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€200,000 Funding For Lough Derg

Part of Tipperary's Lough Derg shore line.

Tipperary’s Lough Derg

The Department Of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs has allocated €200,000 under the Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) initiative for the marketing, development and promotion of The Lough Derg Blueway, which includes the soon to be completed Lough Derg Canoe Trail.

Managed by a Steering Committee comprised of Lough Derg Marketing Group, Clare County Council, Tipperary County Council and Waterways Ireland, the project aims to build on the existing tourism and recreational infrastructure as well as improve economic activity surrounding the Blueway on Lough Derg by working with communities in the towns and villages in its hinterland.

Cllr. Siobhan Ambrose, Cathaoirleach, Tipperary County Council welcomed the announcement of funding for the Lough Derg project stating, “The Lough Derg Lakelands is an excellent hub for activities both on and off the water attracting increasing numbers of domestic and international tourists annually. The REDZ funding will allow us to invest in marketing and promoting Lough Derg as a world class destination offering a memorable visitor experience and the capacity to engage with the communities around Lough Derg during the process.”

Welcoming the funding allocation, Joe MacGrath, Chairperson of the Lough Derg Marketing Group and Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, explained that the REDZ initiative is about community participation, boosting employment, tackling rural isolation and helping communities to identify the issues and also the solutions.

“The concept of a REDZ involves supporting communities to avail of opportunities to help themselves and their local areas and it is the essence of what a community led approach to rural development is all about. Clare County Council and its partner agencies looks forward to engaging with the local business, community and voluntary sectors in the Scarriff and Nenagh REDZ areas during the coming months to deliver on the opportunities presented by the Lough Derg Blueway,” he added.

Mr. MacGrath said the project will result in a high quality product that will increase tourism to the local towns and villages located close to the western and eastern shores of Lough Derg.

He continued, “The value of the Blueways lies not only in the recreational opportunities that they offer but also in their potential to stimulate local business and regenerate local areas. We will be engaging with businesses and communities throughout the Scarriff and Nenagh REDZ areas while the Blueway’s network of walking, cycling, heritage, food and canoe trails will be marketed and promoted as a signature experience on Lough Derg. It is intended that the initiative will deliver one of the key objectives of the ‘Roadmap for Experience Development and Destination Marketing 2014-2017’ for Lough Derg.”

Meanwhile, the proposed Lough Derg Canoe Trail, which is scheduled for completion by January 2017, will see canoe facilities and service blocks installed in Killaloe, Ballycuggeran, and Scarriff, Mountshannon and Dromaan harbours. The Trail project is an initiative of the Lough Derg Marketing Group and is being funded under the Lough Derg Stimulus Fund. Waterways Ireland is leading the design and development of the project in partnership with Clare County Council, Galway County Council and Tipperary County Council.

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Refresh Thurles – Tidy Towns Group AGM

Refresh Thurles – Tidy Towns Group Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2016 will be held on Tuesday night next, October 11th, at 8.00pm in the ‘Commercial Room’ of Hayes Hotel, in Thurles.

This year’s National Tidy Towns Competition; generously sponsored for the past 25 years by SuperValue (part of the Musgrave Group), saw Thurles marked under Category E, and receiving 285 marks out of a possible total of 450.

Please find full ‘Adjudication Report’ (Thurles. Ref 627, in Alpha Order), HERE

tidy-towns-2016

Marks given by National Tidy Towns Judges in respect of Thurles Town, following their 2016 adjudication.

The local Thurles Tidy Town Committee have some new projects in the pipeline, for discussion at Tuesday’s AGM, that should contribute to the towns continuing upward trend of results in this competition. They point out that the National Winner in 2016 had just 327 marks, so winning this Competition should be seen as realistic and an achievable objective for Thurles into the future.

Thurles Tidy Town Committee would like particularly to acknowledge and thank, most sincerely, everyone over the past year, who contributed to making Thurles Town attractive; a nice place to live and indeed an exceptionally nice place to visit.

Please do remember that the Thurles Tidy Towns Annual General Meeting will take place on October 11th at 8.00pm in Hayes Hotel and please do make an effort to attend this important community meeting.

‘Thurles Community Estates’ and ‘Streetscape Competition’ winners
Meanwhile the Local ‘Thurles Community Estate’ winners for 2016 were recently announced. This year’s adjudication came courtesy of a qualified landscape architect, latter now working in the area of Community Development. Same adjudication will lead to each estate receiving professional advice on how to improve various aspects of their particular immediate area.

Thurles Estate Winners 2016
The names of the Winners and full Adjudicated Results are shown as follows:
Large Estate – Moyne Road Bellevue, Thurles, – 95%
Medium Estate – Hazelwood, Dublin Rd, Thurles, – 91%
Small Estate – Windsor Grove, Dublin Rd, Thurles – 82%
Following adjudication, each winner will now receive a prize of €200 to fittingly reinvest in their community areas.

Alas, there were no entries in the ‘Streetscape Competition’ this year; nevertheless this competition will again run in 2017, with a late May closing date. Refresh Thurles look forward to more estates and streets entering next year.

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What Does The River Suir Mean To You?

Suir

Thurles, Anner Hotel, Thursday 21st July last – Crowd settle for discussion on the upper River Suir in Thurles, Borrisoleigh & Holycross.

Great turnouts and lively debate were the order of the day, following recent River Suir Community meetings. Over the past two weeks widely advertised evening meetings were held at six riverside locations throughout the River Suir catchment area, to ask local people “What does the River Suir mean to you?”

As we already informed our readers, public meeting were held in both Co. Tipperary and Co. Kilkenny, at the following locations:-
Newcastle Community Hall, Tuesday 19th.
• Golden Community Hall, Wednesday 20th.
Thurles, Anner Hotel, Thursday 21st.
• Cahir House Hotel, Tuesday 26th.
• Fethard Community Hall, Wednesday 27th.
• Piltown, Kildalton College, Thursday 28th.

The purpose of these appointed evening meetings were to open up serious discussion on the river Suir, with regard to water quality and other natural water issues, while also exploring possible opportunities that our river and its tributaries could provide in future to local communities.

These meetings were organised by the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office; to coincide with public consultations by the Office of Public Works (OPW) on Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAMS). All meeting opened with a presentation by Dr. Fran Igoe who gave the background to a new approach to the management of our natural waters; these included rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries, the coast and wetlands.

The importance of the River Suir, from a European perspective, was explained, including why the river was selected as a ‘Special Area of Conservation’ based on the myriad of wildlife being supported. The meetings were opened to the floor and attendees were invited to contribute regarding benefits and issues, from a local perspective. Needless to say, this was a lively affair at all named venues, with discussions ranging from sewage present in the river; excessive vegetation growth; access restrictions for walkers and to the future potential for river based tourism.

Following this discussion there was an overview of the structure and role of the national Waters and Communities Office and the draft River Basin Management Plan, latter which will be available nationally for public consultation from December 2016 to June 2017.

Continue reading What Does The River Suir Mean To You?

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International Miss Macra 2016 Under Way In Thurles

Macra16

Left – Right pictured above: (1) Representing South Tipperary, M/s Josephine O’Dwyer. (2) M/s Ailin Walsh, representing Waterford, ‘meets & greets’ former Epsom Derby & Irish Derby Stakes Winner ‘Galileo’ yesterday, at the world famous Coolmore Stud in Co. Tipperary. (3) Representing South Tipperary, M/s Denise Ryan.

Yesterday saw the welcome return of the 45th International Miss Macra Festival, returning to its initial roots; coming back to Thurles, Co. Tipperary for the full duration of this August Bank Holiday weekend. Such was the high calibre of the venues present here in Thurles that the Festival this year is taking place in three separate areas, showcasing the best that Thurles and Co. Tipperary has to offer, e.g. Hayes Hotel (Birthplace of the GAA), last night; The Dome (Semple Stadium), tonight, and the magnificent family-run Anner Hotel (Graded Four-Star by Fáilte Ireland), Dublin Rd, Thurles, for the Annual Macra Banquet tomorrow night.

Yesterday, the festival kicked off, when contestants met the Festival Committee and Host Families in Clonoulty village, before being taken on a personal tour of the world famous Coolmore Stud Farm. This was followed by a late lunch in the Anner Hotel’s ‘Green Room’ restaurant.  Last night the participants attended a themed ’90’s Disco’, in Hayes Hotel, dancing into the early hours of this morning.

However today saw the contestants appear ‘bright eyed & bushy tailed’, rising early in preparation for their private personal interviews in front of a three judge panel, namely Joan Pollard Carew, (Representing Main Sponsors Michael Carew Jewellers, West Gate, Thurles); Geraldine Henchion, (Representing Tipp FM, Tipperary’s No 1 Local Radio Station); & Declan Ryan, (President of the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra Club). This panel have been given the very difficult task of selecting this year’s “International Miss Macra 2016” winner; latter which will be announced following the Banquet on Sunday night in the Anner Hotel.

Tonight (30th July 2016) in The Dome, Semple Stadium, Thurles, will see the ever popular “Cabaret Night”, commence. Here the contestants will be interviewed publicly on stage, by expert interviewer Mr Mike Egan; himself a previous Macra Member and long-term friend of the festival.  Live music will be provided by ‘Switch’ to which the contestants, their supporters and the public attending, can later dance the night away.

Guaranteed to be a most enjoyable and memorable evening.

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Have You A Vision For Our River Suir?

 Descriptive extract below from that wonderful children’s book, “The Wind in the Willows”, by Kenneth Grahame (1859-1952).

The River Bank

“He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before, this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a shake and a shiver, glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated.”

The Source

Rising on the slopes of Devil’s Bit Mountain, just north of Templemore in County Tipperary, the River Suir flows south through Loughmore, Thurles, Holycross, Golden and Knockgraffon. It merges with the river Aherlow at Kilmoyler and further on with the river Tar, before turning east at the Comeragh Mountains, thus forming the border between Co. Waterford and Co. Tipperary. The Suir then passes through Cahir, Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir before reaching the sea at Waterford.

Important Workshops
Over the coming weeks the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office are holding a series of important public workshops to discuss the future potential of the River Suir and its tributaries; possible management options; funding for various projects, culminating it is hoped, in a shared vision for its long term future.

Initially at these now selected meetings there will be no agenda other than to get an important conversation under way, and see, as a community, where open, shared debate can take us into the future. The meetings will start at around 7.00pm; lasting for about one hour at the stated venues listed hereunder.

Selected Meeting Venues

Note: Shown below are the dates of upcoming meetings and their selected venues in relation to various district catchment areas:-

Tuesday, 19th July 2016, Newcastle Community Hall, Newcastle Village, Co. Waterford.
Wednesday, 20th July 2016, Golden Community Hall, Golden Village, Co. Tipperary.
Thursday, 21st July 2016, Anner Hotel, Dublin Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Tuesday, 26th July 2016, Cahir House Hotel, The Square Cahir, Co. Tipperary.
Wednesday, 27th July 2016, Fethard Community Hall, Fethard, Co. Tipperary.
Thursday, 28th July 2016, Kildalton College, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny.

Dr Fran Igoe, Regional Co-ordinator, who has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in river based projects and his colleagues, together with a representative from Tipperary County Council, will be on hand to help develop a shared vision and provide practical advice based on past experiences.

On the River Suir the existing built heritage, historic weirs, navigation tow-paths, angling pools and boating traditions will illustrate just how important the river Suir has been over the centuries. Today, this importance continues in the form of Angling, Tourism, Kayaking and many other recreational pursuits. The importance of a plentiful supply of clean water is self-explanatory whether it is for drinking, provisioning for livestock or for bathing.

It is well known that the River Suir holds the Irish record for a salmon caught on ‘rod and line’ weighing in at a massive 57 lbs. More over this river remains an internationally important Brown Trout fishery and is recognized internationally for its habitats supporting a large range of rare mammals, fish, birds and invertebrates.

The evening meetings have been organised to compliment the Office of Public Works (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) public consultation days, which are being held to get the public’s view on potential flood management options being considered for areas at risk of flooding.

The ‘Waters and Communities River Suir’ meetings will be held immediately after the OPW Public Consultation meetings, with the aim of exploring how we see the river in our local area; what we want from it, and how we might best manage it in the best interests of the common good.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, “The Lorax”.

Need more information?  Click HERE.

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