International Miss Macra Festival 2014
Miss Eiblish Maher (International Miss Macra Festival PRO) Reports.
As the 2014 August bank holiday draws ever closer, we find ourselves glimpsing the last remnants of our Irish Summer. That agreed, there now remains that impulse, found within all of us, to complete at least one great ‘last hurrah’ before our Summer season once again fades to Autumn.
So if you are looking for a fun and unique party event in which to participate, why not visit the 2014 International Miss Macra Festival, taking place in less than two weeks time from Aug 1st – Aug 3rd inclusive, at the luxury Dundrum House Hotel, Dundrum, Thurles, Co Tipperary.
Watch Video HERE in HD.
This year will celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the International Miss Macra Festival, superbly organised as always by the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra na Feirme club, here in Co Tipperary.
Calendar of forthcoming Macra Festival events for 2014.
Friday: The festival will kick-start on Friday August 1st when this year’s 21 contestants will meet the Festival Committee in the grounds of the luxury Dundrum House Hotel; beginning midday. Dundrum House Hotel, often described as an ‘Irish Oasis’ set in the heart of Tipperary’s Golden Vale, creates the perfect location for those intent on seeking relaxation and fun. The competitors will then be taken on a tour of the world renowned Coolmore Stud Farm, followed by a ‘Zumba Secession’ in Clonoulty Community Hall. Later that evening the girls will meet up with their host families. The tradition of the contestants staying with host families is very strong within the local community and Macra are extremely grateful for their generosity and commitment by our host families over the past 43 years. This year the Friday night will be a themed disco and what more fitting a theme this year than ‘Farmer Style,’ (Make sure you all have your peaked caps, dungarees and steel capped rubber boots at the ready.)
Saturday: The contestants will awaken early on Saturday morning for their interviews with this year’s competent judges. There are three judges; (1) Declan Ryan who has held every officership on our festival committee, including Chairman throughout the years and is currently the President of Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra club. Joining him will be; (2) Joan Pollard Carew, renowned poet and well known patron of Irish dancing. Joan is also the wife of Michael Carew, of Michael’s Jewellers fame who sponsors annually the second prize in our festival and who has contributed greatly to same in terms of resources, time and advice. This year we are proud to announce that there will be a new judge; (3) joining us will be Caroline Kinane from Tipp FM Radio and we wish her the very best of luck with the tough task of selecting International Miss Macra 2014.
After the interviews on Saturday, the contestants will again have a chance to relax at the annual South Tipperary Macra Raft Race, which will take place in the neighbouring village of Golden at 4.00pm sharp. This activity is mainly for assembled Macra supporters who don a life jacket and make their county proud as the person – made rafts battle the river currents. (Trust me the historic St.Brendan’s voyage wasn’t a patch on this major upcoming event.)
Saturday night will see the girls dressed in their finest; ascend the stage for the cabaret. Mike Egan, previous Macra member, will interview the girls two at the time in front of a marquee full of supporters, friends and family. Once the cabaret is finished the contestants can enjoy themselves, with their supporters, in the Venue to the band ‘Lebowski.’
Sunday: Sunday morning sees the girls attend Church in the local parish of Clonoulty. Afterwards, there will be a Macra family fun and sports day, followed by a barbecue. The contestants will proudly wear their county colours as they battle it out through a custom built Macra obstacle course, complete with parallel Tractor Parking (toy) and a demonstration on Friesian Cow milking (cardboard).
Immediately after these sports, the preparations for the Miss Macra Annual Ball will commence. There will be a hairdresser, Tara and others, on site for each contestants and female committee members. Photographs of the girls plus their escorts will be taken by the festival photographer, beginning at 6.00pm sharp. This will be then followed by a ‘Champagne Reception,’ and a Five Course Banquet which will takes place in the Dundrum House Banqueting Suite.
Following the Banquet and after dinner speeches the band ‘Memphis’ will take to the stage to begin the dancing, until the bewitching hour of 12.00 midnight when the judges will announce this year’s winner, together with those adjudged as taking second and third place. The crowned winner and runners up will then have their photographs taken with the main sponsors of the festival.
Now with the winner crowned; the festival now draws to a close, as the committee breathe a sigh of relief, proud of their many months spent planning, as the entire ballroom fills with Macra and non-Macra members who will continue to dance late into the night.
“Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large.” (Quote by Mahatma Gandhi)
It all began just one year ago to the very day, when Co Galway native Commandant Michael Walsh (Retd & former aide de camp to H.E. the President of Ireland) returned from his trek having completed his walk along the Ancient Pilgrims Route, known as “The Way of St James,” ending eventually in Santiago de Compostella Galicia in Spain.
“The Way of St. James” you will remember was one of the most important Christian pilgrimage routes taken during medieval times and legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain, where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.
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This walk in the company of fellow fund raiser Yvonne Tyler had started in Holycross, Co Tipperary on Sunday 7th of April 2013 and had finished on July 11th of the same year. The original goal of Michael and Yvonne’s three month trek, was to increase an awareness of Autism not just locally but nationally here in Ireland and highlight not just its effect on family members and persons with Autism, but also to raise much needed funding for two specific Autism related charities, namely the Tús Nua Autism Residential and Resource Centre here in Thurles and Cottage Autism Network based in Co Wexford.
To use a somewhat military phrase, possibly used on occasion by Michael in the past; prior to his retirement from army life was “The mission has been accomplished,” and one year to the day, on July 11th 2014 to mark his safe return, two new ‘Sensory Gardens’ have been opened here in the magnificent Rehab Resource Centre situated at Stradavoher in Thurles.
For those less familiar with the concept of a sensory garden, same is designed with the purpose of stimulating the senses. The stimulation occurs courtesy of plants and the correct use of materials that engage one’s senses of smell, sight, touch and of course sound. These types of gardens are popular with and extremely beneficial to young adults who have sensory issues, including disabilities which include Autism.
Unveiling the gardens to the public for the first time to the Tipperary public, M/s Colleen O’Sullivan (Manager Thurles Resources Centre) pointed out that this wonderful new asset could not have been achieved without the collaboration of wonderful caring people from the backgrounds of business, charitable societies, family, friends, neighbours and her own greatly valued and caring staff members. M/s O’Sullivan was particularly complimentary of students at Thurles Community Training Centre who assisted in the construction of the landscaping and also generously donated a garden bench, latter professionally constructed by the students themselves, during recent woodwork classes.
Colleen’s remarks were once again echoed by Michael Walsh who thanked specifically; Mr Frank Alley and his Dundrum Nursery’s Team, Thurles Rotary Club, Thurles Lions Club, Thurles Community Training Centre, L.I.T Thurles, Lisheen Mines, Colaiste Eile, Upperchurch and Holycross Communities, Sr Eilis Bergin, Trica Treacy, Mary B.Lanigan-Ryan, the Rita and Matty Stapleton Nursery’s, the friends and families of those attending the Resource Centre and the many volunteers who turned up on late evenings to ensure the garden’s transformation from previous waste ground.
A basket containing Prayer Flags (Ribbons) inspired by Sr Eilis Bergin and walking companion Yvonne Tyler was also on hand in true ‘Tibetan’ tradition. Those in attendance were invited to tie a ribbon to espalier training wires, latter bearing sweet smelling Jasmine, as a reminder of the call to prayer for the future welfare of all humans everywhere, working together and thus encouraging the traits of Virtue, Goodness, Healing and Happiness.
The next stage to be progressed in this garden will be a special water feature. Same is currently being specially designed by Tipperary renowned sculptor Philip Quinn, Holycross, Tipperary.
Following the unveiling, visitors were entertained to refreshments specially provided for this truly most special of occasions.
“It breeds dissatisfaction by perpetuating itself everywhere, cluttering up the minds of individuals, particularly here in Thurles,” said Micky, breaking the silence, as he continued sucking on the remains of his pig’s crubeen, elbows resting on the kitchen table. (Latter ‘Crubeen,’ for those of you less well educated of course is a boiled pig’s foot. Today they are called sausages, if no horse meat has been added.)
“What are you talking about Mickey,” said I, anxiously awaiting the promised afters of a plate of stewed rhubarb and custard, whose mouth-watering aroma was now being carried; wafting on the breeze created by the partially open window in the small scullery.
“Negativity,” said Mickey, “Negativity, sure Thurles is full of it and it’s all coming down from Dublin. Take that Garth Brooks singer fellow,” he continued, “Sure if Dublin don’t want him, couldn’t Aiken and the GAA have sent him down here to forgotten Thurles and slap him into Semple Stadium for the week. Sure doesn’t he sing country music anyway.”
“Look it here,” said I, “This is all politics, people playing financial chess to get their own greedy little ways. Sure only a few weeks ago wasn’t the Minister of Finance down kissing Donald Trump’s arse in the west, in the hope of duping these Americans into progressing the sale of a bankrupt golf club. “Remember Mickey,” said I,” The money paid for those 400,000 tickets to listen to this Brooks fellow will end up in America, taken out of our bankrupt Irish economy in his private jet plane, tax and VAT free.
“I suppose you’re right there,” said Mickey, “I suppose the female clothing shops here in Thurles wouldn’t have sold so much as a plastic G-String, had those damned concerts gone ahead. Yeah you’re probably right; negativity, women and politics are what has this Ireland ruined, sure women shouldn’t be allowed into politics anyway,” continued Micky.
“What’s your problem with women politicians,” said I.
“Well,” said Mickey, “Take a look at that Joan Burton one, since she became leader of the Labour Party. Sure only a woman would take four days moving an auld second-hand press from room to room in Dáil Éireann.”
“How do you mean,” said I.
“The cabinet re-shuffle,” said Mickey, “A man would have left that damned cabinet where they found it, but not a women, oh no; “push it over against the back wall,” – “no move it over to the window,” – “no try it in the bed room.” “Thank God the wife and myself only have two rooms, a scullery and an outside commode,” continued Mickey
I bit my tongue and remained silent.
“No its all negativity now-a-days here in Thurles,” continued Mickey, “Sure the wife was at her hairdresser’s there recently getting her perm fixed, before her trip to Rome and she just happened to mentioned this same junket to the hairdresser.
Continue reading Thurles Negativity, Garth Brooks & Women
The recently discovered ‘Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,’ (or the ‘Distribution Book,’ as it was also called,) for the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill in 1847, has now been digitized, allowing an instant search facility for those anxious to trace their family roots.
The rare book, found in private collection, is now on public display at St. Mary’s Famine Museum here in Thurles and will be available to be viewed by all those attending the forthcoming Thurles Sarsfields International Festival Of Gaelic Sport (July 4th – 12th 2014).
This book contains the names of those who were classed as paupers in the hinterland / towns-lands of these aforementioned areas, during that most harrowing period of the Great Irish Famine, referred to as ‘Black ’47′.
This extremely rare ‘Rations Record Book,’ contains the names of the heads of each household and in many cases the names of all the adults in each household. It also contains the number of rations each householder was allowed. Details of how, where and when it was located will be discussed here on Thurles.Info later this month.
Just over 3 million Irish people were being supported by outdoor relief in July 1847. To those it supported, covering the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill while providing records of the food rations distributed in the period May – Sept. `47 and part of `48, it was a very humiliating and an insufficient system. Nevertheless it did keep starvation at bay for a very sizeable portion of Tipperary people at that crucial time in Black ’47.
Meanwhile four other ancient manuscripts, one found close to Thurles here in Co Tipperary are to undergo special preservation work and to be digitized and put on show beside the Book of Kells, in Trinity College, Dublin.
These priceless manuscripts, going back to the fifth and eighth century, will include the eighth century “Book of Dimma,” possibly written originally at St. Crónán‘s Monastery, Roscrea, Co Tipperary.
In 1789, the Book of Dimma was supposedly discovered in a small cave on “The Devils Bit” near Thurles. The little known Book of Dimma, was preserved by Thady O’Carroll, Prince of Ely, and later during possibly the mid-twelfth century was encased in a rich gilt case. The book is a copy of the four Gospels written in Old Latin and is representative of Irish ‘Pocket Gospel’ manuscripts.
The book, which had a blessing dedicated to the sick and dying added in the 10th or 11th century, can be viewed in Trinity College, Dublin, together with many other articles of Ireland’s rich historical treasures found in Tipperary, now bringing prosperity to our capital city’s economy at the expense of Tipperary and indeed mid rural Ireland.
M/s Susie Bioletti, head of conservation at Trinity, said that this funding for the project, obtained from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is the most generous grant the library has secured for works on early Irish manuscripts and will enable scholarship and public engagement with the manuscripts, sharing these national treasures with our Irish and visitors from abroad.
The funding obtained by Trinity College is part of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s global art conservation project which has awarded grants to museums in 26 other countries for 71 conservation projects since 2010.
Admission to St Mary’s Famine Museum, Thurles, to view this rare ‘Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,’ costs just €2.00.
For many decades now ‘The Premier Ballroom’ here in Thurles has provided Thurles and Tipperary people with the very best in dancing entertainment. It comes therefore as no surprise that last Sunday the “Thurles Club for dancing”‘ should take an opportunity to celebrate the hall’s 50th anniversary this year.
Maybe it was nostalgia, that chance to slip back in time and remember loves lost or won or maybe it was a chance to meet up again with old friends and renew acquaintances, which drew the crowds. Whatever each individual’s reason, past patrons flocked in their hundreds to the Premier Ballroom, to relive once again the era of the big band dancing scene, latter which has long since declined, being replaced by the cheaper musical sound influences of the discothèque.
On Sunday night last top vocalist and accordion player Finbarr Dennehy got all dancers well warmed up during the first two hours of this event and he was quickly followed by the 2014 winner of the Sunday World’s ”Entertainer of the Year Award,” namely Country singer Mike Denver and His Band.
Of course the Thurles Club for Dancing, which hosted this major event, was first founded itself back in 1971, and still today hold regular dances in the Premier Ballroom, which boasts of having one of the finest dancing surfaces in Ireland. Dancing is held here every second Sunday night from 9.00 p.m. to 12.00 midnight with an average attendance any evening of 160 persons. Admission is a mere €8.00 per person.
Mind you, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an increase in patron numbers, on future Sunday events, so successful was last Sunday’s celebratory dance experience.
Lessons in Social Dancing also take place in this large Ballroom twice a year (one session in Feb./March and again in Sept./Oct.) These two six-week courses costs a total of just €20 for each six-week course. This is the 20th year of such lessons. (For further information on these contact Tom Gleeson at 087-9732837.)