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Shannon Region Tourism Briefing

On March 3rd next, Shannon Development, in conjunction with Failte Ireland will, once again, hold their annual Shannon Region tourism briefing. This briefing will take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ennis Rd, Limerick with registration at 10.30am (starting time 11am).

The Shannon Development team will be joined by executives from Failte Ireland as well as Tourism Ireland to present our plans for 2011.

Shannon Development hope that those involved in the tourism industry will be in a position to join them on the day and they look forward to meeting with as many members of the industry as possible, because your input is vital to their work.

This event is also a useful opportunity to network with peers in the tourism sector and to exchange ideas.

RSVP: If you are planning to attend, please rsvp to Bernadette Kelly, Tel: 061 710433. Email:

Shannon Development also launched a new school tours brochure on Wednesday last in an effort to capitalise on the potential of the school tours business for Tipperary.

St.Mary’s Famine Museum, here in Thurles has been attracting school tours for the past 10 years, not only from County Tipperary, but also from surrounding counties, particularly from Limerick, Cork, Offaly and Kilkenny. The Museum offers lecture facilities to all visitors and students and the opportunity to examine at first hand primary sources from the Great Famine period 1845 to 1849 in accordance with the Irish Department of Education history guidelines.

The Museum which is open to the public from May1st to September 31st, each year is also available to tour groups all year round by appointment.
Contact: Telephone: 0504-21133 or Email:

Amongst its many attractions are the only surviving records of a Famine Food Committee, a detailed record of relief given by local Soup Kitchen’s in 1846/47, plus a model of the town of Thurles 16ft x 8ft, as it was in 1846, recorded by a then civil servant, Thomas Hegarty.

Starting this month, a copy of the “School Tours 2011 in Ireland’s Shannon Region” will be distributed to every secondary school in the country and to all primary schools in the region and surrounding counties.

A major marketing blitz is also planned for the U.K. market.

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How To Pay Hospital Bills Without Health Insurance

Johnny Ryan suffered a serious heart attack and was forced to undergo emergency open heart surgery.

He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the dedicated love and care of nuns at a Catholic Hospital.

As he was recovering, a nun asked him questions regarding how he was going to pay for his hospital treatment.

She asked Johnny “Do you have health insurance Mr Ryan?”

He replied in a raspy whisper “I am sorry Sister, I don’t be having any of that health insurance.”

The nun asked “Do you have money in the bank Mr Ryan?

Mr Ryan replied “Sure it’s to me shame, but I’ve no money in the bank either, Sister.

The nun then asked “Do you have a relative who could help you financially?

Ryan replied “I have only got a spinster sister, and she is a nun like yourself.

The nun became slightly agitated and announced loudly “Nuns are not spinsters Mr Ryan!  Nuns are married to God.

Ryan replied “In that case Sister, sure you could just send on the bill to me brother-in-law.

(Our thanks to regular reader and contributor Michael B. who sent this helpful contribution to Thurles.Info )

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Divert Funding For Obliterated Country Roads Says Coonan

Local Fine Gael TD, Noel Coonan, is calling on Fine Gael Party Leader Enda Kenny TD and Environment Spokesperson Phil Hogan TD to declare that monies allocated for national roadways over the next two years will instead be spent on fixing our obliterated county roads.

“I have called on the Party Leader to divert monies from national to county roads as a matter of urgency. The reasoning for this is simply that, throughout this canvassing trail, I have met countless constituents who are absolutely sick of the state of country roadways and I cannot blame them. There is a scourge of potholes littering country roads and the Celtic Tiger is definitely long gone and wasted by this Fianna Fáil-led Government,” said Deputy Coonan.

“When Fine Gael was last in Government in 1994, we had to initiate a response to the problem of county roads at that stage and now in 2011 the county roads are even worse as a result of appalling neglect by this Fianna Fáil-led Government.

“People living in rural areas are subjected to a Beirut blitz on our roads on a daily basis. Their cars are shook apart as they crawl through potholes and over uneven hazardous surfaces. My proposal is that funding earmarked for national roadways be diverted towards county roads to address the need of the rural community which has long been hammered by this defunct inefficient Government,” concluded the local Fine Gael TD.

Meanwhile, one of Fine Gael’s brightest minds, Leo Varadkar TD, has endorsed his colleague and local Deputy Noel Coonan as “an excellent TD who deserves to be re-elected in North Tipperary/South Offaly.”

The Frontbench Spokesperson gave an inspirational speech to a packed captivated audience at Deputy Coonan’s final campaign rally in Roscrea’s Muintir na Tire Hall last Friday night.

“I have seen Noel work hard since he was elected to Dáil Eireann in 2007 and there is no reason why your constituency will not have a Minister if you give Noel your No 1 and make him part of the new Government on March 9th,” said Deputy Varadkar to an excited and buzzing audience.

“In six days we go to the polls and we are potentially looking at a political earthquake,” continued the Dublin TD, “This is a chance for a transformational election to change Irish politics for good. If this happens we will prove within the first 100days that Fine Gael is different and we mean business.” The crowded hall then erupted in enthusiastic cheer.

Deputy Coonan was in agreement with the Communications Spokesperson and was equally as inspiring when he said: “Tears of joy ran down the faces of Fine Gael supporters in 2007 when I was gratefully elected as your Fine Gael TD to Dáil Eireann after a tough battle. This election could be the most important election ever and there is no point in having Fine Gael in Government if we have no Fine Gael Deputy from North Tipperary/South Offaly there, to look after our area which has suffered years of neglect. I see people here tonight that I know are not associated with any political party and I ask you to lend me your vote on this occasion and give Fine Gael a chance.”

The local TD said North Tipperary has suffered huge job losses over the years but our strong farming industry offers a glimmer of hope. “Exports from the agricultural sector rocketed this year and we have a glorious opportunity here to become renowned leaders in exporters of quality food,” said the CAP Reform Spokesperson.

Deputy Coonan was loudly cheered when he said: “Fine Gael represents openness, decency and integrity. There will be no cover-ups or covert deals with Independent TDs. People will know where we are going and what we are doing at all times. This Government went for short term profits and turned their eyes towards the bondholders, developers and bankers. Let’s end this sickening cronyism by voting Fine Gael and we will be proud to call Ireland ‘a nation once again ‘.”

Wrapping up the meeting, Deputy Varadkar received a standing ovation when he said: “Enda is very different to Eamon Gilmore who flit flops on just about anything. Six weeks ago the Labour Party wanted to get the deficit down to 3% by 2014, but then came under pressure from Sinn Fein so they changed their mind on that. Last November they wanted 15,000 voluntary redundancies in the public service in one year and yet now they are saying they are doing 30,000 in four years. Last November the Labour Party was in favour of water metering and today they are opposed to it.
Michael Martin is a man who has spent 14 days on the backbenches and seems to have forgotten he was a Government Minister for the last 14 years and it’s important to remember that he was there when the HSE was set up, when FAS was wasting millions of euros and when Ireland lost its competitiveness.
In contrast, Leader Enda Kenny has stuck with his decisions, is strong under pressure, and in my opinion has won the last two television debates. He has exceeded expectations in this election,” concluded Deputy Varadkar.

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Garda College Templemore Discuss Teen Health Issues

Templemore Garda Training College

Key health issues that are affecting thousands of teenagers in communities right across Ireland are to be addressed at a conference in Tipperary on February 19th next, hosted by the No Name Club, a leading national youth organisation.

Issues surrounding drugs and alcohol, substance misuse, bullying, mental awareness and road safety will be discussed at the No Name Club Eastern and Southern Region 2011 Conference tomorrow. Over 200 No Name Club hosts and hostesses from clubs in Carlow, Clare, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Meath, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow are expected to attend the event at The Garda College, Templemore. on Saturday. Attending the event, Mr Noel Brett, chief executive officer of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) will speak with the young people on issues relation to driving and young adult road safety.

Mr Brett stated: “The aim of the Road Safety Authority is to save lives and prevent injuries by reducing the number of collisions on Irish roads. Irish roads are safer than they have ever been, but there is still a long way to go. In 2010, 212 people died on our roads, that is 212 funerals that simply did not need to happen, leaving 212 devastated families and communities. Every death is preventable and we need the help and energy of young people to assist in preventing further deaths and devastating personal injuries on our roads.

Also at the event, Dr Brendan Byrne, teacher, guidance counsellor, researcher and author, who will make a presentation on bullying.

Also in attendance will be representatives from the Health Service Executive and An Garda Síochána who will facilitate workshops on drug and alcohol awareness, substance misuse, unsocial behaviour and mental awareness.

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UPC Broadband & Phone Service Deteriorating

Many people in Thurles are finding that their UPC Broadband and Phone service has become unreliable lately. We have received several complaints from people experiencing broadband connection difficulties within the last few days. Just last Sunday, 13th Feb 2011, UPC customers in Thurles had no broadband at all, for almost half a day. More worryingly, some people have noted that when their UPC broadband goes down, they also lose their telephone connection if they had signed up for UPC’s Broadband & Phone package.

Several people have noted that broadband service drop-outs and slow connection speeds have occurred on and off  for several months now. Something definitely has occurred to cause this and the situation does not seem to be getting fixed in the Thurles area. As a ‘Technology Town’ we feel we deserve better service from UPC than we are currently getting. We would like Your help to highlight the problem!

To help we would like fellow UPC customers in Thurles to do a simple Broadband Speed Test (link opens in a new window) and post your results here for comparison. To start the Speed Test simply click the yellow star, the test should only take a few seconds to complete. To post your results, simply click the “Leave A Comment” link below and enter your results. To best compare results from around Thurles we would like you to include 3 simple pieces of information;

  1. Your Current Broadband Package (e.g. 10Mb, 20Mb or 30Mb package),
  2. Your Actual Download result from the Broadband Speed Test page ( feel free to include the Upload Result too, if you like )
  3. The Ping Result (e.g. 40 milliseconds)

The more advanced users can also include a picture of their results by clicking the ‘Copy Direct Link’ on Speedtest.Net, then clicking the ‘add images to your comment’ link on Thurles.Info (Positioned just above submit comment button). Then paste the link into the pop-up box. The picture will then appear in the “Leave A Comment” box when submitted.

It will be interesting to see results from around Thurles and perhaps by participating in this we can look forward to better service from UPC in the near future. It is the 21st Century, after all!

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