We understand from the Thurles Sports Fest Committee that two errors appear on the recently published programme brochure, issued publicly to homes throughout Tipperary today. One of these errors regrettably is also carried presently on their website, for which the committee humbly apologise.
Firstly the Thurles Sports Fest Committee wish to point out that the Festival will run from July 1st to July 10th 2016 and not July 1st to July 9th as published on the brochure.
Secondly, and more important, the ‘Scór Bowls for Special Needs’ event, scheduled originally for Friday July 8th 2016, will in fact open this year’s festival on FridayJuly 1st 2016 at 11.00am. We wish the best of luck to all of those set to take part.
To remind you all of this upcoming event, please see pictures on video hereunder from the very first successful Bowling occurrence in 2014.
The Thurles Sports Fest will now in fact get off to a flying start with a well attended official ‘Indoor Target Bowling’ competition, and with all competitors playing for the coveted Olden Cup, together with associated individual medals for runner’s up and winning team members.
You can find an up-to-date Calander of correct Sporting Events for the festival HERE
The 45th International Miss Macra Festival this year returns to Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Pictured L-R: Declan Ryan (Pres. Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra), Simone Loughman (Int. Miss Macra Secretary), Susan Willis (2015 Int. Miss Macra Winner), Anne Marie Lyng (Chairperson), Helen Hayes, (2015 Int. Miss Macra Runner-Up), Jamie Driver (Anner Hotel), Geraldine Henchion (Tipp FM Radio), at the official launch of the 2016, 45th International Miss Macra Festival to be held in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on August Bank Holiday Weekend 2016.
Clonoulty-Rossmore Macra na Feirme are delighted to confirm that this year’s International Miss Macra Festival will take place over the 2016 August Bank Holiday weekend, from Friday the 29th of July to Monday the 1st August, here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. This will be the Festivals 45th 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, in the hope of following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Miss Susan Willis (Co. Carlow); in being crowned International Miss Macra 2016. This, as stated, 45th year of the festival, will see many new initiatives and a change of scene, but first a brief history lesson.
International Miss Macra Festival History
The International Miss Macra Festival is a personality competition, a mini Rose of Tralee, if you will, for Macra na Feirme Clubs and their members. The festival was founded by Mr Paddy Heffernan, Mr Tom Horan and Mr Michael Slattery back in 1971. Initially Macra Members were met with little enthusiasm from Macra National Headquarters, but the Clonoulty / Rossmore club did not allow this to deter their ingenuity. As a rural farmers organisation they ploughed on (pardon the pun), regardless, with their plans and year on year since its conception this festival has blossomed with as many as 32 contestants competing annually each year, from Ireland and abroad.
The 90’s saw an interest from rural youth and agricultural organisations abroad, e.g. 4H clubs in America and Scottish Young Farmers, begin to develop. The International Miss Macra Festival is somewhat unique in that it is run by the same local Macra Club every year; rather than a County Executive and their scale of success is a testament to both the dedication of the Clonoulty-Rossmore Macra members and the massive support of the local Tipperary community.
The local Clonoulty / Rossmore community, in particular, play a most important part in this festival, with households taking on the role as ‘Host Families’ for each of the contestants, year after year. This tradition remains very strong; seeing the contestants receive the warmest of welcomes, as they become adopted into the hearts of the local host families. To these ‘Host Families’ go our committee’s gratitude for their never ending support, generosity, overall commitment and loyalty, each year.
International Miss Macra Festival Returns to its Roots
This year, 2016, sees the festival returning to its initial roots; coming back to Thurles, Co. Tipperary for the full duration of the weekend. Such is the high calibre of the venues in Thurles that the Festival this year will take place in three separate areas, as we showcase the best that Thurles and Co. Tipperary has to offer: Hayes Hotel(Birthplace of the GAA), on the Friday night, The Dome on Saturday and the magnificent family-run Anner Hotel(Graded Four-Star by Fáilte Ireland), on Sunday night.
This year, the festival will kick-start on Friday the 31st of July when contestants will meet the festival committee in Clonoulty village. Friday afternoon also offers contestants a chance to take a personal tour of the world famous Coolmore Stud Farm, followed by lunch in the Anner Hotel restaurant. Next the contestants will take part in a Zumba class in Clonoulty Community Hall where contestants, host families and local people will get their chance to ‘meet and greet’; a long-standing tradition of this festival.
International Miss Macra Judges
The judges for the 2016 competition this year are:-
(A) Joan Pollard Carew, representing Michael Carew Jewellers, Friar Street, Thurles. Joan, whose husband is main sponsor of the festival, is herself a published poetess and well 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.
(B) Geraldine Henchion, representing Tipp FM, Tipperary’s No 1 Local Radio Station. Geraldine also well known in Art Circles, joins the panel for the first time this year.
(C) 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.
Large numbers of visitors are expected to converge on Thurles for this year’s ‘Thurlessportsfest’ which will lumber up on Friday July 1st 2016; beginning at 11.00 am and continuing until July 10th 2016 inc.
The Thurles Sports Festival Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank, in particular, Tipperary County Council, LIT, Thurles Chamber of Commerce, Failte Ireland, Thurles Credit Union, The Anner Hotel, Tipperary Star and Tipp FM for their support of this 10 day festival event.
‘Thurlessportsfest’ will officially kicks off on Friday morning at 11.00am with a ‘Scór Bowls for Special Needs’ event. This official ‘Indoor Target Bowling’ competition, will compete for the coveted Olden Cup, together with associated individual medals for runner’s up and winning team members.
At 6.30pm a ‘Horse (or Pony) and Trap Parade’, will be found heading in the direction of ‘Semple’s Field’, to the nearby Thurles Sarsfields Pitch, for possibly the most historic of this years super 10 days of sporting events.
Picture shows – Mr Liam O’Donoghue (Lár Na Páirce), Miss Fiona O’Sullivan (Tipperary Rose of Tralee & Irish TV Presenter), Mr John Enright (Thurles Sarsfields and Thurles Sports Festival Member) examining the new specially designed 1916 style hurley’s ahead of ‘Thurlessportfest’, July 1st – July 10th next. (Photo G.Willoughby.)
This historic parade on Friday evening will culminate with a 1916 ‘Hurling Final Re-enactment’, match, beginning at 7.30pm sharp in the Sarsfield’s Pitch, and same will be an admission free spectator event for all comers. The two teams taking part in this re-enactment will be Tullaroan(Representing the Premier Counties oldest rivals, Co. Kilkenny), playing Boherlahan(Representing the honour of our own Co. Tipperary).
Meanwhile a ‘Family Fun Cycle’, will also be taking place at 7.00pm in association with Upperchurch-Drombane Cycling Club. This event will be a 10k cycle race through parts of Thurles town and out into the countryside, with all competitor standards welcome to participate regardless.
We will be highlighting further sports events taking place during ‘Thurlessportsfest’ in the days leading up to July 1st next.
The 1798 monument today positioned in Liberty Square, Thurles, Co Tipperary, is affectionately referred too, most often, as simply ‘The Stone Man’.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday 21st century living here in Thurles and mindful of hefty parking charges and indeed a not insignificant fine for those found remiss in failing to visit a parking meter; very few local people today take the time to ‘stand and stare’, while contemplating the truth of its existence.
The ‘Stone Man’ was first unveiled in 1901 (See old photograph of the official unveiling above) to commemorate the first centenary of the ill fated attempt at a rebellion in 1798. Funding to pay for this very fine monument and indeed its eventual erection, was collected voluntarily from the nationalists of Thurles and surrounding districts. However full funding came some three years too late to actually commemorate this first centenary event.
Indeed many would have believed that the wording on this monument could hardly have been acceptable to local authorities, (See nationalist rhyming principles being propagated in above picture), then subject to strong British rule.
However it would appear that those then in power felt more fear from banning this structure, than in allowing its erection. On the other hand this monument was erected to the memory of three Protestant 1798 wealthy nationalist leaders, in a town (Thurles), described in the British Parliamentary Gazetteer of 1846 as being “decidedly the most Roman Catholic town in Ireland, second only to the city of Galway.”
The Protestant Leaders Commemorated by the ‘Stone Man’ in Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
(1)Theobald Wolfe Tone, (20 June 1763 – 19 November 1798), today referred to by his sir-name Wolfe Tone, then a leading Irish revolutionary figure and one of the five founding members of the Society of United Irishmen, aimed at a political union between Catholics and Protestants, and is regarded today as the father of Irish Republicanism and the true leader of the 1798 Irish Rebellion.
Wolfe Tone was born in Dublin, the son of a Protestant coach-maker, who also owned a farm near Sallins, in Co. Kildare. His mother who came from a Catholic merchant family, chose to convert to Protestantism, following Theobald’s birth. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he qualified as a barrister in King’s Inns at the age of 26 and attended the Inns of Court in London.
(2)Robert Emmet(4 March 1778 – 20 September 1803) was a Protestant; an Irish nationalist; Republican; an orator and rebel leader, who led an abortive rebellion against British rule in 1803.
Emmet was born at No. 109, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin and was the youngest son of Dr Robert Emmet a wealthy court physician and his wife, Elizabeth Mason. Again educated at Trinity College, Dublin, before being expelled in 1798, and forced to flee to France.
Emmet was captured following his failed Dublin rebellion; was tried for treason and sentenced to be ‘hanged, drawn and quartered’, as was customary for any conviction of treason. He was hanged and once pronounced dead, was beheaded in Thomas Street near St. Catherine’s church in Dublin. Family members and friends failed to come forward to claim his final remains, out of fear of arrest, so alas today we cannot identify, in truth, his last resting place.
(3)Lord Edward FitzGerald(15 October 1763 – 4 June 1798), also a member of the Society of United Irishmen and was part of the Protestant Ascendancy; being the fifth son of Lieutenant-General James FitzGerald, 1st Duke of Leinster; an Irish aristocrat; revolutionary, who died of wounds received while resisting arrest on a charge of treason.
FitzGerald spent most of his early years at Frescati House, Blackrock, Co. Dublin and was privately educated here by a private tutor named William Ogilvie.
Details of these three Irish republican leaders and their involvement in the intervening years, up to their eventual deaths in 1798 and 1803, can be easily accessed online or from your local library.
So why then was a memorial to the 1798 rebellion erected in Thurles; a town and indeed a county who took real, little or no part in this same rebellion?
Watch out for our explanation, in a forthcoming Blog, over the coming days.
“On a clear day rise and look around you and you’ll see who you are.
On a clear day how it will astound you that the glow of your being, outshines every star.”
(Words by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner, from the musical “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”.)
This weekend, weather permitting or not, one could do worse than take a leisurely drive into the area of the Knockmealdown mountains known as The Vee, situated on the remote, wild picturesque borders of Co. Tipperary and Co Waterford.
The Vee, situated on the R668 between Lismore, Co. Waterford and Clogheen in Co. Tipperary gets its name from a V-shaped bend on the road leading to a gap in the Knockmealdown mountains. The roadway itself is situated on the slopes of Sugar Loaf, passing from Tipperary to Waterford; running between Knockaunabulloga and Bay Lough (a low lying picturesque lake) on the right and the Sugar Loaf itself, on the left.
The heavy rain showers during the last few days will possibly have removed a great deal of that sea of pink rhododendron blossoms, stretching for as far as the eyes can see; freely growing in groves in the area, at mother nature’s discretion. However their absence will take little from the rugged, untended, wild beauty of this outstanding landscape, nor indeed the breathtaking panoramic views afforded to travellers and sight-seers.
From this viewpoint almost 2,000 ft above sea level, same lends itself to views across the valley to the towns of Clonmel, Cahir, and the lesser hamlets of Ardfinnan, Clogheen and Ballyporeen, latter village ancestral home to former late United States President Ronald Reagan. You can also view the Galtee Mountains the Comeragh Mountains together with Slievenamon, quite clearly from this vantage point.
Few people today refer to the 1975 British-American period drama film ‘Barry Lyndon’, directed by Stanley Kubrick, which chose this mountainous area ‘The Vee,’ as their period location. Based on the 1844 novel ‘The Luck of Barry Lyndon’, by William Makepeace Thackeray, this film won four Oscars in production categories and is today regarded as one of Kubrick’s finest films ever made.
This film starred Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger and, as shown in the clip above, Leonard Rossiter, the dancing Captain, (Remember “Rigsby” in Rising Damp & in the Title Role of “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin”). The film recounts the exploits of a fictional 18th-century Irish adventurer.
Samuel Richard Grubb, High Sheriff of Tipperary 1916.
It is here also at this scenic area that a rather curious pile of limestone rocks emerge, dome-shaped, from the hillside. This stone erection is the last resting place of Mr Samuel R. Grubb, appointed High Sheriff of Tipperary in 1916 and who requested that he be buried here to overlook a ‘picturesque and romantic view’ of his county.
Local tales that he believed he would be reincarnated into a bee in an after life situation (memorial shaped like a beehive) and that he insisted that he be buried with his horse standing upright are hardly believable, but facts we do know are recorded hereunder.
Picturesque Obsequies – Burial on Mountain.
Funeral of the late Mr S. R. Grubb. (As reported by the Clonmel Chronicle, 10th September 1921.)
“In accordance with his request, the remains of the late Mr Samuel R. Grubb were interred today on the Sugar Loaf Mountain, on his property. The place selected is a most picturesque and romantic one and commands an excellent view of the county for a considerable area.
The remains arrived in Castlegrace on Friday by motor hearse from Dublin, and the funeral started at 10.30 this morning. The coffin containing the remains was conveyed on a farm cart to the foot of the mountain and then carried on the shoulders of his tenants and employees to the place of internment on the mountainside.
On arrival at the grave the remains were received by Rev.J.Talbot, Clogheen, who conducted the Burial Service.
The scene on the wild mountain side was picturesque and impressive and will long remain implanted on the minds and hearts of those who had the privilege of witnessing it.
The chief mourners were – Major Raymond Grubb M.C. (Son), Mrs de Sales le Terriere (daughter), Mrs Grubb (daughter-in-law), Mr de Sales le Terriere (son-in-law), Mr Cecil Barrington, Mrs Taylor, and Mr James Binny.
There were a large number of beautiful floral tributes from, amongst others, Mrs Grubb (Widow), Major Grubb, Mrs Grubb (Suir Island), Mr and Mrs de Sales le Terriere, Mrs Denny, Mrs Gutherie, Lady Beatrice Pole-Carew and Mr D. Mahoney.
Those present in addition to the chief mourners included – Major Murdock, Major Hutchinson, Captain Seymour, Mr Gerard Denny, Mr Blakeney (Junr.), Dr W. Walsh, Mr Palmer, Mr Kennedy (Derrygrath), Mr Kennedy (Ballindoney), Mr E.Boyle, Mr J. Mulcahy (Corabella), Mr W.Byrne (Ballinamona), Mr Sutcliffe, Mr Geoffrey Prendegast, etc.
Acting in accordance with the directions of deceased, all the tenantry and employees who attended the funeral were subsequently sumptuously entertained at Castlegrace.”
Voluntas Ultima (Last Will) [The late Mr Samuel R. Grubb, of Castlegrace, requested that his remains should be interred in a beautiful and romantic spot on the side of the Sugar Loaf hills.]
————————————————— O place me in a silent grave upon the mountain crest, ‘Mid endless fields of golden gorse, the heather on my breast ‘Mid endless fields of golden gorse, O shape my narrow bed, Nor plant the cypress at my feet, the willow at my head.
O place me in a silent grave on storied Knockmealdown, The drowsy churchyard’s not for me, in country or in town; And when the final trumpet sounds and bids the world “Arise” ‘Twill find me nearer unto Thee, wherein salvation lies.