Ireland’s National Circus Rolls Into Mid-West Region.

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in County Clare will host ‘The Big Top’ of Ireland’s national circus this coming weekend, Saturday and Sunday (June 15th/16th 2024).

As stated, this award-winning Fossett’s Circus is visiting the country’s most famous medieval castle on Saturday and Sunday June 15th/16th and will feature the very best of international circus acts, including jugglers, aerial acrobats and dare devils.

Ms Charlotte Rebers, (Operations Manager at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park), said, “We are excited to welcome back Fossett’s Circus to the Folk Park. Circus goers will receive free entry to the Castle and Folk Park, which guarantees a fun-filled day out, for families and people of all ages at our visitor attraction.”

Ms Marion Fossett, the ringmaster of Fossett’s Circus has been carrying on a family tradition that has lasted for generations.

Ms Fossett said, “All of our performers and crew have very fond memories of our previous Bunratty visits and this year, we promise to put on an even bigger and better show to the people of the Mid-West Region, which includes the counries of Tipperary, Clare and Limerick . Highlights of our circus include the Globe of Speed featuring FMX Stunt Motorcycle riders, The Wheel of Death, and the thrilling Flying Trapeze high in the roof of the Big Top.”

Ticket bookings for Fossett’s Circus, at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, can be made at HERE.
Remember: Each purchased ticket provides free entry to the Castle and Folk Park.
Circus Shows will be staged at 1.00pm on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th.


Love Will Survive (Tätowierer of Auschwitz).

Love Will Survive (from The Tattooist of Auschwitz)

The book “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” is an truly an extraordinary book, which relates a true story about the extremes of human behaviour existing, each side by side; the calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love.

This true story relates to a fact that in April 1942, pre-war business man Lale Sokolov, [born Ludwig Eisenberg on October 28th 1916 ], latter a Slovakian Jew, was forcibly transported to the WWII concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that Lale speaks several languages, he is forced to work as a Tätowierer (German word for tattooist), tasked with the permanently marking of his fellow prisoners arms.

While imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale, (latter prisoner number 32407), witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism, but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Now, often risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange money and jewellery, same taken from Jewish prisoners already murdered in the camp, using same to acquire food, thus keeping his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale comforts a nervous young woman, latter waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. He discovers her name is Gita [(Giselle) Cycowicz (née Friedman)] born in 1927 in Chust, Czechoslovakia, (today Khust, Ukraine), and from his first encounter with her, Lale vows to somehow survive the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp and marry her, same marriage in fact come to pass in 1945.

Love Will Survive (from “The Tattooist of Auschwitz”)

Vocals: American singer, actress, songwriter, producer and director Ms Barbra Streisand.
Lyrics: American songwriter and record producer Charlie Midnight, in collaboration with German-born American film score composer and music producer Hans Zimmer, composer for film and television Ms Kara Talve and American record producer and songwriter Walter Afanasieff.

Love Will Survive (from “The Tattooist of Auschwitz”)

Until I find you and walk beside you,
Until we face every heartache together,
I’ll keep believing, feel your breathing, hear your cries,
With every season of sorrow, somehow our love survives.
As nights grew longer, our prayers grew stronger,
And in the darkness, we kept hope alive.
We made a promise that love will survive.
And in our dreams, we are running from shadows,
Leaving behind the tears and the ghosts.
Until I’m near you, somehow, I’ll hear you,
Your voice will echo inside me forever.
And in our dreams, we are running from shadows,
Leaving behind the tears and the ghosts,
Whilst our years were taken, our spirits shaken,
But in the darkness, we kept hope alive.
We made a promise that love will survive.
Love will survive.


The book is a vivid, harrowing, yet ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences, as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of fellow prisoners with what would eventually become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, which was Nazi Germany’s deliberate, organized, state-sponsored persecution and genocide of European Jews. During WWII, this Nazi regime and their collaborators systematically murdered over six million Jewish people.

The book, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a true testament to the endurance of love and humanity, under the darkest possible conditions of a concentration camp during WWII.


Auschwitz Album – Surviving Visual Evidence Of Mass Murder Of Jews.

The current Anti-Semitism continues a centuries-long phenomenon in Europe, having possibly reached its zenith during the Nazi era (1933–1945) in Germany.
‘The Holocaust’ was Nazi Germany’s deliberate, organized, state-sponsored persecution and genocide of European Jews. During WWII, the existing Nazi regime systematically murdered about six million of the Jewish population.

Why are Jews Targeted? The Origins of Antisemitism

Today the “Auschwitz Album,” containing some 193 photographs; compiled between May or June of 1944, either by Ernst Hofmann or by Bernhard Walter, remain the only surviving known visual evidence of the process of the mass murder of Jews at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Both above named individuals were SS men, who had been tasked with taking ID photos and fingerprints of inmates.

In November 1938, German Jews faced deliberate and orchestrated violence, showing many Jews that their very existence was in danger, if they stayed within the country.
In a Nazi-provoked riot, known as Kristallnacht [Night of Broken Glass, or the November Pogrom* ] staged on November 9th, 1938, more than 250 synagogues were destroyed, and 91 people were murdered. Countless Jewish businesses and homes were vandalized and destroyed, and some 30,000 Jewish men were sent to Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and other concentration camps, where they were coerced into promising to emigrate, when they were released several weeks later.

* ‘Pogrom’ meaning the organized massacre of a particular ethnic group.

It became difficult for Jews to leave Germany because few countries, were willing to take them in, even though it was widely known that they were suffering under the then Nazi regime.

It was Ms Lilly Jacob-Zelmanovic Meier who donated the album, in the video shown above, to Yad Vashem (The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre) in 1980. When originally assembled, the album was likely not for use as Nazi propaganda, but was most likely prepared as an official document for future German reference.

The Irish Constitution of 1937 specifically gave constitutional protection to Jews. This was considered to be a necessary component to the constitution by Éamon de Valera because of the treatment of Jews elsewhere in Europe at the time. The reference to the Jewish Congregations in the Irish Constitution was removed in 1973 with the Fifth Amendment. This same amendment removed the ‘special position’ of the Catholic Church, as well as references to the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, and the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers.

Anti-Israeli protests by some 100 students in Trinity College, Dublin, has now resulted in an agreement by college management to the divestment from investments in Israeli companies that have activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and appear on a UN blacklist.
However, It is worthy of note that a one former graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, a Cork woman and a Quaker (Society of Friends) named Mary Elmes used her skills having crossed the border into France working as head of the Quaker delegation in Perpignan, France. Her presence saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish children bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau, via Rivesaltes Camp in the north eastern suburb of Paris, latter the major transit camp for the deportations of French Jews. She is known to have “spirited away” children in the boot of her car, to children’s homes she had previously set up in the Pyrenees.
In 1943 she was arrested by the Gestapo and spent six months in jail. On release she continued her mission to save the lives of Jewish children. She refused all suggestion of accolades during her lifetime, but 11 years ago, in 2013 she was named “Righteous Among the Nations” at Yad Vashem (The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre). She is the only Irish person to hold this distinction, given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jewish people during World War II. On July 9th 2019, the then Cork City Council, in a display of true wisdom, opened a new pedestrian bridge, same now named in honour of Ms Mary Elmes.

A former professor of Hebrew at the same Trinity College, between 1939 and 1979, Mr Jacob (Jack) Weingreen and his wife Bertha must surely have turned in their Dublin graves following the demands by the same students. Both the Weingreen’s were members of the Dublin Jewish community and both were active in education and youth movements, serving for a time with the Jewish Relief Unit, following the end of WWII.

Bertha Weingreen was Chief Welfare Officer responsible for all Jewish Displaced Persons in the British zone and stationed at the former military barracks at the Bergen Belsen, concentration camp.

Jacob was Director of Education for all Displaced Persons, before setting up a successful Trade School at Belsen which was later transformed into a top-grade technical college. Professor Weingreen was the author of ‘A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew’, latter a textbook that is still recognized as the standard teaching work on the subject.
The couple received desperately needed supplies sent from Dublin’s JYRO (Jewish Youth Relief Organisation) and the Linen Mills in Northern Ireland, which were used for the kindergarten Bertha set up for hidden children Bertha Weingreen encountered in Berlin. The Weingreens eventually returned to Dublin in 1947 where they played prominent roles in the Irish Jewish community until their deaths in 1995 and 1999, respectively.

True pro-treaty Irish Republicans will be aware of the fact that on a Friday afternoon in 1920, Black and Tans descended on Longwood Avenue, South Circular Road, Portobello, Dublin 8, blocking off the area between Leonard’s Corner and Kelly’s corner, using a lorry and an armoured car. Same raid came accompanied by a strict curfew.

The Sabbath day observed by Jews begins from sunset on Friday evening to sunset the following day. However, on this same Sabbath day in 1920, the Jewish community made the decision that Tans or no Tans, they were going to visit their local synagogue. When it was time to go to pray, the men were the first to emerge from their homes, followed by wives and children.
Rabbi Gudansky followed last, accompanied by his family, while he supported an elderly gentleman, who could barely walk. The old crippled man swore at the Tans in Yiddish, which sounded like nonsense gibberish to the Black and Tan soldiers.
It appeared that residents from Longwood Avenue’s Jewish community had somehow lost the ability to speak English that evening, as Tan soldiers were bombarded with Yiddish, Russian, Lithuanian, and Polish dialects. The Black and Tans, in an effort to rid themselves of this now gathering angry crowd, decided to step aside and allow the Jewish community to continue to attend at their place of worship.
On reaching Walworth Road, Portobello, Dublin, Rabbi Gudansky and his aged companion, halted briefly before shaking hands. The man removed his hat and boomed: “Thank you! Thank you!” in his strong Cork accent. The ‘cripple’ was none other than Michael Collins (1890 – 1922) in disguise. He winked stating: “I will send for the bicycle later”, before quickly moving on alone.
It was learned later that Collins first entered Joseph Kervon’s house, on Longwood Avenue, before he jumped over a wall into Rabbi Gudansky’s back garden, latter situated next door. He entered the residence, unnoticed by the Tans, before borrowing traditional Jewish garb, courtsey of Rabbi Gudansky.

Sadly, to my mind, the current Irish Taoiseach Mr Simon Harris (A former Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science) has informed Israeli President Mr Isaac Herzog of Ireland’s plan to recognise the state of Palestine and has reiterated that the overarching goal should be a two-state solution; latter which Hamas terrorists themselves have denounced, calling instead for the full and complete liberation of Palestine, “from the river (Jordan) to the sea”; an area that includes what is now Israel, and in the context of the current wishes of Hamas can only mean the total destruction of the State of Israel.

In return the Israeli President has warned Mr Simon Harris that any such unilateral recognition of Palestine, as a State, will totally jeopardise any hope of Hamas releasing the hostages it continues to hold in Gaza, and will no doubt encourage further missile and other attacks on the State of Israel.

History will record the outcome of this interference by the present Irish government.


A 269 Year Old Thurles Recipe For Cheese Cake.

“Little Miss Muffet, she sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider, who sat down beside her, and frightened Miss Muffet away.

As promised on April 21st, 2024, a 269 year old recipe, adapted from the manuscript book of Catherine Hughes, Killenaule, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, dated 1755, and published by Mrs Theodora FitzGibbon, in her book ‘A Taste Of Ireland’, published 56 years ago, in 1968, is published hereunder.

Milk going to the creamery, pictured in the late 19th century, at Killenaule, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Cottage cheese, once considered to be the least desirable item to pick up in your supermarket’s dairy aisle, is now being heralded as one of the best items to put in your shopping basket.

Cottage cheese, as the name implies, is a type of cheese made up of curds and whey liquid (yes, the very thing Miss Muffet was eating before being rudely interrupted by that spider). It hasn’t always been celebrated for it lumpy wet consistency, but health enthusiasts highlight that it is a good source of calcium. More importantly, cottage cheese is naturally very high in protein, with on average, a whopping 11g of protein per 100g. Protein is essential for human growth and repair and for helping us to maintain our muscle as we get older.

A quick internet search will yield hundreds of cottage cheese recipes including pancakes, breads and desserts, but here’s a recipe for cottage cheese that is 269 years old.

Curds (Grut in Irish) formed an extensive part of the diet of the ancient Irish. They are mentioned in the earliest documented sources. Various early cheeses were made from them; one cheese being ‘faiscre grotha’, (Irish meaning literally ‘pressed curd’).
The Reverend Richard Hopkins Ryland* in ‘The History, Topography and Antiquities of the County and City of Waterford’, dated 1824, says “Cheese made from skimmed milk and called ‘Mullahawn’ was formally an article of commerce in Waterford and was exported in large quantities…”

*Reverend Richard Hopkins Ryland was born in 1788, the descendant of 16th century Protestant planters who had settled in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Generations of the family became ‘Church of Ireland’ ministers.
Rev. Ryland married Isabella Julia Fleury (latter nine years his junior), the daughter of the Rev. Archdeacon George Louis Fleury of Waterford in 1818; at St. Patrick’s Church, Waterford.
The couple had six sons and two daughters.
His best known historical work was ‘The History, Topography and Antiquities Of The County And City Of Waterford’, (published 1824), which was dedicated to the Duke of Devonshire, while he also published religious pamphlets.
He died in 1866, aged 78 years, followed by his wife Isabella Julia in 1873; aged 76 years, in South Kensington, Middlesex, England. The Tipperary ‘Clonmel Chronicle’ newspaper published her official ‘Death Notice’.

6 oz (6 heaped tablespoons) of flour.
3 oz (3 heat tablespoons) butter.
1 tablespoon sugar.
½ teaspoon salt.

½ lb (2 cups) sweet curds or cottage cheese.
2 eggs, separated.
2 heaped tablespoons sugar (vanilla sugar if possible).
Grated peel and juice of half lemon.
1 tablespoons of butter.

For the topping.
1 egg and one tablespoon each of sugar, flour and melted butter.

First make the pastry by mixing the fat into the flower, sugar, and salt, to a firm pliable dough with a few tablespoons of water. Cool if possible before using. Make the filling by well mixing the curds with the sugar, soft butter, grated peel and juice of the lemon and the beaten egg yolks. Beat is well, then add the stiffly beaten egg whites. Roll out the pastry to fit a flan-tin, 7 in-8 inch across, line the tin with it and paint the bottom with beaten egg (this prevents the bottom pastry becoming heavy).

Put the filling into the pastry case, and, using the rest of the egg, mix it with the topping sugar, melted butter, and flour. Pour this evenly over the top. Bake in a moderate oven (350° F. electric; gas regulo 4) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Serve cold, but not chilled, cut into wedges.


They Never Came Home (Stardust Song)

In the early hours of the morning of Saturday February 14th 1981, a fire occurred at the Stardust Ballroom in Artane, Dublin, in which forty eight persons tragically lost their lives. ~
The song “They Never Came Home”, refers to the victims and families of this tragic event.

They Never Came Home (Stardust Song)

Lyrics: Christopher Andrew “Christy” Moore.
Vocals: Irish folk singer, songwriter and guitarist Christy Moore.

They Never Came Home (Stardust Song)

When St. Valentine’s day comes around once a year,
Our thoughts turn to love, as the time it draws near,
Sweethearts and darlings, husbands and wives,
Pledge love and devotion for the rest of their lives.
As the day turns to evening soon night time does fall,
Young people get ready for the Valentine’s Ball,
As the night rings with laughter, some families still mourn,
The 48 children who never came home.

Have we forgotten the suffering and pain,
The survivors and the victims of the fire in Artane,
The mothers and fathers forever to mourn,
The 48 children who never came home.

It was down to the Stardust they all made their way,
The bouncers looked on as they lined up to pay,
The records were spinning, there’s dancing as well
Just how the fire started sure no one can tell.
In a matter of seconds confusion did reign,
The room was in darkness, fire exits were chained,
The firefighters wept for they could not hide,
Their sorrow and anger for those left inside.

Repeat Chorus

Throughout the city the bad news it spread,
There’s a fire in the Stardust, with 48 dead.
Hundreds of children are injured and maimed,
And all just because the fire exits were chained.
Our leaders were shocked, grim statements were made,
They shed tears by the graves, as the bodies were laid,
The injured have waited in vain for 4 years,
It seems like our leaders shed crocodile tears.

Repeat Chorus

Half a million was paid in solicitor’s fees,
A fortune to the owner and his family,
It’s hard to believe that not one penny came,
To the working class people, who suffered the pain.
The days turn to weeks and the weeks turn to years
Our laws favour the rich, or so it appears.
A woman still waits for her kids to come home,
Injustice breeds anger and that’s what’s been done.

Let us remember the suffering and pain,
The survivors and victims of the fire in Artane,
The mothers and fathers forever to mourn,
The 48 children who never came home.