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Faddan More Psalter Yet Another Piece of Tipperary Abroad

Faddan More Psalter

Yet another piece of Tipperary treasure went on show yesterday, to the benefit of Dublin City’s local economy.

I refer of course to the historical Faddan More Psalter, a book of psalms possibly as old as the Book of Kells, dated around 800AD and found by turf cutters in 2006 in a Tipperary bog.

Conservationists have spent the past five years painstakingly preserving this vellum paged, leather covered psalter, which now sits centre stage at a new exhibition in the National Museum, not in Tipperary, but in Dublin.

The new Dublin exhibition, which includes previously exhibited major pieces of church heritage, such as the St Patrick’s Bell and its Shrine, the Cross of Cong, the Broighter gold boat, the Corleck Head, and the unique ivory crozier from Aghaboe, Co. Kerry now on loan from the Statens Historiska Museum in Stockholm, certainly demonstrates an ecclesiastical feel, housed in towering glass boxes, beautifully illuminated and set out in a style resembling a monastic cloister.

This latest piece of Tipperary’s heritage now on display, joins five other liturgical vessels found in 1980 as part of the Derrynaflan Hoard, near Killenaule, Thurles, Co.Tipperary. Note all these pieces of priceless Tipperary treasure are greatly benefiting Dublin’s economy, at the expense of Co.Tipperary.

Speaking of Tourism, when will Fáilte Ireland, trading as Discover Ireland.ie, update Thurles on their website ? Click HERE to see that of which I speak. Next click on – Show all Festivals & Events in Thurles.  Stay on the page and check what is happening in Co. Tipperary. Of the 38 attractions featured can you see any mention of the Thurles GAA Museum, St.Mary’s Famine Museum, HQ Nightclub, The Source Theatre, Traditional Music at the Monk Gorman’s, Thurles Golf Club etc, etc, etc ? Answer “NO Sir,” but plenty of adverts for Racing and Comhaltas Summer Seisiún’s.

On the same page hit the down arrow beside Towns and Cities and click on Thurles.  Go to Whats on Tab and click on the down arrow alongside. Next click on Historical Houses and Castles – see my point, click on Music and Theatre, – see my point, click on Nightclubs, – see my point.

Without boring my readers much further, see Museums and Attractions Thurles Famine Museum.  Click on ‘More details,’and note: no website address shown, no complete postal address and see Map Pin on the accompanying map location showing the museum’s position, at Hillview drive, Thurles, Co. North Tipperary.

In January 2011, Dublin Tourism launched a new three year regional tourism plan, which sets a target to increase overseas visitor numbers by one million a year. Nearly two thirds of visitors to Ireland already visit Dublin. The city is currently lying at number seven on the list of the most visited cities in Europe. Now you now see why taxpayers money is needed to tunnel underground to keep transport moving.

It appears rural midland Ireland must continue to support the manufacturing of wealth for Dublin business, while those responsible for marketing county Tipperary continue to fund projects west of the Shannon river. I think it is time to drag those, given tourism responsibility, around a table for a serious chat.

Note the visitor figures given for fee paying attractions in Dublin last year, confirmed by Bord Failte, click HERE e.g. 469,674 people went to see the Book of Kells. Based on these latter figures, the Faddan More Psalter, at a charge €1 per visitor would be worth €500,000 to the Tipperary economy, plus spin offs in food, accommodation and other sales.

Whatever happened to the idea of a ‘Decentralisation Programme,’ anyway, or was that just another Fianna Fail vote catching idea. It seems Dublin has now become rural Ireland’s modern day plundering “Viking Raider,” and Tipperary has not one Brian Boru to protect us.


Tipperary Kobe Beef To Come On Stream


Kobe Beef

Irish consumers will soon be able to buy a Tipperary home grown version of highly-prized and pricey Japanese Kobe beef.

Well that is according to award-winning butcher Pat Whelan, owner of James Whelan Butchers, here in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, who is supporting this initiative. Kobe beef (Named after sixth-largest city in Japan.) is the particular product of cattle known as the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu (Translated: Japanese cow.) that produce this highly-prized meat.

Wagyu cattle were introduced into Japan in the second century as as beasts of burden, used mostly in rice cultivation. However as beef consumption became more prominent in society, farmers began hiring workers to massage the animals’ backsides to improve their meat quality. The mountainous topography of the islands of Japan have resulted in small regions of isolated breeding of these animals, yielding herds that developed and maintained qualities in their meat which differ significantly from all other breeds of cattle.

Some of the biggest Wagyū herds outside of Japan are now farmed in New Zealand while in the United States, Japanese Wagyū cattle have been bred with “Aberdeen Angus cattle” to create a crossbred animal that are better able to survive the native climate and U.S. ranching methods.

Herd isolation and distinctive feeding techniques, which resulted from limited grazing land availability, have led to distinguishing features that make the meat both superior in marbling texture, in the ratios of unsaturated versus saturated fats and a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

The animals, which are being reared in Tipperary, will be treated with the same level of attention and care, as this well known Japanese breed of Wagyu

Described as the ‘foie gras of beef,’ producing a tender, naturally enhanced flavour, Kobe meat usually retails at up to €35 per 150 grams of filet steak sold retail, but Mr Whelan claims that his operation are aiming to produce this meat for a fraction of that price, for their discerning customers.

The first Irish born and bred Kobe style beef should be on the meat shelf by August of next year.

Whelan Butchers, currently based in Clonmel, Tipperary, now have their sights set on expanding into the Dublin meat market initially and ultimately into the export market, to cope with the huge international demand for this expensive, but prized meat.



Any Young Tipperary Entrepreneurs Out There?

Noel Coonan T.D. with Minister for Children / Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald T.D.

Local Fine Gael T.D., Noel Coonan, has urged local entrepreneurs living in the North Tipperary and South Offaly constituency, who are between the ages of 15 and 22 to submit their ideas on job creation, to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald T.D..

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs are organising a nationwide campaign, offering young people with ideas on job creation, the opportunity to put their proposals to Government.
This is a great initiative and I urge any local young person in North Tipperary and South Offaly to get involved in this competition. It would be fantastic to have local participation in this programme which offers some exciting rewards for winning proposals. Entries are being evaluated by leading Irish business people and entrepreneurs,” stated the local Fine Gael T.D..

This competition is being organised in conjunction with TV3’s “Every Job Counts ” campaign and in line with the Government’s current focus on job creation. The young people behind the top proposals will be given the opportunity to shadow a leading business person and the overall winner will receive a research grant of up to €15,000. Participants will also be rewarded for their effort by receiving constructive feedback from business leaders.

Young people, like so many in our community, are justifiably worried about the recession, worried about their parents employment and about their own future employment. Many of them have huge energy and exciting ideas for economic development and this initiative will help them structure those ideas into workable proposals,” said Deputy Coonan.

To enter this competition simply email your proposal to minister_fitzgerald@health.gov.ie or post it to Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Dept. of Children, Mespil Road, Dublin 4.

For more information log in by clicking Here.

Photo courtesy: George Willoughby.


Thurles District Vintage Club

The Thurles and District Vintage Club was formed following the enormous success of their millennium celebrations in 2001. Over the past ten years the event has grown considerably and has now become one of the top annual attractions in Tipperary, drawing visitors and vintage machinery exhibitors /collectors from far outside its local natural environment.

In 2001 the club started with three members and today membership has grown to over eighty three, not just from all over North Tipperary, but from surrounding counties such as Co. Limerick and Co. Laois.

The clubs main aim is to promote the collection and restoration of all types of vehicles and memorabilia, thus preserving past heritage and providing valuable primary sources for lovers of rural Irish history.

Our world, over the past ten years, has observed more change and experienced more rapid progress than in the previous one thousand years of man’s existence, so it is extremely important that we display not just our old rural artifacts and labour saving devices, but that also we demonstrate the skills required to operate these devices.

Between annual events the club organise different charity fun events, raising large sums for various designated local and national charities.

The highlight of their year, however, is the clubs Annual Vintage Rally which normally takes place in Corbally, Thurles, Co. Tipperary and already the club have begun planning for this event, and of course are always on the lookout for willing volunteers and helpers, whose assistance is very much appreciated.

We learn from club chairman Mr Jim Fogarty that two, up and coming, events for are already well into the planning stages and worthy of note for those who love to travel back in time and reminisce.

Note : Thurles Vintage Rally is planned for 12th June 2011, while their Thurles and District Road Run will take place on the 17th July 2011.

The  club is affiliated to the Irish Vintage Engine and Tractor Association and last year they had the honour of hosting the I.V.E.T.A. National Rally.
For further information on this clubs activities contact Paddy Kelly, Thurles, Tel 087 9678114 or Jim, Tel 087 9678114 or 086 2743442.

For all of their great work and effort, this organisation is truly worthy of Tipperary’s full support.


Thurles Queen Elizabeth – A Love Story

James Butler,Vicount Thurles, a 1680 portrait by Dutch artist Willem Wissing

Women, in particular, just love a good romance tale and in keeping with my promise to inform you more about what Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II missed by not visiting Thurles, her native home, during her recent visit to Tipperary, how better to start than with a factual love story.

James Butler, (1610-1688) the first Duke of Ormonde, was born son of Thomas and Elizabeth Butler (Elizabeth Poyntz – Lady Thurles) at Clerkenwell, London on October 19th, 1610, in the house of his grandfather, Sir John Poyntz. Following the shipwreck, off the coast of Skerries in Dublin resulting in the death of his father in 1619, the boy inherited the title Viscount Thurles.

The year following this family disaster and when he was just nine years of age, because of the influence of his grandfather, his mother brought James back to England, and placed him at school with a Catholic gentleman at Finchley. However it was not long before King James I, anxious that the heir of the Butlers should be brought up Protestant, placed him at Lambeth, under the care of the then Archbishop of Canterbury George Abbot, to be brought up in London under the immediate influence of the court. The boy known as Viscount Thurles, was extremely popular, handsome, and in his early teens quickly became recognised as “the man about town.”

The story regarding his future marriage however is most certainly a romantic one. The young 19 year old Viscount Thurles first cast his eyes on his 14 year old orphaned cousin Elizabeth Preston in church. Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of the Earl of Desmond, was very wealthy as well as being very beautiful.  The Title, ‘Earl of Desmond,’ had been first created for Maurice FitzGerald, 4th Baron Desmond in approximately 1329.

The affection between the couple was immediately noted as being reciprocal. Her father, like his, had also been drowned near Skerries on a passage to England. However, the now orphaned Elizabeth was the King’s ward, she was under the care of Henry, Earl of Holland and George Villiers, then the Duke of Buckingham, had intended her as an excellent ‘catch,’ for his young nephew. However, from all that history has left us, this was a case of love at first sight and Viscount Thurles had resolved he was going to wed her.

Elizabeth Preston, being reserved for someone else, was now guarded under the watchful and jealous eye of Lord Holland, and deliberately kept segregated from Viscount Thurles. Realizing from previous meetings, that his attentions would not be regarded as displeasing by the lovely Elizabeth Preston, Viscount Thurles decided that he would continue to pursue her, regardless of the consequences, so he set upon a devious and clever plan.

He disguised himself as a peddler, and carried his wares to the back-door of Lord Holland’s Kensington residence. During this period and often happily for the course of true love, young ladies were delighted to open their doors to travelling peddlers, and Lord Holland’s own daughters performed this service unknowingly for this love struck disguised Viscount. They made a few purchases from his wares, and then hastened to call Elizabeth, telling her that a handsome English peddler was at the back-door, and begged her to come and view his stock.

The girl recognized Viscount Thurles, and when he urged her to purchase a pair of gloves, she requested him to wait while she went to get some money. Her companions offered to lend her the necessary purchase price, but Elizabeth declined, guessing that one of the gloves could possibly contained a love-note.

Now in the safety of her own room, she read Viscount Thurles’ impassioned letter, and having penned him a favourable reply, came down to the door again and angrily returned the gloves, declaring that they smelt abominably, and could not be worn by any lady of her standing. The disguised peddler accepted the cancellation of this sale and hurridly left, the message in the gloves now settling his doubts and fears, regarding Elizabeth’s true feelings for him.

Women were expensive commodities to maintain even then, and Lord Holland’s consent to the future marriage by James Butler to Elizabeth Preston had to be purchased at a cost of £15,000, which when paid allowed for the smoothing away of the many difficulties opposing this suit. In September 1629, King Charles issued letters patent consenting to this match, on the grounds that it would put a “final end to all controversies between Walter, Earl of Ormond, and Elizabeth, daughter of Richard, Earl of Desmond.

The groom, James, then but nineteen years and his bride Elizabeth but fourteen years, would now wed in London, during Christmas 1629.  The following year, they passed together at her home in Acton, where he devoted his time to study, making up somewhat for past deficiencies in his education, and at the end of 1630 they came over to Ireland, first to rented accommodation in Carrick-on-Suir and later to Thurles and Kilkenny.

The coming of James, Earl of Ormonde to the country and county of his ancestors, was hailed as a welcome sign by most of the then leading Irish families. He was a Protestant, the result of his education in England, but the question of religion was ignored by the Irish, and the handsome and chivalrous Earl was called upon to take his stand in the forefront of the then Irish army.

It seems, Love will always find a way.