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National Famine Commemoration Ceremony In Strokestown, Co. Roscommon

An Taoiseach Mr Micheál Martin informed a National Famine Commemoration ceremony today in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon, that there was no more devastating or traumatic an event in Irish history, than the Great Famine of 1845-1849.

Today’s ceremony also included military honours and a wreath-laying ceremony by ambassadors to Ireland, in remembrance of all those who perished, during this, the last great famine in Europe, caused by the failure of the potato crop over successive years.

Addressing the crowd today, An Taoiseach Mr Micheál Martin said, “It is impossible for us to imagine the feelings of hopelessness, anger and loss experienced by those who suffered through the Famine years.
Famines do not happen in democracies. In fact, there is no recorded account of a famine in a country where the government is freely elected and there was free speech.
I think if you want to know why Ireland didn’t have another famine you will find it in our commitment to self-determination and building a democratic state”.

There was no mention of the Thurles Great Famine Double Ditch demolished by his Fianna Fáil colleagues on the Mill Road, here in Thurles despite several emails sent to his government.

This evening we sent an email to An Taoiseach’s office, asking him to send a copy of today’s address to local Fianna Fáil TD Mr Jackie Cahill and current government supporter Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry.
We trust Mr Cahill will share this address with Fianna Fáil Councillors Mr Sean Ryan and Mr Seamus Hanafin in due course.
[Well, as we are already aware elected Fianna Fáil reps. share everything. View HERE.]

Dublin singer-songwriter Mr Declan O’Rourke also took part in this event, singing two songs from his 2017 album ‘Chronicles of the Great Famine’, namely ‘Poor Boy’s Shoes’ and ‘Go Domhain i do Chiumhne’.

Meanwhile, let’s have a listen to Mr Declan O’Rourke.

Declan O’Rourke – “Poor Boy’s Shoes”

When he met her at the dance, she had flowers in her hair.
There was no girl in this land that could have stood next to her there.
And there everyone could see, how he loved her instantly,
Though he had nothing to give her but his poor boy’s hopes and dreams.

Well he danced with her that summer till it showed on her sweet face.
As she was taken by the warmth of him and all his gentle ways.
Then he swore his love was true
And he married her in poor boy’s shoes.

Well not many years had passed through the grip of his strong hands,
When a great unyielding hunger drew its veil across this land.
His young love soon took ill and with two little mouths to fill,
It took all he could to keep them from the poor house on the hill.
But when his pockets had run dry from crying tears that rang like bells
And their home drew in the wind like an old sea shell.
Then he gathered everything he had to lose,
And he walked them up in poor boy’s shoes.

First God took the little boy,
Then he took the little girl.
And soon their little souls were free from all the sadness in the world.
Their father lifted up his love,
She could no longer walk alone
And from the poor house on the hill,
He took her on the long walk home.

There he felt the cold upon her as he laid her down to rest,
And so he knelt down by her bed and drew her feet up to his chest.
There he tried to warm her cold feet through
And they found him there in poor boy’s shoes.



Jane Austen & Thomas Lefroy – An Affair That Never Blossomed.

In 1795, Mr Thomas Lefroy, a Judge in the North Riding of Co. Tipperary, enjoyed a whirlwind romance with none other than the famous English novelist Jane Austen.

Jane Austen is best remembered primarily for her famous novels, e.g. “Pride and Prejudice” and “Sense and Sensibility”, latter which commented on the British middle and upper classes, at the end of the 18th century.
Judge Lefroy served with distinction on the Munster Court circuit for many years and took ‘Silk’ in 1816.
[Note: A Silk lawyer is the colloquial name given to a Queen’s Counsel (QC), who is selected by an independent panel committee, due to their experience, knowledge and skill.]

In 1849, it was the very same Thomas Lefroy, (then Lord Chief Justice of Ireland), who elevated MP (Athlone) and Judge William Nicholas Keogh to Queen’s Counsel. Same Judge Keogh would anger nationalist opinion in Ireland with regard to his conduct in the trial of the Cormack brothers at Nenagh assizes, in March 1857, which was considered a most brutal denial of natural justice.
Later, Judge Keogh’s deteriorating mental health would see him cut his own throat, at a sanatorium in Bingen-on-the-Rhine, Germany, on Monday September 30th 1878, before being buried in Bonn, on the banks of the River Rhine, in Westphalia, Germany.

Novelist Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born on December 16th 1775, in the village of Steventon near Basingstoke, in Hampshire, England, where her father, Rev. George Austen, was then Rector. The family would continue to reside there for the next 25 years until her father retired.
It was here that Jane Austen drafted her first two novels which were eventually published as “Pride and Prejudice” (1813) and “Sense and Sensibility” (Published in 1811 but begun between 1793 and 1795).
Later would come “Mansfield Park” (1814), followed by “Persuasion”; “Northanger Abbey” and “Emma” (1815) latter novel dedicated to the Prince Regent, (later who would become King George IV), an admirer of her work.

[Note: This was the same Prince Regent who had visited the Mathew household in Tipperary and during his visit impregnated Lady Elisha (Elizabeth) Mathew, before heading back to England].

Sadly, the Steventon rectory house itself was demolished soon after the Austen family moved to Bath in Somerset, England in 1801.

After the death of Jane’s father George, in 1805 Jane, her sister Cassandra and their mother moved several times eventually settling in Chawton, near Steventon.

All of Jane Austen’s novels were published anonymously. ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was published as “By a lady” and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was published as “The author of Sense and Sensibility”

In 1816, Jane began to suffer from ill-health, leading her to travel to Winchester to receive treatment, and it was here she sadly died on July 18th, 1817. There are many theories as to as the primary cause of her death; Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency); Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; tuberculosis passed on through exposure to cattle or unpasteurized milk, latter an illness far more common in Jane Austen’s time than it is in more modern times.

Two more novels, ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Northanger Abbey’ were now published posthumously and a final novel ‘Sandition’ had been left incomplete. In 2011, this unfinished novel was sold to a ‘The Bodelian Libraries’ on Oxford, at a purchase price of £993,250 (including sales tax).

A grave slab on the floor of Winchester Cathedral where she was buried, mention her birthplace, Steventon. The inscription reads:

“In Memory of Jane Austen, youngest daughter of the late Revd George Austen, formerly Rector of Steventon in this County. She departed this life on the 18th of July 1817, aged 41, after a long illness supported with the patience and the hopes of a Christian.
The benevolence of her heart, the sweetness of her temper, and the extraordinary endowments of her mind obtained the regard of all who knew her and the warmest love of her intimate connections.
Their grief is in proportion to their affection. They know their loss to be irreparable, but in their deepest affliction they are consoled by a firm though humble hope that her charity, devotion, faith and purity have rendered her soul acceptable in the sight of her Redeemer”.

Note: Her tombstone makes no mention of her writing as same, during her lifetime, since as already stated, they were published anonymously. However, later commemorations, on a brass plaque and a stained-glass window, do make brief references to her writing.

Inscription on the brass wall plaque reads:

“Jane Austen known to many by her writings, endeared to her family by the varied charms of her Character and ennobled by Christian Faith and Piety, was born at Steventon in the county of Hants (abbreviation of Hampshire) Dec. xvi mdcclxxv, and buried in this Cathedral July xxiv mdcccxvii – She openeth her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness Prov xxxi. v. xxvi”.

Thomas Lefroy

The Lefroy Family had initially fled from Flanders to England, in around 1580. Anthony Peter Lefroy, Thomas Lefroy’s father having entered the English army as an Ensign, was posted to Co. Limerick, Ireland. While still a very junior officer he met and married, in 1765, Ann Gardner of Doonass in Co. Clare. Five girls were born to them before, in 1776, a son arrived and was baptised Thomas Langlois Lefroy.

Thomas Lefroy, would serve as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Dublin University in 1830–1841. [Same constituency today currently elects three senators to Seanad Éireann].
He would become a member of the Privy Council of Ireland (1835-1869); Lord Chief Justice of Ireland (1852-1866) and had a noted outstanding academic record at Trinity College Dublin, (1790-1793), winning three gold medals. Having become exhausted from his studies, on advice, he took time away to relax over Christmas (1796), at the Rectory of his Uncle Rev. George Lefroy in Hampshire, some two miles distant from the Rectory home of Miss Jane Austen.

Thomas Lefroy began a flirtation with Miss Jane Austen, who wrote two letters to her sister Cassandra mentioning “Tom Lefroy”.

In a letter dated Saturday January 9th 1796, Jane Austen makes mention:- “You scold me so much in the nice long letter which I have this moment received from you, that I am almost afraid to tell you how my ‘Irish friend’ and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together.
I can expose myself however, only once more, because he leaves the country soon after next Friday, on which day we are to have a dance at Ashe after all.
He is a very gentlemanlike, good-looking, pleasant young man, I assure you. But as to our having ever met, except at the three last balls, I cannot say much; for he is so excessively laughed at about me at Ashe, that he is ashamed of coming to Steventon, and ran away when we called on Mrs. Lefroy a few days ago.”

In further correspondence, Jane Austen writes:- “After I had written the above, we received a visit from Mr. Tom Lefroy and his cousin George. The latter is really very well-behaved now; and as for the other, he has but one fault, which time will, I trust, entirely remove; it is that his morning coat is a great deal too light. He is a very great admirer of Tom Jones, and therefore wears the same coloured clothes, I imagine, which he did when he was wounded”.

[Tom Jones above – Refers to a comic novel by English playwright and novelist Henry Fielding]

In a letter begun on Thursday January 14th 1796 and completed on the following morning, Lefroy gets yet another mention:
“At length the day is come on, which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, and when you receive this, it will be over. My tears flow as I write at the melancholy idea”.

Jane Austen’s surviving correspondence contains only one other possible mention of Tom Lefroy. In the letter to her sister, November 1798, Jane writes that Tom’s aunt Mrs. Lefroy had been to visit, but had not said anything about her nephew.

Jane Austen writes:- “I was too proud to make any enquiries; but on my father’s afterwards asking where he was, I learnt that he was gone back to London in his way to Ireland, where he is called to the Bar and means to practise.”

His great-uncle, Benjamin Langlois, would now sponsor his legal studies at Lincoln’s Inn, London.

In 1797, Thomas returned to Ireland to be called to the Irish Bar, where he would request permission to ask for the hand of Miss Mary Paul, from her father Jeffry Paul. This was duly granted and they both became engaged.

With the outbreak of the 1798 Rebellion the position of the Paul family at Silverspring in Co. Wexford became, to say the least, perilous. Jeffry Paul decided to send his family to Wales, while he himself joined the Yeomanry and fought at New Ross and Wexford.
Silverspring, their home became occupied by the insurgents and was destroyed.
Jeffry Paul wrote to his wife in 1798, “The house, I am told, is standing, but every article of furniture, beds, wine, etc., taken away or destroyed, mostly by the women of the neighbourhood.”

Now having no home with which to return, the Paul family stayed temporarily in Wales and it was at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, in the year 1799, that Thomas and Mary were eventually married.

So what if Thomas Lefroy had married Jane Austen? If Jane had come to Tipperary as the wife of an ambitious Munster Court circuit Judge, would we have lost a romantic novelist? We will never, ever, know.

“Men make plans and God laughs”.


T.D’s Malcolm Noonan & Darragh O’Brien, Should Be Relieved Of Heritage Posts.

Having attended school some 15 minutes of driving time from Vinegar Hill, latter one of the scenes of the 1798 Rebellion in County Wexford; it should come as no surprise therefore that I still retain, with pride, a strong interest in all things ‘Wexford’, the county of my birth.

Suspected burial pit on the eastern slope of Vinegar Hill, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.

It was therefore with regret that I read the following post, published yesterday, on the 1798 Rebellion Casualty Database, social media page.

The report reads:- View Here

Today, I’ve been informed of a travesty.
The suspected burial pit on the eastern slope of Vinegar Hill has been deep ploughed with only a small section remaining.
According to sources, this field, not traditionally noted for crops, has seen heavy track machines root up large stones with workers collecting and dumping the stones afterwards.

Instead of a respectful area being maintained, by what has been suspected by recent archaeological geophysical surveys, as the burial pit for hundreds of 1798 battle casualties, the peripheries of the mound have been ebbed away, leaving only the mere centre.

What was a noticeable mound, when viewed from the hill’s car park, is now barely a lump left in the field.

There is no legislation protecting this burial mound nor much of the battlefield site. Already in the last two years, another housing estate has been erected at the Green Hill site; which according to recent archaeological surveys, saw some of the intense fighting on 21st June 1798.

This is yet again another blatant disregard of our heritage in Ireland and the authorities continue to remain blind.
A sickening and downright travesty.

Here, yet again, hypocrisy flourishes when it comes to “Heritage Ireland 2030 Strategy” and now this same duplicity has stretches its arm of apathetic disinterestedness, into Co. Wexford.
Irish Fianna Fáil politician Mr Darragh O’Brien T.D. and Irish Green Party politician Mr Malcolm Noonan T.D., are no longer in control of Co. Council officials and elected Municipal District Councillors and both the former Ministers should be relieved immediately from their posts, associated with valuable Irish heritage.

Within the Green Party, sharing as they do in our current Irish coalition government, we find that same are more interested in spending time arguing over a sod of turf, rather than protecting a valuable heritage, while Tipperary Ógra Fianna Fáil have been brainwashed into believing that our fight for Irish Freedom only began with Eamonn de Valera.


Hypocrisy Flourishes In 33rd Dáil.

Why do people vote for politicians they know to be liars?

Sadly, some of those involved in politics, for some unknown reason, develop a certain agility as liars and hypocrites.

The word hypocrite comes from the Greek word ‘hypokrites’, which means “a stage actor”, “a pretender”, “an interpreter from underneath”.

Stage actors in ancient Greek theatre houses always wore large masks to identify which character they were playing and so they “interpreted their play from underneath” their masks.

A hypocrite is easily recognised by their preaching one thing, and doing the exact opposite.

Using the video hereunder, watch possibly the two biggest hypocrites currently in our 33rd Dáil, taking up office space in Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
I refer to of course Irish Fianna Fáil politician Mr Darragh O’Brien and Irish Green Party politician Mr Malcolm Noonan. Both men can be viewed reading from what is known in the trade as an “idiot sheet”, while acting without masks in the video recording.

Here in Co. Tipperary, we have become very good at identifying hypocrites. Same daily preach similar phony sanctimony as contained in this video, while dabbling in self-serving politics, and who operate both inside and outside of Dáil Éireann.

In the video shown above, we watched as both named individuals claim to follow expressed moral rules and principles, while displaying sanctimonious affected superiority and false virtue posturing.

First, let’s question Mr Darragh O’Brien’s statement: “Heritage Ireland 2030 celebrates the diversity of Ireland’s heritage and the value placed on it by so many. It recognises the fundamental importance of heritage to our society, to our wellbeing and to our economy.
The Strategy is built around a vision for Ireland’s heritage, in all of its forms, built, natural, cultural, linguistic tangible and intangible, being at the very centre of local and national discourse, valued by all and cared for and protected for future generations”

So Mr O’Brien, explain to the people of Thurles, why was the 176 year old, Great Famine Double Ditch, removed from Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary earlier this year?
We had made contact with your party colleague Mr Jackie Cahill T.D and current government supporter Mr Michael Lowry T.D.
Surely, they must have discussed the importance of this rare piece of heritage with you; they being elected Co. Tipperary representatives anxious to benefit the slow and ever dwindling economy of their own home town of Thurles.

Moving on and trying not to ‘snigger’; let’s question the videoed statement of possibly the biggest hypocrite of all, Irish Green Party politician Minister Malcolm Noonan.

“The three themes of Heritage Ireland 2030 are “Communities”, “Leadership” and “Partnership”. – Published in statement by Minister Malcolm Noonan.

So why did it take two years Minister Noonan, for your office to reply to our emails?

“To protect and restore our species and habitats including peatlands to conserve and enhance our built heritage and monuments all of us must work together – Government, communities, stakeholder groups and citizens”. – Published in statement by Minister Malcolm Noonan.

So why did it take two years Minister Noonan, for your office to reply to our emails?

“We all have an active role to play as custodians of our heritage, not only for ourselves but for future generations too, and that is a core element of Heritage Ireland 2030.” – Published in statement by Minister Malcolm Noonan.

So why did it take two years Minister Noonan, for your office to reply to our emails?
Why did you allow the removal of the Great Famine, 176 year old, Double Ditch, YOU having been warned by us of its proposed destruction 2 years previously?

“Likewise, the right of everyone to engage in heritage is recognised in the strategy putting citizens and communities at the heart of how we manage it.
Our heritage is coming under all sorts of pressures largely brought about by our own actions and often inaction.
Climate change and biodiversity loss [E.G. Lady’s Well Walkway, Thurles] will be a key focus of Heritage Ireland over its lifetime, as we increase our ambition to restore nature and make our built heritage and monuments climate resilient.
Thanks are owed to the many people who gave so generously of their time and ideas in shaping Heritage Ireland and its vision.
Our shared hope is that we see real benefits for all as we work together to achieve this vision”. Published in statement by Minister Malcolm Noonan.

Finally, Minister when are you going to arrange ‘to restore’ this aforementioned piece of Thurles heritage?


Thurles Now Destroyed Double Ditch, Mass Path & Right Of Way.

We have received several emails from both home and abroad asking what was the name of the church serviced by the now demolished, historic, Great Famine Double Ditch.

Well actually, there was more than one church serviced by this former Great Famine Right Of Way, before Tipperary County Council, earlier knowingly destroyed it.

Kilahilla church was situated on the Mill Road, Thurles, nearly opposite where the Double Ditch once exited from College Lane, (Bohereen Keagh or translated from Irish to English ‘Blind Road’).
The Down survey map, drawn in the 1650’s, shows another church further east, named Kilnock, translated from the Irish “The church of the Hill”, somewhere near the top of Loughtagalla Hill, possibly at the fort in Rathcooney.

Even further east Norman documents tell of a church in Kyle (also referred to as Killuragh or Kyllienane) and the fort in the townland of Kyle is traditionally regarded as the site.

There may well have been a church too in either Corbally or Archerstown called Rathfernagh, as a document from 1305 refers to the glebes and the sanctuary lands of these towns lands. There are traditions of church sites in Athloman and Coolaculla and the alternative name for Ballyduff, Kilmilchon, implies that there was a church site there also.

However, not all these churches were in existence at the same time; political and other upheavals where as unkind to churches as to other buildings, but the memory of these holy places survived down through the centuries, helped by the constant verbal use of their place names.

There are also two holy wells in Thurles, ‘Lady’s Well’ to the south which pilgrims possibly may have chosen the Double Ditch route and ‘Tobernaloo’ to the west of the town.

In the Middle ages Lady’s Well was a noted place of pilgrimage and in 1432 Archbishop O’Hedion persuaded the Earl of Ormond to grant a safe conduct to all pilgrims who wished to visit Thurles on the Feast of the Assumption (Feast Date August 15th which marks the occasion of the Virgin Mary’s bodily ascent into heaven at the end of her life), and for the 3 days before and after the Feast Day.

Same was necessary because of the riotous and unseemly conduct that had crept in on “Patterns Days” (devotions that take place within a parish on the feast day of the patron saint of the parish) or patronal feasts of the Saints, venerated at wells and holy places.

The Archbishops of Cashel forbade these assemblies throughout the diocese in the late 1700’s. However, some devout people continued to make a pilgrimage to Lady’s Well, up until the end of the last century.

Tobernaloo or translated from Irish the ‘Well of St.Lua’, may derive its name from the man who built his church on Friar’s Island in the Shannon and gave his name to Killaloe, or more probably from Molua or Cluain-Fearta-Molua in Laois, who was a personal friend of St. Mochoemóg of Leigh, Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.