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Death Of Actor Rod Taylor


Late Actor Rod Taylor who visited Thurles in 1978.

It is with a great personal sadness I learned of the death, last Wednesday (7th January 2014), of Australian born actor Mr Rodney Sturt “Rod” Taylor.  Mr Taylor reportedly died aged 84, at his home in Los Angeles, surrounded by loved ones, including his wife Carol Kikumura and his daughter Felicia.

Mr Taylor had appeared in over 50 films and TV series throughout his long career, but was most famous for his role as Mitch Brenner, the love interest of Tippi Hedren in Alfred Hitchcock’s famous film ‘The Birds’.

His first leading role in a feature film was in the 1960’s adaptation of H. G. Well’s novel ‘The Time Machine’ and much later he went on to star as Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’, for which he won a ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ in 2010.  In between he starred alongside Jane Fonda in ‘Sunday in New York,’ John Wayne in ‘The Train Robbers’ and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in ‘The V.I.P.s’. He was also the voice of ‘Pongo’ in Walt Disney’s animated ‘101 Dalmations’, as well as appearing on TV dramas such ‘The Oregan Trail’, ‘Falcon Crest’, ‘Murder, She Wrote’ and ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’.

Rod Taylor Visits Thurles

I first met Mr Taylor when I was cast as his “Stand-In” for the making of the Irish based film Cry of the Innocent, whose cast also included Ms Joanna Pettet, Nigel Davenport, the late great Cyril Cusack, Walter Gotell, Alexander Knox and Dublin born Tony, Olivier and Jacob’s awards winner Jim Norton, latter who played the roles of ‘Bishop Brennan’ in the sitcom ‘Father Ted,’ and earlier as Chris Cawsey in ‘Straw Dogs’ with Dustin Hoffman, together with ‘Herr Lizst’ in the 2008 popular holocaust film ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’.

Filmed here in Ireland in counties Wicklow, Kildare, Dublin and Kerry, ‘Cry of the Innocent,’ (Originally entitled ‘An Eye for an Eye’) was written by Frederick Forsyth (Screenplay by Sidney Michaels) and was directed by the late Irish born Michael O’Herlihy, who also directed ‘Star Trek’ (1965), ‘Hawaii Five-O’ (1968), ‘M*A*S*H’ (1972) and ‘The A-Team’ (1983).  Incidentally, Michael O’Herlihy once confirmed to me that his wife was a member of the Ryan family, which same family once were the owners of the Brewery Stores here in Cathedral Street, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

In this film Rod Taylor played the character of an American insurance executive who finds himself on a grim mission to track down those responsible for the killing of his wife and two children, following a private plane which crashed and exploded into his holiday home. Also on board this plane was a scientist who was the initial target of the criminals who had engineered this accidental tragedy. The “maguffin” in this script is a secret formula worth untold millions, and aiding Mr Taylor (Playing the character of Steve Donegin) in bringing the murderers to eventual justice, is the investigative journalist Joanna Pettet, (Playing the character of Candia Leighton) who bears a close resemblance to Taylor’s ex-wife Cynthia Donegin; and no wonder, since Joanna Pettet plays both roles in the film. Produced by NBC Film, Tara Films & Tara Productions, this made-for-TV espionage saga premièred on June 19th, 1980.

Prior to the film’s launch Rod Taylor visited Thurles, where we met-up in Hayes Hotel. Mr Taylor’s visit to Thurles had been arranged by the now retired former Tipperary Fianna Fáil Senator Mr Des Hanafin. At this time Senator Hanafin was extremely conscious of the fact that Ireland badly needed to promote its national tourism industry and prospective visitors from abroad needed to be made more aware of Ireland’s picturesque natural landscapes in an era then devoid of today’s easy internet video access.  He, then as chairperson of  the Tara Production Team, latter which included RTE’s Morgan O’Sullivan, director Michael O’Herlihy and writer Frederick Forsyth, had invited Mr Taylor to visit Thurles; not just to promote Ireland through this new film, but also to attract attention in his support for a local Mentally Handicapped charity fund-raiser, to which the Senator was then offering a much needed supporting shoulder.

On arrival to Thurles we met privately in the Commercial Room of Hayes Hotel. It was here I was to discover that for several days Mr Taylor had been suffering from a severe and persistent toothache. Despite it being Sunday, I made a quick phone call to the home of then Thurles Dentist, the late Mr Noel Treacy. Some minutes later Mr Treacy arrived and twenty minutes later Mr Taylor’s tooth problem was solved with Mr Treacy refusing to accept any payment for his work. Mr Taylor later confirmed to me that he had spent several thousand dollars with an American dentist, prior to his trip to Ireland. He was later to leave Thurles admitting he was embarrassed that Noel had refused point blank to accept any payment for what the actor regarded as ‘magnificent dental surgery.

In both professional and social settings, Mr Taylor was always a most charming and humorous individual, displaying a truly rare and amazing acting ability.

Mr Taylor is survived by his wife Carol Kikumura and his daughter Felicia Taylor, latter a former CNN correspondent and only child of the actor.

From the many people of Thurles who chatted with him, in I believe 1978, go sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.

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Tipperary – A Pardon 74 Years Too Late For Harry Gleeson

GleesonA cold case review sanctioned by former Justice Minister Alan Shatter in September 2013 on a man hanged for murder almost 74 years ago, is to receive a pardon.

Mr Harry Gleeson was executed for the murder of Miss Mary (Foxy Moll) McCarthy, latter who was found shot dead in Tipperary on November 21st 1940, by the then British hangman Albert Pierrepoint (1905 – 1992) in Mountjoy jail in April 1941.  Pierrepoint executed at least 433 men and 17 women during his time as a hangman.

According to a fictional novel, The Dead Eight by Carlo Gebler, Moll McCarthy’s story truly begins with her mother, who was reportedly a woman of ‘ill repute,’ and who sold sex to improve her impoverished lifestyle during a sojourn in Dublin city. Moll, her daughter, lived in a children’s home here in Thurles Co Tipperary for the first sixteen years of life and was never acquainted with her actual father. Carlo Gebler paints Moll, like her mother, as somewhat of a promiscuous woman, even by the then standards of her time, having had numerous relationships with local men, both married and unmarried and also used these encounters to gain basic economic support, e.g. Unexplained Loads of Turf, Bags of Spuds, Groceries paid for at local shop etc..

Minister for Justice Mrs Frances Fitzgerald is due to bring a memo to Cabinet in the coming weeks recommending that Irish President Michael D Higgins now pardon Mr Gleeson.

Senior Counsel Shane Murphy has since reviewed the case on behalf of the Department of Justice; based on new submitted and compelling evidence from the Irish Innocence Project, based at Griffith College in Dublin. New evidence is understood to relate to withheld information by the prosecution which shows a discrepancy in their case in relation to a local gun and ammunition register. Evidence submitted is also understood to  show that the then police involved may have encouraged witnesses to submit less than true statements relating to these events.

Mr Harry Gleeson, a neighbour of Ms Mary McCarthy, latter a single mother of seven, had first reported the discovery of her body and some 5 months later was hanged for her murder.

Previously this story was documented by the late broadcaster and journalist Cathal O’Shannon (1928 – 2011) in a TV series entitled “Thou Shalt Not Kill, ” back in 1995. Perhaps it is time to dig into the archives and refresh our memories.

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Ó Meachair (Maher) – The Story Of A Clan – Gabrielle Ní Mheachair


Gabrielle Ní Mheachair – Author,

Over a twenty-two year period, Gabrielle Ní Mheachair has researched and recently published a detailed history of the Maher/Meagher/ O’Meachair Clan, thus providing for the very first time a well researched history of the Clan. Same publication now provides a valuable asset to any library and more importantly a convenient research tool for any person wishing to research the Maher Clan.

Ó Meachair -The Story of a Clan” is the most thorough history of the Maher/Meagher Clan possibly ever written. Appreciate the role your Maher/Meagher ancestors played in all the major events of Irish history from the coming of the Celts to National Independence in 1922.

This book is not only a history of the Maher/Meagher Clan but also a simple history of Ireland written for an audience versed or unversed in Irish History.

Gabrielle Ní Mheachair – The Author

Author Gabrielle Ní Mheachair spent the first twenty years of her life residing on a rural farm just outside Templemore, Co. Tipperary, here in Ireland. After four years of teaching in Co. Donegal, she travelled to the United States on an adventure that has kept her resident there ever since.

A renowned historian, folklorist and genealogist, Gabrielle is also the author of several children’s books in the Irish language, together with three genealogical works and is a former columnist for the Mid West Irish Focus, Jefferson City, Missouri; latter which focuses primarily on Irish-Americans in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  She lectures and writes for various genealogical organizations and historical journals throughout the United States and currently resides with her husband and three children in Saint Louis, Missouri. The Tipp FM, Arts and Entertainment Award, was awarded to Gabrielle in 2009, for her valuable contribution to the arts through her various writings.

Irish authors, like Gabrielle, spent years of their lives researching history at tremendous personal expense. They invest thousands of Euros into the travel, research, and self-publication of their works for the benefit of future generations, knowing they can never ever recoup their expenditure. As a result, they rely on the help of our historical societies to promote their work, not for profit, but for educational value and for posterity.

This book is a ‘must have,’ for anyone who bears the Maher/Meagher name.

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Thurles Fast Food Employees Win Employment Termination Case

AbrakebabraA ruling, made following the Employment Appeals Tribunal sitting here in Thurles in November 2014 last, has found that three employees were entitled to redundancy payments.

The findings were based on a 24-hour, part-time working week, including entitlements to holiday pay.

The three former employees of Abrakebabra are now expected to receive over €12,000, following the termination of their employment at one of the chain’s Tipperary franchises in 2013.

Iryna and Igor Yurevych resident in Thurles, Co Tipperary had worked at the fast food outlet, owned by Samantha McElligott, for some nine years between 2004 and 2013, while their work colleague, Lina Karkaziene, had also been employed by the company for five years, latter also ending in 2013.

The appeals were made without legal or trade union representation and the respondent chose not to attend the Employment Appeals Tribunal hearing.

According to the case report; this ruling is subject to each of the complainants having held insurable employment under the Social Welfare Acts.

The Labour Court had determined previously that the three employees be awarded €1,000 each as part of earlier separate claims latter taken under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

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UPC Services To Increase By Twice The Charge Of Irish Water

Folks it is not even April 1st; the day people are most wont to play practical jokes on each other, but UPC appear to have brought that date slightly forward.

Most of Thurles residents returned home weary from their labours today to find the following email waiting in their Inboxes. (Actual Account Number & Name hereunder withheld.)

The price of your UPC Service is going up so we can keep giving you the best.
Account Number: XXXX
Dear Mr Smith,
We’re writing to inform you that the price of your UPC service will go up by €6.00 a month from 1st February 2015 and will be reflected in your next bill. While a price rise is never welcome, it means that we can bring you even more of the best value and most exciting entertainment in 2015.
Some of our Home Phone call rates will increase from 3 March 2015. You can find more details on these changes in the link below.
To find out more about these changes visit our website at
We really hope you want to continue enjoying all the great value entertainment you get from us. But if you wish you can downgrade or cancel your service within 30 days of receipt of this notice without any penalty or cancellation fee.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued custom and for selecting UPC.

Kind regards
Stephen Ruschitzko
Customer Care Director

Now having read this email you will be rushing to return to the link, “To find out more about these changes.” But prepare yourself; the link is returned as ‘Timed Out’ in many areas of Thurles; at least it was as I go to print, but refresh a couple of times and you may be lucky. No doubt this €6.00 increase will assist in their efforts to “bring you even more of the best value.”

Of course you could get totally rid of their TV Service for a once off initial fee of between €99.00 (On-line) or €120.00 (Purchased Locally) by purchasing an Ariva 150 Combo Box which combines Irish Terrestrial Channels and Satellite Channels, leaving you with one less future bill to pay.

In the meanwhile do give UPC a call to their Loyalty Department on Tel: 061 272190 and thank them for increasing your monthly charges, keeping in mind that this company now charges €12.50 if you pay your account later than 10 days after an invoice has been issued.  Thank them also for leaving you without Internet access in some areas of Thurles for 6.5 days in December 2014 and after their shoddy repairs, only partial access for a further 3 days, during the same period. Don’t forget to say ‘thanks you’ also for charging €37.00 per month to their long term customers, for Sky Sports; while offering all new customers the same channel for just €1.00.

Remember this new €6.00 monthly increase or €72.00 per year (Almost the cost of an Ariva 150 Combo Box) is not to glean extra profit for the company; it is because they want to “keep giving you the best.”

No wonder Alex White TD is ‘holding off ‘ on the controversial €160.00 broadcasting charges, which were originally to be introduced this month on all eligible households, regardless of whether they owned a TV.

In the meanwhile ask your employer for an immediate increase in salary and explain why; your employer will fully understand your request.

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