Local Weather

real feel: 3°C
wind speed: 1 m/s NNW
sunrise: 5:48 am
sunset: 9:09 pm


Weekend Baking Project: Easy & Nutritious Pint Glass Soda Bread.

During lockdown many of us are discovering the joys of baking as a pastime, not to mention the self-sufficiency and satisfaction gleaned from making something from scratch.

One item we’d surely all like to master is the art of bread making. There’s nothing like the taste and smell of freshly made bread in your own home. What’s more; during lockdown, being able to make your own bread saves an almost daily visit to your local food store – helping us to keep that bit safer.

Many of us, however, avoid making bread thinking it’s too difficult, but we at Thurles.info are here to help. We have tracked down and tested what is arguably one of the easiest recipes for making bread you could find.

You don’t even need a weighing scales to measure ingredients, just a pint glass!

Ingredients to make an easy and delicious Irish soda bread:
1 pint glass of coarse flour.
1 pint glass of white flour.
3/4 pint of buttermilk.
Enough salt to coat the bottom of a pint glass.
Enough bread soda to coat the bottom of a pint glass.
Enough butter to coat the bottom of a pint glass, (or about 4 teaspoons).

This recipe was devised by a Tipperary man, Mr. Peter Ward of Country Choice, Nenagh Co. Tipperary.

View his YouTube video shown above to watch how easy it is to make this nutritious soda bread and enjoy!


Use Up Your Easter Bank Holiday Leftovers With A Crustless Quiche.


5 large free range eggs.
120 ml milk.
50g grated cheddar cheese.
Salt and pepper to season

Once you’ve assembled these ingredients, it’s time to add a combination of about 200-250g of any of the following, depending on your taste or what you have loitering in your fridge:-

Grilled or fried rashers
Cooked ham.
Sautéed onion, mushrooms or peppers.
Cooked Spinach.
Cooked broccoli.
Cooked potato.
Spring onion.
Other cooked vegetables.


Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
Chop and prepare any ingredients that need to be cooked beforehand e.g. onions, bacon, mushrooms, peppers etc.
Grease or line a suitable oven proof dish with baking parchment.
Whisk the eggs and milk together.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the mixture into the dish.
Sprinkle cheese.
Scatter your other ingredients over the surface.
Cook in the oven for 3035 minutes or until contents are set, golden on top and cooked throughout.
Then enjoy hot or cold with a nice bread and some salad.

With ‘Bread & Salad’ same meal can easily satisfy up to 4 healthy appetites.


EPA Release Report On Local Authority Environmental Enforcement Activities 2019.

River Suir, Barry’s Bridge, Central Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today released its report on local authority environmental enforcement activities for 2019.
  • There has been an increase in local authority inspection and enforcement activities relating to waste and litter.
  • Further action and coordination are needed to ensure compliance with air legislation, with a focus on fuels that are on sale and in use in low smoke zones.
  • More needs to be done to drive compliance nationally with water protection legislation, given the continuing decline in water quality.

The EPA has today released its report on local authority environmental enforcement activities for 2019. The EPA has seen an increase in both the numbers of inspections and enforcement actions taken by local authorities since 2018 with the bulk of these relating to waste and litter. Local authorities also managed a substantial volume of environmental complaints during the year. These again related predominantly to waste issues.

The EPA found that local authorities are taking account of national enforcement priorities in implementing their work, which is welcome. It did find, however, that additional focus is needed in both air enforcement and water protection.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Tom Ryan, (Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement) stated:

“In looking across the range of enforcement activities, waste management is where most local authority activities are focused. This is not surprising given the breadth of their functions in this area relative to air enforcement. Good work has been completed by local authorities, working with the EPA, in developing the national air monitoring programme. However, considering the effect of air quality on human health and well-being, more action is needed on air enforcement.”

A substantial programme of water inspection was undertaken by the local authorities during the year and these water inspections and investigations led to over a thousand enforcement actions and a limited number of prosecutions during 2019.

Mr Andy Fanning, (Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement) stated:

“Local authorities continue to deliver their key role in national water sampling which is welcome as it provides data to inform action. This information, however, is showing a continuing decline in water quality and more needs to be done to protect our water environment. Local authorities need to make sure that they are applying enough resources to protect both human health and the environment and are taking effective enforcement action where non compliances are found.”

The EPA also highlights in the report that, while enforcement is necessary, all sectors of society have a role in making sure their actions do not pollute or damage our environment. Each household, organisation and business need to segregate and manage their wastes correctly, comply with low smoke zone requirements where they are in place, and make sure that their actions do not pollute waters.


New Historical Primary Source Sheds Light On Tipperary War Of Independence

A new historical primary source sheds further light on the War of Independence here in Tipperary in 1921. Same comes from the written perspective of the late Mr Con Spain, (Commandant, 1st. Battalion, No.1 (North) Tipperary), formerly of Ard na Croise, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Readers will be aware that the 100 year anniversary of the death of Mr James (Jim) Devaney at hands of the R.I.C. in late January 1921 was commemorated recently here in North Tipperary.

Now correspondence between Mr Con Spain and Mr Devaney’s family has come to light, which gives Commandant Spain’s personal recollections into the events of that tragic day at a time when he states “respect for life and property was at a very low ebb.”
In this never before published correspondence, the author Commandant Con Spain gives a unique insight into this difficult period in our county’s history.

Rare photograph of Cornelius (Con) Spain, [Commandant, 1st. Battalion, No.1 (North) Tipperary.]

Commandant Con Spain writes: –

“It happened in late January 1921. The war of Independence was raging and respect for life and property was at a very low ebb. We weren’t to know it then, but six months later the Truce was signed. It had all been worthwhile. [Note, the war of independence in Ireland ended with a truce on July 11th 1921.]

I had just about completed ploughing a five acre field, when I stopped for dinner and to fodder the other farm animals and my team of horses.

As I recollect it was about 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon, when I heard rifle fire coming from the direction of the main road, adjacent to the local pub. Scarcely turned 18 years, it took me only seconds to climb up into the largest benches of the hay barn, in hope of getting some view of the action which was evidently taking place.

Intervening ditches made it impossible to make out what was happening, but the bullets were coming uncontrollably close at this time. When the firing ceased, I heard a Crossley Tender moving down the main road towards Nenagh and Limerick. The occurrence of rifle fire was not uncommon in that area, in 1920/21, so I dismissed it from my mind and took my horses back to the field to finish ploughing the headlands.
[Note. Crossley Motors was an English motor vehicle manufacturer based in Manchester, England, later taken over by British Leyland]

Around 4:00pm it’s started to rain and I moved up to shelter in a thatched cottage, which was on the field and near the roadway. I was resting over the outside half door; looking out on one of our neighbours ploughed fields, when I saw a skirmish line of about 30 to 40 men, advancing from the farthest hedge, which adjoined a small bye-road. They appeared to be searching for something and as they came near, I noticed that they were mostly in civilian clothing and all were armed. Since I was a member of the Irish volunteers, I quickly emptied all papers from my pockets and burned them in the turf fire in the cottage. I then left the shelter of the cottage and went to my team of horses, to resume my ploughing.
[Note, a Skirmish Line, is an irregular open formation that is much more spread out in depth and in breadth than a traditional line formation].

However, at this point an R.I.C. constable whom I recognised as “Collins” and a well-dressed man in civilian clothing approached me from the laneway by the main road. They asked me if I had been in on the “ambush”.
Since I knew nothing of this action, I could truthfully say that I was not involved. The civilian, whom I assumed to be a District County Inspector of the R.I.C., turned to the Constable and barked “Take him out and strip him”. They stripped and searched me but all they found was a small spanner. [Both they and I overlooked something that was in a small pocket of my inside vest. I’ll return to this later].
By now the main “search” party had reached us and the barrel of a Lee Enfield rifle was pointed at my forehead…. so close that I could see the gleaming grooves of the rifle down the barrel mouth…. incongruously, I thought “how in hell did he get the barrel that clean, when the one I had been using for 2 years never did shine like that”. This odd reflection only took a split second, before I made my most fervent act of contrition in expectation of summary execution. No shot came. The rifle was reversed and I was stuck under the chin by the rifle butt instead and knocked flat.

As I struggled to get up, I heard some of the riflemen calling from about 30 yards to my rear. I was unceremoniously pushed along to this spot. There in the drainage ditch, inside the road hedge, was a young man of about 20 to 25 years, in a doubled up position, apparently dead. Luckily, I did not recognise the man because I was then questioned about his identity, with rifles once again at my forehead.
As they emptied his pockets, they found amongst his possession, tweezer-like tools which made them suspect that he might have been a Doctor. Later, I was to learn that he was a chemist’s assistant, who work in Dublin and who had recently come home and joined the Active Service Unit or “Flying Column”. He had not been a member when I had last contacted them on the hills above Moneygall some months earlier. Incidentally the house we used as our meeting place was christened the windy barn by Joe Mangan, later killed, (R.I.P.) In fact Joe composed a song about its bleak location and other discomforts.
[Note: Moneygall – Latter a small village on the border of counties Offaly and Tipperary, in recent years identified as the ancestral home of former US president Barack Obama).]

To digress from the main story for a moment …. I mentioned that I myself had a Lee-Enfield rifle, but could never get it to shine like the barrel I looked down, that fateful day.

At races and hurling matches, before the first world war, some people may remember a game called “Jack in the Barrell”. Well, a British Reservist named “Waggy” Sheridan used to stand in a barrel, while a pal of his sold sticks (6 for sixpence) to throw at “Waggy”. If you hit him then you got six more sticks free. The sticks where as big as Ash plants and you had to stand back about 50 yards. “Waggy” had to be very agile to avoid being hit.
In the early years of the war “Waggy” was called to Active Service; issued full kit and rifle and then sent home for a week on leave. It was the practice then to allow the soldiers to bring their rifles home with them.

It seems that “Waggy” was very fond of “the few pints”. It was while in the pub that “Waggy” met a couple of volunteers one of whom was Ned O’Leary, latter Brigade Adjutant and Commander of an active service unit. Between the ‘hoppin’ and the ‘trottin’ they brought the rifle from “Waggy” for £1…. a goodly sum in those days. They worked out a plan. “Waggy” boarded the train at Nenagh (Co. Tipperary) with full gear and his Enfield, and in the company of a volunteer. At a prearranged place the Enfield was thrown from the moving train and another volunteer was standing by to pick the rifle up. “Waggy” probably was court-martialled, but then maybe that’s what he wanted, it beat going to the trenches.

This was the weapon that I had in my possession from 1918 until 1921. It had been badly neglected before it came into my hands, but this never affected it’s accuracy.

To return to the story, when the dead man was pulled from the Dyke, two others who were brought forward under escort were ordered to carry the deceased. One of the men was the owner of the field Pat Kelly, who incidentally was not associated with the volunteers but their fellow prisoner was. I had hurled on the local team with the second man on many occasions and it seems that he was picked out on the adjacent railway line, where we happened to be working at the time. We carried the corpse about 200 yards across the ploughed field; myself and the volunteer James Keogh carrying the head portion and Kelly holding the legs. With the dead man on our shoulders I remember Joe’s whispered conversation; he wanted to know whether or not I knew who the dead man was. He told me then that it was Jim Devaney, Toomevara, a chemist from Dublin. I recall then that he was brother of Tom, a good hurler and also a volunteer who was shot in his own yard a month or so later, by the R.I.C. and Black and Tans.

We placed the remains in the Crossley Tender and the three of us were ordered into the lorry and taken to the local military barracks and locked in a cell.

The barracks was garrisoned by 3 companies of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, about 330 men and officers. All three of us were soaking wet and the cell was also wet. There was no furniture of any kind in the cell and it was freezing cold. After about an hour we were taken out separately for interrogation. I was the first to be taken out to the guard room. Here I was faced with a London Black and Tan Sergeant nicknamed Tich and interrogated about the ambush. I knew nothing of an “ambush”, (There hadn’t been one in any case) and answered truthfully. Before I realised it my pole (head) hit the flag floor, from a vicious uppercut. I got up mad as hell and tried to get my own back, but now I found myself with a revolver at my temple. I was in the hands of the infamous Constable K whose name was mentioned at that time in connection with the deaths of 3 volunteers, all dragged from their beds and two having died of horrible bayonet wounds. ‘K‘ had slipped up the passage and into the guard room so quietly that I didn’t hear him come in. Now I felt sure that this was the end for me and I was in fact reconciled to go, if possible, without torture. I made a final appeal to answer honestly.
[Constable K was ‘Keane’, who married a Nenagh girl, but had to go to Canada after the truce.]

I hit the flagged (stone) floor again and again, during this brutal interrogation and was removed, in a sorry state, to my cell once again. My two comrades fared no better and one was even taken back for a second helping, simply because he spoke to the other, as they bumped accidentally in the doorway outside the guard room.

Later we were thrown three army blankets, one each, which we used to sit on in separate corners of the cell. We were soaked, cold and miserable.
To be on the safe side, I searched my pockets once again and to my surprise I found a small ‘Morris Tube’ bullet in my inside vest pocket (mentioned earlier).
(The Morris Tube was invented by Richard Morris and patented in April 1882.)

I had picked it up in a raid for arms and ammunition at an ex British army officers house. I thought it might fit a .22 calibre rifle, but it wouldn’t fit. I later discovered that this calibre bullet was used in the Lee Enfield Rifle (and the British Martini-Henry Rifle) when a ‘Morris Tube’, a reducer, was placed into the gun barrel. It was used to reduce the usage of the larger .303 ammunition by British army troops when only at target practice. The volunteers used a .22 rifle for practice.
Anyway I now have a problem; I had to dispose of it somehow. About 10 ft above the cell floor there was an old metal ventilator. With no furniture in the cell I had to climb on the back of one of my colleagues to reach the ventilator and slipped the bullet through the grill. This indeed would have been incriminating evidence had they found it in their earlier search. Years later I returned to that cell and tried to recover the bullet as a souvenir, but it was no longer there.

Each morning we were exercised separately by the escort of the K.S.O.B. (King’s Own Scottish Borderers) and except for the occasional threat which we took little notice of, they treated us fairly.
After about 3-days Pat Kelly, on whose land the dead man was found, was released, very much as we had expected. About one week later, Jim Keogh was turned loose and I was alone still sleeping on my backside in a corner, with my solitary wet blanket. In the meantime my captors threatened to use me as a hostage, i.e. tie me to the back of a car or their truck and in the event of an ambush I would be summarily shot.

Still another week passed and despise repeated threats, no specific punitive action was taken against me. Incidentally the only prisoner that I personally ever knew of, from the Tipperary No1 Brigade, who was used as such as a hostage, was a fairly old man named Matt Ryan (Lacken), father of the much wanted Paddy Ryan (Lacken). Matt was arrested by the auxiliaries under Captain Biggs, who were stationed in Killaloe. Matt I was told was a brother of the Very Reverend M.K Canon Ryan who served the Thurles community for 10 years and who died as a Parish Priest in Latin (Co. Tipperary) in 1925. There is a slab in his memory in the Cathedral. This is the same Canon Ryan whose valuable help to the Gaelic Athletic Association is commemorated by “Ardan Ui Riain” in Semple Stadium, (Thurles).

It would have been difficult for old Matt to have any knowledge of his son’s movements, as Paddy was constantly on the move with the Tipp No1 Flying Column, until Christmas 1920, so threatening, even torturing Matt, would have gotten little information. This “Column” disbanded after the Kilcommon Ambush and Paddy as a wanted man could not return to his home. Paddy, with a few others, joined the East Limerick Column and fought all through the area right into North Cork. It was in North Cork that one of Paddy’s pals, Paddy Star of Nenagh was killed and buried in a field after the Skeheenarinky Ambush. His remains were exhumed after the Truce and reburied in Tyone, Nenagh, where a headstone was erected by his faithful comrades.

Paddy “Lacken” returned when he heard of his father’s arrest by the auxiliaries and his subsequent ill-treatment and use as a hostage.
On the second Sunday in May 1921, by arrangement with brigade O/C Sean Gaynor and Tom McGrath O/C 6th (Newport) Battalion, ambush positions were taken up on two roads leading to the Barrington home in Glenstall, Captain Biggs O/C of the Auxiliaries in Killaloe was known to be paying court to Miss Barrington and visited there regularly. That evening Captain Biggs, with Miss Barrington beside him, and a guard in the back of the car, was caught in the ambush.
[Note: “Captain Biggs” refers to District lnspector (Major) Henry Biggs, one of the most notorious and hated Black-and-Tan officers in the South of Ireland.]

[Note: “Miss Barrington” refers to Winifred Winnie Barrington, only daughter of Sir Charles Barrington of Glenstal.]

The signal was given when the car came into view and an expert sniper shot Biggs in the throat. A third occupant make good his escape unhurt.

Before he died that day on the roadside, Biggs was informed in no uncertain terms by Paddy “Lacken”, why he had been ambushed and shot. Paddy fired the fatal shot himself and emptied his revolver also in Biggs.

On the same evening by orders of the Brigade O/C, four other ambush positions were taken up on different roads within three quarters of a mile of Nenagh town centre. The objective of these ambushes was to restrict the spying activities of some Black and Tans. It appears that the Tans were accustomed to wandering out to the Tyone river bridge and sitting there, where they could observe the townspeople coming and going and it was much too close to a pathway used by members of the brigade staff on the way to their headquarters. The Tans failed to show, but one of the other three ambushes was successful and killed two R.I.C. constables. At this time the orders from the Chief of Staff General Dick Mulcahy, where “shoot on sight”. Dick was Thurles born and is buried in Ballymoreen, (graveyard) near Littleton, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

On being released from prison after close on four weeks, I returned home to find that my family and myself had a very narrow escape. It appears that on the evening that Devaney was killed and on which I was arrested, the Tans searched our farmhouse and out offices and almost dislodged a volunteer uniform cap and a booklet issued by brigade headquarters. Fortunately, the items did not fall down until after they passed through. My aunt found them and immediately buried them. Had they been found then our farm and buildings would have been burnt to the ground and I wouldn’t give you tuppence for my fate.

Later, I contacted the flying column O/C to find out how Devaney had come to be shot and to discuss reprisal action. Well it seems that four members of the column, with time on their hands decided, without permission, to slip down to the local known as ‘Lucky Bags’ for a quick drink. None of them were armed.

This old thatched pub had been burnt down some months earlier and was under reconstruction at that time; an outhouse with some planks across a couple of barrels served as a temporary bar in the meantime. Since the distance was only a couple of miles the boys slipped down by the railway which provided good cover. Jack O’Leary, a Munster and Leinster bank official, was left on guard but he failed to spot the police Crossley Tender, until it was too near. He made another fatal mistake by running back towards the pub. Had he walked he would not have aroused any suspicion and they could have melted away quietly. Two with O’Leary escaped in the cover of the buildings, but poor Devaney fell into a tank, with about 4 ft of water, which was in the yard adjoining a bye-road. He got only about 100 yards from the pub, when the firing got so close that he decided to jump the hedge on his right side and was struck by a bullet in the main artery between hip and knee. He bled to death where he fell.

Two of the others, Jack O’Leary and Paddy O’Brien, of the Silvermines, (Nenagh) ran down the road about 500 yards further and turned into a short laneway that led to the cottage, which I used for sheltering from the rain. Incidentally I neglected to mention that the widow and her children who owned the cottage happened to be absent at this time. Both men made good their escape across the field that I had ploughed and reached the safety of the countryside. The other member Tom Whelehan, who happened to suffer from asthma, lay down inside the makeshift counter in the outhouse and believe it or not the Tans failed to search there. After the lorry left, he made his way safely back to Toomevara.

Before leaving the Tans threw grenades into the house which was under construction. A carpenter named Mick Tracy, had a narrow escape when a piece of shrapnel ripped into the saw he was holding. His son still has that saw to this day, as a memento of those dark days.”

Is Mise,
One of the few remaining survivors.
Cornelius (Con) Spain.


Thurles – Looking Back

Today’s work being carried out on Liberty Square was initially the brainchild of visionary Mr Tomas (Tom) Barry, latter former Thurles Town Manager.

Back in 2002, following discussions with his Council Administrative Staff including Mr Michael Ryan, (latter then holding the post of Town Clerk), Mr Barry decided to promote a proposal to Thurles District Councillors [Today’s paid elected Municipal District Councillors], to increase the town’s overall ‘Commercial Rates’ by 25%, in the upcoming 2003 Budget estimates, bringing it into line with other Irish towns of a similar size.

His forward looking plan was that some 15% of this 25% increase would be immediately ‘ring fenced,’ to meet local contributions required for a possible number of future Capital Projects within the town. It was anticipated back then that this 15% would yield some €200,000.00 per annum.

Barry’s 2002 Vision for the Future of Thurles.

Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Photo January 2021, George Willoughby.

Mr Tom Barry, in his five point visionary plan to drag Thurles town into the 21st century and into line with other Irish towns of similar size, unveiled the following projects as listed hereunder:-
(1). Thurles Town Centre Enhancement. (2). A Regional Arts Centre. . (3). A Leisure Centre. . (4). Thurles Town Park and a River Walk. (5). Upgrading / Extension to Thurles Council Offices, , (Latter then grossly overcrowded and unfit for day to day business transactions.)
In relation to the Town centre Enhancement Scheme, he stated that such would dramatically augment an overall appearance of Thurles town centre.

Having shared his vision with Town Councillors, Mr Barry’s proposals were considered 19 years ago, at the 2003 Budget Meeting, latter which was held on Thursday, December 19th 2002. This aforementioned Budget meeting, which called for the introduction of this 25% Commercial Rates increase, was formally adopted by Thurles Council, by a 5 votes majority, with two other councillors unavoidably absent from that meeting.

One of those councillors who voted ‘Against’ Mr Tom Barry’s future vision for Thurles, was current day, Thurles Municipal Councillor, Mr Jim Ryan. Nevertheless, despite Councillor Jim Ryan’s objections, Thurles, within the next 16 years could rightly boast a new Regional Arts Centre, a new Library, a new Leisure Centre, an Extension to Thurles Council Offices and a new Thurles Town Park, courtesy of Thurles Commercial Rate payers.

All that is missing from Mr Barry’s vision today, is a properly maintained River Walk and the full completion of the enhancement to the Thurles Town Centre, latter now currently well advanced.

Alas, those were the days when rate payer’s money was carefully minded; local councils had employees; streets were kept clean and potholes were filled.

Note: All of these facts, above stated, are contained in Thurles Town Council Minutes, requested by me in the past, for my own perusal and available on request by the public for little charge.

Today, February 2nd, 2021; as part of the current upgrade to Liberty Square, it appears that sewer pipes are being installed.

It is therefore interesting to note that not one single politician or Municipal District councillor was present at a meeting in Thurles on Friday November 13th 1846, when the first ever sewage system was installed.

Present were the administrators of varying churches; Rev. Dr. Henry Cotton (Chairperson), Rev. Mr Laffan, Rev. Dr. O’Connor, Rev. Mr Barron. Rev. P Leahy, Rev. Mr Baker, Mr Francis O’Brien Esq. (Latter Justice of the Peace) and our old friend now well introduced to present day unproductive Municipal District councillors and useless politicians, yes, Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs, who had urgently instigated the building of a “Double Ditch”, thus placing food into the mouths of those close to starvation and death.

At this meeting in 1846, which began promptly at 3:00pm in today’s Ulster Bank building on Liberty Square, (then the home of the said Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs), details of the number of paupers then in the Poor House (former site of today’s Hospital of the Assumption) were recorded by the acting secretary, yes the same Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs.

The original Poor House built in 1840, to accommodate 700 persons, had contained within it, “84 men, 184 women, 414 children — in all a total of 682 homeless, destitute persons.

Being a medical doctor, Dr. Robert Knaggs was well aware of problems linked to a severe lack of hygiene. There were within the town of Thurles no sewers, people merely emptied their defecation into the nearest three cornered ‘shit well’, latter located, staggered in the various back lanes within the town. Contents of same wells would be removed weekly by an operating ‘Honey Waggon’ (Horse drawn covered wagon) to be spread on farm land as fertiliser and also, quickly recycled, by Crows, Jackdaws and other bird life.

“Having discussed and resolved that 20 barrels of wheat should be purchased in the local market the following day, to be ground into meal, for distribution to those starving. Meal tickets (the 2nd only provision of such in Thurles) were issued on that same day, numbered as follows:- Stradavoher 601 to 700, Garryvicleheen (Abbey Rd. Area) 701 to 800, Pudding Lane (O’Donovan Rossa Street) 801 to 900, Quarry Street (Mitchel Street) 901 to 1000, Pike Street (Kickham Street) 1001 to 1100 and Main Street (today’s Liberty Square & Cathedral Street combined) 1101 to 1120.”

However, before the meeting concluded and adjourned to 3:00pm on the following Monday, the acting secretary Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs suggested that a large number of unemployed men could be employed on making the first sewers through the town, if there was a quarry made available. Chairperson Rev. Dr. Henry Cotton offers the use of a quarry situated on his land.

In less than 3 weeks, by November 30th 1846, plans had been drawn up as follows: –

  • To construct 42 perches (231yds/211.2m) of sewers from Rich’d Ryan’s to the Derheen, costed at £84.
  • To construct 96 perches (528yds/482.8m) of sewers from Danl Dwyer’s to the bridge, costed at £192
  • To construct 66 perches (363yds/331.9m) of sewers from Butler’s Gate to James Maher’s Yard, costed at £132.
  • To construct 9 perches (49.9yds/44.8m) of sewers from the Barracks (Opposite todays Premier Hall) to the Main Street, costed at £185.
  • To construct 66 perches(363yds/331.9 m) of covered drain or sewer from the bridge to the turn of the Mall with a tunnel under the river, and open a drain from the bridge in Thurles to Byrne’s Mill with a tunnel under the Drish River to carry up the levels for the drains of the town, costed at ​£800.

​Total for this complete work, on wages of 8p per day, was estimated at costing £1,226.

A section of the sewer built in Thurles in 1846, during the Great Famine.
Pictured in 1995, note the neat hand cut stone positioned on either side of the drain, lead lined and hidden by the water a flat 2.5in slate bottom. These sewers were so well built that many years later, they were used to accommodate modern day sewage pipes, by Thurles town council.

Additional works had also been approved of earlier for the Thurles area, on Thursday November 26th 1846​, by the then Board of Works, consisting of the following, using available labour: –

  • Construct 400 perches (2,200yds / 2011.6m) of the road from Thurles to Urlingford between Lisduff and the Fort on the Widow Keogh’s farm at Rahealty, costed at ​£150.00.
  • To lower and remake two footpaths one from the corner of Pierce McLoughlin’s Delph shop (Today’s AIB Bank building, Liberty Square) to the Thurles Court House pier, being 22½ perches (123.75yds/113.16m) and the other from John Finn’s Hardware shop corner (Todays Carphone Warehouse, Liberty Square), back to the Police Barracks on the other side, (Opposite todays Premier Hall), being 19 perches (104.5yds/104.7m) costed at £10-7-6.
  • To repair 600 perches (3,300yds/3,017.5m) of the road from Athlumon Ford to Godfrey’s Mills costed at ​£80.00.
  • To repair 200 perches (1,100yds/1005.8m) of the road from Patrick Lahey’s gate at Kilrush to the Widow Shea’s house, Burris Road.

“Following a meeting held on December 4th 1846 the committee confirmed that 740 persons were in the Thurles Work House, as already stated, latter built only to accommodate 700 souls.”

By Tuesday, February 9th 1847 (Black 47), 1,991 persons were now employed, receiving wages from mostly local funding, at the above works listed hereunder: –

At ​Ballygammane – 84 employed persons, Pierstown Road – 56 persons, Seskin – 59 persons, cutting stone at the Stone Depot – 535 persons, at Drish Hill – 40 persons, at Rossestown Hill – 100 persons, working on Thurles Sewers – 163 persons, doing​ ‘Pathing’ – 225 persons, working on Embankment – 116 persons, on Kilrush Road – 47 persons, on the Widow Shea’s Road – 41 persons, on Turtulla Towpath – 82 persons, on Garrenrow Road ​- 100 persons, in Rahealty and Lisduff ​- 35 persons.

The then Member of Parliament (MP) for Tipperary, Mr Nicholas V Maher Esq. (Repeal Association MP and a member of the all-male, liberal Reform Club founded in 1836), subscribed £50 to the project. The absent then owner / landlord of Thurles, Viscount de Chabot, (Louis William de Rohan) also subscribed £50 and his son Count de Jarnac (Philippe-Ferdinand-Auguste de Rohan-Chabot). subscribed £10.

Their subscriptions compared dismally with the generosity of the aforementioned committee member present at the meeting, Mr Francis O’Brien Esq. JP (Justice of the Peace), who subscribed £30, and Rev. Dr. Michael Slattery, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly who subscribed £50.

This is the Dr. Robert Charles Knaggs, whom Tipperary Co. Council officials, together with Thurles Municipal District Councillors and our ever “Welcoming”, “Paste & Copy pictures of myself standing beside achievers to Facebook “ local elected politicians, through their ignorance, over the past 12 months, have stupidly decided to erase from our rich Thurles history.

One wonders if the “Double Ditch” got a mention in the first draft of the Renewal Strategy report presented to Thurles Councillors and their silent senior officials, on last Monday, January the 18th last.

Thurles People can now surely understand fully, the phrase, “Eaten bread is soon forgotten”.