Irish Phrase Of The Day

"Cad atá ar súil agat ?" - What are you doing?


August 2014
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Tipperary – Two Degrees Of Separation From Adolf Hitler

The Shelbourne Hotel on the north side of St Stephen’s Green in Dublin was first established in 1824 by a Tipperary man, aged in his 40′s, named Martin Burke. Almost nothing is known about Martin Burke’s early history; we do know however that he was a Tipperary man, born about 1788, a practising Catholic by birth and his death was reported in a Clonmel newspaper, the Tipperary Free Press on January 20th 1863. The mystery remains where he got his start-up money for such an enormous transaction and where or even when he acquired the necessary training to be a hotel manager. He may have had connections with the Honourable East India Company trading into the East Indies and certainly sold private lands prior to this his new venture.

Dowling Hitler

Bridget Dowling and Alois Hitler Jr.

Martin’s ambition was to open a hotel in Dublin that would, as he stated “Woo genteel custom who wanted solid, comfortable and serviceable accommodation at a fashionable address.”

Burke to achieve his ambition, leased three houses situated side by side and numbered 27, 28 and 29 St. Stephen’s Green. The buildings, then situated in one of the most fashionable parts of Dublin were taken over, “in consideration of a down payment of £1,000 and the promise of a further £2,000 at a later date and a yearly rent of £300,” with Burke and his future heirs being granted the leasehold interest for 150 years. Martin Burke then set about turning these three buildings into the quality licensed accommodation holder and hostelry that was his long awaited dream.

His shrewd marketing ability soon came to the fore in the chosen name attributed to his new venture. Instead of calling it Bourke’s Hotel, he named his new enterprise after William Petty, 1st Marquess, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, Prime Minister of Great Britain (1782 – 83) and who had succeeded in securing peace with America during the final months of the American War of Independence. Burke carefully took the liberty of adding an ‘o’ into the name’s spelling, thus instantly linking the hotel with the fame and standards of the late Lord Shelburne, while also attracting the immediate attention of the then ruling ascendancy classes.

Within a year of its opening and the first hotel to install a gas lighting system lately arrived in Dublin, The Shelbourne Hotel was now firmly established as a favourite of visitors “doing the season,” and stood proudly at the centre of Irish upper class society. Historically “The Season” ran from April to August; latter which marks the beginning of the shooting season. Here upper class Society would retire to the country to shoot birds during the autumn and hunt foxes during the winter, before coming back to the city again with the offset of spring, to hold débutante balls, dinner parties, large charity events and take part in political activity.

So what is the connection with Adolf Hitler, I hear you scream? Read on.
Continue reading Tipperary – Two Degrees Of Separation From Adolf Hitler

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Tipperary Under Invasion By White-Toothed Shrews

A new invasive species of Shrew is spreading across our Tipperary landscape at a rate of more than five kilometres a year, according to new research.

The Greater White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura russula) was first discovered living on our Irish shores in around 2007,  first spotted in the regurgitated food remains (pellets) from Barn Owls and Kestrels and collected at some 15 locations around Tipperary. Greater White-toothed Shrews have since been trapped at four different locations in Tipperary, providing compelling evidence that this new species has now become very firmly established.

WT ShrewThis new immigrant species, normally found along the Mediterranean, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Portugal, can be identified by their greyish brown hair and a yellowish grey lower belly, together with distinctive bright white teeth, prominent ears and long white hairs on their tails. This non native mammal species possibly arrived here in Ireland hidden amongst horticultural imports such as the root balls of cheaply imported trees, to set up residents in our midst.

This same importation of tree saplings brought us the fungus named Chalara fraxinea, which now has been confirmed as responsible for killing our native ash trees.  All of the ash trees affected by this latter fungus are understood to have also been imported as saplings from continental Europe over the same time period.

While there are no known positive effects of the Greater White-toothed Shrew upon humans; the impact on the ecology of habitats in which it is found, remains presently unclear but may turn out to be considerable. These invasive miniature mammals are three times the size of its nearest rival, (weighing in at 8g – 14g) the native well established Pygmy Shrew, (Latter only 3g – 6g).

The Irish native Pygmy Shrew has existed in wild isolation here in Ireland for at least 5,000 years. Therefore, the sudden introduction of this new species, requiring both a larger shared habitat and similar dietary overlap, could now have serious consequences for our Pygmy Shrew.  It has already become apparent that the Pygmy Shrew has been rapidly declining here in Co.Tipperary, where as the Greater White-toothed Shrew has instead become well established, spreading at a rate of more than five kilometres per year.

Researchers from University College Dublin (UCD) have warned that within the seven years since these creature were first discovered, it has colonised an estimated 7,600 square km in nine Irish counties, namely Tipperary, Westmeath, Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Offaly, Laois, and Cork. The reason for this rapid spread is due to the habit of  the female of the genus leaving the nest early and moving away to newer territory, possibly to instinctively avoid in-breeding amongst their own species.

This recent influx and rapid growth of this non native mammal is yet another reason for calling a sudden halt to the often wanton destruction of our native birds of prey who feed on this quarry here in Co Tipperary.

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Thurles Rare Famine Relief Book 1847 On Public Display

The recently discovered ‘Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,’ (or the ‘Distribution Book,’ as it was also called,) for the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill in 1847, has now been digitized, allowing an instant search facility for those anxious to trace their family roots.

The rare book, found in private collection, is now on public display at St. Mary’s Famine Museum here in Thurles and will be available to be viewed by all those attending the forthcoming Thurles Sarsfields International Festival Of Gaelic Sport (July 4th – 12th 2014).

This book contains the names of those who were classed as paupers in the hinterland / towns-lands of these aforementioned areas, during that most harrowing period of the Great Irish Famine, referred to as ‘Black ’47′.

This extremely rare ‘Rations Record Book,’ contains the names of the heads of each household and in many cases the names of all the adults in each household. It also contains the number of rations each householder was allowed. Details of how, where and when it was located will be discussed here on Thurles.Info later this month.

Just over 3 million Irish people were being supported by outdoor relief in July 1847. To those it supported, covering the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill while providing records of the food rations distributed in the period May – Sept. `47 and part of `48, it was a very humiliating and an insufficient system. Nevertheless it did keep starvation at bay for a very sizeable portion of Tipperary people at that crucial time in Black ’47.

Meanwhile four other ancient manuscripts, one found close to Thurles here in Co Tipperary are to undergo special preservation work and to be digitized and put on show beside the Book of Kells, in Trinity College, Dublin.

These priceless manuscripts, going back to the fifth and eighth century, will include the eighth century “Book of Dimma,”  possibly written originally at St. Crónán‘s Monastery, Roscrea, Co Tipperary.

In 1789, the Book of Dimma was supposedly discovered in a small cave on “The Devils Bit” near Thurles. The little known Book of Dimma, was preserved by Thady O’Carroll, Prince of Ely, and later during possibly the mid-twelfth century was encased in a rich gilt case. The book is a copy of the four Gospels written in Old Latin and is representative of Irish ‘Pocket Gospel’ manuscripts.

The book, which had a blessing dedicated to the sick and dying added in the 10th or 11th century, can be viewed in Trinity College, Dublin, together with many other articles of Ireland’s rich historical treasures found in Tipperary, now bringing prosperity to our capital city’s economy at the expense of Tipperary and indeed mid rural Ireland.

M/s Susie Bioletti, head of conservation at Trinity, said that this funding for the project, obtained from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is the most generous grant the library has secured for works on early Irish manuscripts and will enable scholarship and public engagement with the manuscripts, sharing these national treasures with our Irish and visitors from abroad.

The funding obtained by Trinity College is part of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s global art conservation project which has awarded grants to museums in 26 other countries for 71 conservation projects since 2010.

Admission to St Mary’s Famine Museum, Thurles, to view this rare ‘Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,’ costs just €2.00.

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UPC Broadband Totally Unreliable In Thurles – Again

Yes it’s happening again folks; people in Thurles are finding that their UPC Broadband service has become totally unreliable once again. We here on Thurles Information have received several complaints from people experiencing broadband connection difficulties within the past few days.

Many complain they cannot access certain websites for no apparent reason and have noted that broadband service drop-outs and slow connection speeds keep occurring on and off since last Wednesday. Something definitely has occurred to cause this in the town and the situation does not seem to be getting fixed.

To help we would like fellow UPC customers in Thurles (Those who can access us on-line that is) to do a simple Broadband Speed Test (Right Click latter link and choose; “Open in a new window“) then check your speed test results against the package you are paying for currently.

It will be interesting to see results from around Thurles and perhaps by participating in this and a phone call or two, we can look forward to obtaining a reasonable service from UPC, sometime in the near future.

My download speed presently is a ridiculous 0.65 Mbps, while I pay for 60.00 Mbps. While UPC may feel they are quote; “Exciting New Customers” presently, trust me when I say they will not, as they now claim, be “Accelerating Economic Growth” here in Thurles with their current service.

One cannot help but wonder if our friends installing water metres have had some impact on this service, after all UPC, from the beginning, were never very careful where they placed their cables.

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American Diplomat Dr. Richard Haass To Visits Tipperary

American Diplomat and former Northern Ireland peace talks Chairperson, Dr. Richard Haass, in the company of his wife, son and daughter, will personally make the trip to Tipperary to receive the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award. This event will take place at a ceremony in Ballykisteen Hotel and Golf Resort on Monday next, June 23rd.

Dr. Haass receives the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award for his significant role in his attempts to assist the peace process here in the six northern counties which make up Northern Ireland.

Although all the political parties involved did not reach any true and final agreement, the blueprint then laid down by Dr Haass, in his efforts to address Northern Ireland’s future concerns, is observed as representing very considerable progress in the way forward.

This year, on the eve of the award ceremony, the people of Ireland will have an unique opportunity to meet Dr. Haass at a special admission-free Tipperary Peace Convention event – titled “An Evening with Richard Haass,”  This event, beginning at 7.30pm, will feature Dr Haass being interviewed by Mr Martin Quinn at Ballykisteen Hotel, where it is hoped Dr. Hass will discuss his life and diplomat involvement in the presently stalled Northern Ireland peace talks, while accepting questions from the audience in attendance.

Previous recipients of the Tipperary International Peace award have included Sir Bob Geldof, South African President Nelson Mandela (Madiba), Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the late US Senator Edward Kennedy and his sister, the former Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy-Smith, Dr Sima Samar, Irish President Mary McAleese and her husband Senator Martin McAleese and just last August, Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, latter who also collected her 2012 prize in person.

Music for this year’s events will be supplied by members of the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.

Further detailed information on this welcome visit to Tipperary, by Dr. Richard Haass, can be obtained by Telephoning 062-33990.

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