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Covid-19 Update: Sat. 27th June 2020 – 6 Deaths – 23 New Cases

The total number of Covid-19 virus cases confirmed here in Co. Tipperary; as of midnight on Wednesday, June 24th, remains at 543, with zero cases identified over the previous 24-hour period.

This evening, the Department of Health has confirmed that sadly 6 further death has been caused by Covid-19 in Ireland over the last 24 hours. These latest figures leave the total number of deaths caused by this pandemic currently at 1,734.

This evening, it has also been confirmed that an additional 23 new cases of the virus have been identified, bringing the total since conception, here in the Republic of Ireland, to 25,437.

Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan has expressed serious concern about Irish people travelling abroad this year, fearing that many people were planning foreign trips abroad.

This year, in particular, Irish residents should be staying at home and spending locally in an effort to kickstart our own Irish economy and small businesses, while following basic public health advice. Now is the time for Tipperary Co. Council’s tourism department to waken up and begin promoting / highlighting tourism in what after all is the Premier County.

Time to resurrect that now long forgotten money wasting logo “Tipperary – The Place – The Time”.


Please make the effort to stay safe.

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Thurles On-Street Pay Parking Required From Tomorrow, Monday June 8th

Local Councillor Mr Sean Ryan.

According to the Thurles Municipal District Council’s Twitter account [TipperaryCoCo@ThurlesMD], on-street pay parking requirements will resume in the towns of Thurles, Templemore and Roscrea from tomorrow, Monday, June 8th 2020.

Parking bye laws, which have totally destroyed every single business; both big and small, in Thurles town centre have remained in ‘token place’ in recent months. However these bye laws have not been enforced by traffic wardens; latter who rightly vanished into isolation; cocooning since our caretaker government’s Covid-19 virus restrictions were introduced back in March.

However do take note, Thurles Municipal District have confirmed that full enforcement of pay parking in car parks will NOT resume until Monday July 20th, 2020.
This statement was announced on Twitter on the morning of June 5th last

Previously, it had been further confirmed by Tipperary County Council’s Mr Marcus O’Connor (Director of Services for Roads), who stated “We will only be enforcing it on the streets and people will be able to park in the car parks for free, until Monday 20th July 2020.”

With regard to other matters raised with our elected Councillors; [View HERE (Thurles Heritage In Grave Danger) and HERE (What Future For 1798 Memorial In Liberty Square Thurles?)], silence continues to reign.

In relation to the 1798 Memorial issue we discussed, one would have expected at least a firm “Tiocfaidh ár lá” (Irish -“Our day will come”) from local Irish republican supporters, who before the last 2019 local elections, were to be found laying wreaths at the foot of this same “Stone Man“. No, not a word, not even an “Up the Ra” from Waterford TD David Cullinane.

There were no protests by the public on Liberty Square either, reminissent of the An Post protest, organised by Thurles Chamber, when the former decided to leave Liberty Square. Such a pity as same would have granted some local Councillors that inevitable cynical photo opportunity, to be loaded onto their social media platforms.

Of course this ‘Stone Man’ could fit nicely on top of the Roundabout at Thurles Shopping Centre, joining its old friend An Post once again; you know the circular intersection I mean, that costly ornamental pile of stones offering no practical purpose and referred to as “The Thurles Town Folly”, which successfully blocks the vision of every travelling motorist.

Who did actually acknowledge the “Double Ditch” issues aforementioned :-

Ms Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Ms Emily Beedham, (LUC) Thurles Renewal Strategy project.
Ms Louise Croughan, Minister Madigan’s Office.
Thurles local elected Councillor Mr Sean Ryan, Littleton, Thurles, (latter pictured above), the only elected member of the Thurles Municipal District Council to reply.

Nothing from TD’s and the County Manager. ✘

But of course the local elections are over since early 2019 and that €17,000 minimum annual income, earned by municipal district Councillors, remains relatively safe in these uncertain times; until sometime in early 2024 at least, God willing.

One hopes now that there will be no sudden rush by those other Thurles elected representatives, latter unable to read their emails, offering us conference calls on Zoom, wearing only a shirt and skimpy underpants, while scratching themselves; following in the new trend set by Ming ‘The trourserless’.

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Thurles Heritage In Grave Danger

“Our heritage is about our past, our present and our future and contributes greatly to the quality of life in our urban and rural communities. It is shared by all and is fully inclusive. Interaction with our heritage not only provides physical and mental health benefits, but contributes to overall well-being, while biodiversity is an essential component in the functioning of our environment.” – Signed Mr Joe MacGrath (Chief Executive, Tipperary County Council).

As we stated recently, (May 18th, 2020), work has now begun on a new local authority housing development, consisting of some 28 houses on the east side of Thurles in an area locally known as Mill Road. In the early 19th century the area was known as Manor Mill Road.

While this development is to be truly welcomed; this newest construction site is taking shape close to an area of heritage possibly the only one of its kind in Ireland, the Great Famine “Double Ditch”.

Entrance to ‘Double Ditch’ previously destroyed by Tipperary County Council employed contractors.
Photo G. Willoughby.

Lest you forget, first read all about the Great Famine “Double Ditch” HERE in a previous publication.

We previously wrote about this area, here on Thurles.Info in October of 2019; aware of Tipperary Co. Council’s proposals to develop this property close to this heritage site of national importance.

Tipperary Co. Council sadly, in their lack of knowledge, refer to this area as the Mill Road Walkway on current signage. It is not and never has been the Mill Road Walkway; its name is The Double Ditch and must now; with developers moving into place, be fully protected and returned to its original state.

We have been in contact (November 12th, 2019) with Ms Róisín O’Grady, (Heritage Officer with Tipperary County Council, Ballingarrane House, Cahir road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary), whom we have met and remained in contact with via email up until late February 2020. But alas, the Covid-19 pandemic broke loose, bringing everything to a standstill.

Why should the town of Thurles worry regarding the further destruction of this historical asset?

This 174 year-old-old famine project and pedestrian Mass Path has had its Mill Road entrance previously destroyed by the very contractor employed by Tipperary Co. Council, involved in erecting fencing and a short concrete footpath fronting on this latest housing project. Back then Tipperary engineers conveniently turned a blind eye before signing off on this project. They have also turned a blind eye to the erection of posts and barbed wire on this public-right-of-way and have permitted the area to become a graveyard for supermarket trollies, toys and domestic furnishings.

Despite raising this issue in October 2019, no effort whatsoever has been made by Tipperary Co. Council or local public representatives to have this area cleaned up, except to remove their own embarrassing, dumped signage.

Yesterday, again I walk this neglected historic pathway, noting the collection of abandoned supermarket trolleys have now increased three-fold and the numerous, offensive, new poles / stakes holding up even more offencive barbed wire have been removed, possibly for firewood over last winter.

Our wish then and now is to highlight the historic importance of this area to Thurles business and tourism sectors and to prevent same from being destroyed by (A) further development; (B) those owning adjoining land and (C) those responsible for ‘Fly Tipping’.

Sadly the history of this area has been conveniently forgotten; lost in the mists of time to the memory of local residents and could in the near future be totally destroyed; lost to any future town tourism.

I defy any resident of the Irish state to identify any other such similar project undertaken during this sad period of our Irish history 1845 – 1849.

This area, back in April 1846 was the focus of development then, mainly by the business people of Liberty Square together with the clergy of Thurles; both Roman Catholic and Protestant, in an effort to put money into the pockets of starving paupers, thus ensuring that stomachs remained at least partially filled.

This event had followed the loss of the potato crop in the autumn of 1845, commemorated in St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin city centre recently, and referred to in the history books as “The Great Famine”. (Irish: an Gorta Mór).

Somehow, no one has realised that this year, 2020, is the 175 anniversary of the start of that tragic historic event.

We here at Thurles.Info have now begun the tedious process of digitizing all hand written documentation affecting Thurles and the Great Famine; same material which describes the real facts surrounding this period, which include details of the initial plans for this Double Ditch.

These same details are being currently formatted and are published HERE (See page 6 Re Double Ditch) on our sister website Hidden Tipperary.com, for the benefit of our large viewing public, both here at home and abroad.

A copy of this statement has been forwarded to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ms Josepha Madigan; Chief Executive Tipperary Co. Council, Mr Joseph MacGrath; all Councillors elected to represent the Thurles Municipal District and Thurles politicians.

Funding must immediately be put in place to protect and restore this area, in association with the current housing development.

We will be happy to meet with anyone who requires further clarification on this area of national importance.

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Thurles Tourist Attraction Destroyed

We first boasted about our tourist attraction [Click Here] on December 3rd, 2018, acclaiming it as Ireland’s largest pothole located here in the town of Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

On hearing about this natural phenomenon, foreign tourists, hikers and campers, flocked to the area. Rare snakes, dragonflies, leveret, common lizards and numerous other forms of rare and exotic wildlife had pulled up their roots and migrated to this area, seeking refuge from the badly polluted River Suir.

Alas, today, February 14th 2020, [only two year and 9 weeks later I might add], finding unsuspecting locals preoccupied with thoughts of St. Valentine’s Day; Tipperary Co. Council officials struck with their usual speed; moving quietly and quickly to wipe out this now existing natural ecosystem.

Newly resurfaced carpark entrance at Cathedral Street, Thurles, Tipperary.

The area normally accessed only by 4-wheel drive vehicles, due to rough terrain, has now been totally wiped out, using that odd substance rarely used on roads in Tipperary; the dreaded tarmac, and this evening no trace of our wonderful tourist attraction is currently evident.

Wait until that secret society, beter known as Tipperary Tourism, hears about this! They may be forced to have their photograph taken as they rehash or is it relaunch the Tipperary Tourism website.

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Thurles – Double Ditch

The world outside your private home is not your personal dump.

Last week I had the privilege, for two days, to show a number of American & Canadian persons around the town of Thurles, all intent on combining together to write a Great Famine TV script. Not having recently visited the “Double Ditch”, on the Mill Road, once a Great Famine project initiated for those starving here in Thurles; imagine my embarrassment on discovering the state of this National Monument.

A National Monument in the Republic of Ireland is a structure or site, the preservation of which has been deemed to be of national importance and therefore worthy of state protection.

Proud people just don’t litter.

This 174 year-old-old famine project has had its Mill Road entrance firstly destroyed by the very contractors employed by Tipperary Co. Council to erect fencing and a short concrete footpath, but now someone has erected posts and barbed wire on this public-right-of-way and once pedestrian Mass Path. It has also been turned into a graveyard for unwanted supermarket trollies. Observe it yourself as I viewed it last week.

“Double Ditch” at Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

A ditch is a narrow channel dug at the side of a road or in a field. Its purpose to either hold or carry away flood water.
In Anglo-Saxon, the word ‘dïc’ was pronounced ‘deek’ or ‘deetch’. In digging such a water trench the upcast soil will form into a bank alongside it. This banked soil thus means that the word ‘dïc’ included not just the excavation itself, but also the bank of soil derived from such effort. Later word would later evolve into the words we more commonly use today, e.g. ‘dyke’ and ‘ditch’.

The idea of this Thurles “Double Ditch” was firstly to provide work for those unemployed and starving, but was it also possibly erected to provide a dry shortcut for Dr. J.Knaggs himself, when he was wont to cross from his home, (today’s Ulster Bank premises, in Liberty Square, then known as Main Street); travelling via College Lane, The Pike, (today Kickham Street), to visit family relatives in Knaggs Mill, Brewery and Bakery at Archerstown watermill, same later to become Brady’s Mill?

The Double Ditch featured in our video was built in 1846 and remains a well-worn public right-of-way and also later became a Mass Path to the ‘Lady’s Well’ area. During the 19th and early 20th century same naturally became a short cut for all pupils attending schools in Thurles coming from outlying areas and villages e.g. Littleton.

With next year commemorating the 175th year of the Great Famine, [Same officially began on September 13th, 1845 – 1849], today this video must surely bring a blush of shame, not just to the faces of those we have been elected locally to represent us, but also to Tipperary Co. Council officials, who have failed to provide a Recycling Depot in Thurles.
Same depots are readily available in the towns of Cashel, Nenagh, Clonmel, Donohill and Roscrea, but Thurles local councillors have once again failed us miserably in every way, except on their social media pages.
For the few who hold a driving licence to tow a trailer, a rough costing for those who wish to clean up such litter can be found HERE.

Meanwhile, those of our starving ancestors, must surely be turning in their graves due to the disrespect shown in their efforts to feed their children / families.

The gift to the town of fruit bearing crab-apple trees, once secretly sowed by these people bounding on this double ditch, are now set on fire; the existing young shutes of Japanese knotweed, which featured in many a “Spring rhubarb tart” during two world wars, are now forced to emerge through filth and grime. [Yes, we should be controlling Japanese knotweed by eating it, instead of Tipperary Co. Council inviting specialist companies to destroy it using poisonous chemicals and at considerable cost to rate payers.]

The “Double Ditch” featured in the above video gets mentioned for the first time in the “Minutes of the Thurles Famine Food Committee”, on Monday, April 20th, 1846.

Those attending that 1846 meeting included Venerable Archdeacon Rev. Henry Cotton [Chairperson [(C. of I.)]. Present also were Dr. O’Connor, Very Rev. Fr. Barron, [(R.C.) St. Patrick’s College, Thurles], Rev. Mr Baker, Rev. Mr Lanigan, Mr O’Brien [Treasurer], Dr. Joshua Knaggs [Medical Doctor] and Mr James B. Kennedy [Secretary].

From these same minutes we learn that the Famine Relief Committee have already begun creating work for those unemployed, ensuring that money in the form of wages, will enable those starving to purchase food. Dr. Knaggs reports his having inspected the works to be undertaken at College Lane and the proposed “Double Ditch”; calculating the expense for the works at College Lane at £20, latter sum today the equivalent of £20,000.

It was agreed that barrows should be purchased from Mr Patrick McGrath [½doz @ 9 shillings]; Mr Daniel Carroll [½doz @ 9/6] and also Mr Dan Dwyer; latter if he wishes to make them. It was further agreed that, when necessary, the Committee have the power to hire asses’ carts at 15 pence per day.

The previous day, April 19th 1846, Mr J. B. Kennedy Esq had informed relief commissioners of the state of Thurles: –
243 families containing 739 men, women and children unable to work and almost totally destitute; and 525 families containing 2625 individuals totally depending on the heads and sons to the number of 790 who cannot procure employment; thus, making in the town, 3364 persons to be relieved”. With regards to the immediate environs [referred to as ‘country parts’] of the town he states: – “The country parts of our District are divided into wards and similar enquiries are in progress, the result of which I have reason to believe will be painful in the extreme”.

On the same day we learn from further written communication sent to the Trustees appointed for the distribution of Indian Meal, quote: – “In the town of Thurles alone there are at this moment 768 families containing 3364 inhabitants in actual want; of these 739 are old men, women and children, unable to work and who have no one to labour for them; and the remaining 2625 are depending on the daily hire of the sons and heads of the families to the number of 790 able to work and now out of employment”.

The following rules for labourers employed to work on this ‘Double Ditch’ were adopted: –
(1) Hours of labour to be from 7.00am to 7.00pm with 2 hours for meals.
(2) Any labourer found to shirk from reasonable and fair work or refusing to follow the directions of his overseer shall forthwith be discharged and not admitted to the works again.
(3) That the persons employed shall be paid every evening.
(4) That in case a greater number of labourers shall offer themselves than the funds will enable the committee to pay, a preference shall be given to those who have the largest and most necessitous families”.

Work was ordered to commence on the following Tuesday and quote; “Iron is to be purchased to make 20 crow bars, and 6 picks are also to be purchased”.

It was further agreed that, quote: – “Henceforth there be two rates of payment; 8 pence and 5 pence, and that no boy under 12 years old be employed. That tickets of the form now agreed on, should be printed to admit labourers to work – those for men in black ink and those for boys in red ink; Ordered that 500 red and 500 black tickets be printed. Families containing 7 members and over and having 2 men over 17 shall, at the discretion of Committee, be entitled to 2 black tickets; Families having a less number shall, if the Committee wish, get 2 tickets, one red and one black”.

Yes, expect tourists and visiting footfall to flood Liberty Square soon, but in what century I do not know.

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