Video Game Developers To Showcase Skills On TUS Thurles Campus.

  • Video game developers to showcase skills at 21st All Ireland Games Fleadh on the TUS Thurles Campus during 2024 Games Fleadh.
  • Games Fleadh 2024 open to the public for free. Online registration is available at
  • Unique insights being offered into this €165-billion euro industry; to all/any visiting second and third-level students.
  • Games Fleadh 2024 is sponsored by TUS, EA and FiServ.

Students with ambitions in the gaming industry will get a unique insight into the €165 billion industry and access to some of the world’s most successful gaming companies and representative bodies at this year’s All Ireland Games Fleadh in the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) Thurles Campus on Wednesday March 6, 2024.

Games Fleadh Mascots pictured with Dr Liam Noonan, TUS and James Fogarty, TUS.
Pic: Alan Place

In its 21st year, Games Fleadh continues to lead the way in recognising the brightest and best among the country’s university student game developers, while also bringing together the collective knowledge of some of the leading names in the gaming industry.

Up to 1,400 students have competed in the competition since its inception, according to the event organiser Dr Liam Noonan (TUS Software Development and Games Programming Lecturer).

As well as being a hotly contested competition, Games Fleadh is a unique opportunity for third level students to demonstrate their games to industry veterans and gain valuable feedback on their creations,” said Dr Noonan, explaining that some of the country’s leading software developers and international gaming companies will be in attendance once again.
Games Fleadh 2024 features competitions such as a Game Studio ‘Start with Nothing’ themed competition and Robocode. Competitors will be in with a chance to win one of the many EA title prizes available.

Every year this free event, which is open to the public, also attracts second level students from all over Ireland with an interest in studying Computer Science or a future career in this competitive industry.

“The video games market is larger than the music and movie business combined, with revenues recently surpassing 180 billion dollars (approximately €165 billion) as reported by UK-based market intelligence firm Pelham Smithers. Games Fleadh continues to be a fantastic networking opportunity for the Irish game development sector. We believe that it also offers a fantastic networking opportunity for teachers to engage with third level institutions and explore best practice in teaching coding concepts,” added Dr Noonan.

Dr. Janice O’Connell (Head of Department of Information Technology at TUS) said, “The Games Fleadh is a fantastic event which integrates multiple different aspects of IT, innovation and creativity. Through the originality and imagination of Games, this unique event brings together industry, academia, current students, and future students. Special thanks to all our industry partners for their continued support, to the participants, and the staff in Thurles for making this event possible. Sincere thanks to Dr. Liam Noonan, who champions Games Fleadh every year.”

NOTE: The TUS Thurles Co. Tipperary Campus caters for students studying for qualifications in Applied Sports Science, Agricultural Science and Environmental Science, Business, Social Care Work, and Games Design.


Let’s Use Winter Months To Plan Future For Thurles Tourism.

In 1839, on today’s date, (January 6th, latter the Feast of the Epiphany), a devastating hurricane passed over Ireland leaving many dead and thousands of people homeless as the wind caused mass structural damage to homes across the country. The event is referred to as the “Night of the Big Wind”, (Irish – Oíche na Gaoithe Móire).

Drawing of Moycarkey, Thurles, missing Sheela-na-gig.

Today, January 6th is also known as Women’s Little Christmas Day (Irish – Nollaig na mBan), or Old Christmas Day or Twelfth Night down here in rural Ireland, when no doubt mothers will be following the age old custom of rubbing the tail of a herring across their children’s eyes to give them immunity against disease for the rest of 2024. Local wells may also, as tradition has it, have their water turned into wine at midnight, with no one being permitted to observe this spectacle, or even to sample the well water, lest they be met with ‘mí ádh’ (Irish – bad luck).

Time to attract Tourism.

Seriously though, now during our winter months is the time for us to start planning for the year ahead in other ways, most notably for the future of our currently non-existent tourist trade, here in Co. Tipperary.

We understand that a discussion has already taken place in Thurles, with regard to the failure, over many years, to attract visitors to the town and county. Unfortunatly, other matters prevented Thurles.Info from attending that particular public meeting.

However, the result of that meeting appears to have generated little in the way of any future planning, except perhaps in identifying and regurgitating small bits of already well known local history.

Starting today and over the coming weeks, Thurles.Info together with Hidden, will attempt to revive at least some enthusiasm in the effort to attract visitors to Thurles and the massive decline in street footfall, by offering some marketing ideas on how we can, working closely together, make tourism in Thurles and Tipperary a reality.

Suggested first project:

Make contact with local bus companies; Thurles accommodation providers; restaurants etc to put together prices for Bus Tours.

One Suggested Tour:

Offer an all-in tour of Tipperary Sheela-na-Gigs [Excel file here provides all the information required in relation to discovery], based and operated from Thurles town. Pass the above Excel File to bus operators in the locality to obtain their daily rate and contact local hotels and restaurants to acquire best group prices for accommodation and food. Based on the route used by the bus operator, contact with a hotel in one of the counties outlying areas will be necessary to acquire prices for a light lunch, leaving the provision of breakfast and dinner, to the hotel and restaurant sector in Thurles.

Having made contact with the above necessary service providers, a meeting should be convened and prices having been once accepted, should be keenly, and immediately marketed in time for the Summer of 2024, both at home and away, with no time lost.
While tourists from abroad may take more time to attract; visitations from home counties should show immediate interest, if proper marketing is undertaken using senior citizens clubs, walking clubs etc . It is important that an Irish Rail representative be also included in any future planning negotiations. It will be necessary also to provide a tour guide on all trips undertaken, and training for this undertaking can easily and immediately be undertaken.

What are Sheela-na-gigs?

Sheela-na-gigs are rare and ancient (c. 12th century) figurative architectural stone carvings (also known as grotesques) of female figures found on Cathedrals, Churches, Castles, and other historical buildings. Scholars debate the origins of these figures but some speculate that they may have been used to ward off evil spirits or may have had something to do with pre-Christian fertility or mother goddess religion.
While the greatest concentration of surviving carvings are to be found in Ireland, a few are also located in Great Britain, France and Spain.
Image above shows a nineteenth-century sketch of a Sheela-na-gig, currently preserved in the Royal Irish Academy, No. 19 Dawson Street Dublin 2, [Located at D02 HH58]. Same was formerly to be found on a tower house in Moycarkey, Co. Tipperary. Its whereabouts today, however, is presently not known, but somewhere, someone may know its present location.
This is not the first time that a looting of ancient Tipperary Sheela-na-gigs has taken place. Listen to and read related RTÉ Radio documentary HERE.

Note: Of the 124 known examples throughout the counties of Ireland, some 24 of these unique stone carvings are or were located within the boundaries of Co. Tipperary.

So let’s get started and begin to work together within our present tourism structure, if possible.


Death Of Oscar-Nominated Actor Ryan O’Neal.

Oscar-nominated, Los Angeles born, American actor Ryan O’Neal, who starred in such well known films as “Love Story”, and “Paper Moon”, sadly passed away yesterday, Friday, December 8th, 2023, at the age of 82 years.

The eldest son of actress Patricia Ruth Olga (née O’Callaghan; 1907–2003) and novelist and screenwriter Charles O’Neal.
Note: as their names suggest; his father was of both Irish and English descent, while his mother was of paternal Irish and maternal Ashkenazi* Jewish ancestry.
[*Ashkenazim, through the ages, made significant contributions to Europe’s philosophy, scholarship, literature, art, music, and science.]

The Tipperary Connection.
He starred in the late Stanley Kubrick (1928–1999) directed movie Barry Lyndon, much of which was filmed here in South Tipperary, using location such as Cahir Castle; The Vee and Castlegrace in Clogheen and Moorstown Castle near Clonmel. The film based on the 1844 novel ‘The Luck of Barry Lyndon’, written by William Makepeace Thackeray, winning four Oscars in production categories and is today regarded as one of the late Mr Kubrick’s finest films ever made.

Mr O’Neal had initially trained as an amateur (Golden Gloves) boxer, before beginning a career in acting, as an extra; a film stand-in, and stunt man back in 1960, before making his first television appearance, guest starring on ‘The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis’ episode “The Hunger Strike” in the 1960’s.

The Hollywood star gained much popularity after his role in the American prime-time soap opera drama entitled ‘Peyton Place’ and later international claim after his Oscar-nominated performance as ‘Oliver’ in the 1970’s romantic film ‘Love Story’, latter one of the highest-grossing films of all time, when adjusted for inflation. His co-star American actress and activist Ms Ali MacGraw, was latter selected by ‘People Magazine’ as one of its “50 Most Beautiful People” in the world.

In ár gcroíthe go deo.


Limerick University To Host World Wallball Championships 2024.

  • Event coincides with 100th anniversary of GAA Handball.

University of Limerick (UL) has been announced as the host venue for the 2024 World Wallball Championships from August 18th to 23rd.

World Champion Conor McElduff; Gerald Mitchell, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick; and Rory Grace of UL Wolves at the announcement in UL today that University of Limerick will host the 2024 World Wallball Championships.

Formerly known as “The World Handball Championships”, the tournament will see more than 750 competitors, from across the world, battle it out on 10 newly constructed courts in one of Ireland’s leading indoor venues, at the UL Sport Arena.

Wallball is the fastest-growing version of the sport of handball with a significant presence in mainland Europe, the UK and the United States. The triennial event is traditionally hosted in rotation by Ireland, the United States and Canada, with Australia also hosting the 1988 event. Ireland last hosted the competition in 2012.

Hosted at UL Sport and supported by UL Events, the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, Limerick City and County Council, Fáilte Ireland and the Munster Handball Council, next year’s event also coincides with the centenary of GAA Handball.

Welcoming today’s announcement, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr. Gerald Mitchell said, “This announcement is another huge win for Limerick and the Shannon Region. This six-day event will make a valuable contribution to the local economy. It helps to further enhance Limerick’s reputation as a sport tourism sport destination as we prepare for the hosting of The 2027 Ryder Cup in Adare.”

Mr Conor McDonnell, GAA Handball President commented, “We are delighted that next year’s World Wallball Championships and Irish Nationals will be staged in world class facilitates of the University of Limerick. This promises to be the biggest and most spectacular handball event ever. GAA Handball want to thank all our partners who have helped make this happen. Please support the Championships by volunteering and participating”.

Mr David Britton, Head of GAA Handball stated, “GAA Handball would like to thank the GAA, Munster Handball Council, Munster GAA and the University of Limerick for all their hard work and support in bringing the 2024 World Wallball Championships to the state-of-the-art UL complex. The event promises to be a fantastic platform for our sport to showcase itself on an international stage. Next year GAA Handball celebrates 100 years as a member of the GAA family, and I could not think of a more fitting way to mark such an important milestone.”

Mr David Ward of UL Events added, “We are delighted to have been chosen as the host venue for the World Wallball Championships, which will see the provision of 10 newly constructed courts at the UL Sport Arena. These World Championships will bring a sporting and economic boost to Limerick with an anticipated 6000 bed nights. We look forward to working with all stakeholders in providing the athletes an amazing one stop shop Olympic Village experience and to showcase the sport of GAA Handball at its very best.”

According to Ms Karen Brosnahan, General Manager of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, “The Bureau’s goal is to attract business and sports tourism to The Shannon Region to help underpin services at Shannon Airport and deliver an economic impact to the tourism sector in the region. I want to acknowledge the role of ambassadors who are hugely important in sourcing and winning lucrative tourism business for the Shannon Region. Fáilte Ireland’s support for the region in bidding for international business also has been instrumental in securing this and other events.”

The World Handball Championships take place in UL Arena from August 18th to 23rd, 2024, and will be followed by the 4-Wall (40×20) World Championships, later in the year in Dublin, Kilkenny, Laois and Carlow.


ESRI Research On Problem Gambling Welcomed.

  • 3.3% of the adult population in Ireland, or 130,000 people, are people with problem gambling.
  • An additional 7.1% of the adult population, or 279,000 people, show moderate evidence of problem gambling.
  • People with problem gambling, on average, spend more than €1,000 per month on gambling, accounting for 28 per cent of total spending on gambling.
  • Gambling Regulation Bill 2022 will provide a framework and legislative basis for a robust regulatory and licensing regime to regulate all forms of gambling.
  • The Gambling Regulation Bill 2022, is, at its core, a public health measure aimed at protecting citizens from gambling harm, including younger people and those more vulnerable in our communities.

The publication today of research on problem gambling, gambling behaviours and perceptions of gambling in Ireland, was carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute’s Behavioural Research Unit.

The study was commissioned through the Implementation Team supporting the establishment of a new independent statutory body called Údarás Rialála Cearrbhachais na hÉireann, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland.

The review records that 3.3% of the adult population in Ireland, or 130,000 people, are people with problem gambling, a figure that is ten times higher than previous estimates.

Furthermore, the research finds that an additional 7.1% of the adult population, or 279,000 people, show moderate evidence of problem gambling and a further 15%, or 590,000 people, who report at least some problematic experiences or behaviours in relation to gambling.

It should be noted, the researchers point out that their study is more likely to have underestimated the prevalence of problem gambling than have overestimated it.

The research also finds that people with problem gambling, on average, spend more than €1,000 per month on gambling, accounting for 28 per cent of total spending on gambling.

The research concludes that nearly half of the gambling industry’s revenue in Ireland is generated from people experiencing multiple negative effects from gambling.

The ESRI’s research also found that:

  • While problem gambling is more common among adults aged under 50 (and highest in the 30-39 year age group), men and those with lower educational attainment, it is widespread, with 2.9% of women and 2.6% of people educated to degree level estimated to have problem gambling.
  • two-thirds of people with problem gambling stated their wish to gamble less, indicating problems with self-control.
  • the public, holding a generally negative attitude to gambling, believes that the availability of opportunities to gamble and exposure to gambling advertising are the main causes of problem gambling.