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Thurles
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Tipperary All Ireland Hurling Champions Return Home – Part 2

“Home are our hurling heroes” – Part 2

Just a few more of the faces found amongst an estimated 30 thousand spectators that made the journey to Thurles; the home of hurling, here in Semple Stadium, last night.

Meanwhile a taste of ‘Loose Cannons‘.

We were contacted several times by email today asking us to supply the name of the four-man ‘Rock Band’ that appeared before the Tipperary Team came out on stage, yesterday evening.
We are happy to inform those making enquiries, they are called ‘Loose Cannons’ and they can be contacted on Mobile: 087 956 7446.

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Taste Of Thurles Lions Club’s Vintage Car Show 2019

Thurles Lions Club’s Vintage Car Show & Family Day was held today, August 11th 2019.

Pictures courtesy Stewart Willoughby

While the weather remained somewhat overcast here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary for this popular event, held at the Mary Immaculate College (Formerly St. Patrick’s College), Cathedral Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, not so was the mood of visitors and local residents; latter who turned out in vast numbers in support of this much anticipated occasion.

The successful family day, which was also supported by various stage performances, together with over 40 food and craft fare exhibitors, ran from 12:00 noon until 5:00pm, to the acclaim of all who attended.

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Sinéad O’Connor To Perform At Féile 19

The magnificent voice of the very beautiful Ms Sinéad O’Connor is to feature here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, at ‘Féile 19’; reportedly Ms O’Connor’s only festival show of this summer.

This resurrected music event has changed its name from its 2018 “Féile Classical” to; in 2019, “Féile 19” some 30 years after the original Féile became Ireland’s first multi-day music festival.

“Féile 19” begins September 20th – 22nd 2019.

Other acts include ‘The Stunning’, ‘EMF’, ‘The Frank and Walters’, ‘Transvision Vamp’, ‘The Fat Lady Sings’, ‘Eleanor McEvoy’, ‘Picturehouse’, ‘Mundy’, ‘Alive & Dangerous’, with Andrew Strong, Eric Bell and Bronagh Gallager performing songs from Thin Lizzy’s ‘Live & Dangerous’.

This three day music extravaganza is expected to spill over unto the streets of Thurles during daylight hours, to be entertained by visiting street performers.

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Is Thurles CCTV System Just A €100,000 Bird Perch?

Thurles residents were informed, back in December 2012, that a new Public Area Surveillance System (a 10 unit Pan, Tilt and Zoom camera CCTV system) would cost in the region of one hundred thousand Euro, with 70% of this cost being funded by Pobal.

Pobal, formerly known as Area Development Management, was first established in 1992 by the Irish Government together with the European Commission, to manage an EU Grant for local development. Same EU grant aid was designed to support local communities and agencies, in achieving social inclusion, reconciliation and equality.

A further 15% of this one hundred thousand Euro costing was to be provided by the former Thurles Town Council, while the final 15% was to be aided by Thurles Chamber of Commerce.

In November 2015 residents of Thurles were informed that the existing Local Authority (Thurles Town Council) was required to assume responsibility for the management and operation of this CCTV system, in compliance with Data Protection legislation, [See pdf link page 3 – Crime Prevention – Installation of CCTV Cameras].

Two years on following its installation, we understand from Town Councillors that this one hundred thousand Euro CCTV system had not properly functioned since early 2017, and while just some of the cameras continue to operate, the actual equipment used to record surveillance footage had ceased to function.

The one question now being asked, by Thurles residents, requires a simple Yes or No answer; “Was any video footage recovered from the camera presently tacked on to the Thurles castle, latter situated on Barry’s Bridge, thus offering possible evidence as to who wilfully decapitated the statue of Archbishop Dr. Patrick Leahy?”

As the video footage hereunder shows, the damage is not confined only to the statues head, but also to the edge of the precisely sculptured short cape, latter known as a ‘mozzetta’, which today is still worn by some ecclesiastics, e.g. His Holiness the Pope and Cardinals.

But what was the legacy granted to the small rural town of Thurles, by Archbishop Dr. Patrick Leahy (1806–1875)?

It has to be of course the priceless tabernacle in our town’s Cathedral of the Assumption. Today it remains one the most beautiful and precious of art objects, to be found openly displayed anywhere here in Ireland.

Archbishop Dr. Patrick Leahy had learned through personal contacts in the city of Rome, (Urbs Aeterna (Latin) The Eternal City), Italy, that a Tabernacle was being disposed of from the high alter of the mother church of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) called ‘Gesú’, located in Via degli Astalli. The Gesù had been the home of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, until the suppression of that order in 1773.

Leading Italian sculptors, painters, architects and poets of the High Renaissance period, including Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, (more commonly known by his first name Michelangelo), Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, (architect of the Farnese family, latter who could trace their origins back to around AD 984) and Giacomo della Porta would have received Communion from this same tabernacle, in the then Gesù church.

This tabernacle, a work of the sixteenth century, was purchased for £50.00 and transported to Thurles for a similar financial sum, having been somewhat refitted in the workshop of Signor Filippo Leonardi of Rome.

The Tabernacle doorway is adorned with a Corinthian portico which rests on two beautiful pillars of ‘verde antico’ (antique green) marble, two feet ten inches (86.36cm) in high; each pillar with bases and capitals made of bronze.

Jesuit emblem from a former 1586 print

The front door access is made of bronze with a silver host featured in the centre, bearing the letters I.H.S. (ΙΗΣ), (a monogram denoting the first three letters of the Greek name for Jesus), set over three arrows, signifying three nails standing on converging points; same an emblem of the Jesuit community. See Picture left.

Two small bronze statues formerly belonging to this tabernacle, representing St. Peter and St. Paul, occupy niched recesses to be found either side of the front portico.

Initially the tabernacle had rested against the Gesù church wall, so it became necessary to now decorate the back end, since same, positioned out from the wall, could now be viewed from all sides by visiting faithful.

A locking rear door was introduced, made of cream oriental alabaster or onyx marble in which a large cross of blue ‘lapis lazuli’ is inlaid, supposedly by Dr. Leahy own hand. Dr. Leahy after all was the son of a civil engineer and Cork County Surveyor. (Lapis lazuli is a deep blue metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense colour).

Unable to acquire two blocks of ‘verde antico’ to match the existing front pillars, he was forced to settled for two pillars manufactured from Galway green marble, which to the uneducated eye, appears to match almost perfectly. A frame of pale reddish marble, called ‘Porta Santa’ or ‘Holy Door’ surrounds the onyx back door slab. Latter marble is named after the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, which was carved from this stone.

Now began the difficult task of building the main alter and lectern to match this most beautiful and priceless of tabernacles, while matching both in a similar design vein as the now existing installed tabernacle.

Some of the marbles used here and on the floor area were presented by Pope Pius IX at the request of Dr. Leahy; same mined, to a large extent, by Christian slaves sent to work in marble quarries by Roman Emperors. Here in Thurles cathedral today we can view at close range these rare and priceless semi-precious stones like the green porphyry and multicoloured agate (mined in Greece), sienna (mined in Italy), green malachite (mined in England), reddish brown rosso, brown giallo antico, black nero antico (Latter all mined in Italy), blue lapis (latter a symbol of royalty, honor, power, spirit, vision and a universal symbol of wisdom and truth), the black, red, beige, white, and grey africano (mined in Turkey), etc.

Other marble was now acquired in Dublin and England and all this marble was cut and inlaid by an Irish workforce under the guidance of Dublin man John Chapman, operating here in Thurles.

It is truly necessary for visitors to examine this tabernacle in closer detail to appreciate fully the sheer perfection and priceless beauty of what is just one small part of the legacy of Dr. Leahy, bestowed on rural Thurles.

One Final Question: The missing head removed from Dr. Leahy’s statue, possibly weighs about 30 – 50 lbs; this being the case has anyone searched around in the immediate vicinity of this statue in the event that the vandals / offender may have thrown it away nearby?

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What Do We Know About The Thurles Knaggs Family?

Brief research was undertaken by Thurles.Info on the Thurles Knaggs family, following a request by one Ms Charlotte L. Roberts on the Ireland Reaching Out website.

“Things I Remember About My Father and Mother” was a published document written by Ms Charlotte L. Roberts, whose mother was Charlotte Knaggs-Roberts, latter originally from Thurles, in Co. Tipperary.

Charlotte L. Roberts writes fondly about her mother:-

“We walked to church and mother always went except when she had a small baby or someone was ill.
Mother loved music but had never had an opportunity to learn to play. She sometimes played on a Jew’s Harp. Will Atkins, a brother-in-law, directed the church choir at the First Methodist Church. She sang in the choir whenever possible. Sunday evenings she could go because my father would stay home with Olive and me. He would hold me on his lap and sing many hymns – usually gospel hymns.

Mother was a very good cook and we always had plenty of good food. She made pickles of the little cucumbers; mustard pickle, red cabbage pickle which was kept in a big crock down cellar; string bean pickles and many kinds of jelly. She also made her own bread and pies and cakes. We had many family picnics, usually at the Trout Ponds.

Mother was always patient with her children. She was born in Thurles, Ireland. Her father and mother were staunch Protestants. There were, Jane, Annie, Sarah, and Charlotte and several sons: Tom, Jim, George, and I think, one other. There was an Anne Jane, two with the name Hannah, [one died as a baby], Elizabeth, Robert, and Benjamin.

They came to America in 1864 and stayed in New York City for a few years. At Duane Street, Methodist Church they met many young people. My mother married John Oliver Roberts. They lived in Ohio for a time where my father bought butter and eggs and shipped them to New York. Later he came to Smithboro and finally to Newark Valley (New York) where they spent the rest of their lives”.

Charlotte L. Roberts writes also about her father John Oliver Roberts:-

John Oliver Roberts 1848 was from Middleton. Co. Cork, was the son of John Oliver Roberts. We were always at church every Sunday. My father was treasurer of the Sunday School. Also, teacher of a men’s class. He knew the Bible well. I found books that had been given to him as awards for his Bible study. I believe Father was also on the Official Board. He always liked to have his family look nice and he himself, was very meticulous about his own appearance.

He was a wonderful gardener – no weeds in his garden. He raised all kinds of vegetables, so we had good food summer and winter. Apple trees in the back garden furnished fruit and jelly.

He was fond of games. On afternoons when he could get away from the store, he would go with Bert Livermore to the Trout Ponds to play croquet. They each had their own special mallet and ball. At home he liked to play Checkers and Crokinole, (Latter a dexterity board game similar to marbles, and shove ha’penny).

As children we had Parcheesi (Played with two dice), Dominos, Authors (Card Game), Devil Among the Tailors (Table skittles), Jack Straws (Game involving a bundle of “sticks”, between 8 and 20 centimetres long, which are dropped loosely in a bunch onto a table top, jumbled into a random pile), and Croquet. He enjoyed company and we had cousins from Jersey who used to visit us in the summer. One year 15 cousins had their pictures taken at our home, though all were not visiting us.

Father was born in Middleton, Co. Cork, Ireland. Roberts is a Welsh name, but I know nothing about his family, his ancestors. There was an Uncle Ben who lived in London. Father’s brother James lived in this country and all his later years were spent in Smithboro. There were two sisters who visited in New York, but there is no further information about them. My father came to this country when he was 18 years of age in 1865″.

James Knaggs, eldest son of Robert Knaggs, Archerstown Mills, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Our brief research undertaken will first deal with Mr James Knaggs who through a Codicil in 1816 [Codicil being an additional formal legal document, added to a will, through which the Testator can make valid changes to their estate], obtained a lease from his father, latter Robert Knaggs (Surveyor of Excise), with an address at New Ross, Co. Wexford; of cabins including mills and a brewery on Littleton Road, Thurles, for 3 lives.

Mr James Knaggs married Ms Elizabeth Langford on February 11th, 1839 here in Thurles. They had 10 children – five daughters; Charlotte, Sarah, Anna Jane, Hannah Marie and Elizabeth, together with 5 sons; James, George, Robert, Benjamin and Thomas.

We are aware that Ms Ann Jane Knaggs, daughter of above named, Mr James & Elizabeth Knaggs, married Mr Sexton Roane, here in Thurles on June 29th 1860.

The Archerstown brewery and bakery, in 1846, was situated on the left side of the road, while the Archerstown water mill was situated on the right-hand side, as commuters travelled southwards from Thurles to Littleton via the Mill Road, latter formerly known as “Manor Mill Road”.

‘Poulaneigh’ is a pond in the townland of Galboola near Littleton. Same is the source or starting point of the Poulaneigh river. Joined by the river ‘Bréagagh’ same fed this 6-acre property of Archerstown mill, leased to Mr James Knaggs.

[Take time to halt and view the Ordnance Survey map, 6-inch to a mile, first edition, first surveyed 1840-1841, engraved in 1843, in the video shown above.]

‘Poulaneigh’ – (“Poll an eigh”) Irish translation “the pool of the horse”. ‘Bréagagh’ – Irish adjective for “false, deceptive or lying”, from the noun ‘bréag’ meaning a lie.

Regrettably today, Archerstown Mill (later which later become Dan Brady’s Mill) no longer exists. All that remains today is a narrow section of the millrace that provided fast running water to the old mill wheel. The archway leading into the once Brewery yard, (also shown in the above video) stands situated across the roadway remaining today, somewhat in decline.

You can read more about Knaggs Mill, same later to be known as Dan Brady’s Mill, by clicking HERE.

As exists today; the Poulaneigh river then continues on, to be joined by the ‘Drish’ river, as a tributary, and then continues to the Manor Mills [The Manor Mills, today better known as Byrne’s Mills, are marked on the 1840’s map as the “old tuck mill” and the “old flour mill”] situated on the Mill Road side of today’s Drish Bridge [Marked on the map as the “Old Mills bridge”] near the entrance to Lady’s Well. The output or mill-race from the Manor Mills is still marked as the “Poulaneigh or Manor river” until it feeds into the Suir river, just beside ‘Lady’s Well’. The river Breagagh is marked as a tributary of the Poulaneigh river, joining it just after it has begun to flow out of Poulaneigh pond.

The Old Tuck Mill Reference

Cloth washing areas go back a long way. Old Testament Bible Quote: “Then the LORD said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear-jashub and go out to meet King Ahaz. You will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed”. [From Book of Isaiah: Chapter 7, Verse 3. Written in the 8th century before Christ (BC)]

The concept of ‘Tucking’, also known as ‘Fulling’, ‘Walking’ or ‘Waulking’; was a stage in the manufacture of woollen cloth, which in turn involved the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool), thus eliminating oils, dirt, and other impurities, and to make it thicker. The workers undertaking this work were known as ‘fullers’, ‘tuckers’, or ‘walkers’.

Tucking involves two processes: (1) Scouring and (2) Thickening; each carried out originally by the pounding of the woollen cloth with a club, or the tucker’s own feet or hands.

By the time of the Crusades; in the late eleventh century, ‘Fulling / Tucking Mills’ were active throughout the medieval world. From this medieval period, tucking was often carried out in a water mill, followed by the stretching of the cloth on large frames known as ‘tenters’, to which the ‘Tucking’ product is attached by hooks. [It is from here that the phrase “being on tenterhooks” is derived, usually meaning that one is being held in suspense.]

The second function of fulling (Thickening) was to thicken cloth by matting the fibres together thus giving it strength and increased waterproofing (known as felting). After this stage, water would then be used to rinse out any foul-smelling residue.

‘Tucking’ or ‘Fulling’ in Roman times was labour consigned usually to slaves who worked the cloth, while ankle deep in tubs of human urine. Stale urine, known as ‘Wash’, was a source of ammonium salts which assisted in cleansing and bleaching the cloth. It is understood that urine from the Thurles Workhouse (Hospital of the Assumption, Thurles) and from the wealthier houses was collected and used to bleach such cloth.

As already stated, marked on the 1840’s map, the Breagagh river finished where it flowed into the Poulaneigh river, latter which then continued on as the Poulaneigh river, to feed Archerstown [Brady’s] Mill first and having being joined by the Drish river; to feed Manor [Byrne’s] Mills.

Same river in turn would then also contribute to the running of the Turtulla Mill, same once existing close to the Meagher residence, better known today as Thurles Golf Club. In all 4 mills operated on this less than 1 kilometre stretch of water.

On the 1904 Ordinance Survey map a new feature or attribute appears in 1846, on the Thurles landscape – namely a Leat.

Leat (also spelt lete or leet) is the name for an artificial watercourse or aqueduct dug into the ground, especially one supplying water to a watermill or its mill pond. Here also we come across the welcome activity of yet another of the Knaggs Family; namely Robert Charles Knaggs [Medical Doctor (MD)], latter who resided where the Ulster Bank operates today, at no 49 Liberty Square, Thurles previously then known as Main Street Thurles.

Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs (MD) Main Street Thurles

Monday April 20th, 1846
On Monday April 20th, 1846; according to the ‘Minutes of the Thurles / Rahealty Famine Food Committee’ [Minutes of Great Famine 1845 -1849]; members of same met with Rev. Henry Cotton (Chairman), Dr. O’Connor, Rev. Mr Barron (RC), Rev. Mr Baker, Rev. Mr Lanigan, Mr. Francis O’Brien (Treasurer), Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs and Mr J. B. Kennedy present.

We learn: “Dr R.C. Knaggs also reports – he having inspected the works to be done at Limekiln Lane, College Lane and the Double Ditch – calculated the expense of the works at College Lane at £20.
Proposals from P. MGrath and Danl Carroll for barrows –
½ a doz ordered from MGrath at 9/- each.
½ doz from Carroll at 9/6 each.
½ doz also to be got from Dan Dwyer, (if he wishes to make them)”
.
(1.) Hours of labour for all employees to be from 7:00am to 7:00pm; minus 2 hours for meals.
(2.) Any labourer found to shirk from reasonable and fair work or refusing to follow the directions of his overseer, shall forthwith be discharged and not admitted to the works again.
(3.) That the persons employed shall be paid every evening.
(4.) That in case a greater number of labourers shall offer themselves, than the funds will enable the committee to pay, a preference shall be given to those who have the largest and most necessitous families.

The ‘Double Ditch’ would act as a badly needed short cut / raised path to James Knaggs mill in Archerstown, beginning from College Lane, Kickham Street.

Later a ‘Leat’ would travel from the grounds of today’s St. Patrick’s College as far as ‘Lady’s Well’, before travelling under the Poulaneigh river, thus removing flood water from the Thurles river Suir end; draining it further downstream back into the River Suir once again. This ‘Leat’ remains visible to this very day.

17th Oct 1846
On October 17th, 1846 we also learn that:- “On discussion as to the appointment of an assistant secretary and providing the use of a room for a future sitting of the Committee; it was deemed advisable to do so and it was accordingly arranged with Dr. R.C. Knaggs to allow his parlour (in the now Ulster Bank building) to be continued to be used by them and that he should be appointed assistant secretary and paid a stipulated sum to be hereafter agreed upon, out of the sums of money granted by the Lord Lieutenant.”

Friday November 13th 1846.
At the 3:00pm meeting on Friday November 13th 1846 we read:- “Dr. R.C. Knaggs states that a large number of men could be employed on making sewers through the town, if there was a quarry to be had. Venerable Archdeacon Dr. H. Cotton offers the use of a quarry on his land.”

Note: Here we have the first ever sewage system being built here in Thurles, making the then existing ‘Shit Wells’ / ‘Honey Wells’ positioned in the back lanes of the town, now redundant. Indeed, so well designed was this sewer system; that in more modern times pipes were, for the most part, laid directly into this same old sewer system, when it was being upgraded.

According to Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland, Dr. Robert C. Knaggs owned property at Pike Road (Today’s Kickham Street, Thurles), at Wrensborough, Thurles (Dublin Road), and at Monakeeba, Thurles.

Perhaps the existing Knaggs Clan around the world, might like to take a trip back here to Thurles, Co. Tipperary, in the not too distant future and we will be happy to walk you in the footsteps of your ancestors.

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