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Thurles – Looking Back.

Cathedral Street, Thurles, (formerly East Main Street, Thurles), at the junction of (left – right) Mitchel Street (formerly Quarry Street); St. Mary’s Avenue (formerly Church Lane); and Kickham Street (formerly Pike Street or “The Pike”).

Picture left above shows farmers lining up to sell their wool to purchasers Ryan’s (Brewery Stores) on east Main Street Thurles.
Picture right above shows East Main Street, today (December 30th 2020) renamed Cathedral Street, Thurles.

Sheep numbers grew significantly here in Ireland from some 2 million in 1848, towards the end of the Great Famine period; to 3.6m at the end of 2014. Land normally ploughed decreased almost by half within the same period, up until 1916, while land in pasture increased to double for grazing animals.

In hilly, mountainous areas, the selected breeds were prominently Blackface Mountain ewes and Cheviots, well able to survive on various and difficult terrains.

However, farmers, occupying the rich farmlands of Tipperary (Golden Vale), kept sheep for two main products, meat (mutton) and wool, thus reducing their dependence on the potato crop as their staple diet, towards the end of the 1800’s. Both mutton, wool and live sheep, in large numbers, were successfully exported to Britain.

Photograph on the left above was probably taken in the early years of 1900. The bright sunshine to the rear suggests the exposure was made mid-morning, towards the end of June when all sheep shearing was concluded. I base this observance on the fact that from June 1st in Tipperary, sheep were in the past, generally seen as ready to shear, with summer temperatures increasing.

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2 comments to Thurles – Looking Back.

  • Michael

    I love going back in time, in Thurles.

  • Katie

    Michael you and my friend Sean alike. He originated from Dublin and speaks fluent Gaelic and never stops talking about the old days in Ireland. He certainly knows the history of Ireland. He was educated by the Christian Brothers. I have some good memories and some bad ones of Thurles where my Mother came from,

    Lets hope 2021 will be a happier one for us all.
    Keep safe.

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