturday, March 24th(Open)“Duet For Two”, – Nenagh D.G..

Conor O’Connell to adjudicate unique Schools Drama Festival

The County Tipperary Open Drama Festival Schools Festival, the only such event in Ireland will be held on Tuesday, March 13th, starting at 7.30pm.

The entries to date include Ursuline Convent Secondary School, Thurles; Presentation Convent Secondary School, Thurles; and Colaiste na Trionoide, Doon, east Co. Limerick, who will stage two plays.

The adjudicator is once again Mr Conor O’ Connell, nephew of former Thurles hotelier and businessman, Mr Derek O’Connell. A great friend of the organising committee; Conor has himself starred in an acting role on stage in Holycross, with the renowned Silken Thomas Players and who was a big hit with the young players last year.


Home Of Lady Thurles To Be Fully Restored

The 16th Century Norman ‘Black Castle’ In Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Is To Be Restored.

The former ‘Black Castle’, west of Liberty Square, close to the Charles Stewart Parnell carpark, in Thurles, Co. Tipperary; once home of Lord Viscount Thomas Butler & his wife, Lady Viscountess Elizabeth Butler (alias Poyntz), has been sold.

Dr. Phyllis Maher, [Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Timothy Maher Finance]; Independent Dáil Éireann Deputy Mr Michael Lowry, TD & Sir Timothy Maher, [Chairman & Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Timothy Maher Finance]

The privately-owned building had been offered for sale in May of last year by the Kenny family; relatives of the late Mr Billy Maher (Victualler), through the offices of Mr Sean Spain Auctioneers & Valuers, No 21 Fianna Rd, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

The hugely historical building, in vacant possession, has now been purchased by Sir Timothy Maher (Knight of Innisfallen & Chairman & Chief Financial Officer (CFO), of Timothy Maher Finance) & his Lady wife American born Dr. Phyllis Maher (Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Timothy Maher Finance). The couple are also well respected in antiquities and fine art circles.

Sir Timothy Maher, well remembered for his hurling prowess as a student in Cashel CBS, is originally a native of Boherlahan, Cashel, Co. Tipperary; son to the late Mr Michael Maher & Mrs Dina Maher, Castle Farm, Thurlesbeg, Co. Tipperary.  His grandfather was Mr William Maher, Knocka, Drom, Co. Tipperary; a former Chairperson of North Tipperary Co. Council, whose son Fr. Thomas F. Maher, in turn was ordained a priest in St Patrick’s College, Thurles, now Mary Immaculate College, Thurles.

His wife, Dr. Phyllis Maher, who is a retired Medical Practitioner and who in the past specialised in serious trauma cases; is the only daughter of Mr Woodrow (Sean) O’Shields & Mrs Mildred O’Shields (nee O’Sullivan), natives of Oughterard, Co. Galway. Dr. Maher was conceived in Ireland and born a shortly time later, following the arrival of her parents in America.

Of course, the surname of ‘Butler’  is no stranger to the new purchasers, as Mr David Butler, former business proprietor in Liberty Square, Thurles and his sister M/s Jean Butler, a former Principal at the Presentation Convent here in Thurles for some 18 years; we discover, are Sir Timothy Maher’s in-laws.

The purchasers were first introduced to the property by Independent TD Deputy Mr Michael Lowry, who became aware that the couple were searching for a substantial property here in Ireland and suggested that they contact Mr Sean Spain, with a view to purchasing a building with a rich historical heritage. Following Mr Lowry’s invitation and a viewing of the property led by Mr Spain; Sir Timothy and Dr. Phyllis Maher; themselves lovers of Irish history, fell in love with the building and made their decision to purchase.

The successful firm of DHRyan Architects, No.1 Liberty Square, Thurles, have now been employed to undertake a feasibility study of the site and its associated buildings, and to prepare a development brief for the new purchasers. Solicitor Mr James J. Meagher (Thomas F. Griffin Parnell St, Thurles) have been retained to deal with all aspects of the site transfer.

Speaking afterwards to individuals with a major interest in promoting tourism within Thurles and the greater Co. Tipperary area, Michael Lowry TD stated; “I forecast exciting times ahead over the next 16 months for the town of Thurles; where a historical and iconic building, which was falling into dereliction, will rise once more to enhance our westerly horizon.”

“It should be noted” stated Lowry, “that the building may have become known as the Black castle in the past; due to it appearing as a black silhouette against the setting sun, however I remain confident that the new developers, through their love of history and antiquities, will give Thurles a sense of even greater pride in the months ahead, as necessary work is completed.”

So, who was Lord and Lady Thurles
Lady Thurles, (Elizabeth Poyntz) was formerly a native of Gloucestershire, England, and history records that her parents, who resided in Acton Court, Gloucestershire, once hosted King Henry VIII and the second and the most famous of his six wives, Miss Anne Boleyn, both who visited and stayed with the Poyntz household on Saturday August 21st, 1535, thus emphasising the social standing of the then Poyntz family. (Anne Boleyn was subsequently executed by King Henry, being beheaded, less than one year later, on the 19th May 1536.)

Thomas Butler (Lord Thurles) was son of Walter Butler “Walter of the Rosaries,” latter probably the first of the Butler family to take up residence in the Black Castle. [Note: The “Walter of the Rosaries,” Chalice still exists in Thurles to this very day. Thomas married Miss Elizabeth Poyntz in 1608, against her father’s wishes; Sir John Poyntz was then seriously in debt, and would die penniless in 1633.

Lord Viscount Thurles was summoned from Tipperary by King James 1st, (1603–1625) to England in 1619 to answer charges of treason, but the ship, conveying him, was wrecked in a storm off the coast of Wales, in an area known as ‘The Skerries‘ and he was drowned 10 days before Christmas, on 15th December 1619.

His wife Lady Elizabeth Butler (Poyntz), the celebrated ‘Lady Thurles’ now found herself a widow and a lone parent of three sons and four daughters.

After the death of Lord Viscount Thurles, Lady Thurles, married again, less than one year later in 1620, Captain George Mathew of Radyr and Llandaff in Glamorganshire, Wales, by whom Lady Thurles had a further two sons and one daughter.

Captain George Mathew died at Tenby in Wales in 1636.  A period portrait, oil on canvas, of Lady Viscountess Thurles is in the possession of the Tipperary County Library, situated in The Source building, in Cathedral Street, Thurles.

Elizabeth and Thomas Butler, through their first son James FitzThomas Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond, is a direct progenitor (ancestor) to Charles Prince of Wales, whom readers will know as the eldest son and heir apparent to the British throne, set to follow the present Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England.

The late Princess Diana is also connected to the history of the castle through one of the daughters of the said Lord Thomas and Lady Elizabeth of Thurles, (namely Mary Butler).  She married into the Hamilton family, and her later descendants would eventually marry into the Spencer family, leaving the late Princess Diana a 12th cousin, twice removed, of Charles, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay since 1952.

Despite a visit from Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian army during the period 1658 to 1660, Lady Thurles and her children resided in the castle for a great deal of her life from her marriage until her death in 1673.