Local Weather

real feel: 17°C
wind speed: 4 m/s WSW
sunrise: 5:32 am
sunset: 9:42 pm


Blue Tits Become Next Door Neighbours In April 2018

Blue Cap; Blue Bonnet; Nun, and Tree babbler are just some of the names given to our native Irish Blue Tit.

Here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, this year, two such Blue Tits, whom we affectionately came to know as Thomas Tit and Sharon Tit, moved in quite unexpectedly to a newly installed Tit box.

Blue tits are small, lightweight, short legged, acrobatic and highly intelligent birds, with a somewhat convivial nature, most often found hanging upside down from branches and bird feeders, in their endless search for insects and seeds.

Once the removers of foil milk bottle caps; from once door to door milk bottle deliveries; stealing the energy rich non-lactose cream; the sturdy beaks of these little birds are well suited to their diet of fruit, seeds and berries in the autumn and winter; while changing to mostly larvae, insects and spiders, found in abundance during spring and summer.

Sharon Tit remained in total command with regard to family matters, especially when it came to choosing not just a mate, but also a home/nest site. The breeding season for Tits usually starts in early to mid-April. In the weeks before egg laying, Sharon Tit increased her weight by 50%, aided by food collected and shared with the help of partner Thomas Tit.

Tits will usually build their nests in holes and crevices in trees, walls or in this case a nest box purchased from O’Driscoll’s Garden Centre, here in Thurles. But Tits have been known to nest in such places as rural ‘An Post’ letter boxes.

Sharon Tit formed a deep hollow in her chosen, soft hair nest materials, by simply wriggling and continuously twisting around and around, while continued to erect higher sides. The nest when complete saw Sharon Tit producing nearly her own weight in eggs, laying one egg each day for 12 days.

Her eggs took 14 to 16 days to hatch completely and both Sharon and Thomas, together, made up to 300 daily visits  to and from the nursery, during the first few days.  Together these visits rose to some 800 or more each day, prior to the youngsters leaving the nest.

As can be seen in the video above, Tits will collect caterpillars, feeding themselves only the smallest; while feeding the larger ones, containing the most energy, to their siblings. No need for pesticides here, as the dietary practises of Sharon and Thomas Tit made them extremely effective pest controllers in the gardens; feeding their babies as many as 15,000 flies, spiders and green caterpillars in the first three week as parents.

Three weeks on, with all children left the nursery, Sharon and Thomas Tit continued to support this family roaming freely for a further two weeks, but at five weeks old they were abandoned to fend for themselves, as is normal Tit family practise.


Going – Going – Gone, Griffins News Agency, Thurles

Over the past number of weeks a building on the south side of Liberty Square, last known as Griffin’s News-agency and previously, during the 1920’s, Hickey’s pub, has now been demolished to make way for a new car-park entrance,  in an effort to make Thurles town centre more pedestrianised.

The now demolished building did have some small, yet not insignificant history attached, which can be found when reading a statement from the Bureau of Military History, 1913-21 (Document No. W.S. 1454, File No. S.790), by witness James Leahy, Commandant, No. 2 (Mid) Tipperary Brigade, latter born in 1896 in the townsland of Tubberadora, Boherlahan, Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

James Leahy Writes: [Signed 3rd July 1956]

“I returned to business in Thurles early in 1917, and then went to work for Michael (‘Mixey’) O’Connell, as he was popularly called. O’Connell was a prominent Sinn Feiner and Irish Volunteer and his house in later days became the headquarters of the Mid-Tipperary Brigade.

Five masked and armed policemen raided the house of Larry Hickey, publican, Main St., Thurles, when they found the owner in bed. Re was ordered out in his night attire and when he reached the head of the stairs, he was tripped and thrown downstairs by an R.I.C. man named Jackson.

In the fall, Hickey’s neck was broken and he was in great pain at the foot of the stairs, when Sergeant Enright, who was in charge of the raiders, shot him dead, to put an end to his agony. Hickey was a well known republican in Thurles, and a detailed account of his shooting was given to me during the truce period, by Sergeant Enright himself.

While the raid in Hickey’s was in progress, (Night of March 9th 1921) another party of masked policemen visited the home of the Loughnane family in Mitchell St., Thurles, and shot dead in bed William Loughnane. This man along with his father and three brothers were active members of the local I.R.A. company.

On the same night, the Barry homestead in Turtulla (Today Thurles Golf Club), a short distance from Thurles, was entered by R.I.C. men in disguise. They were looking for Denis Regan, a workman and a prominent I.R.A. man. He had hidden in a ‘couchette’ (Latter a box type bed usually found in a house close to an open fireplace, with a lid which closed during the day to become a useful bench or large seat), in the house and when the police could not find him, they ordered Michael Barry to come with them, as they were going to shoot him, instead of Regan.

Barry had no connection with the republican movement and Regan overheard remarks made by the raiders. Rather than see his employer suffer on his account, Regan left his hiding place and gave himself up. Barry was then released while Regan was led into the yard, where the police fired six or eight shots at him. Though very seriously wounded, he survived and is still hale and hearty. (In later years Denis Regan became the hearse driver for the undertaking firm of W. H. Ryan). He (Regan) was treated by his employer’s brother, Dr. Barry, who was then in practice in Thurles and was always ready to answer a call when needed by the I.R.A.

I got a dispatch from the brigade adjutant (1921) requesting me to meet him that night at Larry Hickey’s (Latter later to become Griffin’s Newsagents), in Thurles, as he had some urgent communications to send to G.H.Q. which he wished me to see and sign.

I went on to Thurles, armed with a revolver.  My going off to meet the brigade adjutant very nearly led to my capture and death. I made my way into Larry Hickey’s as arranged and was waiting upstairs for my colleague to put in an appearance, when a scout, who was posted to watch out for enemy raiders, shouted through the letter box of the door that a force of R.I.C. were searching “Mixey” O’Connell’s house next door. I waited for a while, thinking that if they found nobody in O’Connell’s, the police might move off.

Word came after awhile that they had gone. Concluding that O’Connell’s place (next door) might now be safer than Hickey’s, I went out by the back door to get into O’Connell’s back yard. The wall separating the two yards was about 8-feet high and I had my breast just on the top of it when I heard the order “Hands up”.  In the light which was shining on me I could see a figure sitting on top of the wall a few yards away from me. He was a guard whom they had left on the place. As I was leaving Hickey’s the scout, again reporting through the letter box, shouted that the main raiding party was returning. Apparently the man by whom I was now confronted was left to keep an eye on developments at the back. On being challenged I dropped back into Hickey’s and crouching as low as I could, I ran down under the shelter of the wall to the lower end of the yard.

The guard was firing after me. From the corner into which I had crouched I had a clear view of my opponent. I drew my revolver and fired four shots at him. He quickly disappeared from view. Without delaying, I seized my chance and from the yard, ran down the garden (Latter soon to become part of the new car park) and out into the Mall. I went on to Barry’s in Turtulla, where I stayed for the night.

On examining my overcoat, I found that it had been penetrated by shots several times during the brief encounter. Next day, I heard that the policeman involved was wounded by my return fire.”

Folks, do remember the prophesy in the lines from Eric Bogle’s song, “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” :-
“I see the old men all tired, stiff and sore
Those forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question.
But the band plays Waltzing Matilda,
And the old men still answer the call,
But year after year, the numbers get fewer
Someday, no one will march there at all. “

So perhaps, while this information is now fresh in our memories, our masters from the Templemore / Thurles Municipal District Council might now unveil a small plaque or stone tablet, to commemorate this piece of Thurles History.


Polution Of River Suir Continues

The River Suir, as most of our readers are aware, rises on the slopes of the 480m (1575 ft) high Bearnan Eile (Translation from the Irish – “Devil’s Bit”) mountain, just north of Templemore here in Co. Tipperary.  It flows southwards, merging along the way with the rivers Aherlow and further on with the river Tar, before entering the sea at Waterford.

This same river is now under threat of serious pollution, partly due to the laid-back attitude and total inactivity of Tipperary Co. Council personnel.

Back in August of 2016 the Anner Hotel had been the appointed venue for a River Suir Community meetings. The purpose of these meetings was supposedly to open up serious discussion on the river Suir; with regard to water quality and other natural water issues, while also exploring possible opportunities regarding what this river and its tributaries could provide for local communities. The importance of the river Suir, from a European perspective, was explained at such meetings, including why the river had been selected as a ‘Special Area of Conservation’, based on the myriad of wildlife being supported therein and thereon. Almost two years later, all planning; to use more liquid expressions, appears to have evaporated, dissolved, melted and even became vaporised.

Here, on both sides of Barry’s Bridge, Blue Green algae covers most of the surface of the water. The growth of this algae is rapidly encouraged by the current bright sunlight and existing warm temperatures. This when added to nutrient enrichments including phosphorus and nitrogen; latter found in animal waste; human waste; fertilizers used by the farming community; the improper located of septic tank systems; waste water conveyed in sewers, (Issue first raised by us on November 7th, 2013 and cleaned up first in 2018), now has further exacerbated an already rapid, deteriorating condition within the Suir’s river water.

A stainless-steel water pump, driving water in the form of a fountain (Gifted to the people of Thurles town, courtesy of Cantwell Engineering Ltd), and which had previously aerated the water and down stream in this area, was switched off without explanation by Tipperary Co. Council some 10 years ago, thus further adding to the problems being experienced today.

This blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria bacteria) appears to have now become a harmful algal bloom producing toxins (such as microcystins and anatoxins) that can affect not just humans, but more especially livestock (e.g. Horses, Cows, dogs and wild fowl) latter that frequently swim in and drink this contaminated algae soup; with the levels of this toxicity regarded to be generally moderate to severe.

The presence of the algae is confirmed by the foamy water appearing; washed downstream, which we had privately tested, believing it to be some form of industrial chemical pollution. This foam or “bloom scum” uses up the oxygen in the water, which in turn causes major problems for all other aquatic life.

Common signs in animals to watch out for, include:- Vomiting; Diarrhoea; Coma Shock; Disorientation; Seizures; Muscle tremors; Muscle Rigidity; Paralysis; Difficulty in Breathing; Blue Discolouration of the Skin and Death. Unfortunately, for animals there is no antidote for the toxins produced by blue-green algae, however immediate veterinary care should be considered an imperative.

We learn last week that Templemore Thurles Municipal District Manager, Mr Matt Shortt agrees with Local Council Representatives, that the river Suir currently looks like a cesspool, but adds that officials would have to take advice on what the best course of action should be. “We have to be very careful about what we do and will have to take advice, so that we do not cause any problems down the line. We don’t have the expertise here, but we will make inquiries and take it from there,” he stated.

This statement however is not satisfactory and akin to quotes from builder Mr O’Reilly (Actor David Kelly) in a Faulty Towers script. In previous years this weed was removed from the river by the simple act of “deskuzzing”.  Laughingly, (God Help Us), the building overlooking this current cesspit, namely “The Source”, was selected as the launch pad for a Tipperary Heartland Tourism unveiling just last weekend. Senior officials attending, including at least one Tipperary Labour TD (Mr Alan Kelly) and one Fianna Fáil Co. Councillor (Mr John Hogan), both appear to have lost two of their basic five senses, namely in this case smell and vision.

Human Health Concerns
This Blue-green bloom can pose a human health threat to those entering the river. Symptoms experienced from drinking contaminated water that contain blue-green algae can include:- Dizziness, Diarrhoea, Stomach Cramps, Nausea, Headaches, Fever, Sore Throats, Abdominal Pain, Muscle Aches, Mouth Ulcers, and Blistering of the Lips. Skin coming into contact with the water can develop severe rash like symptoms.

Surely the time has come to claim our town back from those who now govern within the Templemore / Thurles Municipal District.

More on this deliberate destruction of “the town we love so well”  in the coming day.


The Michael Lowry Interview

Many of our readers who missed the recent interview between Tipp FM radio’s Mr Fran Curry and Independent TD Deputy Mr Michael Lowry last week, have asked us if we could publish the Audio File of this occasion.

Our thanks to Tipp FM radio for granting us permission to download their Mp3 recording, which can be now heard, hereunder.

The Michael Lowry Interview from George Willoughby on Vimeo.

So for the benefit of those who, due to work commitments, failed to hear the interview; especially Mgt, Ciara, Mark, Deborah, Shane, D.J., Jim, Bobby, Kieran, Louise, Mairead, Martin, and Sineád, do tune in to listen here.

Having listened to the interview above; with regards to the remarks made by Irish Solidarity’s “People Before Profit TD’s”, Ms Brid Smith (AWOL from the Labour party), and Mrs Ruth Coppinger; perhaps both the above named rather frumpy looking elected representatives, (barely existing on €93,599 plus additional salaried allowances and expenses), together with the Irish republican political party members within Sinn Féin, all might read the following very slowly and at least twice, (to ensure fullest comprehension), the words once written by Florida born Baptist pastor Dr. Adrian Pierce Rogers (1931-2005)

Dr. Adrian Rogers stated, “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom, by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for, without receiving.

The government cannot give to anybody, anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

For the benefit of “People before Profit” TD’s and Sinn Féin, it should be noted that Garuda Ltd, currently provide a weekly wage to some twenty one company employees together with 45 sub-contractors and their current employees. In the real world this employment of skilled labour by businesses like Garuda Ltd, truly elevates people before profit.


“Grief” – From The Pen Of Poet Tom Ryan


By Author & Poet Tom Ryan ©

How can you ask me to pretend,
To smile and go my way indifferent,
And busy myself with useless things
And not cry,
Though the tears are bursting from behind my eyes.

How can you say “time makes a difference”
And I shall forget it all,
When I really don’t want to forget,
But to gently remember
The time and times we shared
In the moments before yesterday.

How can you say you’re sorry
And not wonder
Why the earth will not stop wheeling,
Why the stars don’t lose their sparkle
And why, oh why
My sad heart will not break to sorrow.

But even as I ask the questions
I know that I am sorry, too,
And ask forgiveness,
For I’m not myself at all
Since she left this place


Tom Ryan, “Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.  [With my Thanks]