A Christmas Tradition From Thurles

Not a lot of children know this and now with all these increased class sizes in our schools, even less will be aware, but trust me when I tell you that a custom now carried on in almost every country in the world, each and every Christmas for generations, actually began here in Thurles.

As you are all aware and for reasons we will discuss very soon, Thurles, as a town, has never been able to attract any great industry in the past, despite our very high unemployment.

You will all remember the recent closing of our Sugar Factory and Erin Foods etc, etc, etc.  However, what most of you forget is that Santa Claus, once upon a time, ran a very successful Toy Manufacturing plant here, up until about 1846, employing mainly local Elves.

Due to the loss of the potato crop during the Great Famine period 1846- 1849, Santa decided, like Dell & Talk Talk, to close up shop and moved his large operation, to where he could get other stupid unemployed elves to work for little or half nothing.  The local unemployed elves, I understand, were later given employment in local government posts. Santa’s sudden departure, of course, was then further encouraged by huge grant aiding, not to mention low Corporate Taxes, then available at the North Pole. Still enough about that nonsense.

The story goes that one day, while still operating his Toy Factory situated here in the Cabragh Industrial Estate, four of Santa’s local elves got sick. The trainee elves, who had been employed through JobBridge, the then National Internship Scheme, did not produce toys nearly as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel, as one would, real pre – Christmas pressure.

To add insult to injury, that same week Santa’s wife, Mrs Claus, told Santa that she had invited her mother to stay for Christmas, and as Santa said at the time, it wasn’t that she was ugly, but he did see her use her bottom lip once or twice as a shower cap.

Anyway, if this news wasn’t bad enough, when he went to harness up the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others, including Rudolph, had jumped the perimeter fence and were out carousing on the Wetlands and only God knew where. (Well, lets call a spade a spade, he didn’t get that red nose in a fist fight, if you take my meaning.)

Then when Santa began to load his sleigh, several of the floorboards cracked, the toy bags fell to the ground and all the contents became scattered, with some even broken.

Totally frustrated, Santa went in the house in search of a large Guinness and a shot of Poitin, or was it the other way around. For our non Irish readers, Poitin is a beverage traditionally distilled from malted barley grain or potatoes, and is one of the strongest alcoholic beverages in the world. For centuries it has been illegally distilled here in Thurles, hence no tax on alcohol in our recent budget. (Our Irish Department of Finance are no ordinary idiots. Drink is one thing but the illegal importation of fags is another story altogether, hence the .25 cents.)

When he got to the cupboard, Santa discovered the elves had drunk all the Guinness and hidden the Poitin. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped his favourite drinking jug, breaking it into a thousand pieces all over his new flat pack kitchen floor.

Intent on cleaning up before the mother-in-law arrived he headed for the broom closet, to discover that a plague of mice had eaten all the straw off the end of his broom, which he had only purchased in Roache’s shop, Liberty Square the previous week.

Just then the doorbell rang, and an very annoyed and irritated Santa marched out to answer the door bell. Yanking it open, he found, stood there, a beautiful little winged angel, dressed in white, with a great big magnificently decorated Christmas tree.

The angel smiled sweetly (as angels do you understand) at our Santa Claus and with a cheerful voice said, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful Christmas tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”

And so began the age old tradition of a little white angel sitting on top of our Christmas trees, and it all began here in Thurles, Co Tipperary, Ireland.

By the way kids, we in Thurles are still patiently waiting for IDA Ireland to give us that replacement factory, promised in the elections of 1847.


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