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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.


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

Thurles – Policeman Shot – Town Wrecked – Inhabitants Terror Stricken.

The Nenagh Guardian is the longest established local newspaper circulating in North Tipperary. First established on Saturday, July 21st, 1838 as ‘The Nenagh Guardian’, the paper has recorded many Tipperary momentous events over the last 183 years, including the event hereunder, which was published on Saturday January 24th 1920 using the headline:-

Exciting scenes in Thurles.
Policeman shot.
Town Wrecked – Inhabitants Terror Stricken.

[The report is published in full hereunder.]

Constable Luke Finnegan, while going home just before 11 o’clock in Thurles on Tuesday night, was shot as he was about to enter his home. He received three bullets and was conveyed to Dublin for an immediate operation. His condition is reported to be critical.

Armed squads afterwards made a search of the district entering several houses. Pedestrians on their way home where held up, questioned and searched. Later there was a crashing of glass from shop windows in Friar Street and this was followed by a volley of police rifle fire. It was thought a midnight attack was being made on the local barracks, but this proved to be incorrect. There was further smashing of plate glass windows before quiet was restored.

Archbishop On Scene. Most Reverend Dr. Harty and members of the local clergy walked through Thurles streets on Wednesday morning and inspected the damage done.

The English Labour delegates included Thurles in their itinerary through Ireland and were expected to arrive about midday on Wednesday.

The above deputation comprised of the Chairman of the British Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), William Adamson, and MP’s William Tyson Wilson, Arthur Henderson, John Allen Parkinson, Walter Robert Smith and John Robert Clynes. H. Scott Lindsay, secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party is acting as secretary to the delegation.

English Labour delegation arrives in Thurles

Surgeon Arthur Joseph Chance

The injured Constable Luke Finnegan who was shot in Thurles, arrived at Kingsbridge Station and was at once removed to Stephen’s hospital. An examination of his injuries showed that a bullet had passed through the abdomen and that he had been struck in the right arm, one of the bones of which was broken. Despite loss of blood he was perfectly conscious on admission. An operation was performed by Surgeon (Arthur Joseph) Chance on Wednesday morning.

Shortly after 11:00p.m. when comparative quite reigned, the streets being in possession of armed forces, the next thing heard was the crashing of glass from shop windows in Friar Street. A loud report followed. It was a volley of rifle fire. Consternation reigned in the town, the impression at first being that an attack had been made on the local barracks. But not so. Another volley rang out and more glass crashed on the pavement. Then ensued wild but systematic smashing of plate glass windows.

Terror Stricken Towns-People.
Terror-stricken women and children crowded together in back rooms for safety. Some fainted. For an hour and a half firing continued. Huge damage has been done. On Wednesday morning the streets were littered with broken glass, while several houses bore bullet marks. Many bullets were picked up in the streets. After 1:00 o’clock the firing ceased.

Enquiries made so far disclose that at least three houses were fired into. Bullet marks are in the bedroom of Mr James Leahy U.C., manager for Mr Michael O’Connell (now in jail). His house is in Main Street (Today’s Liberty Square) and the bedroom is on fourth storey. Mr Leahy luckily quitted the room on hearing the first bullet coming through his window. The window is riddled in many places.

Providential Escapes
In the house next door Mr J. Corbett, drapers assistant had a narrow shave. He was going to bed and he was near his window when two bullets crashed through the glass. His room is also on the fourth storey and bears numerous bullet marks.

Mr Charles Culhane’s residence, Friar Street, too, came in for special attention. His bedroom windows were riddled with bullets and he himself narrowly escaped being shot.

Mrs Benson’s Drapery Shop

Rifle firing started at 11:15 p.m. The streets were normal at the time and all lights were out. Most of the houses in main Street were wrecked including Molloy’s hardware store, Jeremiah O’Dwyers, McLoughney’s drapery house, O’Connell’s public house, D.H. Ryan’s drapery, Mrs Benson’s drapery house, Mrs Tobin’s hotel, Mr D. Morgan’s in Cathedral Street, (Latter grandfather of the late Dermot Morgan of “Fr. Ted” Channel 4 sitcom fame.), Mr C. Culhane’s, Friar Street, Mr T. Fitzgerald’s Westgate and the Star Newspaper office. Into the above places bullets were sent flying through the windows and doors. The terrified inhabitants had narrow escapes. Women became hysterical and fainted and children were frightened beyond description. Inmates of houses lay flat on floors and moved to back places. The firing lasted till five minutes after midnight. At 1:15 a.m. it again began and lasted until 1:40.

The amazement of the English Labour delegates at the occurrence in Thurles is expressed in a special statement which they issued on Wednesday evening on arriving in Tipperary from Thurles. They saw in Thurles, what Mr Arthur Henderson MP described as, “a besieged city”. After seeing Dr. Harty they had personal interviews with several persons whose houses had been attacked, and the situation was so extraordinary that they decided to issue a special report, when questioned by Press representatives regarding what came under their notice.

Interesting Visit.
Their joint statement is in part as follows: “The deputation had a very interesting visit to Thurles and had striking evidence of what is going on in various parts of Ireland at the present time. It appears that the night before a policeman was shot out in the street and wounded and that as a consequence the above policemen lost their heads. Walking down the street about a dozen houses bore marks either by way of shattered windows or otherwise of a considerable amount of indiscriminate shooting. From the evidence that one could gather from the prominent residence a number of the inhabitants who had retired or where retiring for the night, ran very narrow escapes from shooting through windows and doors”.
The deputation had an interview with one man who had retired with his wife and children and where awakened by the reports. Bullets began to come through the windows and he and his family had to leave the bedroom and shelter in the basement. Their passage to the basement was extremely perilous as bullets were coming through the windows and the doors”.

Greatly Astonished
Mr William Adamson MP, Chairman of the Party, in an interview stated that the deputation had been greatly astonished by all they had seen in Thurles and it was a striking confirmation of the many statements they had heard since their arrival in Ireland and showed conclusively the deplorable results of the present Castle (Dublin Castle) rule.

Most Rev Dr. John Mary Harty

The occurrence in Thurles, Mr Adamson said, and the evidence gathered by the deputation, will form an important part of our report to the Labour forces in Great Britain, and will without doubt strengthen the demand for the abolition of the present military regime in Ireland, and the substitution of a more enlightened method of government.

Mr Lindsay, Secretary of the delegation, issued a report as to the interview with Most Rev Dr. Harty: “The Labour Party deputation was exceedingly gratified” the report said “in securing an interview with the Archbishop of Cashel, who gave a very instructive and illuminating explanation of the prevailing opinions of the people of Ireland, as recorded by them in recent elections, Parliamentary, Municipal, and pointing out in view of past history the Irish people had come to the definite conclusion that nothing short of complete independence would be beneficial to this country”.

Thrilling Story.
They had also an opportunity of conversations with the editor of “The Tipperary Star” and with Mr Morgan, a secondary teacher who had just been elected to the Urban Council and whose place had been raided during Tuesday nights affray.

A thrilling story was told by Mr Callaghan President of the local Sinn Fein club. “The first intimation I had of the affair”, he said “was the report of a rifle shot. Immediately afterwards a piece of the ceiling in the room in which I slept, fell to the ground. The window was pierced through by the bullet. I knew what was coming then and I dressed and went downstairs. The crash of the lower window being broken and the door being battered then began. Meanwhile, I had gone out into the yard which was dark and went to the far end. Two policemen came out but could not see me. Nine policemen then enter the house, having forced the door. Some of them rushed upstairs and called for me. Nobody was in charge of the police who entered my house but there were two bunches of them and I saw one bunch hold up a motor car in the street outside.

Many Shots Fired.
The maid servant in the house related a similar story and the house bears evidence of a very large number of shots being fired at it. In all 16 houses were assailed, either with bullets grenades or clubbed with rifles. The damage to glass alone is estimated at £3000.

The house of Mr O’Connell in The Square bore traces of 15 rifle shots. In addition eight shots passed through the window of one room in the apartment adjoining, which a child was sleeping. One bullet pierced a picture of the Sacred Heart and penetrated through a thick partition and was found embedded in the far wall.

The premises of Mr McLoughney next door appeared to have been the target for several shots. While the fusillade was more intense, families who had not retired to bed, retreated to back portion of their houses, for safety and there joined in reciting the Rosary. One lady stated that you thought a rebellion had broken out, the firing was so rapid and so long sustained. Most people however were of the impression that a desperate street battle was in progress.

Thurles Police To Be Transferred.
The special correspondent of the “Dublin Evening Mail” states that the members of the entire police force now in Thurles are to be transferred to various other stations.

Thurles Outbreak Sequels.
Constable Luke Finnegan, who was shot in Thurles on Tuesday night, died in Stephen’s hospital as 11:30 o’clock on Thursday night.

Thurles resumed its normal appearance on Thursday and no police patrols were on the streets. Many of the shops, which suffered in the outbreak, were shuttered.

A number of high constabulary officers arrived in Thurles on Thursday night and were escorted from the railway by armed police and armoured cars to a local hotel. The houses attacked in the Mall on Tuesday night included that of Mrs Conran, mother-in-law of Mr George Clancy MP for South Sligo.
In the house of Mr Leahy a sleeping infant had a miraculous escape; a bullet passing between its arm and body and embedding itself in a wall opposite.

A Place Of Battles.
The town of Thurles with its many ancient castles and ruins has often witnessed scenes of a warlike nature. Originally called Durlas-O’Fogarty it was the scene of a memorable battle in the 10th century, between the Danes and the Irish, in which the former suffered severe defeat. After the Norman invasion those Danes who still remained in the country went to reinforce Strongbow at Cashel. When they halted at Thurles they were attacked and defeated by O’Brien of Thomond, who shortly afterwards compelled the invaders, who he encountered near the town, to retreat.

It is hardly to be wondered at that the late Fr. Benson shows Thurles as the most important Ecclesiastical Centre in the country, in one of his most famous novels. In addition to it being the Cathedral town of the Archbishop of Cashel, it contains several monasteries and convents. In former days a monastery for the Carmelites was founded there by one of the Butler family and also a preceptory of the Knights Templars, while in the 15th century a Franciscan monastery was established by the O’Meaghers.

The newspaper article of Saturday, January 24th, 1920, concludes.


Death Of Patsy Ryan (Bishop), Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death today, Thursday 14th January 2021, of Mr Patrick (Patsy) Ryan (Bishop), St. Columba Terrace, Bohernanave, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Mr Ryan passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, while in the care of staff at the Sacred Heart Nursing Home, Crosspatrick, Co. Kilkenny.

His passing is most deeply regretted by his devoted wife Peggy, sons Thomas, Patrick and Richard, daughter Ann, grandchildren, daughters-in-law Maureen, Claire and Fiona, son-in-law Eugene, brother P.J., sisters Teresa and Biddie, nephews, nieces, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, extended relatives, neighbours and many friends.

Requiescat in Pace.

Funeral Arrangements.

The funeral cortége, bearing the earthly remains of Mr Ryan, will leave his residence on Sunday, January 17th, at 10:15am, travelling via Railway Station Bridge, to be received into the Cathedral of the Assumption, Thurles at 10:30am, to repose for Requiem Mass at 11:00am.
Interment will take place immediately afterwards in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Moyne Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

For the many persons who would have liked to have attended Requiem Mass for Mr Ryan, but are unable to do so, due to the current coronavirus pandemic, same funeral service can be viewed online HERE.

[NB: Due to National Public Health Guidelines, regarding Covid-19 virus restrictions; those attending within the Cathedral Church building, (limited to 10 family members), will continue to observe strict adherence to social distancing and face covering.]

The extended Ryan family wish to express their appreciation for your understanding at this difficult time and have made arrangements for those wishing to send messages of condolence, to use the link shown HERE.

Note Please: House Strictly Private.


Lest Thurles Forgets Cpl. John Cunningham VC

Spare a moment today to remember Corporal John Cunningham VC, who died 103 years ago today, April 16th 1917.

Corporal John Cunningham (8916), was born in Hall Street, Thurles Co. Tipperary, on the 22nd October 1890; one of two sons of Johanna (Smith) and Joseph Cunningham. He joined the 2nd Battalion, Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment during the First World War. Please visit HERE for further information.

Corporal Cunningham was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, latter the highest and most prestigious award granted for gallantry in the face of the enemy, that can be awarded to any member of British and Commonwealth forces. He died on this date which fell on a Monday, April 16th 1917, aged in his 27th year.

The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment was nicknamed, ‘The Royal Canadians’, owing to the amalgamation of the 100th Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales’s Royal Canadian) and the 109th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Infantry), which formed its home depot 55 km from Thurles, in Crinkill Barracks, Birr, Co. Offaly.

For the record, some 6,000 Irish recruits would enlist at Crinkill Barracks, Birr, during the First World War. Indeed, an airfield was later built there in 1917.
It was here that Flight-Lt. William Edgerton Taylor (Pilot) and Sergeant Thomas William Allan (Passenger) were both killed, when the leading edge of the tail wing on their biplane, clipped a tree, forcing it to crash through the roof of Crinkill House, Birr on March 28th 1919.
The pilot, we understand, was giving an exhibition of aircraft “nose-diving”.

Picture Left: Corporal John Cunningham (8916) photographically superimposed onto his headstone, same situated in Barlin Cemetery France.
Picture Right: Crashed biplane in roof of Crinkill House, Birr, Co. Offaly.

Corporal Cunningham was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously, following his actions on April 12th 1917, at Bois-en-Hache, near Barlin, France. He died as a result of his injuries four days later, April 16th 1917, and is buried in Barlin cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, 103 years beside 1116 other casualties, in Plot 1, Row A, Grave 39.
Perhaps this outstanding bravery carried out by Corporal Cunningham on that same fateful Thursday in April 1917, may have been influenced by the loss of his brother Corporal Patrick Cunningham, also a member of the Leinster Regiment, who tragically lost his life some 22 months earlier, on Friday June 4th 1915, at the tender age of just 20 years.

Barlin is a village about 11 Kms south-west of Bethune on the D188, between the Bethune-Arras and Bethune-St. Pol roads, about 6.5 Kms south-east of Bruay. The Communal Cemetery and Extension lie to the north of the village on the D171 road to Houchin.

On June 8th 1917, The London Gazette, latter the oldest surviving English newspaper and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the UK, reported the following article regarding the reported actions of Corporal John Cunningham: –

Corporal John Cunningham (8916) – Citation

“For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when in command of a Lewis Gun section on the most exposed flank of the attack. His section came under heavy enfilade fire and suffered severely. Although wounded he succeeded almost alone in reaching his objective with his gun, which he got into action in spite of much opposition. When counter-attacked by a party of twenty of the enemy he exhausted his ammunition against them, then, standing in full view, he commenced throwing bombs. He was wounded again, and fell, but picked himself up and continued to fight single-handed with the enemy, until his bombs were exhausted. He then made his way back to our lines with a fractured arm and other wounds.
There is little doubt that the superb courage of this N.C.O (non-commissioned officer) cleared up a most critical situation on the left flank of the attack. Corporal Cunningham died in hospital from the effects of his wounds.

The London Gazette, 8th June 1917

His Victoria Cross was presented personally to his mother, Johanna, on July 21st 1917, by King George V, at Buckingham Palace, London, England.

Johanna Cunningham’s Story

To close neighbours, Mrs Johanna Cunningham later confided the story of her return to Thurles after her meeting with King George V, at Buckingham Palace.
She had kept her initial invitation to Buckingham Palace, for the most part, secret. Now on her return journey; not familiar with travelling far from her native home, she was anxious not to miss the platform at Thurles Railway station, as she travelled on the mail train from Dublin. As she entered each railway station on the route, she could clearly identify the station names on the large cast iron signs.
On reaching Thurles station as the steam train reduced speed, she checked through the window to confirm her whereabouts. She took note of a red carpet being rolled out on the platform and above the sound of the engine a small brass band was beginning to play music.

She was angry with those who may have broken her confidence regarding her meeting with King George V. and the presentation of the VC medal. She was aware from other instances, that relatives of fighting men known to be attached to the British Army, were being shunned, beaten and otherwise ostracised by an IRA / Sinn Féin membership.

In a panic she dropped down between the railway seats, believing that both the red carpet and band were there to welcome her home. After delivering its other passengers the train moved on to the next station; with a frightened and angry Johanna Cunningham on board. Having alighted at Gouldscross station platform, she took another train back to a now less busy Thurles railway station platform.

As it later emerged, the feared red carpet and brass band were there to welcome a travelling politician. Her secret trip to London and her rubbing of shoulders with royalty, would remain safe from the Thurles community for a while longer.

The Victoria Cross

The bronze metal from which all Victoria Crosses are made, is cut from cannons captured from the Russians at the seige of Sebastopol, during the Crimean War and is supplied by the Central Ordnance Depot in Donnington, Berkshire, England.

Corporal John Cunningham’s medal today exists, on loan by his relatives at the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, Kennington, London, England.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”

[Extract from poem “For the Fallen”, by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943).]