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€10,000 Of Cannabis Herb, Seized At Thurles Railway Station

Picture courtesy An Garda Síochána

Gardaí have forwarded to Forensic Science Ireland, for analysis, what they believe to be €10,000 worth of cannabis herb, latter seized on Wednesday last at Thurles Railway station.

Officers from the Tipperary Divisional Drugs Unit out on patrol have arrested two men; one aged in his 30’s and the other in his 40’s, in connection with the incident.

A spokesperson for the Gardaí has stated that the arresting officers observed two men acting suspiciously. On being approached by Gardaí, one of the men attempted to conceal a bag containing the cannabis herb behind a bin, before fleeing down the railway track.

After a short chase on foot by Gardaí both individuals were apprehended, before being detained at Tullamore Garda station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.

Second Drugs Arrest

Meanwhile, members of the Cahir and Cashel Drugs Unit halted and searched a motor vehicle at John Street, Cashel, Co. Tipperary on the same afternoon. A search of the vehicle revealed a quantity of cocaine and cannabis, leading to the arrest of one other male occupant.

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Degrees Of Separation – Thurles Railway Station & English House of Parliament

What has Thurles Railway Station, Co. Tipperary and the English Houses of Parliament got in common?

Mr Sancton Wood (1815–1886) was an English architect, born in the London Borough of Hackney. He was the son of Mr John and Mrs Harriet (née Russell) Wood, his mother being a niece of the painter and antiquarian draughtsman, Mr Richard Smirke, (1778–1815).

Back in 1845, the first year of the Great Famine here in Ireland, Mr Sancton Wood won a competition for the designing of Kingsbridge StationA. in Dublin (Built 1846). The competition, commissioned by the Great Southern & Western Railway Company, saw Wood’s designs selected unanimously by the railway company’s London Committee, despite the fact that the Dublin Committee had favoured the design of an Irish architect, Mr John Skipton Mulvany, latter a founder member of the Royal Hibernian Academy of Art, situated in our capital city of Dublin.

A.  Note: Kingsbridge Station in Dublin of course is today called Heuston Station, renamed in honour of Seán Heuston, an executed leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, who had worked in the offices of Kingsbridge Station.

In that same year Mr Sancton Wood was appointed as architect to the Great Southern & Western Railway Company; designing all the railway station buildings between Monasterevin, Co. Kildare (including Thurles Railway Station) and Limerick Junction inc..

All of these station houses, with the exception of Limerick Junction station, are designed in a gabled picturesque Gothic style. Mr Wood also later became an architect to the Irish South Eastern Railway Company, which developed their railway line between Carlow and Kilkenny from 1848-1850. Six years later Mr Woods work, with reference to Ireland, appears to have ceased altogether.

Top Pic.: Thurles in 1846, before the introduction of the Railway in 1847/48.   Middle Pic.: Back entrance view of Thurles railway station.   Bottom Pic.: Front entrance of Thurles railway station.

Architect Mr Sancton Wood – The Early Years

Having developed a taste for drawing, Sancton Wood’s mother arranged to have him admitted to the office of his cousin, Sir Robert Smirke, RA. (Royal Academy), latter then an artist and leading London architect. From here he was transferred to Mr. Sydney Smirke, R.A., who succeeded to his brother’s practice. He remained with Mr Sydney Smirke for several years, working on the drawings of important works; which included sketches of the designs for the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament, which Sir Robert Smirke had already prepared for Sir Robert Peel’sB. the Prime Minister of the then English Conservative Party government,(1834–35), following a fire on October 16th, 1834.

B. Sir Robert Peel had entered politics in 1809, at the age of just 21 years, as an MP for the Irish rotten borough of Cashel, just 14 miles from Thurles here in Co. Tipperary. The son of a wealthy textile-manufacturer and politician 1st Baronet Sir Robert Peel, would ensure that his son Robert would become Chief Secretary for Ireland and the first future Prime Minister of England, from an industrial business background. With a double first in Classics and Mathematics from Christ Church, Oxford, and law training at Lincoln’s Inn; in 1809 Peel would become known as the father of modern policing, with his forces nicknamed ‘bobbies’ in England and less affectionately known as ‘peelers’ here in Ireland. In 1829, in setting up the principles of policing in a democracy, Peel declared that, quote: “The police are the public and the public are the police.”
It was Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel who first imported, secretly, maize into Ireland for the first time, which due to the lack of knowledge on how to properly cook it; same became known as “Peel’s brimstone”.  His attempt to breech a ‘Laissez-faire
(or ‘Let Do’) system of economics in Ireland, saw him loose out to Lord John Russell as Whig Party Prime Minister in 1846.

Following this Houses of Parliament fireC. the immediate priority for the British government, was to provide accommodation for the next Parliament, and so the ‘Painted Chamber’ (Latter the medieval Palace of Westminster), and the ‘White Chamber’ (Latter the meeting place of the House of Lords from 1801), were both hastily re-roofed and repaired for temporary use by the Houses of Lords and Commons respectively, under the direction of the only remaining architect of the Office of Works, the said same Sir Robert Smirke.

C. Yet, one other famous artist, William Turner RA. [Joseph Mallord William Turner  (1775-1851)], had watched the burning of the House of Lords and Commons in 1834, before painting several canvasses depicting the scene. 

Sir Robert Smirke’s temporary repairs to House of Lords and Commons were demolished in 1851, with the House of Commons deciding in favour of an open competition for the proposed rebuild. Alas, Sir Charles Barry conceived the eventual winning design for the New Houses of Parliament; the construction of which he continued to supervise until his own death in 1860.

Mr Sancton Wood died at his home in Putney Hill, in south-west London, England SW, on April 18th 1886, and is buried in Putney Cemetery.

Today, Thurles Railway Station, which officially opened on March 13th 1848, boasts two through platforms and one terminating platform and remains a major stopping stage on the Dublin-Cork railway line, with numerous trains running hourly in both directions daily. Three times winner of the Irish Rail Best Intercity Station prize, it was also from here that on August 5th 1848  William Smith O’Brien was arrested, following his unsuccessful insurrection in Ballingarry, South Tipperary, known by the British disparagingly as the “Battle of the Widow McCormack Cabbage Patch”.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Reminiscences Of Thurles During Early Decades Of Twentieth Century

School Days Remembered

The story is as related by the late Mr Timmy Maher, Church Lane, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, to the late historians Mr James (Jim) & Mrs Brigid Condon, Butler Avenue, Thurles, Co. Tipperary in the year 2000.

Note on the late Mr Timmy Maher:
Timmy knew Thurles. He was a keen observer, who could unravel the most complicated genealogies with ease. The ubiquitous Ryans, Mahers and Dwyers whose complex ties and ancestry confused many, posed no problems whatsoever to the astute Tim.
Nicknames, of course, were critical for differentiating between the many popular family names. His whole recorded narrative hereunder is liberally laced with these delightful sobriquets . . . Toot-n-Nan, Turney Larry, Stiffy, Mag-a-Hoe, Foll-de-Doll, The Guardian Angel, Pull-a-Pint, Call-in-the-Morning, Shittyfoot, Moll-the-Bobber, Cross-the-Roads, Mawbags, Glassybaggs, Goodybags, Hole-in-the- Wall, Sprig, Abbey, Fireball, High Hat, Ranty, Shifty, Mr Deeds, Moonlighter. Sunman … and many more we couldn’t even attempt to spell or understand.

Consanguinity (Of the same blood) was a town feature. You only had to talk to Timmy for a few minutes when you would find yourself welcoming him ‘as a long lost cousin’. Timmy was neither saint nor sinner; he was simply one of us.
Despite his foreign travels he never lost his parochial outlook. He was a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ and master of quite a few. Indeed, he collected more than memories. His regard for the past made him reluctant to throw away anything, from the old fork he claimed was used to stir the cabbage in the big pots used during the Great Famine, to a unique letter from Arnold Harris Mathew the last claimant to the title of Earl of Liandaff.

Timmy’s Story.

“In them days there weren’t any such thing as A, B or C streams, there were only two groups, the ‘tough chaws’ who used to scratch a lot, taught by Mr Wall, and the better sort who were groomed for better things by Mr Walker. Actually a great deal of the teaching was left to monitors – older boys like Danny Keane, Martin Drew, Jimmy Galvin and Denis Delaney.

Canon Wilson’s Car and on the left hand side access to Church Lane.

We were a delicate and miserable lot, no wonder none of us ever came to anything. Every Monday morning we’d bring our penny to school to pay for our few books and the fuel; even if we didn’t have it, it didn’t matter.

We were all barefoot except sometimes in the winter months we might be lucky enough to have a pair of wooden clogs bound with iron hoops.
I’ll say one thing for the auld clogs though, you couldn’t beat them for sliding on the icy roads as long as they lasted.

Hygiene and nutrition how are you! Half of us had ‘Tetters’ (ringworm, eczema. herpes etc.) and ‘Bowknocks’ (festered swellings on our leathery feet).
Do you know how they used to cure these painful swellings? The mother or father would take a needle and thread and stick it through them and then squeeze out the festering mess. Sure wasn’t the cure more painful than the complaint!

‘Tis funny though the things you remember years afterwards. Did I tell you the one about the day that auld Mr. Wall caught Jack Conners and ‘The Pensioner’ (Dan Hogan) smoking a clay pipe in the classroom. ‘Twas like this; in them days the Monks used to take a break in the mornings for their elevenses. When Mr. Wall was coming back after his break he spotted the two boyos’ through the window as they were ‘fogging’ away. The poor man was outraged. He charged into the classroom; ‘Come up here Hogan, you scalawag’, he fumed, ‘what do you mean smoking in my class?’ ‘What’, the terrified Hogan mumbled, ‘me sor … no sor … sure ‘twould only make me sick, sor’. Like a petrified rabbit ‘the Pensioner’ scanned the room in search of cover and safety from the teacher’s threatening leather. Then in panic he shinnied up the support pole in the centre of the classroom (these poles were about 8″ in diameter and were supporting the wide, high ceiling of the rooms).
‘Come down here this instant’, bellowed Mr. Wall. Dan wouldn’t budge but hung on for his life with hands and knees. Then with the practiced ease of a lifetime of handling unexpected situations, Mr. Wall took the long-handled window hook from the corner and hooked the bold Dan down by the suspenders. And what was really funny was that all the time that Dan was hanging on high above the class his arse was out through his britches.

I remember well the times Mrs. Carrigan would call by and give Mr. Wall a gallon of sweets. Mr. Wall would dole them out to us every day as long as they lasted. Mind you, that was a rare treat in them days.

But, you know, we loved auld Wall. When he was leaving us, we all trooped up to the railway station with him. Nor were we ashamed when we cried as the auld steam engine pulled him away from us for ever. I don’t know whether it was just a case of the devil you know being better than the devil you don’t or if it was genuine affection and regret. Myself … I loved that auld man.

I was a terror for ‘mitching’ myself, (playing truant from school). The truant officer then was auld Halogen. He was a terrifying spectre; a big dark man riding a high bicycle. I can remember the day that the father had to bring me up Hayes’ Lane to appear before the authorities for my latest bout of ‘mitching’. Didn’t the father have to pay a fine of a shilling and I was warned to mend my ways or I’d be sent away!

After school some days we used go up to where the District Hospital is now, poking around looking for spent brass. You see the British military had moved out and it was a great place for scavenging though I never found nothing.
It was here that another Hogan, ‘Sir Billy’, found a live grenade and had his poor hand blown off. (When asked why they called Hogan ‘Sir Billy,’ Timmy replied, ‘Sure, he looked like a Sir?). It was there in Ronnie’s field (latter opposite the present CBS Primary School) that the two little Care brothers were drowned; weren’t they trying to skate on the ice in the old quarry that was there then.

Church Lane Remembered:

I still remember the auld grandfather with his shaggy beard and paralysed arm; he was a man for all seasons. He was born in Graguenageenah back in 1830, but wasn’t baptised until three years later in St. Mary’s in Killenaule; don’t I have his Baptismal Lines.

The grandfather in his early years was a ‘hedge-school-master’ up near Ballingarry before he came to town as a clerk to Maurice Poor (Power). Power’s shop and pub was where Quinnsworth is today (Today Tesco). Later the grandfather became a bailiff of the court and was responsible for serving writs and summonses. He always implied that he was a Nationalist ‘plant’. You see, when he’d get the summonses to serve, he’d have time to give advance notice to the people being summonsed and in that way, they could quickly remove all stock or valuables before they could be distrained or impounded. It proved quite profitable as well. He got a pound for the early warning and seven and six (7s – 6p) for serving the summons!

But the auld grandfather had many irons in the fire. Did you know that he operated a poitin still right there in the lane, in the back bedroom.
Because you needed running water to distil whiskey, he dug a well in the bedroom and the father used to work the pump for him. In fact the father had another important job as well, he had to act as taster to ensure the brew was mature and potable. Didn’t he take his job so seriously that after one tasting session he was unconscious for six days. Faith you’d be surprised who the auld grandfathers customers were. They were never caught, though the street was patrolled regularly by the R.I.C.

It was up the lane that the Protestant gentry would come every Sunday to attend services. I can still remember the Chaises and Landaus swaying up along the lane … the Morgans of Crossogue, the Langleys, the Knoxes … I remember auld Bill Bannon drove the Knox family to services …the mother – elegant in her finery, the two sons facing her in the carriage and the liveried footman on the back. In them days the only car seen in the lane was auld Canon Wilson’s. That new-fangled contraption always had a motley gang of ragged kids, chasing after it.

Ah, you wouldn’t remember the time of the Great Flu’… Wasn’t I in bed myself with it but I’d creep to the window and look out every time a funeral procession would come up the lane. Sick as I was, didn’t I count nine funerals in one day!
Sometimes the coffins would be left inside the gate and my father and grandfather would bury them after work. . . for that alone the two of them deserve a place in Heaven.
The priests and ministers in the funeral processions would wear white linen around their tall top hats and another broad white sash across their shoulders. After the burials it was the custom for them to give the linen sashes to the poor attending, to make little items of clothing for themselves or their children.

Sure, they were the hardest of times … and don’t I remember going around the town myself collecting pennies to buy breastplates and ornaments for the coffins of many’s the poor soul. We used to varnish the crude ‘Workhouse’ coffin and then mount the newly purchased brass fittings ourselves. Ah, ’twas sad and I could tell you a lot about them hard times.

But the lane wasn’t all doom and gloom. We had our characters. Apart from the auld grandfather, the most colourful was ‘Jack the Webb’. A grand auld fellow when he was sober, but God help the lane when he had drink taken.

Ours was a very unusual lane. At one end we had James Sayers who rang the bells for the Cathedral and at the other we had Sam Whittaker who rang the bells for the Protestant Church. In the middle of the lane lived a shoemaker named Paddy Ryan who was nicknamed ‘The Angel’. Well anyway, when the Webb would be coming home after his drinking bouts… it was his changeless habit to pause unsteadily outside each house door in the lane and berate the unfortunate inhabitants … nothing was safe or sacred from Jack the Webb’s sharp tongue… not even Dooley’s auld horse. Finally, exhausted from his imprecations on man and animal, he’d look to the unsteady heavens and enlist the help of the Almighty; “O Lord, take me out of this den of iniquity with its bell ringers above and its bell ringers below and its angels in the middle”.

Jack’s brother and sister-in-law were two other very unique characters who shared the lovely sobriquet (Nickname), ‘Toot ‘n Nan’ , but I wouldn’t like to say how they got that name. Did you know that we had a family in the lane who claimed to be related to the wife of President Harry Truman, President of the United States? They were the Eades.

The lane, like all of us, is now quiet a sad relic of grander days and precious memories. You can still peek through the rotten door of Dooley’s dilapidated auld house and see his once grand jarvey car, now mouldering away. Me own yard is cluttered with memorabilia of forgotten trades, guarded now by an arthritic auld dog named ‘Dooley’.

Around Thurles Town:

‘Twas a kind of romantic place then with its soft dim gaslights and the glow of oil lamps in the shops and pubs around the streets. I could tell you where every gaslight standard stood … Molloy’s corner, the Bank corner, outside Hayes’ Hotel, at each end of the Suir Bridge, outside the Presbytery, at the end of our own lane … Aye, and the water pumps, the ‘Judies’ as they were called. I remember where they all were. Isn’t there one of them still left at the Stannix Home (Widow’s Home). Don’t I remember one evening — with not another vehicle in sight — seeing the ‘Black and Tans’ ramming their Crossley tender into the stone pedestal of the Judy that stood in the Square opposite Ryan’s Jeweller’s.

In my mind I can still see Jack Conners and Mickey ‘Coldbread’ as they made their rounds lighting up the town’s gaslights. Don’t you know, when the town got its own electricity, the bright bulbs only made the town look dingy and neglected, with its crooked railings, peeling paint and rough gravel streets.

I could name off all the shops, aye, and tell you a tale or two about some of them. Do you know that in one shop the ‘grocer’s curates’ (shop boys) had to whistle whenever they were sent to the back stores to bring up more supplies for the shop! This, of course, assured the owner that the help was not sampling the goodies in the back room. Then there was the inventive butcher who never bought anything but cattle that died on local farms. He had a workman whose sole job was to stand up by the slaughterhouse and holler out ‘How . . . How … How’ … so that the local townsfolk would think that live cattle were being driven in constantly for slaughter.

I can recall the day that ‘Sewerdy’ was dying of the thirst and he asked me to pawn his waistcoat in Flannagan’s. Didn’t I get one and six for it (1s-6p) and ‘Sewerdy’ gave me tuppence for meself.

Mixie Connell

In them days the social life centred around the auld Transport Hall (also
known as the Sinn Fein Hall, up in Mixie Connell’s Lane)
. I was in the band and why not? Didn’t I help found the present town band. Here we had dances three nights a week. You could get into the ‘workday hops’ for sixpence. It cost two shillings on Saturday nights when the dancing went on until all hours. There used to be plenty of ham and barmbracks (Currant Cakes) washed down with frothy pints from Mixie’s, [Mixie O’Connell’s pub Liberty Square, today Sos Beag Coffee shop, (Latter Translated from the Irish – Little Break)].

These weekend dances went on until the time to go to First Mass on Sunday morning, where few of us could stay awake through those long sermons. The auld floor boards used to shake to the stomping of hobnailed boots; the women’s feet rarely touched the boards. I’m telling you there was energy spent up that lane …Jackie Burke, Jamesie Cahill, Jimmy Dooley, McCowan, Jack Brown, Arthur Fagan, Maggie (‘Mixie’) and Kitty, her sister, the Kinnanes. On the bandstand were the four Fitzgeralds, the Graydons, Billy Maher, Johnny ‘John’ Ryan, Jack Ryan Gollagher, Timmy Finn, Tom Loughnane, John Mulcaire, Paddy Rafferty, Willie Ryan and God knows who else.

I remember we were in the middle of a great night when Archbishop Fennelly died. That poor saintly man got little sympathy and sweet prayers when the dancing had to be abandoned as a mark of respect.

Ancient Order Of Forresters

Will I tell you a good one about the band? Around this time a split developed in the band membership. You know Leo Spittle (God be good to him now) whose uncle was the Mayor of Kilkenny; well he got a lot of brass band instruments from there and with these a new band was formed. Didn’t they put all that shiny array of musical equipment on display in Shanahan’s window.

Of course, those of us who wanted to keep the old band together were very upset by the formation of this rival band – me more than the rest. Anyway, I heard the members of the ‘new’ band plotting to march before the ‘Forresters’ on their way to Mass on St Patrick’s Day.
Since this was traditionally an honour reserved for the old band, I was determined to do something about it. So, one dark night, I upped and stole all the new band’s brassy instruments! Mind you I paid dearly for this little transgression sometime later. It seems that when I later applied for a Visa to go to the U.S.A. the local police didn’t give me a very good character reference and my application was turned down. Later, still I did get admitted to Canada though … but that’s another story.

Who were the ‘Forresters‘? They were a kind of benevolent society and Joe Pollard was the Chief Ranger. Others that I can remember were Mulcaire (the auld lad entirely), Tone Quinn, Bill Quinn, Ter Lawlor, Mattie Mack and Jim Doyle. They really cut a dash every St. Patrick’s Day as they stepped right out of history’s pages and marched proudly down to Mass. They wore military-like uniforms, green jackets, white pants, high boots, gold sashes and tall hats – trimmed with feathers… they looked like a whole platoon of Wolf Tone’s. To give them their due though, they weren’t all show; they helped many a poor soul in this town … and out of their own pockets at times!

Certainly there was other entertainment at that time. The earliest carnivals that I remember were down at the Presentation Convent grounds. I can still remember the time they strung a cable from the top of the Laundry chimney stack and ran it down the Convent field through a big cock of hay to the ground. The daring were invited to climb up and then swing down on a pulley to the ground. Wasn’t it there that poor ‘Leggy’ Maher earned his badge of courage and a lifelong gammy leg.
However, for us kids, it offered other more lucrative possibilities. You see the brave aerialists usually landed head over heels and the loose change in their pockets scattered all over the place. We’d grab what we could and run … kid’s eyes (possibly black and white striped hard boiled sweets), tanners (6 pence coin), an occasional bob (1 shilling coin)… but mostly coppers (1 Penny coin). I can still recall the excitement.

I got going to my first moving picture show back in 1917. The father took me to McGrath’s and to this day I can remember the name of the picture, ‘Coming through the Rye’. In that cinema Jackie Burke and the sister, Mona, provided the musical accompaniment.
The first film to come to Delahuntys, didn’t I hurl in the field where the cinema was built; was a real tear-jerker named ‘Orphans in the Storm’. ‘Twas booked-out solid for a whole week. You’d have to get down very early on Sunday nights if you wanted to get a seat. Joe Mack’s daughter – the one who later became a Nun – used to play the piano there.

Ah, back then, too, we’d look forward to the live productions of the Parnell Players. That was a talented lot, I can tell you …John Burke, the O’Brien brothers, Mrs. Carey and of course, Maudie Mooney.

It was around 1926 when over four hundred Welsh Miners descended on the town. It was during the great strike/lockout in England. They came over to raise funds to continue their struggle for decent conditions and a living wage. They would march in military formation all around the town and then give open-air concerts. Anyone with a spare room or bed put them up while they were here. We had a few nice Welshmen staying at our house.

Do you know I still have my first Library Card. It was up opposite Llandaff Lodge in Hayes’ Lane then; it cost me two bob (2s-0p) for a year. After the Great War (World War I) all the local discharged soldiers used to go up once a week to the Labour Exchange then located where Clancy’s Electrical shop is now.
The Exchange was run by Mahony and the daughter. I can still hear the old jingle that they used to sing on the way to collect their money:-

Up to Mahony’s and in to sign.
That’s where you’ll get your twenty nine
(29s-3p).
Inky, Pinky, Parlez Vous.

[The English WWI song “Mademoiselle from Armentières” bears the last line of the above . ‘Inky Pinky’ was a Scottish children’s name for parsnip and potato cakes, but it has been rightly suggested that it was also an onomatopoeic reference to the sound of rustling bed springs and therefore more likely to be a soldier’s offensively irreverent, obscene derivation.]

THE END

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Thurles Christmas Parking An Insult To Town Retailers.

Residents can read contents of this laughable, published and attached image themselves, composed first on November 24th, 2021.

Text of image left reads:

“Notice is hereby given that free parking is being made available to the public in the following town as follows: –

Thurles Town.

Free Parking for the first 30 minutes of every day for the month of December 2021.

[Then comes the real humour].
This initiative is designed to promote local trade and to encourage support for our local Traders, during the festive season.

Please shop local this Christmas.

We wish all our customers the compliments of the season.

Signed: Sharon Scully, (District Administrator Thurles).

This decision we must correctly assume was agreed NOT by Tipperary Co. Council, but by Thurles Municipal District Councillors controlled by Thurles Municipal District officialdom. We base this assumption on the information supplied on the Tipperary Co. Council’s own website, regarding other Tipperary Towns; Thurles as yet not included.

In Cashel: Free parking in all Public Car Parks each Saturday in December.
In Cahir: Free parking in all Public Car Parks each Saturday in December.
In Clonmel: Free Parking in Council owned car parks only.
In Carrick-on-Suir: Free Parking in Council owned car parks at William Street, New Street, Strand Lane and Greenside, on the following Saturdays, December 4th, 11th and 18th.
In Nenagh: From Saturday 11th to Sunday 26th December 2021, three hours free parking in carparks. Free parking continues to apply in the Railway Station Carpark, on a full-time basis.
In Mullingar, Co. Westmeath: Shoppers will be able to park for free in council car parks for six days in December. The days when free parking will apply are December 11th, 17th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th.
In Kilkenny City, Co. Kilkenny: From this morning Kilkenny County Council state that it is free to park at the Market Yard in the city from 9:00am to 12:00 noon, Mondays to Thursdays, for the next three weeks. There will also be no charge for vehicles that enter there after 6:00pm or at any time between December 25th and 28th. The carpark at County Hall will also be free every weekend in December: 5th/6th, 12th/13th, 19th/20th and 26th/27th as well as Monday 28th.

Of the above named Towns and City, where would you our readers shop, based on the info supplied?

Let’s Take A Look Now At Rules Imposed On Thurles Town Shoppers Christmas 2021.

But first, as part of sponsored content, the Tipperary Star Newspaper has announced via their publication, “The new installation of Christmas lights will be illuminated on the refurbished Liberty Square this Friday evening December 3rd at 5:00pm.”

“Sponsored Content”:
Same is material in any online publication which resembles the publication’s editorial content, but is in fact paid for by a hidden advertiser and intended to promote that advertiser’s product. In this case the paid-for PR material is totally untrue and totally inaccurate.

Work began on the refurbishment of Liberty Square with the opening of the proposed new car park to the rear of Jackie Griffin’s shop, back in May, 2018. The developers then moved unto Liberty Square itself in August 2020.

To date, December 2nd 2021, 16 months later, the first part of the refurbishment of Liberty Square is unlikely to be fully completed before Christmas, with part two of the project possibly not yet gone to tender and unlikely to be completed before next April 2022, or indeed later, resulting in this project likely to take some 4 years since it commenced; should it continue past May of 2022. Only the upper western end of Liberty Square and the eastern end have lighting. Lights in the centre, however, to use the lyrics sung by Danny Kay are “all together as naked as the day that it (he) was born”

So whoever wrote the paid-for sponsored content, for the Tipperary Star Newspaper, same unnamed individual is plainly a fabricator of visual truth.

With the introduction of car parking charges in the town, most of the smart businesses with household names, like Elvery’s, An Post, Heatons, Quigley’s etc, etc, etc, either left the town altogether, or moved to Thurles Shopping Centre, where parking is provided free of charge. Others just shut up shop. As we prophesied, Thurles town centre has now moved with some of its shops, reducing footfall in Liberty Square by 75%.

Since the developers moved unto Liberty Square in August 2020, people have further avoided Liberty Square, as employees of all the developers understandable took over early morning, available customer parking spaces, both on the street and in Ulster Bank car park and the new car park, latter affectionately known as “Checkpoint Charlie”.

Having grasped all of these development issues, together with Covid-19 shutdowns, readers would have thought that struggling retailers should have been given a real break this Christmas to entice back footfall.

Currently parking on lower Liberty Square, Thurles has been reduced by approximately 8 car parking spaces, same designated to 5 Taxi spaces and 3 spaces for any 1 delivery truck . A further 2 spaces have been correctly given over for disabled parking. Currently about 14 other legal parking spaces only, remain available tonight, due to refurbishment staff vehicles and their site office.

We are informed by our Traffic Warden and some Councillors that stationary vehicles are permitted 15 minutes of free parking every day of the year. Surely the extra 15 minutes now added on for Christmas shopping, shows a middle finger to both retailers and their customers, by our local administration.

  • Where now is the farmer’s friend Mr Jackie Cahill TD and the millionaire’s friend Mr Michael Lowry TD and his Lowry Team councillors?
  • Where also is Thurles Chamber of Commerce in all of this?

Answer to both these questions is nowhere.

Since Mr Michael Ryan’s retirement as Thurles administrator, back in April 2016, quality and dedicated administration in Thurles, has been sadly lacking.

We now invite Ms Sharon Scully, to don her overcoat, scarf, gloves, plus wellies and armed with a note pad and pencil to make notes; take a walk around Thurles town and introduce herself to the retailers. Note please, the empty shop buildings and the damaged sign posts.
Please come on a Friday morning, if possible, when stinking offal is being driven through the town centre, usually between 11:00am and 12:00 noon, forcing shops to close their doors because of the stink.
Note what pedestrian crossing lights are not working; where the grass is growing in our drains and on our pavements; visit Kickham Street and survey the river of water flowing down the roadway and the water filled potholes damaging people’s homes. The glass bottles and clothing falling from ‘Recycling Pods’ in various parking areas; the continuous destruction of our new town park; the graffiti; the raw sewage flowing into the river Suir, the litter bins unfit for purpose, etc, etc, etc.

Finally, in Tralee, Co Kerry: Parking will be free all day in Council-owned car parks in the town from November 29th 2021 to January 2nd next 2022.
Parking is subject to a maximum stay period of four hours in all Council car parks, except in Garvey’s car park (2 hours); St John’s/Abbey (2 hours); Tesco town centre (2 hours) and Parklands (2 hours), to ensure traffic flow.
Traffic wardens will continue to monitor and enforce illegal parking during this period.
Tralee traders on social media are protesting, stating # Tralee for next five weeks, “Don’t feed the Meters”.

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“An Irish Journey” by Sean O’Faolain in 1940s Thurles, Continued.

Sean O’Faolain

Cork born, John Francis Whelan [1900 -1991] possibly better known by all as Sean O’Faolain was one of the most influential figures in 20th-century Irish culture. A short-story writer of international repute; he was also a leading commentator and critic.

In his book “An Irish Journey” (from the Liffey to the Lee), latter published first in 1940, (Published in America in 1943), he reflects on his visit to Liberty Square, here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. 

For those who may have missed Part 1 of his story regarding his sojourn in Thurles, Co. Tipperary; same can be read HERE

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PART 2(Final part continues)Sean O’Faolain writes as follows,

“The old man on the bridge remembered all the famous people I associate with Thurles, such as the famous Archbishop Croke, Smith O’Brien and the Fenians, Parnell, John Dillon and especially William O’Brien, that fiery particle from Cork who with Tim Healy was the most gallant and the wildest fighter of the Irish parliamentary party and who alone continued the best traditions (as well as some of the worst) of that party into the modern Sinn Fein revival.

He showed me where the old Market House used to stand in the square with its little tower and it’s frontal terrace, stepped at each side and he talks so well I could see the vast political meetings there, of nights, with the tar-barrels smoking and spluttering in the wind, their flames leaping in the reflecting windows about, the police lined along the opposite walls or grouped in side streets, fingering their carbines or batons in case there should be a clash between rival parties.

The great Archbishop would stand there tall and impressive; with him another big clerical figure – with apparently much more suave and evasive, Canon Cantwell; Dillon slightly stooped; O’Brien bearded like a prophet and Parnell ready to tear the hearts of the crowd with some clinching phrase.

Later, I looked up at Croke’s fine statue in the square and went to the Cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles), to see his bust in its niche – a square jawed firm mouthed man, much what one would expect from his life story, all solid and all of a piece. He was one of the last great nationalist prelates, for the Parnell split struck a deadly blow at a priest in politics, and though the hierarchy has manfully stood by the people several times since then, especially during the Revolution, they almost always act in cautious and deliberate concert and the freelance fighting Bishop has since died out.

The Archbishop Thomas William Croke statue situated on Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

There is something fabular (having the form of a fable or story) about Croke. He destroyed all his papers after reading Purcell’s “Life of Cardinal Manning and little positive remains.

It is said that he fought at the barricades in Paris in the revolutionary troubles of 1848, [“Springtime of the Peoples”]. One can, after looking at his portraits and reading his life, well believe William O’Brien who vouches for it; see the young priest of twenty-four caught by the excitement of the times, the rattle of Cavignac’s musketry, the flutter of the Red flag, the barricades of furniture, carts, wagons, dead horses, the cries of the demagogues.

There is another like story which maintains that when he was a student either in Paris or in that pleasant college of the little Rue de Irlandais, behind the Pantheon orat Menin, he horrified a class by denying in a syllogism, (Latter a form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from two given or assumed propositions), was expelled, put his pack on his back and tramped across Europe to the Irish college at Rome and was admitted there. (The rector was John Paul Cullen, later Cardinal, a friend of Pope Leo, one of the most influential men in the whole European church, the man who defined for the Catholic world the precise formula of Papal Infallibility.)

I should like to believe the stories, they are such an excellent prologue to a life during which, as curate, professor, college president at Fermoy, chancellor, parish priest, bishop in New Zealand, archbishop of Cashel, he was in every station, the most outspoken, forward driving, irrepressible, warm-hearted, affectable, and sympathetic figure, in the entire history of the Irish episcopacy.

When he was appointed Bishop, it is said that the appointment was most unpopular in his diocese and if I made believe my old man at the bridge, (Barry’s Bridge Thurles), who kept on remembering local lore about him – on his first Sunday he got up in the pulpit and told the people that he knew it, that he now had the post and that he “was, thank God, under no compliment to the priests and people of Tipperary for it”.

He gave dinner in celebration of his appointment. Only one of his opponent’s dared to stay away, a professor in the Diocesan Seminary, father Dan Ryan. The murmur went round the table before the meal ended that Ryan had been suspended, an unheard of punishment for what was merely a social gaffe. But it was true. Croke had suspended him for twenty-four hours, “just to show him who was the boss”.

William Smith O’Brien

He was as generous as he was stern. In the great days of the Irish parliamentary party, William (Smith) O’Brien used to stay at the Palace. One night, after O’Brien had gone to bed the Archbishop paused outside his door and for some idle reason apparently looked at O’Brien’s boots. They were in tatters. He sent out into the town early next morning for a new pair of boots. O’Brien soon afterwards received the cheque for €200.

Those must have been great days and nights in that Palace in Thurles and Croke has always seemed to me an epitome (perfect example) of the Irish priest at his best, sitting there among the Irish political leaders of the day Biggar, Davitt, Parnell, O’Brien and the rest. Outside are the Tipperary farmers and their wives, down from the rich hills, up from the Golden Vale. The great square is dense with chaffers and bargainers by day; by night with crowds waiting to hear him. It is splendid to see his statue today in that same square (Liberty Square, Thurles) with the market surging around it, like a navy moored to his pedestal.

And he was no mere political priest. At the Parnell divorce he took Parnell’s bust, which he had in his hall, and kicked it out of the door, he was heartbroken. “Ireland” he moaned “is no fitting place for any decent man today. The warmth that used to gladden my heart has disappeared. There is nothing to cheer me in church or state”.
He wished even to fly from Thurles and Tipperary and Ireland, back to New Zealand.

I naturally have a warm corner for Croke; he was a Cork man and they say he never lost his Cork accent and even to the end of his days, ordered his food and other needs from Cork city, rather than give Tipperary, which had not wanted him, the benefit of his custom. A curious thing is that his mother was a Protestant. She remained a Protestant to within a few years, I think only four, of her death.

History, as all over Ireland, is an odd medley in the popular mind of this modern Tipperary – if one may judge by its chance projections in Thurles. They have, for example, lost their old market hall, with its many associations. The one castle which remains is only part of what once stood there.
There were once seven castles in Thurles. In the backyards any good antiquary, like, I imagine, the local Archdeacon Seymour or Dr Callanan, could point you out the remains of the old walls in the town’s backyards. On the other hand on the wall of Hayes hotel there is a neat plaque to commemorate the founding there, of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884, with Croke as the first patron. While the modern Gaelic revival having permitted the castles to disappear, records a group of new terrace houses beyond Kickham Street, heroes and heroines nobody can possibly visualise or know anything about – Oisin Terrace, Oscar Terrace, Dalcassian Terrace, Emer Terrace, Banba Terrace and so on.
It is a typical experience of the confused and ambiguous, mingled nature of this modern Ireland to go from that end of the town to the other, to the great Beet Factory, pulsing and hammering away inside its impressive buildings, with its rows and rows of railway sidings and it’s rows and rows of windows shining at night across the Tipperary fields”.

Story Ends

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