Ballingarry (South) Tipperary Host Cultural & Historical Festival

The people of Ballingarry (South), Thurles, Co Tipperary, latter situated at the foot of Slievenamon Mountain, are hosting the Ballingarry Gathering Cultural & Historical Festival, which begins this coming weekend, the 27th and 28th of July 2013 inclusive.

Saturday the 27th July will have a line up of varied events beginning at 12.30pm in The Commons, where a Mining exhibition will be held in ‘The Old School, showing Photographs and Artefacts. There will also be a re-enactment of the pre-rising meeting of the Young Ireland leaders.

The annual commemorative ‘Famine Warhouse  Walk,’ led this year by Dr. Martin Mansergh, will commence as is customary at the National Flag monument in the village and proceed to the Widow McCormack’s 1848 Warhouse, a distance of 1.5 miles, which in 1848 was the scene of the only rebellion which took place during the ‘Great Famine,’ period 1845-1849.

On Sunday 28th July, Noreen Maher from ‘Hibernia Roots,’ will host a genealogy lecture in The Old School, The Commons, and entitled ‘How to Start Researching Your Family,’ which will commence at 1.00pm. Following this a free display of traditional music played by individual musicians and groups will take place, again at The Commons, commencing at 2.00pm.


The signatures of Thomas Francis Meagher & Patrick O’Donoghue, both present at the Ballingarry uprising of 1848. The signatures are written on the inside cover of a book found in Richmond prison, Tasmania. The book is  entitled “Wreath of Friendship,” &  dated 26th February 1849. Same can be viewed currently at St Mary’s Famine Museum, Thurles, Co Tipperary.


Burial place of Maurice Richard Leyne.

To give you all a taste for the history of this period, the following is an extract from the little known journal written by Patrick O’Donoghue, while on his way into exile in Tasmania, on board her Majesty’s sloop of war “Swift,” sections of which were published in The Nation newspaper. The Nation newspaper of course was co-edited by Maurice Richard Leyne, along with Charles Gavan Duffy, both following on from its re-launch in 1849.

Leyne was born in 1820 the grand-nephew of Daniel O’Connell and the only member of the family to align himself with the Young Ireland movement. He was an Irish nationalist, repeal agitator and like T.F. Meagher, William Smith O’Brien, P O’Donoghue & Terence MacManus was a member of Young Ireland and present with the latter in Ballingarry for the uprising.  Leyne left ‘The Nation’ newspaper and moved to Thurles to become editor of the Tipperary Leader newspaper, where he died in 1854 days before its first publication in that same year and is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, (Famine Museum) Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Leyne’s small limestone tombstone reads:-  (Click on image left for greater for resolution.)
“He whose virtues deserve a temple can now scarcely find a stone.” “In this grave are deposited the remains of Maurice Richard Leyne Esq who died 29th June 1854.  This stone has been placed over him by a few humble admirers of his great virtues and talents to preserve his memory until a competent hand shall write his epitaph and a more grateful and generous people regard his merits. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.”


(Written by Young Ireland member Patrick O’Donoghue.)

Thursday, 12th July-4th day : Very rough, great rain, a stiff breeze all night.  After breakfast Mr Meagher read aloud the book of Judith. My sea-sickness better. I read Tom Cringle’s Log. Ship going three knots an hour. Sailors engaged in twisting ropes,&c. On the verge of the Bay of Biscay, very heavy swell. After dinner, M’Manus and I played a game of cards. Tea at six o’clock, after which O’Brien read aloud a portion of Plutareh’s Life of Pericles. Still sea-sick.

18th: Sea-sickness better.  Mr. Meagher read aloud a chapter from the “Book of Wisdom.”  Went on deck and read a portion of Tom Cringle; also M’Cullogh’s account of Van Diemen’s Land. Two o’clook, about 200 miles off Spanish coast. Three ships on our larboard, coming from Mediterranean. Dinner, beef-steak pie and biscuits. O’Brien and Meagher read aloud, alternately, remaining portion of life of Pericles. Great annoyance from crackling of ropes, crying of the watch and ringing of the watch bells, officer’s orders, and noises of all sorts.

14th: Cocoa for breakfast. Mr. Meagher read six chapters from “Book of Wisdom.” A young nobleman, a midshipman, about thirteen years of age, named Lord Ockham, mounted the rigging for the first time this evening. He is a grandson of Lord Byron, his father, the Earl of Lovelace, being married to Ada. A fine boy, with dark expressive eyes. Mr.O’Brien read aloud Plutarch’s,” Life of Cato the Elder.” To bed at nine.

Sunday 15th: Church service read by the Captain, during which Meagher, M’Manus, and I remained below, and read our prayers privately. Went on deck at two o’clock. Saw an English barque which crossed our lee; signals answered by our captain; sea rough. Mr. Meagher read for me the memoirs of Chateaubriand as we leant over the bulwarks of the gangway. Beautiful composition, great moral grandeur, far from the infidel tone of the generality of French historians and philosophers. After dinner read the sermon on the mount; 150 miles off Lisbon.

16th: Went on deck and read the Catholic Epistle of St. James. Afterwards read some of Moore’s poems. Returned to cabin, and played cards with M’Manus. After dinner read Emmerson’s Essay on History, also the voyage of the Nemesis to China, and one chapter of the bible. Meagher read aloud Dicken’s Pickwick, and O’Brien concluded Plutarch’s Life of Cato the Elder.

17th: Sun very hot. Read Captain Tandy’s Travels in the Arctic Regions. Dined at three on hashed mutton; read “Book of Wisdom” for Mr. O’Brien. Mr. Meagher read aloud an election sketch from Pickwick, true to life. O’Brien read Plutarch’s Life of Alcibiades.

18th: Madeira in view. It is of an oblong form both extremities composed of shelving rocks of a conical shape, sharply pointed. Some portions of it remind me of the Hill of Howth, Lambay, and Ireland’s Eye, from Dublin on the Howth road. God be with that road, its graceful windings, clusters of trees, and beautiful villas!  A delicious perfume scents the gale which blows from the island. Hundreds of porpoises are disporting themselves round the ship, occasionally jumping to a great height out of the water. Evening calm, not a ripple on the waters; the entire crew singing on deck, accompanied by a fiddle, the gay little doctor of the ship dancing a hornpipe.

19th: Mr. Meagher read Byron’s Siege of Corinth aloud, also Byron’s poem on George the Fourth’s visit to Dublin in 1821. Mr. O’Brien read Byron’s monody on the death of Sheridan.

20th: Read Ecclesiasticus. Mr. Meagher on this day announced the “O” as a prefix to his name; henceforth he is to be known by the name of Thomas Francis O’Meagher. Went on deck. The entire crew assembled on deck with a fiddler playing Irish jigs and Scotch reels. Mr. O’Brien read Moore’s evenings in Greece.

21st: Read Tom Cringle, smoked a cigar.

Sunday 22nd: Read Book of Maccabees for O’Meagher and M’Manus. The captain read the church service on deck, surrounded by the crew. The fly fishes are frisking about. This day twelve months I took the chair as vice-president of the Grattan Club.

23rd: Entered the Tropic of Cancer last evening. After dinner, O’Meagher read aloud Lalla Rookh.

24th – 16th day: After breakfast, O’Meagher read several chapters of the bible. Went on deck. Day hot and gloomy. Sun nearly vertical. Ship sailing eight knots an hour. Read Byron’s Vision of Judgment, and several other poems. After this Mr.O’Meagher read Lalla Rookh. Went to bed at eight, and slept well.

25th: Off Cape Verd Islands, on the African coast. Day gloomy. Read Byron’s Age of Bronze. It was this night twelve month O’Brien, Dillon, and I entered Ballingarry, at the head of about five hundred men, whom O’Brien addressed from the chapel wall. On yesterday evening twelve month we entered Mullinahone for the first time, and unfurled the green banner. After some hours about two hundred men were assembled. The influence of Father Corcoran and his curate, Father Cahill, dispersed them. O’Meagher read the Fire worshippers.

26th: Saw Islands of Brava and Fogo, two of the Cape Verd Islands. Fogo containing a volcano, which emits great quantities of lava, and is 9,000 feet above the level of the sea.

27th-19th day: Read four chapters of Ecclesiasticus aloud. Read Byron’s works remainder of the day. O’Meagher read Lalla Rookh at night, went to bed at nine. The ship becalmed, but torrents of rain all night which, pouring into my berth, kept me in warm bath till morning.

28th-20th day: The ship becalmed, rain still pouring. A deep dark atmosphere insufferably hot. Great headache and loss of appetite. Went on deck a short time, took a pill and went to bed.

Sunday 29th: I have thrown away my dirty old wig, my hair, like that of the strong Nazarite, Sampson, having grown, though I am now in the hands of the Philistines.

30th: Saw four immense porpoises gambolling. Read Shelley’s Queen Mab.

31st: Off Sierra Leone, quite black. I saw a star-like meteor flash for an instant and disappear like Mr. Patrick O’Donoghue.

Interesting Note: O’Donoghue, in this his diary record, refers here to the Irish flag, Quote: “we entered Mullinahone for the first time, and unfurled the green banner.”  Irish tricolours were mentioned in 1830 and 1844, but widespread recognition is not accorded the flag until 1848. From March of that year Irish tricolours appeared side by side with French flags, at meetings held all over the country to celebrate the revolution that had just taken place in France. In April, Thomas Francis Meagher, this Young Ireland leader, brought a tricolour of orange, white and green from Paris and presented it to a Dublin meeting. John Mitchel, referring to it, said: ‘I hope to see that flag one day waving, as our national banner.’
Although the tricolour was not forgotten as a symbol of hoped-for union and a banner associated with the Young Irelanders’ and revolution, it was little used between1848 and 1916. Even up to the eve of the Rising in 1916, the green flag held an undisputed right to flutter in the then ever changing winds that was truly the, now politically forgotten, Tipperary which was deciding the paths which were to guide Irish history. Remember the statement by Thomas Davis, also earlier editor of The Nation Newspaper, in the 1840’s, “Where Tipperary Leads, Ireland Follows.”


3 comments to Ballingarry (South) Tipperary Host Cultural & Historical Festival

  • Eileen Heaphy

    Hi, my name is Eileen Heaphy from The Commons, above mentioned village. I would like to say that the free music display on Sunday 28th July is The Larry Wall-Fitzpatrick Commemoration of traditional music held annually in The Commons village since May 1985 when a monument to Larry was unveiled at the village crossroads.
    One of a large musical family Larry was born in The Commons village on October 27th 1894. His parents were Thomas Fitzpatrick and Ellen Wall, hence the name Wall-Fitzpatrick. Both parents were talented musicians. It was only natural that Larry should play music as did every member of his family and previous generations. His father Thomas was a fine fiddle player and his mother Ellen Wall was noted as a competent traditional ‘lilter,’ who always accompanied her husband in a musical duet at the numerous “House Dances” throughout the area.

    Larry, himself was a talented piper; flautist and tin whistle player but the fiddle was his favourite. His brothers Patrick and Willie and his cousin Bertie were members of The Commons Smith O’Brien Pipe Band 1915 – 1920. Larry and his siblings all noted musicians attended Farrenrory N.S. where their uncle Thomas Wall was Principal. Larry was also a noted dancer and singer and made famous the song the McCormack brothers from Loughmore.

    Larry was recorded by Ciaran mac Mathúna in the village hall (Coalfield House) in early 1955; this was broadcast from Radio Eireann and was a wonderful evening of music. He was a thatcher by profession and travelled widely in the course of his work. He always carried the fiddle for the evening’s entertainment. He had a large repertoire of old land league and national songs and travelled around county Tipperary playing at ceilídhe and house dances.
    Larry collapsed and died outside Gortnahoe Church on December 18th 1955 and is buried in the high ground in Ballingarry Cemetery. C.C.E. erected a headstone over his grave. Over the years many articles have been written with songs and poems all attributed to the musical Larry. He was a simple individual, loved by all who came his way and always happy with the simple things in life.

    This annual Commemoration is dedicated not only to Larry but to all the great musicians of the Slieveardagh area especially those who knew and played with him throughout his lifetime.

    The well known musician, Danny Webster will entertain as well as musicians, local and visiting. Calling all music lovers, please come along and enjoy this free entertainment. Also open-air platform dancing.

    Thanking you, Eileen Heaphy, secretary Larry Wall-Fitzpatrick Memorial Committee.

  • Hi Eileen,
    Thank you for this information and update. I know you all will have a wonderful and successful weekend up there in those scenic hills.

  • Eileen Heaphy

    Thanks George, hoping that the weather holds as forecast is not too good–fingers crossed. Best Wishes, Eileen.

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