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70 Jobs Lost As O’Connors Nenagh Supermarket Closes

O’Connor’s Independent Supermarket, which has been operating in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, for over a quarter of a century, is to close with the loss of at least 70 jobs.
O’Connor’s Supermarket which first opened in 1975, had to cease trading this week following the failure of attempts in refinancing and restructuring it’s operations.

Mr Rory O’Connor, whose father Joseph started the business 36 years ago, was very sad about the loss of so many jobs, but stated that competition from larger German supermarkets, together with a drop in disposable incomes were responsible for the closure.

The introduction of the Universal Social Charge in particular has been “the straw which broke the camels back,” together with changing shopping habits in North Tipperary.

Larger supermarket multiples aresucking the lifeblood out of small rural towns like Nenagh and this closure reflects what is happening to independently owned businesses right throughout Ireland.

Note: Other shops in this Nenagh Shopping Centre Complex at Martyr’s Road, Nenagh, continue to remain open, conducting business as usual.

See further debate Here

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Thurles Archbishop And Priest Celebrate Jubilee’s

Archbishop Dr Dermot Clifford

Cashel Town Council recently accorded a Civic Reception to Thurles’s Dr Dermot Clifford (Archbishop of Cashel and Emly) to mark the Silver Jubilee of his episcopal ordination.

Acting Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Maribel Wood said “It is indeed an honour for me to accord this reception and I extended a special welcome to attending members of Dr Clifford’s family. This is the highest honour this council can bestow on any individual and we salute you on this happy occasion, while also acknowledging the significant contribution made to the life of Cashel by the church and archbishops, over many centuries in Cashel. Both have contributed to the religious, social and economic development of this town and that legacy is still a life-blood of our economy to this day.”

Meanwhile in Salt Lake City, latter twinned with Thurles Town, some fifty years ago an ordained priest Fr. Jim Semple, arrived in Utah from Fianna Road, Thurles, Co Tipperary, as an assistant pastor at Saint Joseph’s Parish in Ogden.  His arrival marked the start of a long journey of guidance, care, love and long service for this priest, who 50 years forward, continues today to help and guide Catholics in Utah.

Fr. P. Carley And Dog Sally

Bishop John Wester congratulates Father Jim Semple

Although retired Fr. Semple continues to celebrate daily Mass at ‘St. Joseph the Worker‘ Parish, he also helps Fr. Patrick F. Carley, pastor of the Parish in West Jordan, Salt Lake City, in his daily routine.

Coincidentally Fr. Pat Carley was an altar boy at Father Semple’s ordination in Thurles. Fr. Carley who celebrated his own 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in June, 2009, is a past pupil of Thurles CBS and a former member of Thurles ‘Cumann Cheoil agus Rinnce.’

Fr Pat has been on Tours to Thurles with various Salt Lake City groups, for many years, and from St. Mary’s Famine Museum committee goes a big “Hello, and Congrats.”

Father Jim Semple was presented with the Jubilee Award by Monsignor Terence M. Moore, president of the Presbytery’s Council and by the Most Reverend John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City.

From all here in Thurles go our congratulations and good wishes to all of you.

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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.

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Cork Ticket Sales Slow For SHC Clash With Tipperary

Tipperary manager Declan Ryan and his troops expect a tough opening to their defence of the All-Ireland title, when Cork come hunting in Semple’s Field, in the Cathedral Town of Thurles, this coming Sunday.

We may have brought home Liam McCarthy to the Premier County last September, but followers of Tipperary have no memory loss when it comes to Cork’s humbling, doled out to the champions on their first outing in Munster, last year.

Revenge will be uppermost in the minds of Declan Ryan and Co. as they plot a perfect defence, to ensure Tipperary’s perfect start to what should be a truly cracking encounter.

We learn however that the Cork County Board expect to sell only 3,000 tickets for this Sunday’s Munster SHC opener at Semple Stadium.

Rebel supporters traditionally travel in very large numbers to Thurles, and while a few thousand followers are expected to travel up on Sunday and buy their tickets at Semple Stadium, they are now expected to be heavily outnumbered by Premier County supporters.

Last year’s meeting between both counties attracted almost 37,000 spectators to Cork’s Pairc Ui Chaoimh, but it is thought that a combination of a disappointing NHL campaign and the current recession, will mean that some Cork supporters may choose to remain at home, for this Sunday outing at least.

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Sláinte – Barack Obama Embraces Moneygall Roots

The latest volcanic eruption in Iceland forced a reluctant US President Barack Obama to leave Ireland on board Air Force One last night, for his state visit to England. However, this was not before the President had embraced his Irish roots in Moneygall, and the Irish nation had thoroughly embraced him and his very beautiful wife Michelle.

Yesterday despite concerns about the Irish weather, the Obama’s flew by Marine One helicopter to the village of Moneygall, on the Tipperary / Offaly border. As the world and I watched events unfold a few lines from the Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith‘s ‘The Deserted Village ‘ sprang to mind:-

And, as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue, Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations passed, Here to return-and die at home at last.

This giant of a man who spoke with such eloquence, displaying both Irish empathy and Irish humour, had now finally arrived to embrace his Irish roots and this visit wasn’t for just for votes, this was personal.

Sláinte ("Health") President Obama with First Lady Michelle and Mayor J.Kennedy in Moneygall. - Picture: AP Source: AP

Later while downing a pint of Guinness in Moneygall, latter a small central Irish village, where his great-great-great-grandfather once lived and worked as a shoemaker, we knew he had arrived not just to reaffirm the bonds of affection between the United States and Ireland, but genuinely to visit his past. “My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obamas and I’ve come home to find the apostrophe we lost somewhere along the way,” he humorously informed over 40,000, mainly young people, who waited for hours to welcome a man whom they truly respected and a man for whom they felt was slowly changing, for the better, the way this world does business.

Local Church of Ireland minister, Canon Stephen Neill confirms: “They were very much at ease here and he was very excited about the official records. The President grabbed his cameraman and said, You got to take a picture of this.

In paying tribute to the extremely efficient manner that members of An Garda Siochana and the Security Forces oversaw this Presidential event, along with Queen Elizabeth’s visit and Dr. Garret Fitzgerald’s funeral, North Tipperary’s Deputy Noel Coonan stated: “The time that President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made available to the public was on a scale that was unprecedented and totally unexpected. It was great to observe the huge congregation of brilliant smiles on the faces of the thousands who were present in Moneygall.

Thurles born North Tipperary Mayor, John Kennedy, one of the US Presidents welcoming committee in Moneygall, later stated “The economy needs a lift, the people need a lift, and this brings a huge lift to the borders of Tipperary. There are millions of Americans who trace their ancestry back to this beautiful island not just through politics, but also through the arts, culture, ancestry and of course commerce. This visit is that lift.

Ireland has just lowered the Union Jacks that greeted Queen Elizabeth during her landmark visit to Ireland last week. Obama now cited that this was the vital evidence of the willingness and search for progress that Ireland and Britain were making, putting the violence known as “The Troubles,” clearly behind us both, moving forward.

The optimistic phrase “Is féidir linn,” the Irish language version of “yes we can,” was as much about America’s future challenges in re-energising America, as it was telling, we, the Irish that we could overcome our own present economic problems if we undertook the necessary sacrifices needed over the next few years.

The Moneygall visit was without doubt the emotional highlight of the Presidents 12-hour visit to Ireland and as he kicks off a six-day tour of Europe that will also take him to Britain, France, and Poland, immersing him in the thorny issues of military campaigns in Libya and other upheaval daily emerging elsewhere in the Arab world, the Ireland nation wish him every success.

Note the simple emotional words of Irish born actor Brendan Gleeson:  “I don’t know about you, I’m fed up looking at the ground. Its time to stand up, breath the air, look around, – What a people.” We must now hope that all the words of wisdom expressed and all the proud feelings we experienced, have somehow been embroidered unto the hearts of each present day Irish inhabitant, for I confidently prophesy, our very future will now depend on each person, each worker’s union and each politician’s personal expression of “real patriotism.” over the next few years.

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