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Louise Kennedy Autumn / Winter Collection 2018

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ actress Ellen Pompeo did it when she married Chris Ivery in 2007. Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker did it when she married Matthew Broderick in 1997 and singer Avril Lavigne did it when she married Nickelback rocker Chad Kroeger in 2006.

 Question: “Did what”, I hear our readers say. Answer: “Got married wearing a black wedding dress.”

Model: Sarah Morrissey;    Photograph: the vow.ie

Earlier this month, a ‘second time around’, black wedding gown, with corded lace, hand-embellished crystals and feathers, together with a glamorous, scallop-edged train; stole the show, while being unveiled during Louise Kennedy’s Autumn / Winter Fashion collection for 2018.

The internationally renowned Tipperary designer, herself lauded the ‘uncrowned queen of Irish fashion’; Ms Louise Kennedy has entered her 35th years in the designer fashion industry, which she successfully headquarters in Merrion Square. Dublin.

Top Model Sarah Morrissey was the wearer of this black, nautically inspired or bateau neck lined dress; beautifully accentuated by a most dramatic tulle headpiece.

Ms Kennedy, from North Co. Tipperary, first studied at the College of Marketing and Design, now part of the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Grafton Academy, before she set up her own designing business between 1982, and 1984. Since then she has dressed members of the British, European and Middle Eastern Royal Families. Other wearers of her unique designer styles have included former British Prime Minister Gorden Brown’s wife, Sarah Brown; former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie Blair; actress, director, producer, author Angelica Huston; 21 time Academy award nominated American actress Meryl Streep; actress Rosalie Anderson “Andie” McDowell; singer Beyoncé; singer/actress Kylie Minogue; British Perfumer Jo Malone; actress Emma Thompson; English model Yasmin Le Bon, and the late actress Ms Elizabeth Taylor; to name but a few.


Closing Down Sale At Home Of Dr. William Bradshaw

In 2018, we rightly condemn the closure of rural Post Offices, but take note, some five assorted clothing retail outlets, all situated within the area of Liberty Square, here in Thurles, [e.g. Heatons, Dempsey’s, Joanne’s Boutique, Elverys and First Editions] worryingly have either closed, moved or are about to shut shop, and all within a 12-month period. [Those that claim they rule over us, should perhaps please pay attention.]

Established some 70 years ago, one such premises, ‘Heatons’ fast became one of Ireland’s largest group of department stores, providing the latest in men’s, women’s and kid’s fashions; as well as retailing contemporary home wares and home textiles. March 2016 saw the sale of this Irish chain store to Mike Ashley’s ‘Sports Direct’ for a reported €47.5m, following the eventual settlement of a bitter legal dispute.

The Heatons department Store building here in Thurles, which had allowed its outer appearance to greatly deteriorate, has however a rich, past, local, associated history.

Picture [1] – Heatons Liberty Square, Thurles. Picture [2] – Senior Surgeon Sir Anthony Dickson Home. Picture [3] – Assistant-Surgeon Dr. William Bradshaw. Picture [4] – Dr. William Bradshaw’s medal display. Picture [5] – Painting by the VC Artist Louis William Desanges (1822–1906), depicting Surgeon (later Surgeon General) Sir Anthony Dickson Home (1826–1914), VC (Victoria Cross), KCB (Knight Commander of the Bath), and Assistant Surgeon Dr. William Bradshaw (1830–1861), VC (Victoria Cross), Lucknow (Lakhnau), 1857.

The Heatons building once occupied the Medical Hall in Thurles and was the home of Dr. George Bradshaw and his son Dr. William Bradshaw; former who died on the 14th Aug 1867, aged 68 years and who was a member of the Thurles / Rahealty Famine Food committee, (1846/1847), contributing not only his medical skills, but also his family’s finances; and the latter, William, who died on March 9th 1861 aged just 31 years.

An assistant surgeon; Dr. William Bradshaw served in the 50th regiment (West Kents) during the Crimean war. This war was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856, in which the Russian Empire lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia. Dr Bradshaw was a recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), won while serving with the 90th (The Cameronians) Scottish Rifles, at the relief of Lucknow, latter the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

A Victoria Cross remains the highest and most prestigious medal awarded for valour in the face of the enemy granted to British and Commonwealth armed forces of any military rank. The VC was first introduced on the 29th of January 1856 by Queen Victoria to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since that day, the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients. Only 15 medals, (11 to members of the British Army, and four to the Australian Army), have been awarded since the Second World War. The source of the metal from which the medals were struck / manufactured, was derived from Russian cannon guns captured at the Siege of Sevastopol, an important and historical port on the Black Sea. Metal for most of the medals struck since December 1914 are understood to originate from two Chinese cannon. Owing to its rarity, the Victoria Cross is highly prized, with medals fetching figures in excess of some €600,000 at auction.

An assistant surgeon in 1857 and then just 27 years old, Dr. Bradshaw’s VC was presented two years later by Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace, London, England on June 8th 1859. His Victoria Cross today is on display at the Royal Army Medical Corps Museum, Keogh Barracks, Mytchett Place Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, England.

The London Gazette, the official journal of record of the British government, on June 18th, 1858 stated, “Her Majesty has also been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the Decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers of Her Majesty [Later to be Surgeon General  Sir Anthony Dickson Home (1826-1914) and Assistant-Surgeon Dr William Bradshaw] and of the East India Company’s Armies, who have been recommended to Her Majesty’s Warrant for that Decoration, in accordance with the rules & regulations laid down in Her Majesty’s Warrant before referred to on account of Acts of Bravery performed by them in India.

 Surgeon General Sir Anthony Dickson Home
“For persevering bravery and admirable conduct in charge of the wounded men left behind the column, when the troops under the late Major-General Havelock, forced their way into the Residency of Lucknow, on the 26th September, 18o7. The escort left with the wounded had, by casualties, been reduced to a few stragglers, and being entirely separated from the column, this small party with the wounded were forced into a house, in which they defended themselves till it was set on fire. They then retreated to a shed a few yards from it, and in this place continued to defend themselves for more than twenty-two hours, till relieved. At last, only six men and Mr. Home remained to fire. Of four officers who were with the party, all were badly wounded, and three are since dead. The conduct of the defence during the latter part of the time devolved therefore on Mr. Home, and to his active exertions previously to being forced into the house, and his good conduct throughout, the safety of any of the wounded, and the successful defence, is mainly to be attributed.”

Assistant-Surgeon William Bradshaw
Date of Act of Bravery, 26th September, 1857
“For intrepidity and good conduct when, ordered with Surgeon Home, 90th Regiment, to remove the wounded men left behind the column that forced its way into the Residency of Lucknow, on the 26th September, 1857. The doolie bearers had left the doolies, (Latter a Hindi word for a ‘litter’ or covered stretcher), but by great exertions, and notwithstanding the close proximity of the sepoys; Surgeon Anthony Dickson Home Home, and Assistant Surgeon Bradshaw got some of the bearers together, and Assistant-Surgeon Bradshaw with about twenty doolies, becoming separated from the rest of the party, succeeded in reaching the Residency in safety by the river bank.”

The British Residency at Lucknow saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the Indian Mutiny (1857–1859). Under siege from July 1857, a relief force fought its way into the city in September 1857, but the siege could not be lifted until November. Surgeon Sir Anthony Dickson Home, and Assistant-Surgeon Dr. William Bradshaw were both part of this relief force.

Sir Anthony Dickson Home gave his own account of the action in ‘Records of the 90th Regiment’: “Here our men fell thickly and all the doolies (covered stretchers) were deserted”.

Some of the doolies did manage to reach safety. William Bradshaw was sent back with Mr Hurst, latter an Apothecary (Chemist), to the rear of the column and after managing to round up some of the doolie bearers, they then succeeded in getting the wounded away from the area and along the river to the Residency.  Bradshaw became wounded in during this evacuation.
The remaining doolies; with their wounded still with them, were scattered about the street and square with the doolie bearers themselves sheltering from grapeshot fire. When the mutineers began to make their entry into the square; fearing for the safety of the wounded left stranded in the doolies, Sir Anthony Dickson Home rushed out into the open and with the help of some of the escort, they dragged the wounded into a doorway. The mutineers now turned their attention on this doorway. Using the bodies of dead mutineers and any other objects available; a barricade was erected against the mutineers increasing fire power. Further attempts continued in the rescuing of the wounded from the doolies, resulting in wounds to both the rescuers and the rescued. When not treating the wounded Sir Anthony Dickson Home found himself involved in the fighting.

Eventually the mutineers gained access to the roof with the intention of setting it alight and burning out the party below. The able bodied rushed to another building, however the mutineers followed followed and again set fire to the roof. Desperate for water and on constantly alert to the fighting in their vicinity, at daybreak the party were finally relieved and were led to safety.

Dr. William Bradshaw died on March 9th 1861 and today his ashes can be found buried in St Mary’s graveyard, here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.


Tipperary Schoolgirl Designs Vestment For Pope Francis

World Missions Ireland – We can bring hope and love to communities where there is turmoil, poverty, and uncertainty.

Jane Boland with her winning design. Picture: World Missions Ireland.

A fifth class student attending Carrig National School, Ballycommon, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, has beaten more than 4,500 other pupils from around Ireland, to win the right to design the vestments to be worn, here in Ireland, during the visit by the 266th Jesuit Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio).

Miss Jane Boland, a truly talented Tipperary schoolgirl and aged just 11 years, designed the vestment for His Holiness Pope Francis based around an image of a globe of the world, and incorporating the cultures and passions of many other nations, while depicting creativity, community, nature and technology; thus reflecting our ever changing world planet.

World Missions Ireland, which is the official charity of Pope Francis for overseas missions, confirmed it was particularly difficult to pick a final winner in this nationwide competition, due to the particularly high standard of the designs submitted.

Miss Boland’s winning entry will now be sent to tailors in Rome, latter who will then be commissioned to recreate it into a life-sized garment. Once completed, World Missions Ireland will then gift these vestments to his Holiness, who will wear them when he attends here in Ireland for the World Meeting of Families next August.

World Missions Ireland will also display a replica of the winning vestment at stands No.23 and No.24, during the World Meeting of Families, to be held in the grounds of the Royal Dublin Society (RDS), scheduled to take place on August 22nd through to August 24th, 2018 next.


Thurles Ursuline Students Make It Through To Junk Kouture National Final

Ursuline Junk Kouture “Palette Prisoner” from George Willoughby on Vimeo.

Congratulations to Ms Benita Wrochna (Model & Designer), Ms Katelyn Egan (Co-Designer), and Ms Kayleigh Fogarty (Co-Designer), all fourth year students at the Ursuline Convent Secondary School here in Thurles.

Their collaboration behind the ‘haute couture’ creation ‘Palette Prisoner’ has now been chosen as one of just 80 remaining out of some 1500 original creations nationwide.

The three students will now compete for the National Final of Junk Kouture in the 3Arena at North Wall Quay in Dublin, on April 19th next, sponsored by Bank Of Ireland.

How our readers can help.
Online voting will begins on Monday April 1st until Friday April 5th, so naturally our Thurles students are seeking your support in this final stage. Voting can be undertaken by clicking on https://app.junkkouture.com.


Have Yourself A Merry Christmas In Thurles


With Christmas Day a mere 15 sleeps away, Thurles is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

All shop windows here in the centre of of the town are now displaying their festive finery, with Hummingbird’s window display (situated in Friar Street, Thurles) particularly imaginative, forcing even the busiest shopper to halt awhile and stare.

Thurles Town Council have long completed the finishing touches to the Christmas street lighting which each year, over this festive season, creates a warm and cheery atmosphere for shoppers.

Yes, Thurles is certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas and we will be featuring other shop window displays later in the week.