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real feel: 13°C
wind speed: 7 m/s SW
sunrise: 5:07 am
sunset: 9:59 pm


Is This What They Label As “Fake News”?

A new €2million initiative has been launched in an effort to boost tourism across ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ region, with a promise of further funding to follow this initial €2m allocation.

‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ is the latest brand to be launched by Fáilte Ireland following their ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and even less convincing ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’.

This ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ promotion will covers parts of Leitrim, Roscommon, East Galway, East Clare, North Tipperary, Offaly, Westmeath, Longford and Cavan.

Same, we are informed will encourage tourism through the promotion of walking, cycling and boating, as well as fishing and other activities in and around towns and villages within the region. A series of food networks and trails will also be developed; with the flood prone River Shannon marketed together with Waterways Ireland to encourage tourism both on and off the river.

Today was obviously a slow news day everywhere; with national and local TV, Radio, Press and social media outlets, all grabbing the “Fake News” for their various publications.

Photo-shopped children appeared; jumping off boats into Lough Allen in one publication; in others a water scape showed a leaking waterlogged boat on a reeded shoreline, and all designed to drive visitor growth across the Midlands region, thus exposing the Midland’s rich natural assets, which includes our God given lakes, walkways and ‘Sunday Blueways’. (They are right in one stated fact; to immerse yourself in the heart of rural Ireland you do need a canoe.)

Is ‘Drive’ the Clue?
Sounds great, but it would appear that Fáilte Ireland’s members; their CEO Mr Paul Kelly and Mr Paul Keeley (Director of Commercial Development), apparently just don’t get “out and about”, much, anymore. While they have been sweating; involved “in months of extensive market testing”; gleaned they claim both from here (I can’t find one person contacted in North Tipperary, in relation to this new branding) and overseas, it would appear that most of the gathered information came from tourists abroad, and from persons who have never driven on Ireland’s secondary road surfaces.

Keep in mind that this new initiative, which has little for North Tipperary natives to get into a bee-like frenzy about, is expected to tap into that “off the beaten track” experience.

But perhaps the biggest chuckle, is that this new ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ brand was officially launched by Mr Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport who sped down the M4 & M6 motorways for an announcement ceremony in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. (Home of Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran).

Latter named Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Minister Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who first revealed the name of this new brand as ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’, declared it to be a beautiful name, which had proven very successful in pre-trials, (Me I would have preferred a more descriptive brand name myself, something like “The Deep Pot Holes, Beyond The Luas Line”

No, Mr Moran and Mr Ross made no mention of structural failures on off-motorway road surfaces, caused by flood water in the underlying soil structures; as they gazed grinning from behind a cardboard cut-out.

Why does my late grandmother’s dissenting description now echo and spring to mind; “Asses looking over a whitewashed wall”.


OPW Heritage Sites Free To Visit

The Swiss Cottage Cahir

Access to most OPW-managed heritage sites will remain free to visit on the first Wednesday of every month, again this year.

Families looking for a cheap day out in areas around Ireland, now have no excuse to remain caged up at home, over the coming weekends, for the duration of the upcoming holiday season.

So if you want to visit the towns of Thurles, Cashel, Cahir, Clonmel, Roscrea, Nenagh, or even further afield, with your family, now is your chance at very reasonable cost for your outing.

Do remember that Tickets are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and visitors are advised to arrive early to avoid delays at some of the busier sites.

Visit heritageireland.ie for more information.


Short Sighted Engineers Re-glue Barry’s Bridge

Business people in the heart of Thurles and indeed in the streets surrounding Liberty Square are heaving a sigh of relief this morning, following the news that the necessary repairs to the Barry’s Bridge crossing, have at last come to an end.  The single lane “Stop & Go” traffic system, which they and road users were also forced to experience over the past three weeks, is now at an end, or is it?

It would seem that our busy decision making, municipal engineers didn’t make it to Specsavers Opticians this year.

Less than 8mtres (24ft) away from the newly re-glued bridge surface, a collapsed drain under the road has gone unnoticed, despite its sunken state being in existence long before the previous glued surface, on this same Barry’s bridge, had decided to surrender and disintegrate. Yes and even before the “Beast from the East” could have obscured it, swallowing it in a white blank canvas. The clue for engineers was the obvious fact that the road surface had dropped 2ins below kerb foundations, thus leaving questions to be answered.

One would have thought that when all the heavy machinery; tar trucks, heavy duty breakers, rollers, tarmac trucks and other thingamajigs, were in place over the past three weeks, this very small close-by repair, could also have been included; thus cutting major costs for the taxpayer.

Not so; money does not seem to be a problem for the Templemore /Thurles Municipal District engineers, so expect the heavy machinery to return again, and that accompanying single lane of traffic also, to materialise yet again, and to hell with with the tax payer.

There is, however, one great saving having been made in all of this; the 2017 Christmas lights still remains in place this Easter; in plenty of time for next Christmas. This could mean that there will be no rise in Property Tax next year.


WARNING: All Drivers Using Mill Road, Thurles

A warning to all drivers using the Mill Road out of Thurles, exiting from the N75 (Dublin Road) to Littleton & Turtulla Cross.

These Pictures Do Not Lie!

Due to increased use by heavy duty trucks and other motor vehicles, attempting to avoid necessary roadworks at Barry’s Bridge, Thurles, two seriously dangerous potholes have now been created.

The holes are situated on the left-hand side, on centre of the sharp second S-bend corner, as drivers cross the Drish River, (opposite the rather lovely reed thatched house on the right-hand side, at Lady’s Well); as drivers exit the town from the Dublin Road (N75), travelling South to Littleton (going left), and West to Turtulla Cross (going right).

The pothole pictured, marked (1) above is over 1 metre in length; almost ½ metre in width (see sides on image) and is about 26 centimetres deep. Same is quite capable of doing serious damage to any vehicle’s tracking, or in a worst scenario, force a driver to lose total control of their steering.

Picture (2) above is only a metre away from (1), with the road structure showing similar signs of disintegration. Both holes are not immediately visible to any driver.

In the words of Albert Einstein, when it comes to those who plan our roads: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former”.

This narrow short stretch of road [known affectionately, locally, as “Fat Arse Boulevard” ], without footpaths, stupidly displays “hasten signs” allowing for speeds of 80k per hour. This is despite being used regularly by Driving Testers, Walkers, Joggers, Learner Drivers, Dog Walkers, Pram Pushers, Children & Teenagers (grouped together), our late departed flattened Tom Cat, and even boasts a Housing Estate plus an S-Bend on a Humped-Back Bridge.

Surely this Road; and not the vehicles driving thereon, should now be given an NCT.


A Day Out In Historic Thurles Costs Just €12 – Read On

Every person aged 66 and over, living permanently in the Irish State, are entitled to avail of the Free Travel Scheme. Some people under 66 also qualify. If you qualify for free travel, you are issued with a card that you must carry with you when using public transport. In some cases, a Free Travel Companion Card is also available which allows a person to travel with the holder (if they are unable to travel alone).

This Free Travel Scheme allows for free travel being made available on all Irish State public transport systems, e.g. Bus, Rail and Dublin’s LUAS service, with some minor exceptions.

Left-Right: Ms Joan Farrally, Mr Vincent McNally (Group Organiser), Mrs Eilish McNally, and Mrs Brid McMenaman. Mr McNally (Pictured above) headed up a most wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable and well travelled group of 45 retired persons from Co. Dublin, on Wednesday, March 7th last, all who arrived by train to Thurles Railway Station.

Answer two simple questions.
(1) “Have any of you retired persons, aged 66 and over ever visited the historic town of Thurles?”

(2) “Do you realise that you can have a most enjoyable day out in Thurles town for a maximum of €12.00?”

So what can you get for €12.00 in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, armed with a Free Travel Scheme pass card?

  • First, remember your travel is free and Thurles Town enjoys the luxury of an excellent and regular Iarnród Éireann daily train service.

  • Lunch in the historic Hayes Hotel, Liberty Square, offers a full Lunch Menu in the comfort of their attractive Carvery. [e.g. main course of Roast Beef & 3 Veg, plus Tea or Coffee will cost you just €11.00.]

  • The Davin Room in Hayes Hotel will be made available, free of charge, for groups of twenty persons or more, with a charge of just €1 per head to attend a one-hour lecture on the Great Famine (1845-1850) and to view, up close, some of the extremely rare artefacts, collected from that period; not available to see anywhere else in Ireland.

  • Other activities can also be arranged around your day trip, subject to your particular interests.

    So, here is a perfect opportunity for those of you benefiting from the Free Travel Scheme, to round up a group of friends and give yourselves a well deserved day out; one to remember here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, with an opportunity to meet the friendliest and most obliging people in the world.

    A must for anyone interested in Irish history.
    It was an eye opener for all of us active retirees to learn about the famine history, from a very well spoken orator, who delivered an excellent talk about this sad period in Irish history.

    Lots of very interesting displays of what life was like during the famine. Has original “Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book” (or the ‘Distribution Book,’ as it was also called,) for the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill for 1847. Admission is only a nominal donation.

    Further details can be had by phoning at any time, Mobile – (086) 8785859, and we will endeavour to ensure you enjoy your day trip to this most historic of Tipperary towns; Thurles.

    [Please Note: All money, in total, collected from these “Great Famine” lectures goes to Thurles Lions Club, for use at their discretion, with a total of €140.00, having already been handed over to this very worthy organisation, to date this year.]