Design consultants URS Ireland, updating the final plans for the proposed revamp of Liberty Square here in Thurles, were in attendance yesterday at the Thurles -Templemore Municipal District meeting, held in the ‘Old Library’ building, situated on Castle Avenue.
A number of final pre-submission draft drawings were on the table for final discussion at the meeting, latter which will now become part of the overall draft plan of the area, based on previous public consultation processes held earlier over the past year.
These Draft Thurles Design Plans costing some €3,000,000 will now provide for the removal of some parking facilities in the town’s central median, in favour of two off-street car parks recently acquired, providing for some one hundred extra parking spaces. However some enlarged on-street parallel parking is likely to remain with the provision of widened footpaths and the possible introduction of two extra courtesy pedestrian crossings.
From my own humble point of view this is welcome news; after all from a tourism prospective, for the past 14 years, world tourist publications have been less than complimentary with regard to our small local urban community.
Lonely Planet Ireland with Head Offices in America & Australia in a defamatory statement claim; “Thurles (Durlas) is a large market town 22km north of Cashel which was founded by the Butlers in the 13th Century. Little of note has been built there since and the town square is little more than an ugly car park.” This same publication, in 2007, stated; “The centre of Thurles town is the long and spacious Liberty Square. It is rather traffic bound, but has a lively air.”
Ireland : A Rough Guide published by Rough Guides Ltd, 62-70 Shorts Gardens, London and distributed by the Penguin Group state; ” Thurles is of very little interest in itself .” “Having seen the Rock of Cashel, most people head out of Tipperary for the west, and frankly this isn’t a bad idea – the north of the county has little to distract you.” Also they offer this little added piece of libel; “Templemore is even less interesting than Thurles.”
The final plans should be ready to go on display under Part 8 Planning Process later this year and once finally agreed same will then go to tender for construction.
Thurles – Templemore District Director Mr Matt Shortt, in highlighting this project, has stated that the overall aim of this new revamp will be to aid the currently restricted traffic flow, while also greatly improving conditions for shopping pedestrians.
Yes of course there will be many problems as plans are unveiled and as our Local Authority attempt to construct what can be reasonably described as a new exciting public face to Liberty Square. Such, after all, is inevitable when local residents and businesses people are invited to participate in a final decision-making process. We reside in an age where “Personal Greed and Me-ism” flourishes in abundance, so do let’s try to keep our thoughts positive, accepting safe democratic decisions and keeping in mind that it is impossible for everyone to fully agree on all finalised new proposals.
After all and in reality there is no such thing as a problem; if a problem occurs and there is a solution – there is no problem; if a problem occurs and there is no solution – this can be categorised as a ‘fact of life,’ so let’s continue with it until an alternative resolution can be calmly worked out.
One thought is common in the minds of all Thurles people presently; Liberty Square badly needs a face lift, so let’s speed up this positive chance for change, where possible.
International Miss Macra Festival 2014
Miss Eiblish Maher (International Miss Macra Festival PRO) Reports.
As the 2014 August bank holiday draws ever closer, we find ourselves glimpsing the last remnants of our Irish Summer. That agreed, there now remains that impulse, found within all of us, to complete at least one great ‘last hurrah’ before our Summer season once again fades to Autumn.
So if you are looking for a fun and unique party event in which to participate, why not visit the 2014 International Miss Macra Festival, taking place in less than two weeks time from Aug 1st – Aug 3rd inclusive, at the luxury Dundrum House Hotel, Dundrum, Thurles, Co Tipperary.
Watch Video HERE in HD.
This year will celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the International Miss Macra Festival, superbly organised as always by the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra na Feirme club, here in Co Tipperary.
Calendar of forthcoming Macra Festival events for 2014.
Friday: The festival will kick-start on Friday August 1st when this year’s 21 contestants will meet the Festival Committee in the grounds of the luxury Dundrum House Hotel; beginning midday. Dundrum House Hotel, often described as an ‘Irish Oasis’ set in the heart of Tipperary’s Golden Vale, creates the perfect location for those intent on seeking relaxation and fun. The competitors will then be taken on a tour of the world renowned Coolmore Stud Farm, followed by a ‘Zumba Secession’ in Clonoulty Community Hall. Later that evening the girls will meet up with their host families. The tradition of the contestants staying with host families is very strong within the local community and Macra are extremely grateful for their generosity and commitment by our host families over the past 43 years. This year the Friday night will be a themed disco and what more fitting a theme this year than ‘Farmer Style,’ (Make sure you all have your peaked caps, dungarees and steel capped rubber boots at the ready.)
Saturday: The contestants will awaken early on Saturday morning for their interviews with this year’s competent judges. There are three judges; (1) Declan Ryan who has held every officership on our festival committee, including Chairman throughout the years and is currently the President of Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra club. Joining him will be; (2) Joan Pollard Carew, renowned poet and well known patron of Irish dancing. Joan is also the wife of Michael Carew, of Michael’s Jewellers fame who sponsors annually the second prize in our festival and who has contributed greatly to same in terms of resources, time and advice. This year we are proud to announce that there will be a new judge; (3) joining us will be Caroline Kinane from Tipp FM Radio and we wish her the very best of luck with the tough task of selecting International Miss Macra 2014.
After the interviews on Saturday, the contestants will again have a chance to relax at the annual South Tipperary Macra Raft Race, which will take place in the neighbouring village of Golden at 4.00pm sharp. This activity is mainly for assembled Macra supporters who don a life jacket and make their county proud as the person – made rafts battle the river currents. (Trust me the historic St.Brendan’s voyage wasn’t a patch on this major upcoming event.)
Saturday night will see the girls dressed in their finest; ascend the stage for the cabaret. Mike Egan, previous Macra member, will interview the girls two at the time in front of a marquee full of supporters, friends and family. Once the cabaret is finished the contestants can enjoy themselves, with their supporters, in the Venue to the band ‘Lebowski.’
Sunday: Sunday morning sees the girls attend Church in the local parish of Clonoulty. Afterwards, there will be a Macra family fun and sports day, followed by a barbecue. The contestants will proudly wear their county colours as they battle it out through a custom built Macra obstacle course, complete with parallel Tractor Parking (toy) and a demonstration on Friesian Cow milking (cardboard).
Immediately after these sports, the preparations for the Miss Macra Annual Ball will commence. There will be a hairdresser, Tara and others, on site for each contestants and female committee members. Photographs of the girls plus their escorts will be taken by the festival photographer, beginning at 6.00pm sharp. This will be then followed by a ‘Champagne Reception,’ and a Five Course Banquet which will takes place in the Dundrum House Banqueting Suite.
Following the Banquet and after dinner speeches the band ‘Memphis’ will take to the stage to begin the dancing, until the bewitching hour of 12.00 midnight when the judges will announce this year’s winner, together with those adjudged as taking second and third place. The crowned winner and runners up will then have their photographs taken with the main sponsors of the festival.
Now with the winner crowned; the festival now draws to a close, as the committee breathe a sigh of relief, proud of their many months spent planning, as the entire ballroom fills with Macra and non-Macra members who will continue to dance late into the night.
A Taste of Lough Derg, Tipperary
Food producers and restaurant owners surrounding Lough Derg have joined forces in an effort to promote the region as a food tourism destination. ‘A Taste of Lough Derg 2014′, a pilot initiative for 2014, features 13 separate food events taking place in villages and towns along the shores of Lough Derg in counties Clare, Galway and Tipperary.
Commencing this week and continuing through mid-September, the series includes; Sunday Picnic at the lake in Killaloe, Butcher Masterclass in Terryglass, Farm Walk and Cheese Tasting in Portumna, BBQ Garden Party and talent show in Garrykennedy and Chocolate Making and Tasting in Tuamgraney and Newtown. The series will also highlights the excellent country and farmers markets around Lough Derg.
The initiative is one of the recommendations of the Roadmap for Lough Derg, which was launched in conjunction with the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group (LDMSG) and Fáilte Ireland in March 2014. The strategy has identified a number of areas to focus on over the period of the plan in order to achieve the vision for Lough Derg which is to develop it as a key destination for superb water based activities combined with a range of very high quality walking, cycling, heritage, culture and food experiences that will entice the domestic and international visitors to stay longer.
“One of our objectives early on was to establish an initiative that showcased the local food sector, something that has not previously been done in a coordinated fashion,” explained Joe MacGrath, Chairperson of the LDMSG.
He added: “The local food tourism sector is fortunate to be served by a number of high quality artisan food producers and established chef-led restaurants. ‘A Taste of Lough Derg’ brings these various elements together as a method of promoting Lough Derg as a destination for food and illustrating the food produce in the area. As well as being aimed at attracting new visitors to the region, we hope this series will also inform people in the surrounding area of the quality food providers and suppliers that exist on their own doorstep.”
The participating stakeholders from around Lough Derg include Brookfield Farm, Tuscany Bistro, The Derg Inn, Lough Derg Chocolates, Sunny Meadow Farm, Good and Green, The Wooden Spoon, Larkin’s Bar & Restaurant, Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, Irish Seed Savers, Wilde Irish Chocolates, and Paddy’s Bar & Riverrun House & Cottages.
Áine Mc Carthy, Tourism Marketing Coordinator for Lough Derg commented: “The development of a new food tourism initiative is one of the objectives of the Roadmap for Lough Derg which seeks to enhance the overall visitor experience around Lough Derg and to establish an identity that is unique to this region. We are delighted to partner with local businesses to develop this initiative and further enhance the Lakelands ‘Lough Derg’ experience.”
‘A Taste of Lough Derg’ includes ‘Walk, See & Taste’ on Sunny Meadow Farm with a BBQ and Killeen Cheese Tastings, Portumna (Sun 13th Jul); ‘Taste & Make’ at Wilde Irish Chocolates Real Working Chocolate Factory, Tuamgraney (Thu 17th Jul); Pizza Picnic, Riverrun House & Cottages (Sun 20th Jul); Chocolate Demonstration and Tastings, Lough Derg Chocolates, Newtown (Fri 25th Jul); Tuscany Bistro World Cup of Forrestal Wines & Feast of Local Produce, Ballina (Thu 31st Jul); Scariff Harbour Festival 2014 feat. cooking demo with Chef Adrian Martin (Sat 2nd Aug); Farm walk on Brookfield Farm All Ireland Permaculture Gathering feat. workshops, foraging, wild swimming, Coolbawn (8th-10th Aug); ‘Meet the Producer’ organised through Paddy’s Bar, Terryglass (Tue 12th Aug); ‘Making the most of it – 50+ foods from an Irish garden’ at Good and Green, Annacarriga (Fri 15th Aug); Larkin’s BBQ Garden Party & Talent Show, Garrykennedy (Sun 24th Aug); A Celebration of Tipperary Beef and Lamb feat. Master Butcher demo & craft beer tasting, The Derg Inn, Terryglass (Sat 6th Sept); ‘Apple Week’ at Irish Seed Savers, Scarriff (11th-14th Sept); and ‘Sunday Picnics at the Lake’ with The Wooden Spoon Killaloe (Sun 14th Sept).
A nominal charge applies to some events while others are free. Pre-booking is recommended.
For complete details on each event, visit www.facebook.com/ATasteofLoughDerg.
Thurles, European Town of Sport in 2012, got its current week long Sarsfields Festival of Gaelic Sport under way on Friday July 4th last, with same continuing until July 12th next, inclusive.
The festival got off to a flying start on Friday morning last with the first ever official ‘Indoor Target Bowling’ competition; with all 90 competitors in attendance playing for the Olden Cup and associated individual medals for runner’s up and winning team members.
This new game, designed in particular for wheelchair and special needs participants and developed by James O’Driscoll, proved extremely popular with teams and their sponsors representing Roscrea, Birr, Thurles, Nenagh, Templemore and other areas all taking part.
M/s Susan Greene Chairperson of the Irish Road Bowling Association (Bol Chumann na hEireann) was on hand in person to supervise the judging and present the medals.
Also in attendance and spotted in the large crowd present were Catherine Purcell (Rehab Care), Michael Dundon (Sarsfields Festival PRO), Michael Maher (Chairperson Thurles Sarsfields Club) and John Lanigan & Johnny Enright (Joint Festival Chairpersons).
Mrs Margo Olden (Thurles Guardian Angel School) was also in attendance to present, for the very first time the Olden Cup, which this year was won by a group representing Thurles Sarsfields and captained by Declan Ryan.
Mountshannon, Clare, Ireland – Members of the public are now able to observe one of the first White Tailed Sea Eagles born in Ireland in over a century; courtesy of a new Viewing & Information Point that has been officially opened on the shores of Lough Derg in County Clare.
Located at Mountshannon Pier and operated by Mountshannon Community Council, the Golden Eagle Trust and Clare County Council, the new Viewing Point features telescopes and information and displays about the White Tailed Sea Eagles. The facility will remain open until the end of September.
Norway’s Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Roald Næss joined Mayor of Clare Cllr. John Crowe in Mountshannon today in recognition of his country’s close links with the Golden Eagle Trust’s programme to reintroduce the bird to Ireland.
The Mountshannon breeding pair, a six-year-old male and five-year-old female, were collected as chicks on the island of Frøya off the west coast of Norway by the Golden Eagle Trust. The birds were released in Killarney National Park before relocating to Lough Derg in 2011. The pair, named Saoirse and Caimin, created history in 2013 when they reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in 110 years. The pair successfully hatched another chick in late April of this year.
Mayor of Clare Cllr. John Crowe welcomed the introduction of the Viewing Point which he said provides the general public with “a unique opportunity to view the birds at close quarters without disturbing them”.
He added: “The breeding success of the Mountshannon pair is in no small part down to the wonderful work of the Golden Eagle Trust, Clare County Council and Mountshannon Community Council, as well as the goodwill and support shown by the local community. This Viewing & Information Point will help to further safeguard these impressive birds and their nesting activities, as well as to promote their ecology and conservation.”
Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Roald Næss described the increase in the number of nesting pairs of White Tailed Sea Eagles in Ireland as “encouraging” and expressed his delight that Norway has played a central role in the reintroduction programme.
He continued: “Norway is home to one of the largest White Tailed Sea Eagle populations in the world and has been instrumental in helping organisations such as the Golden Eagle Trust to reintroduce the species to countries where the bird once flourished but is no longer found. Being able to view this breeding pair thrive here in County Clare is a tribute to everyone concerned and I hope the people who visit this Viewing Point truly value what is happening here.”
Welcoming the official opening of the Viewing & Information Point, Dr. Allan Mee, White Tailed Sea Eagle project manager, commented: “We are very conscious of the risk of disturbing the birds especially during nesting periods, so we warmly welcome this structure which is purpose built and designed specifically for the purposes as a Bird Viewing and Information Point. It will help put Mountshannon on the map as the destination to come and enjoy perhaps Ireland’s largest and most spectacular breeding bird. To have a nesting pair of eagles here on our doorstep is unique and one that the local community in Mountshannon will I’m sure help nurture into the future”.
The Viewing Point will be maintained by Mountshannon Community Council, whose Chairperson John Harvey said: “Since the White Tailed Sea Eagles first arrived here three years ago, members of the local community have given tremendous support to the Golden Eagle Trust to ensure the birds were given every possible opportunity to thrive. The Community Council looks forward to welcoming people to the village and the Viewing Point, which we regard as a wonderful addition to the local tourism infrastructure.”