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Former Tipperary Family Connection Associated With New British Educational Scheme

Beginning September 2021; the British government has committed some 100 million sterling to a new study and work abroad programme for students, to be known as the ‘Turing Scheme’.

The Turing Scheme gets its name from Alan Turing OBE. FRS. a brilliant mathematician, cryptographer and founder of modern day computer science and artificial intelligence, whose family once resided at Tombrickane, Kyle Park, Borrisokane, North Co. Tipperary.

Click HERE to read more about the man with the Tipperary connection, who according to British statesman, Sir Winston Churchill, shortened World War II, by at least 2 years and single handedly saved the lives of some 2 million people.

Same Turing Scheme is set to replace the UK’s participation in Erasmus+. This new Turing Scheme aims to fund 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools abroad. Educational institutions are welcome to begin applying to participate in this scheme this year affording British students the opportunity to attend European universities.

Erasmus+ remains the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. With the UK unable to agree on the cost of their continued participation in Erasmus+, the programmes budget is now no longer available for participation to British students.

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Thurles – Looking Back

Rev. Archdeacon Dr. Henry Cotton

Tithes were the one tenth part of annual earnings, formerly taken as a form of tax for the support of the Church and its clergy.

The Tithe Applotment Books were compiled between 1823 and 1837, in order to indicate the amount which occupiers of agricultural lands over and above one acre, should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland (The Protestant church was then the church established by the State, until its dis-establishment later in 1871).

Today the Tithe Applotment Book records, remain a most vital source for genealogical research, especially before the Great Famine period (1845-1850). Remember most of the 1821-51 Census records were destroyed in the Irish Public Record Office, which was then part of the Four Courts complex, and was the location of major fighting by pro-Treaty and anti-Treaty forces in June 1922.

Here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, in 1831, threats were first made against the then protestant Minister, Rev. Archdeacon Dr. Henry Cotton, when he attempted to collect this same Tithe Tax.

In a letter to the ‘Board of First Fruits’ (Irish: Bord na Prímhide) latter an institution of the Church of Ireland established in 1711 by the then British Queen Anne (Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland between March 8th 1702 and August 1st 1714) to build and improve churches and glebe houses in Ireland. Same institution was funded from clerical incomes, which were in turn funded by tithe taxes.

Thurles minister Rev. Henry Cotton wrote in his letter: – “In 1831 the opposition had reached a fearful height, my collectors were assaulted and one had his skull fractured, others though guarded by policemen were attacked by a large angry mob, one lost his life, all others were intimidated from acting for me. I felt compelled to leave my residence, and have not yet returned to it, so great the spirit of violence…..”

However, it would appear that this ‘great spirit of violence’, did not deter Rev. Cotton from continuing to attempt to collect tithe tax on behalf of the established ‘Board of First Fruits’.

On Saturday Oct. 7th 1837, we read the Newspaper headline:-

“Attempted seizure for tithes at Mullinahone”.
Tues 3rd Oct. 1837. About 150 police from Clonmel, Carrick, Cashel, Fethard and Killenaule, with about 40 of the 34th Regt, with Edw. Lawlor Cambie Esq, sub-sheriff and 4 ragged bailiffs, marched in here and at 12:00 o’clock proceeded to house Mr Thomas Mullally, Mohubbe, to distrain for tithes due to Rev. Archdeacon Cotton. But Mr. Mullally could not be found and there was not a 4 footed animal on his land. A similar attempt was made on this gentleman and on Mr. Richard Cormack in Oct. 1836. Cotton an absentee clergyman from his union of Lismalin – which has 2000 Catholics and only about half a dozen Protestants. The people of Lismalin and Mohubber are determined not to pay tithes until the question is settled by British Legislature”.

Later, Rev. Archdeacon Henry Cotton did eventually return to his Rectory (Glebe House) on the Dublin Road, here in Thurles and working closely together with a local Roman Catholic priest Rev. Fr. Wm. Barron, from St. Patrick’s College, here in Thurles, led our local community safely through the Great Famine period.

Amongst the many public works projects funded and undertaken by this Great Famine committee, latter chaired and guided both by Rev. H. Cotton and Fr. Wm. Barron; was the “Double Ditch” on the Mill Road, Thurles; now under threat of extinction, by ill-informed officials, politicians and County Councillors, within Tipperary Co. Council.

More on the “Double Ditch” saga within the next few days.

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Thurles – Looking Back.

Cathedral Street, Thurles, (formerly East Main Street, Thurles), at the junction of (left – right) Mitchel Street (formerly Quarry Street); St. Mary’s Avenue (formerly Church Lane); and Kickham Street (formerly Pike Street or “The Pike”).

Picture left above shows farmers lining up to sell their wool to purchasers Ryan’s (Brewery Stores) on east Main Street Thurles.
Picture right above shows East Main Street, today (December 30th 2020) renamed Cathedral Street, Thurles.

Sheep numbers grew significantly here in Ireland from some 2 million in 1848, towards the end of the Great Famine period; to 3.6m at the end of 2014. Land normally ploughed decreased almost by half within the same period, up until 1916, while land in pasture increased to double for grazing animals.

In hilly, mountainous areas, the selected breeds were prominently Blackface Mountain ewes and Cheviots, well able to survive on various and difficult terrains.

However, farmers, occupying the rich farmlands of Tipperary (Golden Vale), kept sheep for two main products, meat (mutton) and wool, thus reducing their dependence on the potato crop as their staple diet, towards the end of the 1800’s. Both mutton, wool and live sheep, in large numbers, were successfully exported to Britain.

Photograph on the left above was probably taken in the early years of 1900. The bright sunshine to the rear suggests the exposure was made mid-morning, towards the end of June when all sheep shearing was concluded. I base this observance on the fact that from June 1st in Tipperary, sheep were in the past, generally seen as ready to shear, with summer temperatures increasing.

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Thurles – Looking Back.

Pictured (centre of crowd) An Taoiseach Mr Éamon de Valera (1882 – 1975) arriving in Thurles to turn the sod on the Thurles Sugar Factory, in 1933.

In 1933 the first state owned company, Cómlucht Siūicre Eireann Teo, was formed and the then Taoiseach Mr Éamon de Valera came to Thurles to turn the sod on the second of three new sugar beet factories.

One year later, in 1934 the first sugar beet campaigns commenced at Thurles, Mallow and Tuam. In the 1934 production campaign more than 44,000 acres of sugar beet were sown and approximately half-a-million tonnes of beet were processed.

In Thurles this enterprise back in 1934, transformed the fortunes of Thurles and its hinterland. In an era of acute economic hardship, arising from a worldwide depression and a bitter trade war with Britain, the plant was described as “manna from heaven”.

In 1989 the Thurles Sugar Factory closed with the loss of 400 jobs, delivering a blow from which Thurles, to date, would never recover. This devastation, would be followed later by the closure of the GMX factory, with the loss of 230 jobs; Erin Foods with the loss of 95 jobs, while smaller Thurles industries like Tipperary Candy and Tipperary Cereals also vanished; and while local politicians found themselves incapable of consigning even the smallest modicum of replacement industry.

Interesting to note from the picture the number of men found “doffing their hats” in a cultural expression of recognition, respect, gratitude, simple salutation or acknowledgement rarely seen in today’s Ireland.

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Thurles, Co. Tipperary Christmas 2020.

May we here at Thurles.Info take this opportunity to wish everyone at home and abroad a very happy Christmas, especially those, who for one reason or another, have been unable to travel due to the present Covid-19 pandemic.

Our slideshow will hopefully carry a reminder of previous Christmas’s spent amongst us, and we look forward to welcoming you all back in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, Please Do Stay Safe.


Figgy Pudding:

“Oh, bring us some figgy pudding” is one of the traditional lines in the lyrics associated with “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”, our second song used in our video slideshow shown above.

Figgy pudding possibly first originated in the 14th-century, (referred to in 1390), as a way principally to preserve food and was initially served as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas season.

Beef and mutton were mixed with raisins and prunes, wines and spices and sometimes with eggs. When grains were finally added it gained the look of porridge, bearing the names “Frumenty, Frumentee, Furmity, Fromity, or Fermenty.”

In the early 15th century, the ingredients mutated into “Plum Pottage”. A mix of meats, grains, vegetables, fats, spices and fruits, most notably raisins and currants, and same were packaged like huge sausages inside animal stomachs and intestines, (some similarities with Haggis traditionally of Scottish origin and going back to 1430), to be stored until it was served as part of the traditional Celtic Christmas meal usually on Christmas Eve.

“Plum Pottage” was not always associated with Christmas, but was also connected with Mothering Sunday, (i.e. in late spring), and with sheep-shearing (i.e. held in June).

This Christmas styled dessert was banned in the mid-16th century. by Puritans (English Protestants), under Oliver Cromwell, but was reinstated as a Christmas pudding by King George I, in the early 18th century. Many Puritans objected to the Popish associations of Christmas and to the excesses of enjoyment associated, such as lavish eating, play-acting, gambling and dancing.

Figs have never actually been an official ingredient of ‘figgy pudding‘, but may have been briefly included from time to time, thus inspiring the name.

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