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Death Of Nora Hickey, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death, on Monday 22nd November 2021, of Mrs Nora Hickey (née Bourke), Cummermore, Kilcommon, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Mrs Hickey passed away peacefully while in the loving care of her family.

Her passing is most deeply regretted by her family, extended relatives, neighbours and friends.

Requiescat in Pace.

Funeral Arrangements.

A private family funeral has already taken place.

The family of Mrs Hickey 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.


In ár gcroíthe go deo.

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Killer Covid-19 Cases Reach 6,273 Today On Irish Mainland.

There have been 4,791 new cases of Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health over the past 24 hours here in the Republic of Ireland; up 171 cases based on yesterday’s reported figures.

There remain 536 patients with Covid in our hospitals, same figure down from 571 also reported yesterday; with 118 of these patients receiving treatment in intensive care units across our State.

Sadly, to date, 112 Covid-related deaths have been notified during November 2021.

According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, social contacts over the festive period will fully determine the number of cases existing over the next few weeks and months; further warning that continuing high case numbers suggests that pressure on our health system will continue for some time to come. On Tuesday next, the Irish Cabinet is expected to sign off on a decision to reintroduce mandatory hotel quarantine, following Dr Holohan’s advice.

Last evening, Minister for Health Mr Stephen Donnelly announced mandatory home quarantine measures for people coming from some seven southern African states, to Ireland, following the recently discovered Covid-19, B.1.1.529 strain of concern, same renamed as “Omicron” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
‘Omicron’ is now the 5th variant of concern, designated by the WHO.

Between the 14 day period, November 9th, 2021 and November 22nd, 2021, the following number of cases have been confirmed in each of the Co. Tipperary local electoral areas (LEAs):
Nenagh – 339; Thurles – 276; Carrick-on-Suir – 256; Roscrea-Templemore – 245; Clonmel – 228; Cahir – 204; Cashel-Tipperary – 195 and Newport – 177.

In Northern Ireland another 1,482 new cases of coronavirus have also been confirmed today, down from 2,004 reported yesterday. Sadly, 2 further Covid-19-related deaths have also been reported by their Department of Health.

Britain will now require all arriving passengers to isolate until they can show a negative PCR test against Covid-19, following two cases of the new ‘Omicron’ strain having emerged there.

Paris has made the wearing of face masks outdoors mandatory again at public gatherings as the Covid-19 infection rate in the French capital soars.

Australia and several other countries have joined nations imposing restrictions on travel from southern Africa, after the discovery of the new Omicron coronavirus variant sparked global concern and triggered a sell-off on financial markets.

Financial markets plunged yesterday, especially the stocks of airlines and others in the travel sector, as investors worried the variant could cause yet another surge in the pandemic thus stalling a global recovery.

The HSE and Health Minister Mr Stephen Donnelly, incorrectly in my view, took the brunt of a weekly ill-informed tirade today, from Tipperary TD, consistent whinger and recognised Tipperary embarrassment, Mr Mattie McGrath, latter who declared Mr Donnelly’s position as untenable.
One now feels it’s time to retire this same, out of touch TD, Mr Mattie McGrath, to history, come the next general election; although we doubt if history is interested in comedy.

Continue to listen to science and do continue to keep yourself and your family safe by regularly washing your hands; wearing a mask when appropriate and cut down on your social contacts.

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New Trees On Liberty Square, Thurles, Offer A Certain Continental Charm.

With the relocation of seven (7) new ‘Italian Alder’ (Alnus Cordata), trees, newly sown on Liberty Square, Thurles; these deciduous trees, native to high elevation areas in Southern Italy, are sure to bring a certain continental charm to our town centre.

Four of seven ‘Italian Alder’ trees sown this week on Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Pic. G. Willoughby.

Growing to a height of up to 25m (82ft) and with a spread of some 8m (26ft); same trees are native to southern Italy.
Italian Alder is a tall, fast-growing, deciduous tree of conical habit, with the flowers appearing before the leaves.
The slender cylindrical male catkins are pendulous, reddish and up to 10 cm (4 inches) long. Pollination is in early spring, before the leaves emerge. The female catkins are ovoid, when mature in autumn, dark green to brown in colour, similar to some conifer cones. The small winged seeds disperse through the winter, leaving the old woody, blackish cones on the tree for up to a year afterwards.

The glossy, mid-green leaves themselves are heart-shaped with very finely serrated edges and stay on the tree as late as December, especially in milder areas. Italian alder is highly wind-resistant and tolerant of very poor soils, as it is able to obtain nitrogen from the air. It will also tolerate high levels of pollution and heavily compacted soils, making it a useful urban tree.

With the occasional uncouth barbarian often visiting our town, usually at night, hopefully these trees will be protected soon by metal tree guards, at least until roots properly take hold.

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JYSK Chain Gets Set To Open New Furniture Outlet In Thurles.

As we announced back on June 29th 2021 last on Thurles.Info; JYSK have begun the first steps in opening up their latest Irish store on Abbey Road, situated on the west side of Thurles town.

Signage already erected on the old Lidl outlet on Abbey Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
Pic. Courtesy G. Willoughby.

The company had received planning approval for change of use, from the previous Lidl store, and for the installation of appropriate signage and parking.

JYSK (meaning “Jutlandic”) now already with 12 stores in Ireland, was founded in Denmark and is owned by the Lars Larsen Group; selling household furniture and other associated furnishings including, office and garden furniture, linen, curtains and blinds, while boasting over 3000 outlets globally.

With the loss of Heaton’s on lower Liberty Square, Thurles; same establishment is seen as most welcome here in Thurles.

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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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