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Tipperary Co. Co. Call For Expressions of Interest

Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2017 – Call for Expressions of Interest

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2017 (an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising our Rural Potential) was recently launched by the Department of Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The scheme is specifically targeted at towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000. (Note: Census 2016 – Population of Thurles Urban 6,814 and Thurles Rural 2,314; Rural & Urban together 9,128 – Yes Thurles Town Qualifies.).  A National Fund of €20m will be made available on a competitive basis for projects developed at local level. The Department have indicated that they will approve nationally up to 300 projects, (or over 66,000 per project) to be commenced in 2017 and completed by mid 2018.

The focus of the Scheme is on rejuvenating Ireland’s rural towns and villages to make them more attractive places in which to live and work, and to increase their tourism potential.

Tipperary County Council is seeking Expressions of Interest from town/village groups who may have a suitable project for consideration under the scheme.

All expressions of interest will be assessed by the Council based on the priorities as contained in the Scheme Outline. A maximum of 15 proposals can be selected for County Tipperary, including those put forward by the Council itself, for development into detailed applications which will be submitted by the Council to the Department. It is the Department who will make the final selection and approval of projects to be funded by the Scheme.

Project proposals must include activities that will have clear positive impacts on the town or village making them more attractive places in which to live and work, and to increase their tourism potential. Extra priority will be given to projects which stimulate economic activity in the town/village and between it and neighbouring townlands.

Up to 80% of the total cost of a project can be provided for any individual project; 20% match-funding has to be provided. A town/village project application can include several linked components to support the rejuvenation of the town/village. The minimum grant which is available is €20,000 and the maximum, generally, is €100,000.

Please find ‘Expression of Interest Form’ etc linked HERE

Any interested town/village group must complete the ‘Expression of Interest Form’ and return it to the Community & Economic Development Section, Tipperary County Council, Ballingarrane House, Cahir Road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary or email to townandvillage2017@tipperarycoco.ie no later than 12.00 noon on Friday 26th May 2017.

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See Old Ireland Free

Again this year, access to OPW-managed heritage sites will be free on the first Wednesday of every month, to individuals wishing to visit these sites, and for the duration of their particular opening season.

Families looking for a free day out in Ireland, particularly here in Tipperary and indeed elsewhere here is your chance “To see old Ireland free”.   So please, old age pensioners and those enjoying free travel, do take full advantage.

That means that visits to sites in Tipperary such as:- Cahir Castle, the Swiss Cottage, the Rock of Cashel, Roscrea Heritage (Castle) and the Blackmills, and venues further afield nationally like Kilkenny Castle, Clonmacnoise, Ross Castle in Killarney; to name but a few, won’t cost you a red cent.

Of course, tickets will be allocated on a ‘first-come, first-served basis’, so visitors are advised to arrive early to avoid delays, and do keep in mind that some attractions are open all year-round, while others may have opening hours which are seasonal.

You can get more information regarding these venues, simply by clicking HERE.

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Is The Purchase By Government Of The Thurles ‘Black Castle’ Justified?

At Kilshane House, Co. Tipperary recently, attended by over 200 guests from the Multi-National and Indigenous Sectors, Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, as well as high profile figures drawn from the world of Sport and Entertainment were LR; Tipperary Co. Council Chairperson Siobhan Ambrose, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mitchell O’Connor with the very able Tipperary County Council Chief Executive (CE) Joseph MacGrath.

Here in Co. Tipperary we respectfully ask the questions:
(1) Is Thurles Co. Tipperary ‘THE PLACE, ‘THE TIME’ for to encourage the government to “join other leading organisations”, to couple with our “rich culture of heritage?
(2) “Is a purchase, by Government, of the ‘Black Castle’ here in Thurles justified, given our present economic situation nationally?
(3) Should the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, M/s Heather Humphreys or Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation M/s Mitchell O’Connor be asked, by our local politicians, to bring this ‘Black Castle’ purchase matter before Cabinet, recommending its purchase?

History of the Black Castle
For those not familiar with the historic Black Castle in Thurles, do please read on; remembering that same building has now come up for sale as part of a commercial lot, having been previously in private ownership.

The sale of the Black Castle, which is located on the west side of Liberty Square, presents an ideal opportunity for the present government to now, through the Office of Public Works (OPW) who maintain the State’s property portfolio, bring this historic castle into public ownership.

The castle was once the home of Elizabeth Poyntz, formerly of Acton Court, Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, England,[A]  known as Lady Viscountess Thurles, following her marriage to Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, in 1608. Thomas Butler was son of Walter Butler “Walter of the Rosaries,” latter probably the first of the Butler family to take up residence in Thurles Castle.[B]   Viscount Thurles was summoned from Tipperary, to England in 1619 to answer charges of treason, but the ship, conveying him, was wrecked off the coast of Wales, in an area known as The Skerries and he was drowned on 15th December 1619. His wife Elizabeth Butler (Poyntz), the celebrated Lady Thurles was now a widow and the lone parent of three sons and four daughters.

After the death of Viscount Thurles, Lady Thurles, married again, about 1620, Captain George Mathew of Radyr and Llandaff in Glamorganshire, Wales, by whom Lady Thurles had a further two sons and a 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, Cathedral Street, Thurles.

Memorial Plaque marking the burial place of Elizabeth Butler in St. Mary’s Church Thurles. Note Elizabeth Butler (Poyntz) was also progenitor (ancestor) to Honora “Nano” Nagle (1718-1784) the “Lady with the Lantern”, founder of the “Presentation Sisters” and a pioneer of Catholic education in Ireland. The Presentation Sisters here in Thurles this year celebrate 200 years of being resident in the town (1817-2017). Nano Nagle was declared venerable in the Roman Catholic Church on 31st October 2013 by Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio).

Elizabeth and Thomas Butler (Lord & Lady Thurles), through their first son James FitzThomas Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond, is a direct progenitor (ancestor) to Charles Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of the present Queen Elizabeth II.

The late Princess Diana is also connected to the history of the castle and through the daughter of Lord and Lady Thurles, (Mary Butler), and her ancestors the Hamiltons, descendants of whom married into the Spencer family. Indeed the late Princess Diana was the 12th cousin, twice removed, of Lady Viscountess Thurles.

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. Following her death in 1673 she was buried, at her own earlier request, in Thurles, inside the earlier pre 1820 ‘Little Chapel of St.Mary’, now St. Mary’s C of I Church. A commemorative polished limestone plaque, within the church building, recalls this historic period.

Does Rural Ireland Receive its Fair Share of Government Funding?

Here in the Thurles half of our Templemore / Thurles Municipal District of Tipperary, our appointed fiscal executives at both Municipal District and County Council level, correctly and carefully count the cost of administration, prioritising our spend.  Thurles after all is part of a forgotten rural Ireland; which the present Fine Gael government fully agree has been totally neglected for at least the past 15 years.

According to our recent 2016 Census returns, between 2011 and 2016 the Thurles Urban Electoral Division population actually dropped by 115 persons (From 6,929 to 6,814), while Thurles Rural Electoral Division increased only by 14 persons (From 2,300 to 2,314 – a miserable .61% increase). Of course the figures posted in these 2016 Census returns are not in fact actually true; instead these figures reflect the numbers of persons forced to migrate or emigrate elsewhere in order to find work; with all employment prospects in the town completely absent.

On April 27th last, we posted details of Fáilte Ireland’s recently announced €11.5m funding, to be invested in the refurbishment of ten key OPW sites in Dublin, within Ireland’s Ancient East Region. I pointed out that within a 33 miles radios of Dublin’s popular O’Connell street, went the majority of funding; yes over €8m in total. This included €3m towards a new museum and viewing platform in ‘The Record Tower,’ at Dublin Castle; €300,000 towards a Phoenix Park tourism and amenity study.  While twenty-five miles’ away the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre got €2.58m; and thirty three miles away Newgrange got €1m with Knowth a further €1.4m.

Continue reading Is The Purchase By Government Of The Thurles ‘Black Castle’ Justified?

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Sheila Ryan To Represent Tipperary In Tralee

“She was lovely and fair as the rose of the summer
Yet, ’twas not her beauty alone that won me.
Oh no! ‘Twas the truth in her eye ever beaming
That made me love Sheila, the Rose of Tralee.”

A twenty-three-year old, Miss Sheila Ryan from Tomevara, here in North Tipperary, has been unanimously crowned the 2017 Rose to represent Tipperary in the upcoming Rose of Tralee Festival.

The Rose of Tralee International Festival is one of Ireland’s largest and longest running festivals.  This year the festival celebrates its 58th successful year, with the celebrations kicking off on Wednesday, August 16th, and ending on Tuesday, August 22nd 2017.

Of course, the heart of this festival is the selecting each year of a ‘Rose of Tralee’, which attracts young ladies of Irish descent from across the globe to the Kingdom of Kerry, here in the south-west of Ireland, for a global celebration of all that is Irish.

This festival also includes quality street entertainment as in:- Carnivals; Live Concerts, Theatre and Circus Performances, Street Markets, Funfairs, Fireworks and Rose Parades.

Back here in Thurles Miss Ryan was crowned the 2017 Tipperary Rose in front of a packed audience in the Anner Hotel, Thurles on last Friday night. A nurse by profession, Miss Ryan outshone some 23 other beautiful roses, to procure the top prize and that much sought after golden ticket to the Rose of Tralee festival this summer.

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Wanton Destruction Of Rural Unique History & Culture

Fáilte Ireland announced that €11.5m is to be invested in the refurbishment of ten key OPW sites in Dublin and within Ireland’s Ancient East region. But then of course the OPW Heritage Services work in partnership with this same Fáilte Ireland, so no great surprises here. It was simply a case of tourism revenues earned by the OPW, being given back to the OPW.

It is not really the distribution of funding that actually bothers me, after all Co Tipperary got a share; Ormond Castle were granted €585,000, while the Rock of Cashel were granted €1.78m.

Gobán Saor’s cat rapidly eroding.

Of course, the area within a 33 miles radios of Dublin’s popular O’Connell street, as usual, got the majority of funding; yes over €8m in total.  This included €3m towards a new museum and viewing platform in ‘The Record Tower’ at Dublin Castle; €300,000 towards a Phoenix Park tourism and amenity study. Twenty-five miles’ away the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre got €2.58m; and thirty three miles away Newgrange got €1m and Knowth €1.4m.

This Fáilte Ireland funding announced earlier this month, when truly examined, certainly represents a true strategic partnership with the OPW, if you know what I mean. Plus, as Fáilte Ireland point out, our Irish tourism sector after all currently sustains 220,000 (minimum wage) jobs, while generating an estimated €6bn in economic value per year to the State.

As already stated, it is not really this unequal distribution of funding that actually bothers me, no my fear centres around the wanton destruction of our local unique history and culture, which provides that strong incentive in bringing people to our shores. To get to the crux of this matter perhaps I need to explain further.

Tourists who visit Ireland are not exactly attracted by our weather, rather a huge percentage of foreign visitors are incentivised to holiday on our island, because of our wild, unspoilt, scenic beauty and remarkable ancient history. While most of our history is protected in museums, much more remains totally unprotected.

Archer Tomb Date 1520. Present condition in 2017.

Here in Thurles town Co. Tipperary, alone, numerous pieces of our rich heritage lie unprotected from weather erosion. Year by year, with the passing of each season; rain, wind, frost, snow and even sunshine, all ploy and conspire to shorten and destroy the future life of centuries old rare historical artefacts. Private funding offered, to protect this heritage, are resolutely refused, however funding is being (alas to late), provided to carry out photogrammetry surveys. See HERE and HERE.

The world was outraged in May 2015 when ISIS militants destroyed some of the historic buildings in the ancient city of Palmyra, located in war-torn Syria; which in the past flourished as a Roman trading outpost around A.D. 200. While this similarity is perhaps extreme, the same situation is being allowed to happen to valuable history in rural Ireland.

Dublin not only get the employment opportunities now-a-days it would appear, but into the future, only within a 50 mile radius of our capital city, will limited history survive, courtesy of Fáilte Ireland’s neglect of rural Ireland.

We rightly worry about the disappearance of Banks, Post Offices, Garda Stations, Hospitals and Public Transport from rural Ireland, now our politicians can add tourist attractions to this ever-growing list; while into the future the actual visitor.

Incidentally, those of you who reside abroad and continue to retain close links with Thurles, Co. Tipperary, you can purchase a cast, (at reasonable cost), of the Thurles Goban Saor’s cat with two tails, shown above, from HERE. Same will ensures one hell of a talking point for visitors to your home, when hanging on your sitting-room wall.

We will be talking about this Gobán Saor’s cat in the coming days.

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