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Is This What They Label As “Fake News”?

A new €2million initiative has been launched in an effort to boost tourism across ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ region, with a promise of further funding to follow this initial €2m allocation.

‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ is the latest brand to be launched by Fáilte Ireland following their ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and even less convincing ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’.

This ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ promotion will covers parts of Leitrim, Roscommon, East Galway, East Clare, North Tipperary, Offaly, Westmeath, Longford and Cavan.

Same, we are informed will encourage tourism through the promotion of walking, cycling and boating, as well as fishing and other activities in and around towns and villages within the region. A series of food networks and trails will also be developed; with the flood prone River Shannon marketed together with Waterways Ireland to encourage tourism both on and off the river.

Today was obviously a slow news day everywhere; with national and local TV, Radio, Press and social media outlets, all grabbing the “Fake News” for their various publications.

Photo-shopped children appeared; jumping off boats into Lough Allen in one publication; in others a water scape showed a leaking waterlogged boat on a reeded shoreline, and all designed to drive visitor growth across the Midlands region, thus exposing the Midland’s rich natural assets, which includes our God given lakes, walkways and ‘Sunday Blueways’. (They are right in one stated fact; to immerse yourself in the heart of rural Ireland you do need a canoe.)

Is ‘Drive’ the Clue?
Sounds great, but it would appear that Fáilte Ireland’s members; their CEO Mr Paul Kelly and Mr Paul Keeley (Director of Commercial Development), apparently just don’t get “out and about”, much, anymore. While they have been sweating; involved “in months of extensive market testing”; gleaned they claim both from here (I can’t find one person contacted in North Tipperary, in relation to this new branding) and overseas, it would appear that most of the gathered information came from tourists abroad, and from persons who have never driven on Ireland’s secondary road surfaces.

Keep in mind that this new initiative, which has little for North Tipperary natives to get into a bee-like frenzy about, is expected to tap into that “off the beaten track” experience.

But perhaps the biggest chuckle, is that this new ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’ brand was officially launched by Mr Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport who sped down the M4 & M6 motorways for an announcement ceremony in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. (Home of Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran).

Latter named Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Minister Mr Kevin “Boxer” Moran, who first revealed the name of this new brand as ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’, declared it to be a beautiful name, which had proven very successful in pre-trials, (Me I would have preferred a more descriptive brand name myself, something like “The Deep Pot Holes, Beyond The Luas Line”

No, Mr Moran and Mr Ross made no mention of structural failures on off-motorway road surfaces, caused by flood water in the underlying soil structures; as they gazed grinning from behind a cardboard cut-out.

Why does my late grandmother’s dissenting description now echo and spring to mind; “Asses looking over a whitewashed wall”.


French Second Level Students Visiting Tipperary.

A number of French Transition Year and 5th year students; part of a student exchange programme undertaken by Scoil na mBraithre Chriostai (C.B.S) secondary school, and Coláiste Phobal Ros Cré, are presently visiting the towns of Thurles and Roscrea this week.

Here in Thurles, on Monday morning last the group were the guests of Hayes Hotel, who kindly invited them to partake of mid-morning tea and scones, together with a one-hour history lecture on Ireland’s Great Famine (1845-1850).

The group is being led by French and English-speaking teachers; Mary Kennedy, Pauline Deegan, Anne Marie Mullins, Isabelle Herlet and Sylvie Lissillour.

The all fluent English-speaking students, were formally welcomed to Thurles town by Independent T.D. Mr Michael Lowry, Ms Philomena Cunlu (Asst. Man. Hayes Hotel) and Mr Tiernan O’Donnell (Principal Thurles C.B.S.).

Lady Elisha (Elizabeth) Mathew
The students were surprised to learn that during the Great Famine period in Ireland’s history, while England may have ruled Ireland; Thurles and its lands were owned by a French diplomat of aristocratic descent.

The once owner of Thurles Town, Francis James Mathew, 2nd and last Earl of Llandaff, had been a spendthrift. To pay his enormous racing and gambling debts, he had sold all the family estates in Wales and some of his Irish estates; while heavily mortgaging the remainder including Thurles.  He died suddenly, intestate, in Dublin on 12th March 1833, leaving no issue.  His divided estate lands here in Tipperary then passed to his sister, Lady Elisha (Elizabeth) Mathew, born in 1781, and who herself died unmarried at her house in Molesworth St., Dublin, on 14th December 1841.

Following her death, Lady Elisha Mathew, in her legal right, and through her Will, bequeathed the Mathew, Earl of Llandaff (Welsh: Eglwys Gadeiriol Llandaf,) estates, including Thurles, Co. Tipperary (latter 1,713 acres), to her cousin the Comte de Jarnac, Viscount Chabot, (1815-1875), of the house of Rohan, France.

Thomas F. Meagher – Irish Flag.
The student group also learned, possibly for the first time, that Thomas Francis Meagher and William Smith O’Brien leaders of the failed Irish Nationalist uprising at Ballingarry (SR) Co. Tipperary, (Also known as the Battle of Widow McCormack’s Cabbage Patch), in 1848; having visited France to study revolutionary events there, had returned to Ireland with the new ‘Flag of Ireland’, a tricolour of Green, White and Orange made by, and presented to both men by French women sympathetic to the Irish cause.

Today, Article 7 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, Constitution of Ireland, confirms; ‘The national flag is the Tricolour of green, white and orange’.


Death Of Rody Phelan, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death today, Wednesday 11th April 2018, of Mr Roger (Rody) Phelan, Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Co. Tipperary and formerly of St. Bridget’s Square, Portarlington Co. Laois; Clonterry, Mountmellick, Co. Laois; and Mountmellick, Co. Laois.

Predeceased by his parents Michael and Margaret and brother Michael; Mr Phelan passed away peacefully at the home of Mr John and Mrs Angela Tully, (Gala Shop), Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

His passing is most deeply regretted by his children; Roger, Goretti, Louise, Caroline, Angela, Michael, Adrian, and Orla; grand-children; great-grandchildren; brother Jim; sisters Louise and Angela; brother-in-law; sisters-in-law; sons-in-law; daughters-in-law; extended relatives; neighbours and many friends.

Funeral Arrangements
The earthly remains of Mr Phelan will lie in repose at the home of Angela, John, Tasha and Alex Tully, Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, from 3.00pm on tomorrow afternoon Thursday, with Rosary Recital at 9.00pm.

Removal will take place on Friday morning, to arrive at St. James’ Church, Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles for  Requiem Mass at 11.00am. Following Mass, interment will take place in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Mountmellick, Co. Laois, with expected time of arrival 1.30pm approximately.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.


Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Decrease In 2017

Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions from EU Emissions Trading Scheme participants for first time since 2013.

Overall emissions of greenhouse gases from Irish Power Generation and Industrial Companies in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, decreased by 4.8% in 2017.  This is the first overall decrease in emissions levels from these companies since 2013.
Emissions from the Power generation sector decreased by 8.2%, largely driven by the use of less coal and peat and a greater use of renewable energy.
Cement industry emissions increased by 2.1%.
Food and Drink industry emissions increased by 2.5%.

Ireland’s emissions from the 103 stationary facilities in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme were down by 4.8% in 2017 compared to 2016. This is compared to an increase of approximately 0.3 per cent across Europe. Emissions from the Irish power generation sector, down by 8.2%, contributed the major share of the decrease in emission levels. Emissions from the cement sector rose by 2.1% and from the food and drink industry sector rose by 2.5%.

Mr David Flynn, EPA Programme Manager, stated:
“This is the first time since 2013 that Ireland’s Emissions Trading Scheme emissions have shown a decrease. The decrease is principally due to a welcome reduction in the use of carbon-intensive fossil fuels in power generation and an increase in the use of renewable energy. These changes demonstrate a move in the right direction for the necessary transformation in Ireland’s energy system.
Although it is positive to see reducing carbon intensity in electricity generation, other sectors recorded higher emission levels. It is important that investment in low carbon technologies is made attractive for industry. A higher price for carbon will help to drive such investment. It is encouraging to see the carbon price is now above €10 per tonne following recent amendments to the Emissions Trading Scheme Directive for the period 2021-2030.”

In Ireland, 103 major industrial and institutional sites participate in the Emissions Trading Scheme. These include sites operating in the power generation, cement, lime, and oil refining sectors. Also included are large companies in sectors such as food & drink, pharmaceuticals and semi-conductors.

All companies participating in the scheme are required to report their emissions to the EPA by 31st. March each year.

Details of the verified emissions of greenhouse gases in 2017 are available on the EU’s website. The data are not complete for all Member states.

Further details about Emissions Trading are available on the EPA website. Further information about Ireland’s total greenhouse gas emissions is also available on the EPA website.

The EPA has developed a useful Infographic entitled “The Simple Guide to Ireland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions”.


Old Neighbour Dies – By Tom Ryan

Old Neighbour Dies

© Author & Poet Tom Ryan.

An old neighbour dies
Awakening childhood dreams;
Only yesterday we were boys,
Just an hour away it seems.

Grand old times renewed
At chapel and at wakes,
Time fast pursues
And always overtakes.

But on you go and on,
Cherishing the precious hour.
Life’s a weed some say,
But I figure it’s a flower.


Tom Ryan, “Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.