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Part Of Thurles Historic Great Famine Double Ditch Completely Eradicated.

“Our heritage is about our past, our present and our future and contributes greatly to the quality of life in our urban and rural communities. It is shared by all and is fully inclusive. Interaction with our heritage not only provides physical and mental health benefits but contributes to overall well-being, while biodiversity is an essential component in the functioning of our environment”. Mr Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive, Tipperary County Council.

“The aim of the plan is to connect the citizens of Tipperary to their heritage and to make it an integral part of everyday life at the core of our communities”Cllr Siobhán Ambrose, Tipperary County Council.

“Our heritage is a precious asset and one we must look after. Part of looking after it is to raise awareness of what it is and its value to us as citizens of Tipperary.”Cllr Roger Kennedy, Tipperary Heritage Forum.

See HERE just in case we have misquoted any of the 3 persons above named.

Historic Thurles Double Ditch Eradicated
Pic. G.Willoughby

As the sun sank slowly on our western shores today, yet another piece of Thurles history, namely the Great Famine Double Ditch, has been totally and wantonly obliterated; without the consent of the electorate, and sanctioned by those we elected to serve both our town and county.

Our report on March 4th, 2022 (which can be viewed HERE) was accurate in its assessment with regards the removal of “Whitethorn”. The workforce involved were instructed to remove the 5ft high common hedgerow trees, to facilitate the removal of their lower trunks today, by heavy machinery. The law of the land stipulates that it is an offence to destroy vegetation on uncultivated land, between the 1st of March and the 31st of August each year. [as set out in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976; as amended by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000; and the Heritage Act 2018].

Mr Seamus Hanafin in particular who attempted, on radio and social media, to stage a personal PR stunt, together with his colleagues and council officials, and certain individuals within Thurles Lions Club, should now feel both guilt-ridden and deeply ashamed of their actions in this matter.

We know when councillors and politicians are telling lies – their lips move.

Under the Roads Act 1993, it was the responsibility of the local authority, in this case Tipperary Co. Council, to protect the public’s right to access this Public Right of Way, Mass path and Historical Artifact.

Where a local authority proposes to extinguish a public right of way it is required that the local authority (Tipperary Co. Council) must publish a notice in a newspaper circulating in the area specifying the place and times (being a period not less than four weeks) where a map indicating the right of way proposed to be extinguished, may be inspected.

Affix a copy of such notice in a prominent position at each end of the public right of way proposed to be extinguished and leave it in place for a period or periods which shall in aggregate, be not less than fourteen days.

Afford an opportunity to persons making objections or representations and who so request in writing, to state their case at an oral hearing conducted by a person appointed by the local authority and consider the report and any recommendation of the person so appointed.

None of the above regulations were adhered to by Tipperary Co. Council (Joe MacGrath Chief Executive) or indeed Thurles Municipal Council (Ms Sharon Scully, Thurles District Administrator).

Elected public representatives must now answer for this total, wanton, destruction of this Great Famine cultural and historic artifact, which saved the lives of some 80 starving families, here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, in 1846.

A copy of this report (by email) has been forwarded to:- joe.macgrath@tipperarycoco.ie; sharon.scully@tipperarycoco.ie; micheal.lowry@tipperarycoco.ie and seamus.hanafin@northtippcoco.ie, dated March 24th, 2022.

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Wild Flowers Of Thurles Great Famine Double Ditch.

I believe it was on July 26th last 2021 that local elected Thurles Municipal District Councillor Mr Jim Ryan condemned on local Radio and his Facebook page, the illegal dumping at the Ladyswell River Walk; describing same correctly as being “disgusting” and “lacking responsibility”.

Then I suppose with not even one ‘Litter Bin’ in the area, perhaps we should be grateful that these unidentified litter louts did not dispose of their rubbish in the river Suir.

One wonders, however, why Councillor Mr Jim Ryan has failed over the past 3 years to post pictures of the illegal dumping, occurring almost weekly, on the ‘Great Famine Double Ditch’, situated on the Mill Road, Thurles, latter just 350 to 400 metres (less than ¼ mile) from Mr Ryan’s own place of residence. One also wonders why he has failed in the past, in the case of the ‘Double Ditch’ to “have it reported with the council”, as was the case with the Ladyswell river walk.

In the case of the Ladyswell river walk dumping, we should be also glad that the rubbish was not set on fire in an attempt to destroy all evidence of ownership, as is the regular case on the “Great Famine Double Ditch”.

See slide-show video hereunder.

Having watched the slide-show above, you will be very much aware of how an area, that should be declared a national monument, now depends solely on Mother Nature to hide years of illegal dumping of household and other waste.

While the first few slides shared, demonstrates Mother Earths attempt at cloaking humankind’s irremediable damage to this historic area, the remainder of the slides attempt to show the amazing flora living on either side of this public right of way.

First A Caution: Never try eating something in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what it is.

Alas, the Crab Apple tree; set on fire by persons unknown; latter attempting to destroy evidence of their fly-tipping. The tree while still alive, has failed to produce fruit for the first time ever this year.

Drought tolerant Lady’s Bedstraw remains here in abundance, its stems covered in frothy heads of tiny, yellow flowers appearing in dense clusters. Historically, Lady’s Bedstraw was used to curdle milk in the process of cheese-making.
Same, interestingly, gets its name from its use as stuffing in mattresses and pillows for bedding, before the advent of our modern man-made fibres. Because of its association with the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was considered good luck to use Lady’s Bedstraw in the mattresses of expectant mothers. It was also believed to deter fleas, which must have been an additional bonus back in earlier medieval times. Recognised in Gaelic mythology, it was said that a tea made from Lady’s Bedstraw could calm the terrifying battle frenzy of the hero Cúchulainn.

The entire plant named as Broadleaf Plantain in our slideshow is entirely edible. Same is slightly bitter but highly nutritious, rich in calcium and other minerals as well as in vitamins A, C, and K. The young leaves are eaten raw, while older leaves can be cooked as a green vegetable.

Broadleaf Plantain also contains many bioactive compounds and is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding. It is known to quickly arrest blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue. For this reason a poultice of the fresh leaves can be applied on the skin to treat minor burns, insect bites, open wounds and stings. You basically just need to chew some leaves and apply the poultice directly on the issue.

Its close relative, Ribwort Plantain, is also a very nutritional leafy vegetable containing Calcium, vitamins A,C, and K. Its young leaves are eaten raw, but larger leaves get tough and are much better cooked. Leaves have a slightly bitter flavour, that makes them more suitable to adding them to soups or salad, rather than eating them on their own. Roots and seeds are also edible and are usually cooked, to make a stock reminiscent of the taste of mushrooms.

Purple Loosestrife is possibly the most attractive flower on the Great Famine Double Ditch here in Thurles. Bearing a valuable source of nectar it attracts bees, butterflies and other insects. In the past this plant was considered to be a useful herb for treating diarrhoea and other gastric ailments.

The late evening heavy scented native plant Meadowsweet is very much in evidence on both sides of this public right-of-way. Again the flower heads are frequently visited by bees; same attracted by the divine, evocative countryside scent given off. Interestingly in spite of its fragrance, the flowers produce no nectar. Insects are therefore fooled; however their regular visits serve to fertilise the plants, which are laden with pollen.

Attractive Knapweed is a firm favourite of our pollinating insects, bearing a source of high quality nectar. But as well as supporting our bees, butterflies and beetles, its seeds also provide food for many of our feathered friends.

In days gone by, Knapweed was used as a cure for ruptures and wounds, bruises, sores, scabs and sore throat.
For budding photographers today; Knapweed attracts all of our known 21 species of bumblebees, and those in search of ‘insect posers’ are guaranteed quality macro pictures. The images shown in our slideshow include the large White-tailed Bumblebee and Red-tailed Bumblebee.


[Back some 8 years ago a worldwide study declared that the decline of wild bees and other wild pollinators may be an even more alarming threat to crop yields, than the loss of our honeybees.]

Named after Queen Anne of England, who was an expert lace maker, Queen Anne’s Lace, with is doily-shaped blooms, is related to carrots and is also known as Wild Carrot, because it was once used as a substitute for same.
Often you will find a flower cluster with a single tiny reddish/purple floret, in the centre. Legend states that when Queen Anne accidentally pricked her finger with a needle, a single drop of her blood fell onto the lace, leaving this reddish tiny flower.

Great Willowherb, depending on light availability, can grow up to 2 metres in height. Same is visited by many of our insects, particularly bees and hover-flies and can usually be found growing near streams, in wet ditches and damp meadows.

Yellow Ragwort is very common almost to be found everywhere in Ireland. Located on ruined walls, on grassland, wasteland and on roadsides; insects and butterflies truly love this yellow, large headed wildflower. Poisonous to horses but not to sheep, its seeds are borne on the wind thus guaranteeing its future propagation. There are at least thirty species of invertebrates that remain totally dependent on Ragwort as a food source.

The Bramble Blackberry with pink and white flowers, accompanied by their vicious thorns are beginning to bear fruit, for this autumn’s hungry birds. Back some 60 years ago same were picked and sold to manufacture dye.

Common St John’s-Wort is widely used in medicine as a treatment for depression and as an ointment for skin problems such as eczema. It was available in Ireland as an over-the-counter anti-depressant, before the then Minister for Health at that time, Mr Brian Cowen, made it a prescription-only medicine.

Scented Hawthorn flowers are now turning into red berries, yet another source of food for our bird life. Same berries are known to possess antioxidants which can help neutralize unstable molecules called ‘free radicals’ that in turn harm our bodies when present at high levels. Same molecules can be brought about by poor diet, as well as environmental toxins like air pollution and the inhalation of excessive tobacco smoke.

Due to their antioxidant activity, consumption of Hawthorn fruit, known as ‘Haws’ are understood to offer certain health benefits, including a lowering of the risk of some cancers; type 2 diabetes; asthma; some infections; heart problems and premature skin ageing.

Common Vetch is a member of the pea family and flowering from June to August. It produces long, dark green coloured seed pods that replace their dark purple flowers at the end of summer. The pod becomes smooth and black as they ripen, before splitting to spread the seeds contained inside. Traditionally, Common Vetch has been used as a food for livestock, and was also used in medicine to treat eczema and other skin irritations, and as an antiseptic.

The leaves of White Snowberry are a larval foodplant for the Death’s Head Hawkmoth. Its fruit is poisonous to humans, [ Please do be aware when out walking with young children who may be tempted to pick and eat ], however the game birds such as pheasants are known to eat them. The wood of the Snowberry, in the past was used to manufacture ‘besoms’, latter used as a household implement for sweeping up leaves, akin to a witches broom.

Heal All or Selfheal is also a native flower. For centuries it has been used to cure or aid the symptoms of almost every possible malady. Common folklore informs us that it was a herb sent by God to heal any ailment of man or animal. Recent research suggests that it may have some consistent medical uses.

Convolvulus or Bind Weed, is hated by all involved in gardening, because of its ability to survive. It is not easy to remove as it persists in growing from a perennial root system. The roots are usually white and very brittle and if broken, will easily regenerate from even the smallest remaining section. It will climb using its strong twining stems and broad leaves to cover off shrubs or anything supporting its ability to climb. It will even find a route through heavy duty “Weed Block” in its effort to emerge from the soil in early spring.

If you are out and about walking near the Mill Road in Thurles, in the days ahead, do take a walk on the Double Ditch; it may be reduced to tar, cement and unwanted traffic lights shortly, that’s if our elected representatives and Tipperary Co. Council officials persist in their ignorance and destruction of our local history.

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Early History Of College Lane Linking Great Famine Double Ditch

Before St. Patrick’s College, Cathedral Street, Thurles was built, [Now MIC St. Patrick’s Campus, Cathedral Street, Thurles.], the area we know today as ‘College Lane’ was called ‘Bohereen Keagh‘.

See lighter area, framed in red, hereunder on the 1841 Ordnance Survey Map.

Bohereen Keagh (Blind Road).
Special thanks to the research undertaken by historian, Very Rev. Mgr. Dr. Maurice Dooley, Loughmore, Co. Tipperary.

Note the area framed in blue is where the now 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch would later be built five years on, in 1846. Same was the beginning of a successful effort by local Thurles business men, led jointly by Thurles Roman Catholic and Protestant Clergy, to protect local families from starvation and death, during a time when the ruling British government was effectively turning its back financially on their most westerly province of the United Kingdom.

In the legal papers transferring property from where St. Patrick’s College was initially to be built, which was then on lands, east of Thurles on the Mill Road; (later to move to its present site through a property agreement, between Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy), the right was reserved to widen ‘Bohereen Keagh’, for the use of the Earl’s tenants renting lands at Monakeeba.
That Earl was, of course, Earl Llandaff, the title of the Mathew family who were the freehold owners of the Thurles Estate.

‘Bohereen Keagh’: [Name translated from Irish into English means ‘Blind Road’.] The modern Irish spelling of Bohereen Keagh would be Bóithrín Caoch, the standard Irish for a cul-de-sac, as distinct from a through road.

In the nationalist fervour, following Irish independence in the 1920s, many Thurles streets were renamed to honour Irish heroes or patriots, hence Parnell Street, Croke Street, Kickham Street, O’Donovan Rossa Street, Mitchel Street, Cuchulainn Road, etc. College Lane was officially renamed Eliogarty Road, but the name didn’t take off, with not many people using the name, whereas some older people still used the older name, pronouncing it ‘Boreenkay’ or ‘Bosheenkay’, just as other boreens were also called ‘bosheens’.

Incidentally the original proposed site for the College was in what was then called Killahilla, on the Mill Road on the opposite side, to the Great Famine Double Ditch, and with a now reversal of former nationalistic fervour is now today called ‘Windsor Grove’.

It is a pity that so many of the older names have now fallen out of use. Who now knows the whereabouts of ‘The Boggagh’, ‘The Orchard’, ‘Cloverfield’, ‘Turner’s Holding’, ‘Moanroe’, ‘Obin’s Holding’, ‘The Watery Mall’, ‘The College Leat’, [‘Leatpronounced ‘Late’], and ‘Bolton’s Holding’, which are all within a few hundred yards of ‘Bohereen Keagh’?

Very soon, if Tipperary Co. Council officials and our elected representatives, all demonstrating a lack of experience, wisdom, and judgement, get their way, so too will the 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch vanish into a similar state of unimportance, unknown and sadly inconspicuous to our resident towns folk.

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Pick – Poolbeg Chimneys Or Thurles 175 Year Old Great Famine Double Ditch?

Poolbeg industrial chimneys, Dublin.

The two x 207metre high Poolbeg industrial chimneys situated standing at the mouth of Dublin Harbour were built and came into operation in the 1970’s and are amongst the tallest, hideous, eyesore structures in Ireland, visible from most areas of Dublin city.

The twin chimneys, with their distinctive red and white, dirty, rust streaked facades, when built had only a planned operational lifetime of 30-40 years. While Poolbeg itself continues today to be an operational power station, the existing chimneys were decommissioned back in 2006 and 2010; same no longer required for the 470MW gas turbine plant, which generates electricity for more than half a million Irish homes.

Bear this information in mind, when you hear that Dublin City councillors have called for the 50 year old chimneys to be listed as protected structures. To this end they have commissioned an architectural historian to research and report on the state of the chimneys, with a view to encasing them in concrete or fibreglass at a cost of several million euro.

Here in Thurles, Tipperary Co. Council officials, elected County Councillors and TD’s are on a totally different thought wave length.

Surely, the Poolbeg chimneys built in the 1970’s can hardly be observed as an international tourist attraction, while the Great Famine Double Ditch situated on Mill Road, Thurles Co. Tipperary has major tourism attraction potential, bringing benefit to a town centre currently on its knees.

Tipperary Co. Council officials, elected County Councillors and TD’s have now condemned the 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch to total eradication, without the consent of those residents of the county who elected them and who continue to pay their massive salaries.

In the words of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defence, Mr Charles Erwin Wilson, which of these scenarios offers “most bounce for ounce” or “bang for your buck”, for the Irish taxpayer.

Choose!
Restore and protect a 50 year old defunct and hideous eyesore, known as the Poolbeg chimneys; costing “Several million euro”, placing the debt burden on a State-owned company, who will be required to foot a continuous annual maintenance bill.
Or
Restore and protect an historic 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch, Right-Of-Way and Mass Path, already slightly damaged by Tipperary Co. Council officials; which offers major tourism attraction potential, costing “Between €15,000 and €20,000”.

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Thurles 175 Year Old Great Famine Double Ditch Demolition Scandal

Survey Sent To All Thurles Elected Representatives Including Teachtaí Dála Mr Jackie Cahill and Mr Michael Lowry.

A simple definition of the word “Hypocrisy“, is the practice of claiming to have higher standards, virtues, principles and beliefs that one in fact does not have and in most cases are unlikely to attain.

For examples of real “Hypocrisy” one does not have to go outside of County Tipperary or past page 4 of the “Tipperary Heritage Plan 2017 -2021” to find 2 major examples. View same by simply clicking HERE

First example of “Hypocrisy” comes from Cllr. Siobhán Ambrose, (Back between the years 2017 – 2021 Ms Ambrose was for a term Cathaoirleach, of Tipperary County Council.)

Quote: “The aim of the plan is to connect the citizens of Tipperary to their heritage and to make it an integral part of everyday life at the core of our communities. ……The aim of the plan is to connect the citizens of Tipperary to their heritage and to make it an integral part of everyday life at the core of our communities. Tipperary is a county with a rich heritage of which the Council and the citizens of Tipperary are very proud. Heritage projects provide a great opportunity for communities to come together and across the county local groups are working together to promote their localities. I have attended numerous events in the last months where people are celebrating their heritage, be it Built Heritage, Biodiversity and Wildlife, Culture, Music or Folklore. This strengthens our communities and contributes to our sense of place and puts heritage at the heart of our communities. I would like to acknowledge the work of these groups and individuals and hope that through the actions of this plan that we can work in partnership to look after this valuable asset and protect it for generations to come”.

The second example comes from the current reigning Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Mr Joe MacGrath.

Quote: “Our heritage is about our past, our present and our future and contributes greatly to the quality of life in our urban and rural communities. It is shared by all and is fully inclusive. Interaction with our heritage not only provides physical and mental health benefits, but contributes to overall well-being, while biodiversity is an essential component in the functioning of our environment.”

While we can’t be sure who wrote the above two introductory paragraphs to this ‘Tipperary Heritage Plan‘ document; we do know that both the Tipperary Co. Council officials named above, signed them; while receiving hefty salaries from Tipperary taxpayers.

Elected Representatives Questionnaire/Survey

The above survey is being sent to the following persons.

Elected Co. Councillors, Templemore / Thurles Municipal District.

Mr Peter Ryan. peter.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Eddie Moran. eddie.moran@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Jim Ryan. jim.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie
Note: Latter Mr Ryan will also reply to our survey issued yesterday.
Mr Shane Lee. shane.lee@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Noel J. Coonan. noel.coonan@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Michael Smith. michael.smith@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Micheál Lowry. micheal.lowry@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Seamus Hanafin. seamus.hanafin@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Sean Ryan. seano.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie

Local Politicians

Mr Michael Lowry. michael.lowry@oireachtas.ie
Mr Jackie Cahill. jackie.cahill@oireachtas.ie

Of the 6 questions forwarded to all elected representatives; the first 3 questions require only a simple YES or NO answer.

(1) Do you support the continued destruction of Thurles history and its historical sites, as in the past?

(2) Do you support the recently confirmed plans by Tipperary County Council to destroy the Great Famine Double Ditch historical site?

(3) As part of the Tipperary County Council development plans, in relation to this proposed inner relief road; has any alternative to the destruction of the Double Ditch been explored at Municipal district level or County level, Chaired by Tipperary Co, Council Chief Executive Mr Joe MacGrath?

(4) If you agree that the Great Famine Double Ditch should be taken from the people of Thurles and destroyed as part of Tipperary Co. Councils development plans, please now outline why you believe this to be so justified?

(5) If you disagree and believe the Double Ditch should be protected and marketed to the world; what action do you propose should now be undertaken to prevent its destruction?

(6) Will you be inviting ÆGIS and their Archaeological Impact Statement report author, namely Mr F. Coyne BA MIAI to return and acknowledge that the Great Famine Double Ditch actually exists?
The qualified professional author Mr Coyne, should also explain how and why he excluded the phrases: “Double Ditch”, “Public Right-of-Way”, “Mass Path” and “Great Famine” from his Archaeological Impact Statement and declare that he was not requested to do so by any engineer or other official within Tipperary Co. Council. (See page 5 & 6 of link shown HERE.)

NB: The Questionnaire/Survey must be returned by Sunday 14th March 2021 and in the interests of openness & transparency, all details will be published in full, on this website for our readers.

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