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No Medal For Village Corrs.

Short Story Courtesy of Thurles Author & Poet, Tom Ryan ©

The city dweller may not be aware of it, but there is a powerful personage whose influence for good or evil in rural Ireland is so great that I doubt if Dail Éireann could even stop him/her in their train. I refer to the village correspondent (‘Corrs’), who is a proud and pontificating part of Ireland’s provincial weekly newspapers and who rules his realm with courtesy, charm and cuteness.

He has come to his profession usually after many long years writing verse or worse, on all manner of people, places and objects, prior to the editor of the weekly signing him on for a remuneration of a few euro a week. But the money, such as it is, means nothing (and is indeed almost nothing), to the country ‘Corrs’. It’s being a ‘Corrs’ that matters (honour before honours), and being one is akin to having the village Mayoral chain of office.

‘Corrs’ could be a verse maker, farmer, poet, playwright and newsmonger or indeed all of these professions. He is at once, like all good honest newspaper folk who do their job without fear or favour; the most feared and loved in the parish. He is also more likely to be the recipient of verbal abuse, than a Staff Reporter on his paper. Being a great mixer, he was often nearest to the anger of him or her who received six months suspended for viciously attacking a harmless lamp post.

“Man receives six months suspended sentence, following attack on Thurles lamp post”.

Indeed, if a Staff Reporter wrote a court report about a character in the ‘Corr’s’ village then the ‘Corrs’ was nearest to the revenge of the defendant. And no sign at all of danger money for the job!

You see, when the village man’s private business becomes public knowledge at the local District Court, where no nonsense Justice Jailward presides, it’s a safe bet that the door of the ‘Corrs’ may be pounded upon that night. It’s no use the ‘Corrs’ telling the angry central character at that day’s District Court drama that he does not cover court cases. He will be branded as “being all the wan as that shower and of the same colour and bad breeding”. They are not pushed about such delicate details. Any scribe’s face will do when their blood is up. All that hassle for a man or woman who is not a member of the National Union of Journalists. They should strike a special NUJ medal for such unsung heroes of the Irish countryside, servants of democracy, after all “fair play is bonny play”.

In the scribe’s village on the Monday of every week you might see a fine flock of pilgrims filing along the boreen by the bog to the editorial cottage of the Scribe.
Many would come away happy after Scribe informs them that their daughter’s 21st birthday party photograph will get an airing in the following week’s paper or the wedding anniversary report or obituary or engagement will be in the week after.
Others who regularly file down that same well-trodden path, with their news bits, include the secretaries of the village community groups such as the GAA , ICA, Macra na Ferime, ICMSA, the darts club, the marbles association, the set-dancing group, the dramatic society, parish council or group water scheme.

But there is also a queue of long faced men and women, whose solemn presence lingers in the air of the Scribe’s lair, long after they have departed his abode. These are the folks who are about to be mentioned or have been already named as defendants in the court columns of the “Weekly Whatsit”.
These mercy seekers can receive no mercy from Scribe in the matter of having their names omitted from ‘the monthly honours list’, as Scribe calls it. For the ultimate arbiter is the newspaper editor, even if Scribe occasionally puts in the good word and character reference for a ‘dacent auld soul who wouldn’t harm a fly and is good to his mother‘, but in the company of good-for-nothing scamps had a pint or more too many, on the night he struck that bleddy lamp post, which is always in everybody’s way anyway.
And all this hassle for a man who is not a member of the National Union of Journalists and whose post carries no pension, holiday entitlements or bonuses, whatsoever.
The NUJ should strike a special medal for the village scribes of Ireland, who are at the coalface of the battle to preserve democracy, decency and Press Freedom in Ireland.
‘Corrs’ are beyond corruption and brown envelopes and it’s well-known such honesty and transparency puts him head and shoulders, in status above everybody else in the parish. For with him there was no hidden agenda. A fact is sacred and commentary is free.

Many years ago I attended a Drama Festival in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. I was a little nervous and just starting out in the business of journalism. But if I suffered from lack of any self-esteem, a Muintir na Tire man soon put that right. He said: “This is Tom Ryan and he is a member of the Press. No matter what, be nice to the Press.” It made sense. Pressmen and women are human and if you bite them, they’ll bite back like any newshound. Be nice and kind to them; ‘butter and jam them up and they’ll cover you in acres of flattering column inch’. It’s only human nature after all.
‘Corrs’ have a brilliant memory for the scandals, vandals, matches, and mismatches and all manner of events and people. He is omniscient. He has a good sense of humour also, as any scribe must have to survive. No harm to keep in with him.

Tom Ryan, ”Iona”, Rahealty, Thurles, County Tipperary.


Bee Friendly Flowers For Liberty Square, Thurles.

“The Town Centre First policy aims to create town centres that function as viable, vibrant and attractive locations for people to live, work and visit, while also functioning as the service, social, cultural and recreational hub for the local community.”Quote taken from Tipperary Co. Council’s commitment.

Without warning, they struck early this morning. Up came the long ago deceased ‘Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’. Having tossed a coin, left behind was the still barely surviving small group of rather delicate frail and confused, low-maintenance ‘Potentilla Dasiphora fruticosa ‘White Lady‘; the latter well-known for being resistant to attacks by rabbits in rural areas. (Very important to a rural town like Thurles with a large rabbit population).

Yes, I am talking about that large piece of wasteland, (some in their innocence may have called it a flowerbed), located centre on Liberty Square, Thurles, which for well over a year, has replaced some 20 car-parking spaces, thus driving consumers out of the town centre, to surrender their purchasing power to well-known German supermarket chains.

Here at Thurles.Info we decided, (following on in true Tipperary Co. Council fashion), to employ a landscape consultant and I might add not just any English fly-by-night consultancy.
Regardless of expense we sought the services of that long established landscape consultancy firm of ‘Root In The Hole Ltd,’ ©.

In the interests of fair play they decided to invite the local Thurles community, asking them to submit what they would like to see planted on this waste ground and in keeping with Tipperary Co. Council tradition, those who forwarded submissions were ignored on the basis that elected Co. Councillors and their Council Officials know best.

After the area was surveyed by two top gardening experts, employed by ‘Root In The Hole Ltd’©, same forwarded their findings/recommendations in the form of photographic evidence, shown in the video above.
In Root In The Hole’s report, which we won’t be publishing for fear of embarrassing certain individuals. Suffice is to say; sentences containing text like “Worst landscaping ever observed to date”, appear at least 6 times in the report, and a concluding phrase suggests that the ‘Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’, at the very least may have been recovered, having been first dumped from a garden centre, on waste ground, before being planted in Liberty Square.

Then again I suppose we could always cement this piece of waste ground over completely and paint a bird on it.

Readers might wonder about the reference to the 18th century weighing scales in our video; same located today in Co. Galway.
This same weighing scales type, which also was used on Liberty Square, sitting on a quadropod, during this same historical period, has now been located and can be made available to Thurles Municipal District Council.
Same could be erected in the centre of this flower bed, to remind us and any lost foreign tourist, of our humble beginnings when, prior to our Liberty Square down-grading, we had a once busy flourishing town centre.


Thurles – What Happened Was!

The Leaning Pedestrian Crossing lighting standard, Brittas Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Pic: George Willoughby.

One of the Pedestrian Crossing lighting standards, situated on Brittas Road, Thurles, (N62) continues to stands, bowing in a northerly four-degree lean.
While some believe this phenomenon is designed as a tourist attraction, and as yet not advertised as part of the 10 things you need to know about Ireland’s Ancient East.
Sorry folks, this is not an attempt to emulate the leaning, yet free-standing bell tower of Pisa in Italy.

What Happened Was!

What happened was that an unsuspecting vehicle driver, obviously a fluent Irish speaker and possibly travelling south, noticed the blatant misspellings and grammar errors relating to two of our directional signposts*. Having briefly taken his/her eyes off the road, a devious Pedestrian Crossing lighting standard; taking advantage of this situation, and without any warning, jumped out in front of the oncoming vehicle, striking it before hopping back into its original place.
No, the qualified Tipperary Council engineers, who have recently taken it upon themselves to construct narrower streets, leaving signposts too close to the edge of pavements are not responsible, as some would secretly claim, latter harbouring such unspoken thoughts behind closed doors.

* Within five hundred yards of each other are two signs both displaying grammatical misspelling of our native language. The housing estate direction sign entitled ‘Cluain Glas‘, (English translation – “Green Field”). Correct spelling should read ‘Cluain Ghlas‘.
Just a few yards closer to Thurles town we find the housing estate direction sign ‘Gort na tSagaire, (English translation – “The field of the priest”). Here we find two mistakes. Correct spelling should read ‘Gort an tSagairt. Latter correct spelling can be found in the official book “Liostaí Logainmneacha Contae Thiobraid Árann (County Tipperary)” same published in 2004, by the place-names Branch of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Three neglected road signs situated on Mill Road, Thurles, all within 800 metres of each other. To avoid a choked Liberty Square; this is the same route now being used to avoid Thurles town centre altogether. For Gardaí anxious to get a few prosecutions under their belts, before the end of each month, this is the place to sit and point your Traffic Radar Gun.
Pic: George Willoughby.

We have highlighted the problem of the “Moving Road Signs of Thurles” previously with Tipperary Co. Council, but due to the unavailability of a workforce, little or no correction has ever been undertaken.
Hopefully, with the grant of €30,000 in funding, to fill two road craters on the long neglected Cuchulain (Cuchulainn) Road Junction, joining this same Brittas Road, someone will have a spanner in their arse pocket, to turn a lurking STOP sign, to face in the right direction.

Signs in the neglected town of Thurles are not to be trusted. (See the picture above). These signs hide behind hedges, turn their faces in the opposite direction and even resort to camouflage, in an effort to fool and confuse unsuspecting, oncoming and unwary motorists.


The Auld Alarm Clock – Ronnie Drew.

Speaking on the subject of ‘Clocks’ as we did recently HERE; please listen to and enjoy yet another Irish folk song about another type of ticking ‘Clock’. Enough said.

The Auld Alarm Clock

Vocals – Irish singer, folk musician and actor, the great, late Ronnie Drew. (1934 – 2008).
Tune“The Garden Where The Praties Grow”.
Lyric Writer – Unknown

The Auld Alarm Clock.

When first I came to London in the year of 39,
The city looked so wonderful and the girls were so divine,
But the coppers got suspicious and they soon gave me the knock.
I was charged with being the owner of an auld alarm clock.

Oh next morning, down be Marlborough Street, I caused no little stir.
The I.R.A were busy and the telephones did burr.
Said the judge, “I’m going to charge you, with the possession of this machine,
And I’m also going to charge you, with the wearing of the Green”.

And said I to him, “Your honour, if you’ll give me half a chance,
I’ll show you how me small machine can make the peelers dance.
It ticks away politely till you get an awful shock,
And it ticks away the gelignite on me auld alarm clock”.

Said the judge, “Now, listen here my man, and I’ll tell you of our plan.
For you and all your countrymen I do not give a damn.
The only time you’ll take is mine: ten years in Dartmoor dock,
And you can count it by the ticking of your auld alarm clock”

Now this lonely Dartmoor city would put many in the jigs.
The cell, it isn’t pretty and it isn’t very big.
Sure, I’d long ago have left the place if I had only got,
Ah, me couple of sticks of ‘geliginite’ and me auld alarm clock.



Possible Bus Shelter For Thurles

Readers will be aware and will forgive my rhetorical figure of speech when I state that “Checkpoint Charlie”, also known as the entrance to the Slievenamon Road Car Park in Thurles, has been eradicated some weeks ago, with the whole “Lock, stock, and broken barriers” now vanished into history.

Who destroyed the 2 year old badly pointed limestone wall close by, [See top middle of Picture 1 below and also the picture inset], remains yet another mystery.

We had forecast the demise of “Checkpoint Charlie”, (Same an effort to save the wage of one Traffic Warden), if you remember, in early October last 2022, [View HERE].
The overall costings involved in the installation of “Checkpoint Charlie” was initially, we understand €95,000 plus. What it cost to remove less than 6 months after its was put into operation, and its current ‘scrap value’, now remains a closely guarded secret; known only to those we elected.

Picture No.1. “Checkpoint Charlie”, with demolished wall inset.
Pic: George Willoughby.

However, there may be just one overall small saving grace in all of this waste of taxpayer’s money; which is unlikely to save the blushing faces of local councillors, their officials and Tipperary Co. Council.

See picture No.2. hereunder, note that I am referring to the two, now vacant, Plexiglas Perspex Acrylic coated parking ticket shelters.

Picture No.2. Shown here, one of two Perspex coated ticket shelters now vacant.
Pic: George Willoughby

Here is a chance to create a ‘TFI Local Link’ bus stop between Thurles Shopping Centre and Lidl Supermarket, latter which is now, thanks to the total incompetence of Tipperary Co. Council officials, the newly created centre of Thurles town.
These two vacant Perspex coated ticket shelters would make for an excellent ready-made bus stop shelter for the loading and offloading of bus passengers, were a bus stop area to be carved into the existing grass coated island, southeast of the town.

Here earthen sods would be easily available to ‘turn’ by either Mr M. Lowry TD or Mr J. Cahill TD, enabling them to officially open the bus shelter on its completion; giving the false impression that either or both were helping to bring prosperity to their native town of Thurles.