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“Carols By Candlelight” St Mary’s Church Thurles Dec 14th

Carols by Candlelight

“Carols by Candlelight,” the now long established ecumenical service of Christmas Carols by candlelight, returns to St Mary’s Church, Thurles, Co Tipperary this year, on Sunday next December 14th at 8.00pm sharp.

As special guests this year the St Mary’s Church of Ireland community welcome back singers and former Rock Band members “Cephas,” (Featuring Noreen, Edward (Ned) and John J. Cullinane), together with Thurles Town’s much loved tenor Mr Michael Molumby and Miss Rachel Willoughby; all under the superb musical direction of well known accomplished organist Ms Geraldine Delaney.

Of course the original idea of Carols by Candlelight first originated in south-eastern Australia, sometime in the 19th century, and was popularised in Melbourne in 1937. The tradition has since spread around the world and involves people gathering to sing carols by candlelight, accompanied usually by a band. Indeed one of the earliest forms of Carols by Candlelight began when Cornish Miners in Moonta, South Australia gathered on Christmas Eve to sing carols, lit with candles stuck to the brims of their safety helmets.

Amongst those taking part at this year’s event in Thurles will be community leaders; Mr Seamus Hanafin (Tipperary Co Councillor), Ms Joan Pollard Carew (Local published Poet), Mr John O’Shaughnessy (President Thurles Chamber), Mrs Lila Stanley (St Mary’s Church Restoration member) and Christopher J. Verling, (Rep. An Garda Síochána).

This years seated ecumenical service will be conducted by the Rev Ian Coulter, presently acting Rector of St Mary’s Church Thurles and Rev Fr Thomas Dunne, Cathedral of The Assumption, Thurles.  All are invited to attend.

Note: Elderly persons are advised to attend this Christmas event early, thus ensuring seated accommodation.

The usual cup of Tea and a Biscuit or two will be provided after this Christmas event, thus enabling all those attending to “halt awhile” and chat.

Admission is free; however a charity collection will be taken up during the service.

TISPOL To Co-ordinate Drink and Drug Driving Operation

gardaPolice Officers from all countries across Europe, including Ireland, are to begin a week-long campaign on Monday next, December 8th 2014 to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk and drug driving. The campaign is co-ordinated by TISPOL (the European Traffic Police Network), and involves officers conducting alcohol and drug checks at any time of the day and night.

TISPOL President Garda Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid says: “Driving after consuming any alcohol is dangerous. Driving while over the drink drive limit is against the law. Drivers will experience slower reactions, poor judgement of speed, reduced co-ordination and concentration with much lower levels of alcohol in their system. “That’s why our message this year is simple: your ability to drive safely is impaired by even a small amount of alcohol. So if you have had a drink, do not drive. If you need to drive, then do not drink.”

Drivers can expect highly visible and widespread enforcement of alcohol and drug laws during the operation, at any location and at any time of day or night.

Chief Superintendent Reid says it’s also important to be aware of the continuing effects of alcohol the day after an evening of drinking. “Your body takes time to remove alcohol from your system. If it is still present in your body, then it will be identified during a breath test. That’s why a night’s sleep is no guarantee that you’re safe and legal to drive the next morning,” he warned.

“If you have used recreational drugs, then do not drive. If you are taking medicine, whether prescribed or purchased over the counter, then read the notes of advice that go with it. If these tell you not to drive after taking the medicine, then do not drive. The advice is there for a reason, to keep you and others safe.”

“If you are in any doubt about medicines and driving, then our advice is to consult a healthcare professional before you get behind the wheel.”

During a similar week-long operation in December 2013, 1.1 million drivers were checked in 31 European countries. Officers reported 15,305 alcohol offences and 2,133 drug offences, as well as more than 2,500 other crimes.

The results of this co-ordinated operation are expected to be made available by mid January 2015, don’t be part of their statistics.

Sainsbury’s Xmas Ad – Four Degrees Of Separation From Tipperary

This year’s Christmas video advert from Sainsbury’s, the third largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, titled “Christmas is for sharing” was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion. It commemorates the extraordinary events of Christmas Day, 1914, when artillery guns fell silent and two armies met in no-man’s land, to share gifts and play football together.

Many people may not be aware that the director of this fine video advert, Mr Ringan Ledwidge, is just ‘four degrees of separation’ from our county of Tipperary. Ringan Ledwidge admits he was intimidated by the sensitivity of this his video subject; indeed his own great-uncle and Slane, Co Meath born Irish war poet, Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge, died at the Battle of Passchendaele in July 1917, aged just 29, and his paternal grandfather had fought in both world wars.

Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge was dismayed by the news of the Easter 1916 Rising, and was court-martialled and demoted for overstaying his home leave and also for being drunk in uniform. However on his return to the front, he received back his Lance Corporal’s stripe in January 1917; when he was posted to the Western Front, joining the 29th Division, 1st Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

On July 31st 1917, a number of soldiers, including Ledwidge, were involved in road-laying in preparation for an upcoming assault during the Third Battle of Ypres, close the village of Boezinge, northwest of Ypres. While Ledwidge was drinking tea in a mud crater with his comrades, a shell exploded, killing the poet and five others.  Rev. Francis Charles Devas, (S.J., D.S.O. 1917; O.B.E. 1919) latter a chaplain who knew him, recorded “Ledwidge killed, blown to bits.”

Francis Ledwidge – His Tipperary Connection

It was Francis Ledwidge, latter also a friend of W.B. Yeats, who wrote the ” Lament for Thomas MacDonagh.”  Thomas MacDonagh, as we are aware, was born here in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary and educated at Rockwell College near Cashel. MacDonagh had grown up in a household filled with music, poetry and learning and was instilled by both his parents, (both teachers), with his love for both English and Irish culture from a young age and became a signatory of the Irish Proclamation.

Lament for Thomas MacDonagh – by Francis Ledwidge

“He shall not hear the bittern cry in the wild sky, where he is lain,
Nor voices of the sweeter birds above the wailing of the rain.
Nor shall he know when loud March blows thro’ slanting snows her fanfare shrill,
Blowing to flame the golden cup of many an upset daffodil.
But when the Dark Cow leaves the moor and pastures poor with greedy weeds,
Perhaps he’ll hear her low at morn, lifting her horn in pleasant meads.”

A small section of this Christmas Day, 1914 happening will be recreated during the Carols By Candlelight,” service in St Mary’s Church, Thurles, on December 14th next at 8.00pm. (But more on that upcoming Thurles Christmas event very soon.)

While our present government currently continues to ignore Co Tipperary’s economy and history, one wonders will the memory of Thomas MacDonagh be included in any proposed future 1916 commemorations, since after all, we do reside outside of Dublin.

Irish Water – Song “Five Feet High & Risin” Updated

I thought I would bring you a touch of pure nostalgia this lovely Sunday morning; a sentimentality glimpse, if you will, of the  past, which will typify some period in your life, thus returning you to a place of hopefully happy personal associations, a time before Irish Water flooded your lives, if you’ll pardon the simile.

Having listened, I thought to myself, maybe it’s time to refresh this old ballad and bring it more into line with the more modern yet difficult economic climate of today’s Ireland. Let me know if you like it and if any of you have a verse or two to add, to ‘jig it up a bit,’  if you will, sure send me a comment.

“Five Feet High & Risin.” Lyrics Updated – (or “The F.G. / Labour Coalition’s Lament 2014.”)

How high’s the water, Enda?
He said “Two feet high and risin.”
How high’s the water, Joan?
She said, “Two feet high and risin.”

We won’t make it next election when the people vote.
Pee Hogan’s rigid policies just didn’t float.
Our reign is over, watch ‘Independents’ gloat.
Two feet high and risin.

How high’s the water, Enda?
He said “Two feet high and risin.”
How high’s the water, Joan?
She said, “Two feet high and risin.”

Hey, come look through the window pane
Thurles right2water are protesting again.
Hope they catch pneumonia from the pissin rain,
Three feet high and risin.

How high’s the water, Enda?
He said “Three feet high and risin”
How high’s the water, Joan?
She said, “Three feet high and risin.

Well our jobs are gone, thanks to those protesting b‘s.
We’re stuck in Irish water up past our knees.
Best to grab our pensions and shoot the breeze.
Four feet high and risin.

How high’s the water, Enda?
He said “Four feet high and risin”
How high’s the water, Joan?
She said, “Four feet high and risin.

The R498 is gone, north of our Thurles town.
Vehicles can’t pass till the water goes down.
“Greenway” Kelly’s searchin for higher ground.
Five feet high and risin.

Well, it’s five feet high and risin.

Look at it this way, when you’re sitting on your behind all day, with no job prospects, writing poetry helps you to pass the time.

Watch New An Post Christmas Advert

Post Early for Christmas 2014

Our national An Post Christmas TV advert this year is about how we remember family and friends at Christmas. It highlights the fact that when we make the effort to write and post our Christmas cards, the emotional rewards for both sender and receiver are enormous.

By the way, the music track in video above is called ‘The Christmas Waltz,’ with vocals by Lisa Hannigan and was shot on location in Dublin and Wicklow.

To download this music track in full click HERE, noting that all proceeds from any sale will go directly to the Simon Community to help tackle our escalating homelessness situation here in Ireland.

The annual 2014 Christmas stamps special booklet which holds 26 Christmas stamps is priced at €17.00, and includes one stamp free of charge.

The last posting dates from Thurles, to countries outside Ireland, which will absolutely ensure delivery before Christmas, are shown hereunder.

Standard Letters – December 11th.
Standard Post Parcels – December 6th.
Registered Post – December 6th.
International Courier Service December 19th.

Rest of the World
Standard Post Letters & Parcels – December 6th.
Registered Post – December 6th.
International Courier Service* December 19th.

For advice about packaging and addressing Christmas mail – Visit:-

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