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Double Ditch – Current Update.

It was announced today that eleven Tipperary projects are to be included for funding, announced under the ‘Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme’.

The total funding announced for the county was €200,000, none of which was allocated to Thurles Town.

Just so as non local people fully understand; The Grange Loop, who bears the Thurles postal address, and who were rightly gifted €20,000; refers I believe to the lovely Grange Crag loop walk trailhead, in the Civil Parish of Kilcooly, Co. Tipperary, close to the Kilkenny border, latter a 21 minute drive from Thurles town, 21.5 km / 13.25 mls from Thurles, via the N75 minor road. [Surely, it hardly refers to the townslands of Grange, on the N62, (Brittas Road, Thurles. )]

Tipperary Town received €19,800 funding for a Mass Path. [Proof that it pays to march and protest, to highlight being ignored by Tipperary County Council.]

No effort was made to get funding for the “Double Ditch” Mass Path, latter situated between the Mill Road, Thurles and College Lane in the town. But then our politicians and county councillors didn’t notify us, regarding any available government funding worthy of being sought.

We first raised issues regarding fly-tipping on the Great Famine “Double Ditch” on lands either side of same, owned by Tipperary Co. Council, on October 28th, 2019. View HERE.

Every official, local councillor and local politician were advised.

Today, some 15 months later, not one solitary item dumped back then, was ever removed.

See slide show hereunder, compiled from views captured in recent days.

On site today, (19th January 2021) the stolen shopping trolleys have doubled, so also the paper and other plastic litter, the discarded toys, the beer cans, and the bottles, the burnt household items, the cookers and fridges, the gym equipment, etc. etc. etc. All three original sweet crab trees, and some mature Hawthorn trees, have now been either burnt on site or cut down for firewood.

We are reminiscent of a town that refuses to pay Local Property Tax (LPT) and a town devoid of any real quality political or official leadership. The new council housing project being built on a flood plane and running parallel, is using the Double Ditch to drain flood water unto the ditch and through it, unto the land on the other side.

Yet the local people though solidly offended, stay silent, realising, not for the first time, that they are powerless in the face of constant political pretence and official deceipt and hogwash.

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By the way, we received two communications relating to the Great Famine ‘Double Ditch’ in recent weeks. To refresh your memory, view links to read past such communications HERE.

The first recent communication came from Tipperary Fianna Fáil Councillor, Mr Sean Ryan.

Councillor Ryan confirmed in a Facebook private message in recent weeks, “I did enquire George, but still haven’t a definitive answer. When I do, I’ll let you know.” My question had been, “Is the Thurles inner relief road going to effect the Double Ditch”.

Note: This last question above was first asked originally in May 2020, over 8 months ago.

If Councillor Ryan’s answer is truly the case, it would appear that Tipperary Council officials are also refusing to communicate with all elected representatives; since all elected representatives, contacted by me, remain silent on this issue.

This is despite being instructed to communicate with me by Tipperary Co. Council’s ‘Ethics Registrar‘, namely Mr. David Coleman, (Administrative Officer, Corporate Services), who contacted all Councillors, yet same continue to openly resist and refuse to obey his instructions, thus fully ignoring their required Code of Conduct, demanded under the Local Government Act of 2001.

Note: An email message does not carry Covid-19 virus infection.

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The second communication arrived from Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile (National Monuments Service) on Christmas Eve last, 24th Dec. 2020, at 10:11am.

Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile wrote: –

Dear Mr Willoughby
I refer further to your email below.

The Double Ditch is not a Recorded Monument and it is not afforded legal protection under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014. The concerns raised appear to relate to planning and development, which is a matter for the Local Authority.
Wishing you a happy Christmas.
Kind regards
Máire

Allowing for Christmas leave etc, I replied to Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile on Wednesday night, 13th January 2020 at 20:46, as follows: –

To Ms Máire Ní Chonghaile
Madam,
I am saddened to note that your office has obviously not read anything that I sent to your department, in the last year. I am fully aware this is not a recorded monument.  The reason I wrote to you in the first place was for you to investigate my claim and have it declared such, thus, affording legal protection under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014.


Perhaps I need to clarify this issue in simpler terms.

On Tue, 12 Nov 2019, 13:40, I contacted Ms Roisin O’Grady (roisin.ogrady@tipperarycoco.ie).  Latter is Heritage Officer with Tipperary County Council at Ballingarrane House, Cahir road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary,

To Ms Roisin O’Grady,
In keeping with Tipperary County Councils promise to “promote awareness and appreciation of our rich heritage and to protect and enhance it for future generations” may I request that you take time to view the following link: – http://www.thurles.info/2019/10/28/thurles-double-ditch/
.

Remembering that next year (2021) is the 175 year in which we commemorate the ‘Great Famine’; the images in the slide show provided by the link shows clearly that among other improprieties and illegalities, barbed wire has been recently introduced on a public monument, on a public right-of-way which is also formerly a ‘Mass Path’ and was one of the first projects undertaken to assist in feeding the poor of Thurles. The slide show demonstrates clear evidence of neglect, vandalism and a convenient land grab by land owners on either side, latter reducing the width of the pathway to one of single file.

Yours sincerely
George Willoughby


I briefly met with the said Ms O’Grady at 2.30pm on the Great Famine Double Ditch in Thurles on 22nd Nov. 2019 and requested that she contact the National Monument section, regarding the need to declare this area, itself, a national monument.

Correspondence from Ms O’Grady came dated Thur, 27th Feb. 2020, at 16:08.

It read: –
George
A quick line just to say I haven’t forgotten about your query, but there has been a lot of applications due in the last few weeks so I am slower than expected tracking down the necessary information. I will revert in due course once I have some information for you
.

Regards
Róisín O’Grady

This was the last communication I ever had from Ms O’Grady, despite contacting her office on several occasions.

Note: The great famine double ditch is being totally ignored, despite Tipperary Co. Council owning the land on either side.

I have since discovered, based on documentation obtained from Tipperary Co. Council offices, that Tipperary Co. Council intend to demolish this ‘Double Ditch’ to provide an inner relief road for the town. Ms O’Grady’s silence perhaps is being controlled by someone or something that is much more powerful.

A copy of an Archaeological Survey (See attached) is grossly misleading. Note: The Great Famine Double Ditch is totally and I believe deliberately ignored within this document, despite Tipperary Co. Council owning the land on either side.

Perhaps you could confirm also, if Ms O’Grady ever contacted your office, seeking legal protection for the Great Famine, Double Ditch, under the National Monuments Acts, which was requested by me in November 2019 or do we have a case of the tail (namely Tipperary Co. Council) wagging the dog (Tipperary’s own Co. Council Heritage Office ).

I remain
Yours sincerely
George Willoughby.

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In all, now to-date, 16 persons, including senior Co. Council officials, e.g Mr Joe MacGrath (CE, Tipperary Co. Council); 4 Teachtaí Dála; two of which support this present government here in Co. Tipperary, [namely Mr Michael Lowry and Mr Jackie Cahill, Minister Malcolm Noonan, (latter Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform), and Minister Darragh O’Brien, (latter Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage), all of whom have failed to answer the simple question; “Will the planned Thurles inner relief road impinge, in a negative way, on the 1846 Thurles ‘Double Ditch’, which has been a “Right of Way” and a “Mass Path” for almost 175 years and which is the property of the people of Thurles Town?”

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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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Tomorrows ‘Irish Mail On Sunday’ Highlights Thurles Great Famine Double Ditch

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots”.

Quote by Marcus Mosiah Garvey, (Latter a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, greatly influenced by the Irish 1916 rising.)

“The land between the Mill Road and the river to the north and south of the relief road corridor is low laying, criss-crossed by field drains and provides poor grazing.
This area was wet and soft underfoot during my site inspection and it is likely that, at least in part, it was the flood plain for the Suir.”

Quote by Inspector Mr Hugh Mannion (An Bord Pleanála, Ref.: PL79.JP0024), regarding the Development named: Thurles Relief Road, Thurles, County Tipperary.

It is on this River Suir flood plain that Tipperary Co. Council are now building 26 houses, flooding the north side area of the ‘Double Ditch’. See the two images shown hereunder, as impacted earth floods the soggy building site, forcing the builders to run 2 permanent drains into the North side of the Double Ditch, carrying silt and flooding this local historical site.

Builders draining part of the flood plain for the River Suir, are now destroying the Great Famine ‘Double Ditch’, here in Thurles, with the permission of Tipperary Co. Council. Photo: G. Willoughby.

In tomorrow’s Irish Mail on Sunday, investigative journalist, Valerie Hanley, brings national attention to the plight of the Thurles ‘Double Ditch’, as well as the international descendants connected to its rich local history and the concern for its threatened future.

It is not surprising that the story of the Great Famine ‘Double Ditch’ has now garnered the attention of individuals far beyond the town of Thurles. The story of the Knaggs family and their noble efforts during the Great Famine, is indeed a captivating tale forever immortalised by this Thurles Double Ditch walkway here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

What is surprising, as highlighted by tomorrows article, is that despite local, national and international pleas for conservation, it remains unclear if local Tipperary councillors and politicians like Mr Michael Lowry and Mr Jackie Cahill, are willing to acknowledge its historic value and attempt to safeguard its future for future generations of Thurles people.

Builders draining part of the flood plain for the River Suir, are now destroying the Great Famine ‘Double Ditch’, here in Thurles, with the permission of Tipperary Co. Council. Photo: G. Willoughby.

Here’s hoping tomorrow’s article in the Irish Mail on Sunday and our ongoing campaign here on Thurles.Info will help to raise more awareness, thus helping to save this Double Ditch as part of our town’s rich historic culture.

To refresh our memories regarding the historic origins of the Double Ditch and this ‘Great Famine Walkway’ see all links shown hereunder: –

May 30th, 2019
http://www.thurles.info/2019/05/30/what-do-we-know-about-the-thurles-knaggs-family/
October 28th, 2019
http://www.thurles.info/2019/10/28/thurles-double-ditch/
May 24th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/05/24/thurles-heritage-in-grave-danger/
August 21st, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/08/21/contemplative-thurles-elected-reps-fail-to-answer-basic-questions/
September 7th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/09/07/non-productive-tds-councillors-commanding-large-salaries-for-no-work/
September 9th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/09/09/update-on-failure-by-thurles-councillors-to-reply-to-local-queries/
September 11th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/09/11/update-on-answers-to-questions-from-elected-thurles-representatives/
September 16th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/09/16/more-news-on-efforts-to-destroy-thurles-heritage/
September 17th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/09/17/even-more-news-on-efforts-to-destroy-thurles-heritage-by-tipperary-co-co/
September 20th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/09/20/some-thurles-elected-councillors-faithless-treacherous-and-deceitful/
September 25th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/09/25/update-on-destruction-of-thurles-heritage-by-tipperary-co-council/
September 27th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/09/27/thurles-double-ditch-tipperary-county-council-continue-in-their-silence/
October 10th, 2020
http://www.thurles.info/2020/10/10/further-correspondence-in-relation-to-thurles-famine-double-ditch/

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“Last Duel” Begins Filming In Cahir Castle, Tipperary

Pictured L-R: Ben Affeck, Matt Damon, Jodie Comer & Adam Driver.

Yesterday, actors Matt Damon and Ben Affeck began filming their new movie in Cahir Castle here in Co. Tipperary.

The famous Hollywood actors are filming “The Last Duel”, directed by Ridley Scott, using several locations across Ireland, in Dublin, Wicklow, Meath and Tipperary.
Cahir Castle currently remains ‘out of bounds’ for tourists; having been booked by the filming company for the next few weeks.

Based on the book ‘The Last Duel’ by Eric Jager; the film is set in Medieval France, and its story is of an epic tale of betrayal and justice. with King Charles VI declaring that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire by challenging him to a duel.

Obviously, people visiting the town of Cahir will be hoping to catch a glimpse of the actors in the days ahead.

The “Last Duel” also stars the lovely Ms Jodie Comer, who holds the lead role in “Killing Eve”. Ms Comer also played the role of Ivy Bolton in the television presentation of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”.
Also featuring in this production is acclaimed actor Adam Driver of “Star Wars” fame. Latter you will remember played the role of the villain ‘Kylo Ren’ in “The Rise of Skywalker”.

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One Valuable Vintage Picture Postcards Of Thurles.

Perhaps one of the most valuable vintage picture postcards of Thurles, Co. Tipperary, currently owned or sought by collectors, is the picture featured here below. Same is usually entitled/labelled “Ursuline Convent, Castle and Cathedral Thurles, Tipperary, Ireland”.

So why is this vintage postcard so highly prized by collectors, I hear you ask? Take a look at it again, and see if you can guess.

Yes, in reality this image of course does not actually exist. See existing picture hereunder, taken just yesterday 19th August, 2020.

Picture courtesy G. Willoughby

This monochrome vintage picture postcard, photographed around possibly the beginning of the 20th century is indeed a photomontage made up of a series of 2 or perhaps 3 photographs, unless of course our wonderful picturesque Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary building, is slowly slipping eastward, sitting as it does on the edge of the townsland known as “Monacocka”, [Irish – ‘The Shitty Bog’.]

The pictures are indeed the work of a skilled photographer and with the dexterity of an even more experienced photographic printer, sometime later.

From close examination the picture is probably made up of 3 pictures using 3 separate negative of; (1) The River Bed, (2) The Castle, and (3) The Ursuline Convent and Thurles Cathedral, latter one of the few now remaining tourist attractions in Thurles town.

Assuming that the image was printed at the beginning of the 20th century, the printer would have exposed in full, each of the images first, before cutting out masks to cover off and montage each separate image into just one picture.
In the days before the computer editing programme ‘Adobe Photoshop’, same would not have been an easy task to undertake, as each of the 3 images montaged together, would have required different exposure times and precise masking.

Gelatin-coated silver bromide printing paper was coming on stream from 1886, therefore it is most likely that one of the modern upright type photo enlargers, which came into production around 1921, (before ceasing in 2005), was used.

Whatever the time and date of the photographs manufacture, the Cathedral of the Assumption clock informs us that the photographs were taken close to 3:00pm in the afternoon.

Associated Historic Nonsence
The finished historic picture which shows buildings stretched / existing between the 15th century castle and the river however, does make a total nonsense of the claim that “Chieftains would drop fishing lines into the river Suir below. Whoever caught the biggest fish would lay claim to the favourite Wench of the castle.”

This nonsense information exists, suggested to visitors, on a misleading stone plaque erected in 2002, attached to the castle wall. The plaque is long regarded as being totally disrespectful of women, suggesting that rape and / or indeed prostitution was accepted as the ‘order of the day’, during the 15th, 16th and 17th century, or even that women were present in the castle building, itself designed to collect tolls and if necessary defend the river crossing against attack.

This plaque should now be removed, while Liberty Square is being upgraded. Other information on this plaque is also totally misleading to the very few tourists left grinning, that actually do find their way into the Premier County and into Thurles.

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