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Thurles Famine Museum In Tipperary Re-Opens

St. Mary's Famine Museum, Thurles. Tipperary.

Thurles Famine Museum, housed in St Mary’s Church, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, has re-opened.

The one year closure followed, when over €70,000 worth of malicious damage was inflicted on valuable stained glass windows by local vandals in November 2009.  This led to some of Ireland’s most historic artifacts, relating to Ireland’s “Great Famine 1845-1849,” which were on show to the public and stored in the building, having to be removed in the interest of their preservation.

The closure of the museum is calculated to have cost Thurles businesses, particularly the food and accommodation sectors, an estimated .5 million euros in lost revenues, last year.

The Museum, which has never received one cent of financial support from government since opening some 10 years ago, is now about to receive a major face lift, having installed 24 hour state of the art concealed video surveillance equipment to protect the graveyard, the museum and it’s contents.

St Mary’s Church, Thurles, which houses the Museum, and the graveyard attached has huge historical importance not just for Thurles Town, but for the island of Ireland. The graveyard was used extensively for burials during the Great Famine 1845-1849 and was closed as a place of burial in 1942 at the request of Dr J.D. Hourihane, then Local Government Inspector, (With some licenced exceptions,) because of gross over crowding.

Although burials were taking place here in the early 13th century, the first recorded grave in the cemetery is 1520, the Norman ‘Archer Tomb,’ possibly better known for it’s supposed healing properties. A Church has existed on this site since early Norman times in 1179.

Other notable persons buried here include:-

Lady Elizabeth Butler, Viscountess of Thurles and mother of James Butler, Duke of Ormond,  ancestress direct of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana Spencer, who was interred in the little Chapel of St Mary, Thurles, in 1673.

William Bradshaw, a doctor in charge of the Fever Hospital in Thurles, and who also ran a paupers clinic in The Quarry, Thurles, during the famine years. “The grave of Dr William Bradshaw (Victoria Cross) late Assistant Surgeon 32nd Light Infantry who departed his life 9th March 1861.”

Maurice Leyne, one of the founders of the Young Irelander Movement and joint proprietor / editor of the “Nation” and “Tipperary Leader” newspapers during the famine years. He took part in the Ballingarry uprising of 1848 (Battle of the widow McCormack’s cabbage patch,) and was a grand nephew of Daniel O’Connell (Catholic Emancipation). Leyne died of typhus in 1854. “In this grave are deposited the remains of Maurice Richard Leyne Esq. who died 29th June 1854.

Continue reading Thurles Famine Museum In Tipperary Re-Opens


Thurles Graduation

Dr. Karen Willoughby.

Congratulations go to Miss Karen Willoughby, pictured here following her recent graduation, for the degree of Doctor in Philosophy (Ph.D.), from the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

Daughter of George and Sally Willoughby, Kickham St., Thurles, Karen is a past pupil of both the Ursuline Convent Primary and Ursuline Secondary Schools here in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Karen is also a recipient of the prestigious Vere Foster Medal, the Trinity College Gold Medal and the Trinity College ‘Lucy Gwynn‘ Prize.

Karen qualified as a primary school teacher with First Class Honours in 2001 from CICE and Trinity College, and is currently the Principal of St John’s National School, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare.


Thurles Barmen Manslaughter Case Struck Out

Two barmen, Mr Gary Wright and Mr Aidan Dalton, both charged with the manslaughter of Mr Graham Parish, were found not guilty on the judge’s orders this morning at Nenagh Court. Both men had denied responsibility for the death of Mr Parish in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary, on June 30th 2008.

Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary

Mr Parish, from Calder Terrace in Lomeshaye village near Nelson, East Lancashire, was celebrating his 26th birthday, when he drank a lethal mix of at least eight shots in one glass.

Mr Parish’s grieving parents David and Julie and his sister Jess were obviously upset, as they left the Circuit Court in Nenagh, where Judge Thomas Teehan directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty. The family of the late Mr Parish said in a statement later, that Graham had brought much happiness to his family and he was greatly missed.  They now hoped this case will highlight the dangers of alcohol and if this incident could prevent further deaths then their son’s death would not have been in vain.

Judge Teehan stated that the State had proved Mr Wright and Mr Dalton had a duty of care to Mr Parish, and had breached that duty of care and that their negligence was gross, however he found their negligence was not the cause of the victim’s death and Mr Parish had taken the decision to consume the drink of his own free will. He said there was a high level of personal responsibility in relation to drink and no jury could safely bring in a verdict of guilty on either man, directing the jury to find them not guilty.

This case is set to raise further debate over the responsibility owed to consumers by bar proprietors and those working in licenced premises, and also the responsibility by consumers, to themselves, in controlling their personal drinking behaviour.

Family and friends wept in court as the case was dramatically struck out. The accused, through their Thurles Solicitor, Mr J.J. Fitzgerald, extended their sympathies to the Parish family.

The six-day trial heard that Mr Parish had been drinking heavily in the hotel bar with his five other British contractors, who were working in a meat processing plant in the area. Both Mr Wright, a barman for 13 years, and Mr Dalton, who had worked in the pub trade for some 10 years, told investigators they believed the drink would be shared among his friends.

This case is the first of its kind under newly introduced Irish alcohol liability laws.


Nursing Homes Versus Prisons

Between you and me (and this is not widely known so keep it to yourself), the outgoing Fianna Fáil /Greens outfit often consulted me here at Thurles.Info for advice on solving some, shall we just say difficult economic issues. Fact is, and if the truth was fully told, I should be running this country, and Dáil Éireann should be moved to Thurles for my convenience.

I just feel it in me water, that the Fine Gael / Labour coalition will be calling me shortly.  I expect Dr James Reilly T.D., Minister for Health and Mr Alan Shatter, T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality will be the first to call on Skype one of these days. Dr Reilly will be looking for my views on Nursing homes and Mr Shatter, I expect will be wishing to discuss solutions in solving the problem of our over crowded prison system.

Of course these two issues are no problem to someone with my superior organisational ability and intellect, and if both of these ministers thoughts were as focused as much as mine, even they could work out the necessary simple solution required.

The answer to both these current problems is to put the pensioners in jail and the criminals into our private nursing homes.

Now readers before your start having negative reactions to my plan, let’s examine the logic and I will firstly discuss, in dept, the benefits to our elderly:-

(1) Old aged pensioners, if put in prison, would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.
(2) They would receive free prescriptions, money, wheel chairs, dental and medical treatment.
(3) They would have constant video monitoring, thus receiving help instantly if they should fall, or require other urgent assistance.
(4) All bed linen would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them, neat and clean smelling.
(5) A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals, drugs, cigarettes, mobile phones and daily snacks to the comfort of their cosy cells. (Yes cigarettes are allowed in prisons and no smoking ban exists. Helps to reduce stress you understand.)
(6) Residents could entertain family and friends who visit, in a special visiting suite, erected for that purpose.
(7) The more active could access the library, the gym or use the pool, while those less active could attend spiritual counselling, watch HD colour TV  or be wheeled into adult education classes, to advance themselves.
(8) Simple clothing, such as shoes, slippers, Pajama’s etc, would be free on demand.
(9) Free legal aid would be available to each resident, to protect them from siblings intent on selling their houses in their absence. (Well we all know the difference between a ‘Home’ and a ‘House’. A ‘Home‘ is where your children send you, when they want to sell your ‘House‘.
(10) Secure private locked rooms would be available to all, with an outdoor exercise yard, containing flower gardens.
(11) Each senior resident would have access to PC’s, TV’s, Radio’s and could receive free daily monitored phone calls.
(12) There would be a Board of Directors to hear complaints from residents, and the prison guards would have a code of conduct, that would be strictly adhered too.

Next, let’s look at the ever growing prison population problem and the advantages of using Nursing Homes as a correctional facility.

(1) The criminals if moved into Nursing Homes would receive cold food daily.
(2) They would be left for long periods all alone and unsupervised.
(3) Lights would be switched off sharp at 8.00pm.
(4) Showers would only be allowed once a week.
(5) These prisoners would live in tiny unsecured room spaces.
(6) Each inmate would contribute €600.00 per week towards their upkeep.
(7) Inmates on early release would not want to commit further crime in case they would be sent back.
(8) Visiting hours for family member would be limited to a space smelling of urine.
(9) Those upsetting the system would be placed under heavy sedation.
(10) Gang members offering violence to other inmates could be tied hand and foot to beds and wheelchairs.

I have just had a thought, maybe I should open up one of those Political Clinics. Sure I have all the qualifications required. I can smile, remember peoples names, attend funerals, liaise with local active groups, advise clients on how to get the last red cent in social welfare benefits and be a sorting house for pothole filling and providing electric bulbs for street lighting.

I would be brilliant at ‘looking into’ housing applications and planning problems with a view to grant aiding. All I would have to do is writes to the Minister, who would pass my communication to a Civil Servant. That Civil Servant would draft a reply for the Minister to send back to me. I could pass this to my patients/constituents.

This could even give the illusion of me having influence over high profile government decisions, which are in fact far outside and way beyond my reach.


6000 Irish Girl Guides To Descend on Thurles

Irish Girl Guides

Report by Catherine O’Connor, (Communications Officer – Irish Girl Guides.)

On Saturday next May 7th 2011, the Irish Girl Guides (IGG) will hold the largest celebration fun day in it’s history, to celebrate 100 years of changing lives here in Ireland.

Over 6,000 girls and Leaders will descend on Thurles, Co. Tipperary to join together for a day of great fun activities including a Guinness Book of Records attempt.

The Irish Girl Guides are a voluntary organisation for 11,000 girls and volunteer leaders countrywide. The Irish Girl IGG’s mission is to enable girls and young women to develop to their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world. IGG was founded in 1911. It provides an environment where girls from all backgrounds can grow in self-confidence and develop a variety of skills in an unpressurised atmosphere.

All the branches will be joining in the celebrations – the Ladybirds who are aged between 5 – 7 years, the Brownies from 6½ – 11 years; the Guides 10½– 15 years and Senior Branch 14½  – 26 years.

The day will begin with a parade which will be led by 85 teenage girls, who are Guiding Stars, as each will be receiving the prestigious Gold Award, the highest achievement that a Guide can achieve.  Then IGG will take on the challenge of breaking the Guinness Book of Records for the longest string of reef knots ever.

After this the girls will break into their different age groups to try activities such as Drumming, Circus skills, Dance, Animal Roadshow, Science workshops, Reptile village, Gospel Singing along with time to enjoy the free flow area, which will include Large Scale Inflatables, Helter Skelter, Carousel, Giant Paint by Numbers and Street Entertainers.

As the day comes to a close there will be a presentation of 30 year service pins to many dedicated leaders, by special guest Mary McPhail, CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. This is especially significant as 2011 has been designated the European Year of volunteering.

Emer O’Sullivan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Girl Guides, said, “This is a great opportunity to thank all our volunteer Leaders but an extremely special
chance to thank the leaders with 30+ years of service. Today we will remember with pride and gratitude, the work and efforts of those who have gone before and those who strive today to make Guiding the wonderful organisation that it is.

To end the day on a high, the girls and leaders will party to an ABBA tribute band concert as IGG continues to celebrate their centenary for the rest of 2011.

In essence the day is all about celebrating 100 years of an association that has grown from strength to strength, and continues to meet the needs of girls and women in Ireland, through a programme of fun and friendship that enables them to develop their full potential as responsible citizens of the world.

Well known former members of the Irish Girl Guides include Sonia O’Sullivan, Olympic Medallist; Catherine McGuinness, former President of the Law Reform Commission,  judge of the Circuit Court (the first woman to serve on the Court), justice of the High Court and Supreme Court of Ireland, Róisín Ingle, Irish Times Journalist and Una Healy of the band The Saturdays to name but a few.

Girl Guides – Welcome to Thurles.