There have been rather strange rumours; (hush hush ‘goings-on’ even); emanating from the picturesque village of Kilcommon, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, over the past six to eight months. United Kingdom (UK) Metropolitan Police’s Royalty and Specialist Protection Command Officers have been observed, visiting the homes of elderly people and local historians.
We can now confirm, thanks to Kilcommon historians Mr Paddy Ryan and Parish Priest Very Rev. Daniel Woods, that these officers were attempting to locate the descendants of Lord Herbert Kitchener’s once Personal Protection Officer. These visiting officers were attempting to locate the descendants of a former native, named as Detective Sergeant Matthew McLoughlin, ahead of the Centenary of his death, latter which occurred during the First World War.
The UK Specialist Protection Squad, we understand, now intend to honour Detective Sergeant Matthew McLoughlin, by naming their new Offices after him, when they move from their current premises at Scotland Yard, later this year.
Sergeant McLoughlin, was born on a hillside in the townsland of Foilnadrough, a mile to the west of Kilcommon village; latter address located in the very scenic Slieve Felim Mountains (See Video above), some 32.2 km from Thurles via the R503. Matthew was born on February 6th 1879, to parents and local farmers Michael and Bridget McLoughlin, the seventh of 14 children.
Sergeant McLoughlin died, along with the British Secretary of State for War, Field Marshal Lord Herbert Kitchener(“Lord Kitchener of Khartoum,” – himself an Irish man, born in Ballylongford near Listowel, County Kerry), and some 734 others on June 5th 1916. The HMS Hampshire was sailing to Russia, carrying Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, when it is believed to have struck a mine laid by a German submarine. The cruiser sank with heavy loss of life, including Kitchener and his staff near Orkney; an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland.
Matthew McLoughlin had joined the Metropolitan Police Service on September 17th 1900, after moving to London in January of that same year. He went on to join the Specialist Protection Unit in 1904; latter whose dedicated job it was to shield Royalty and UK Government Ministers.
McLoughlin married Margaret Amelie McLoughlin; possibly a lady of French origin (née Quernel, Queruel or Quesnel), in Kensington, west London, on January 13th 1912. The couple had one son, Michael Paul McLoughlin, born some three months later on April 19th 1912, in Wootton-St-Lawrence, west of Basingstoke; part of the Shire County of Hampshire.
Specialist Protection Command Officers now believe that Matthew’s son, Michael Paul, may have travelled to Caracas, in Venezuela. It appears that someone, bearing that same full name, applied for an overseas passport in the past.
A State commemoration ceremony for Francis Sheehy Skeffington and journalists Thomas Dickson and Patrick McIntyre, all who were executed together in Portobello Barracks (today known as Cathal Brugha Barracks), in Rathmines, Dublin, was held recently on the 26th April of this year.
It is however possibly less well known that Hanna Sheehy (1877-1946 & wife of Francis Sheehy Skeffington) lived and received her early education at Loughmore, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, at the end of the 19th century. This historic occurrence, today, closely connects the now presently inactive Loughmore Corn and Wool Tucking Mill, with this same unfortunate April 26th 1916 event.
Pictured L-R: (A) (L-R) Msgr. Dr. Maurice Dooley, with mill proprietors Tom, Geraldine & Tomás Larkin. (B) Existing partial interior of Sheehy’s original Mill, soon to be restored. (C) Hanna Sheehy’s original residence, as seen today.
About 1878 David Sheehy (Hanna Sheehy’s father), his wife Bessie (née McCoy), and their eldest child Hanna, came to live; renting the Mill in Loughmore. David was born in County Limerick and attended the Irish College, studying for the priesthood, in Paris with his older brother, Eugene,[*1] latter known as the ‘Land League Priest‘ and also one of Éamon de Valera’s teachers. However he (David), was sent home from Paris during an outbreak of cholera, there in 1866. On his return home he became implicated in the ill-fated Rising of 1867, after which he fled the country, going to sea. After a few years he returned home and ran a mill at Kilmallock and later at Kanturk, before renting the mill at Loughmore around 1878. It was while in Kanturk that he married Bessie McCoy,[*2] who was from the region of Ballyhahill, in Co. Limerick.
[*1]In 1886 Fr Eugene Sheehy was C.C. of Kilmallock, Co. Limerick and later P.P. of Bruff. He resigned in 1909 because he had gotten into trouble with his bishop, Dr Edward Thomas O’Dwyer. He went to live with the Sheehy’s who were then living in Dublin. He was jailed in Kilmainham with Charles Stewart Parnell. He died in 1917 and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery.
[*2]Bessie’s sister Kate was Mrs Kate Barry of Barry’s Hotel, Dublin.
David and Bessie went on to have seven children, six of whom were born in the village of Loughmore, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Before the end of the century the whole family had moved to No 2. Belvedere Place, Dublin. David became Secretary to the Irish Parliamentary Party and an M.P. for Meath and later for South Galway; a post he held until the Sinn Féin landslide of 1913. James Joyce, a student at the nearby Belvedere College was a regular visitor to No 2. Belvedere Place, in 1896-1897 and he nursed a secret love for Hanna’s sister Mary, who was later married to Irish economist, journalist, barrister, writer, poet, soldier and Home Rule politician Tom Michael Kettle. Bessie died in 1917 and David around 1932/33, at the age of 86.
Before moving to Loughmore, his eldest daughter Hanna Sheehy had been born 3 years earlier in Kanturk, North Co. Cork, on the 24th May 1877.
The text hereunder is reproduced from an old newspaper clipping from the year 1938.
The Map below shows the Route expected to be taken by some extra 600,000 overseas visitors, by the year 2020, thus increasing revenue in this Eastern Tourism Region by almost 25%, or an estimated €950m. Well that’s according to the spin from outgoing Tourism Minister Mr Paschal Donohoe, TD, but do read on as your rural future may very soon depend on it.
“View Ireland’s Ancient East Map Route.
Firstly we should understand that Fáilte Ireland is Ireland’s National Tourism Development Authority. Their role is to support Ireland’s tourism industry and work to support and maintain all of our beautiful green island equally as a high-quality, attractive, tourism destination. Their work is to support / provide a range of practical business supports to help tourism services to better manage, market and grow already existing services, while working closely with other state agencies and representative bodies to encouraging further value added products.
They are required to promote the island of Ireland fully as a holiday destination, through domestic and overseas marketing (See DiscoverIreland.ie), while managing / financing, a network of nationwide tourist information centres, offering advice to those on holiday.
Ireland’s Ancient East
Ireland’s Ancient East is best described as a “Touring Region,” as opposed to a “Route,” like the “Wild Atlantic Way”. This new cultural and heritage trail stretches in circular motion from the Boyne Valley in the north-east, down through the midland of Meath & Tipperary, and east & south through Wicklow, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford & Waterford; eventually ending up in Cork city.
To-date only projects funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW) are seen as worthy of inclusion on this touring route in Fáilte Ireland’s marketing efforts. Private and non nationally funded, but nevertheless, attractive tourism enterprises are deemed not worthy of real note in attracting the visitor.
Local correspondent Mr Gerry Bowe kindly sends us the following report:-
A plaque dedicated to the men and women who fought and those who died in ‘The 1916 Rising’ was officially unveiled at the ‘Munitir na Tire’ (National Organisation Promoting Community Development in Ireland) Hall, Littleton on Saturday last, April 23rd 2016, by Mr Seamus Hanafin, (Councillor & Cathaoirleach, Tipperary County Council).
Mr Gerard Neville, (Sean Treacy Pipe Band), gave his rendition of music, on bagpipes, of all relevant music relating to the history of 1916.
Mr David Brown officially welcomed guests; Mr Hanafin (MCC), and Rev.Fr. George Bourke, Rev.Fr.Joe Tynan (Local Priests) and the many others from the local community, who were in attendance for the unveiling.
Mr Brown formally invited Mr Hanafin to officially unveil the 1916 Plaque, following which Mr Hanafin gave a very interesting and inspiring talk on 1916 and the Irish Proclamation.
The newly unveiled plaque was commissioned to honour the sixteen Patriots who were executed after the 1916 rising, together with the brave men and women who fought and those who died during this troubled period in our Irish history. It is especially dedicated to all those from Co. Tipperary or with Tipperary connections who died; those who fought and those who were ready to fight and later went on to give their lives for freedom and independence in later years, which we as Irish people enjoy today.
Fr. Bourke then read prayers in both Irish and English; blessing the Plaque and recited that wonderful poem; now a hymn; “I see His Blood upon the rose” by executed Irish nationalist, poet, journalist, leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, and signatory of the 1916 Irish Proclamation (Easter Proclamation), Joseph Mary Plunkett.
It should be noted that following the surrender in 1916, Joseph Mary Plunkett, aged 28, was held in Kilmainham Gaol, where he faced a court martial. Seven hours before his execution by firing squad, he was married in the prison chapel to his sweetheart Grace Gifford. Grace’s sister, Muriel, was married to Thomas MacDonagh, a native of Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary and Joseph Plunkett’s best friend; former who was also executed for his role in the Easter Rising.
Mr Brown then introduced M/s Tara O’Brien who gave her rendition, on Concertina, of “The Foggy Dew” and Mr Micheál Treacy who recited “Who fears to speak of Easter week ?”. Mr Paddy Lambe then sang “The Foggy Dew.”
Mr Brown thanked the organisers and those who took part in the unveiling ceremony.
‘Amhrán na bhFiann’(‘The Soldiers’ Song’, Irish National Anthem) was sung by all in attendance, accompanied by Mr Gerard Neville on Bagpipes.
A reminder to all; this Sunday, between 1:00am and 2:00am, our clocks and watches will require to be skipped forward by one hour, thus depriving everyone of 60 minutes of precious shut-eye. Those with high tech gadgets e.g. Mobile Phones, Computers, Laptops etc. need not worry, as same time change will automatically occur without any required personal intervention on our part.
With 1916 on everyone’s lips this weekend, due to our celebrations commemorating the Irish Easter Rising, keep in mind that the ‘Daylight Saving Act’ was first introduced in that very same year. The first notion of attempting to not waste our daylight came about following a campaign which was begun in 1907, by the Edwardian British builder William Willett. It took until 1916 for those in authority to realise that this same time changing action would reduce considerable unnecessary energy consumption; while also saving countless lives, since fewer accidents occur in the mornings, when compared to our darker evenings.
So how did Thurles people and residents of our surrounding hinterland take to the first introduction of the ‘Daylight Saving Act’ in 1916? We find our answer recorded in the journal kept by Fr. Michael Maher C.C., Thurles, and then Secretary to the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr. John Mary Harty.
May 21st 1916 “A new ordinance came into force in the middle of May; it was called the ‘Daylight Saving Act‘. It meant that all clocks were to be put forward an hour on the morning of Sunday the 21st May at two o’clock and they were to be left at that standard until the night of the 1st of October.
William Willett (1856 – 1915)
In former years, a Mr. [William] Willet of London frequently introduced a bill into the House of Commons to this effect, but it was always killed with ridicule. The poor man died a short time ago without having his hopes realised and now, when it was found that an immense saving would be effected through the curtailing of artificial light, and as economy was recommended in all possible directions, the bill was introduced again and became an act of parliament without laughter or opposition.
We did not put on the Cathedral clock [Cathedral of The Assumption, Thurles] until after the devotions on Sunday night, because we did not know on the previous Sunday whether the act would apply to Ireland, and so we could not forewarn the people about the change in the hours of the services. The people in the towns fell in with the change without demur and everything went on just as before. We altered nothing except the hands of the clock. Some of the country people kept to the old time except on Sunday, when they had to go to Mass an hour earlier.
It did not suit the country parts as much as the towns, because the morning is not a good time for saving hay or carrying on harvesting operations, the evening is much better, so if the men stopped work at six o’clock by the new time they would leave off when the hay or corn was in the best condition to be put together or cut down. On dairy farms too, the milkers who had to rise at 4:30 or 5:00 o’clock by the old time, would have to part with their beds at an unearthly hour by the new reckoning.
In towns on the other hand it suited admirably because it gave a long bright evening to the populace after shops were closed and work abandoned. It made no difference to the clergy except that the 12:00 o’clock Mass in towns was much more convenient according to the new regulations.”