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Medieval Knights Ride Into Bunratty For Inaugural Grand Medieval Tournament.

Looking for something new and an exciting experience next weekend, then read on.

Medieval archery contests, mounted swordsmanship and jousting will be showcased during the inaugural Grand Medieval Tournament at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park in County Clare this coming Saturday and Sunday. [September 9th & 10th]

Reenactors from the Wexford-based Horsemen of Éire group will play the knights of the Earl of Ulster Hugh De Lacy and his bitter rival John DeCourcy as they take over the paddocks of the Folk Park.

Visitors can also experience a true to life medieval encampment and witness history come to life by meeting the characters, learning about the turbulent times, lifestyles, customs and skills of 12th and 13th century Ireland.

The two-day medieval spectacle will also afford the public a unique opportunity to witness the preparation and training required for those facing into battle and see how their customs, crafts and traditions have shaped modern society.

The tournament consists of a series of duels and feats of arms horseback and on foot where the two teams try to accumulate points. Visitors will see mounted knights joust at the quintain attempting to strike stationary objects with a lance and hurl javelins at targets, archers demonstrate their accuracy and precision by shooting at distant targets, knights duelling while mounted on their steeds, and multiple knights engaging in a fierce battle within the arena, demonstrating their swordplay, agility, and tactics.

The closing ceremony each day will feature two of the most outstanding knights facing each other in an epic duel on horseback and on foot. A panel of experienced judges will assess the participants’ skill, technique, sportsmanship, and adherence to the code of chivalry. Points are awarded for successful strikes, deft manoeuvres, and demonstrations of honour and respect. The victorious knight will be crowned the Champion of the Grand Tournament, awarded with a glittering laurel wreath, and the admiration of the crowd.

Bunratty Castle was itself the target of multiple attacks during medieval times. The castle was captured and destroyed in 1284, before being rebuilt by Thomas de Clare, Lord of Thomond, three years later.

See www.bunrattycastle.ie for more on the Grand Medieval Tournament at Bunratty Castle on September 9-10th.


Hurling – A Cross Between A Game Of Ice Hockey & Murder.

Good humouredly described by someone recently, as being “A cross between a game of Ice Hockey and Murder”; yet over 80,000 spectators from home and abroad will descend on Croke Park, Dublin, on Sunday next, July 23rd 2023, to watch Co. Kilkenny, (the latter ‘All-Ireland winners’ 36 times in total, between the years 1921-2019), compete with the current reigning champions Co. Limerick, in the game of Hurling.

Hayes Commercial Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary today.

Hurling remains the fastest field sport in the world today, with the ball often reaching speeds of up to 100mph and with, on average, an estimated 350,000 hurley sticks produced every year within the Irish State.

One of the oldest games still in existence in the world, the game of “Hurling” dates back to early times, here in Ireland, with the first written reference to the game appearing in the written Brehon laws of the 7th century.

However, references to hurling were made much earlier in tales of the heroics of the Irish legend, warrior hero and demigod, Sétanta. Latter would gain his possibly better-known name, after killing the craftsperson Culann’s fierce guard dog, in self-defence; having driven a hurling ball (sliotar) deep into the animals throat, using his hurley stick, thus resulting in the choking the unfortunate animal.
Sétanta offered to take the dogs place, until a replacement could be located or another animal reared, hence he, Sétanta, became the Hound (Irish for which is “Cú”) of Culann; hence his new name/title “Chullainn”.

While banned in the 12th century by Norman invaders who had arrived into Ireland, the game of hurling nevertheless, continued to grow in popularity up until the early 19th century, before Irish customs and traditions became again heavily repressed and which saw hurling decline across the island, with the exception of strongholds here, within the province of Munster.

This decline was to change following an article written by Co. Clare man Michael Cusack, called ‘A Word about Irish Athletics’ which appeared in both the ‘United Ireland’ and ‘The Irishman’ newspapers.
On October 11th, 1884 Cusack’s article to both papers was supported by a communication from Tipperary man Maurice Davin, who had dominated athletics for over a decade and who gave his full support to the October 11th publications.

A week later Cusack submitted a signed letter to both newspapers announcing that a meeting would take place in the Hayes Commercial Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary; staged to take place on November 1st 1884.
Thus the first meeting of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) for the Preservation and Cultivation of National Pastimes took place, recognising that Ireland’s indigenous sports needed to be preserved standardised and regulated.

At the meeting Maurice Davin was elected President, while 3 other attendees namely Michael Cusack, John Wyse Power and John McKay were elected as secretaries. Archbishop Thomas William Croke, Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt were invited to become patrons.

The newly formed Gaelic Athletic Association would cover both of Ireland’s indigenous games identified as Gaelic Football and Hurling. GAA clubs quickly began to spring up all over Ireland and people began to play the games of Hurling and Gaelic Football and take part in Athletic events with pride.

The first All-Ireland hurling match took place in 1887, in Birr, Co. Offaly, with Co. Tipperary defeating Co. Galway.


Tim Lucey Appointed CEO Of Rásaíocht Con Éireann.

Rásaíocht Con Éireann CEO Mr Tim Lucey.

The Board of Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) / Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI) has announced the appointment of Mr Tim Lucey as the organisation’s new CEO.

Mr. Lucey has been Chief Executive of Cork County Council since 2014. During his expansive career in Local Government, he also has served as Manager of Cork City Council (2010-2014).

Tim Lucey is an experienced Chief Executive, having served the last 9 years as Chief Executive of Cork County Council, after progressing from a 4-year period in the same role at Cork City Council. He previously held the position of assistant County Manager (for North Cork) and Head Of Corporate Affairs for Cork County Council.

The native of Bandon in County Cork, who will assume his new CEO role in November 2023, has led transformational change in the Local Government sector with a focus on investment in corporate development, commercial thinking and supporting the importance of rural, community, and cultural aspects of Ireland’s fabric, while at the same time securing significant investment in infrastructure, urban and business growth.

He is a member of the Institute of Directors and a member of the Board of the Institute of Public Administration (IPA), the Local Government Management Agency and Promoting Cork Ltd, and has extensive qualifications in accountancy, company direction and business.

“I am honoured to accept the position of CEO and I am very much looking forward to working with the Board of Directors and staff of RCÉ and the vibrant greyhound community across Ireland,” commented Mr. Lucey.

Mr. Lucey continued, “I am committed to using my extensive experience in corporate leadership and management, crisis management, communications and stakeholder engagement in complex multi-sectoral environments to further develop a commercial greyhound racing industry built on a high-quality entertainment, consumer-focused product, which meets the highest international regulatory and welfare standards.”

Frank Nyhan, Chairperson of the Board of RCÉ, said, “On behalf of the staff and Board, I am pleased to announce that Tim Lucey has, following an extensive recruitment process, accepted the position as our new CEO. Tim is a tremendously experienced leader, and we are delighted to announce that he will be joining our organisation. Mr John Tuohey will remain as interim CEO until Tim takes up his new position and RCÉ would like to acknowledge and thank John for his contribution during this transition,” added Mr. Nyhan.

According to Mr John Tuohey, (Interim CEO of RCÉ), “RCÉ will greatly benefit from Tim’s wealth of experience in corporate and financial governance and his management of Ireland’s largest local authority by area. On behalf of staff, I want to congratulate Tim and I look forward to him taking up his new position this November.”

RCÉ is a commercial semi-state body responsible for the control and development of the greyhound industry in the Republic of Ireland.  GRI has licensed a total of 14 tracks in the Republic, of which nine are owned and controlled by the organisation. The remainder are owned and operated by private enterprise. There are also a further two privately owned stadia in Northern Ireland.

Visit www.grireland.ie for more.


Public Consultation On Recommendations Of Firearms Expert Committee Launched.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Mr James Browne TD, established the Firearms Expert Committee (FEC) on a non-statutory basis, in June of 2022.

The FEC included representation from stakeholders, the Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána. The purpose of the FEC was to serve in an advisory capacity to Minister Browne, providing guidance on a wide range of matters related to firearms licensing within the Irish State.

Pump Action Shotgun

The FEC held nine in-person Committee meetings over a period of nine months.

The final reports of the FEC were published on the 31st March 2023. The reports, along with the summaries and minutes of the FEC’s meetings are available HERE.

These FEC reports contain recommendations to the Minister on a wide range of firearms matters, in line with its comprehensive terms of reference. Minister Browne has stated throughout the FEC process that no changes to policy or legislation arising from any of the recommendations of the FEC will be implemented without prior consultation with stakeholders.

With this aim, Minister Browne has now launched an online consultation platform. This will allow stakeholders to indicate their level of support for all of the substantive recommendations of the FEC. This consultation platform is available HERE.

In addition to the online consultation platform Minister Browne will invite national representative organisations to make open submissions to him on behalf of their membership.

Minister Browne would encourage as many people and organisations as possible to participate in the online consultation, so that everyone with an interest in these important matters can have their voices heard. The online consultation will close on Friday June 2nd 2023.


Tipperary Rural School Honours Irish Six Nations Rugby Hero, Brian Gleeson.

Freelance local journalist Tom Ryan reports;

A historic Irish Primary school, which in 1970, became the first Primary School in Ireland to introduce mixed rugby (boys and girls playing together), gave an ecstatic welcome to illustrious past pupil, Brian Gleeson of the triumphant under 20 Irish Six Nations Grand Slam winning rugby team, when he was feted
as ‘Guest of Honour’ at a reception in the afore mentioned, flags and bunting bedecked school, to
mark his achievements, recently.

Rahealty National School situated outside Thurles (latter home of the GAA) is just a few kilometres down the road from Semple Stadium.
It might once have seemed an unlikely venue for a major rugby occasion, but the school under then Principal, Mr Michael Quinlan of Thurles RFC in1970 pioneered a legendary rugby story which was to receive national media coverage for many years.

When past pupil, Brian Gleeson, brought the Six Nations Trophy into the school recently, he was accorded a tumultuous reception. Pupils and parents sang “The Fields of Athenry” and pupils sang a song about the victorious under 20 Irish team and wrote a poem about Brian Gleeson, who was accompanied by his parents, Pat and Fionnuala Gleeson and his sister, Aoibhe. Another sister, Ciara, is a pupil at the school where Deputy Principal, Michael Harty is a trained rugby coach.
Pupils formed a Guard of Honour on Brian’s arrival with the Six Nations Trophy and he was led into the school by the renowned, lone pipe, Mr John McCarthy of the Dr. Diarmuid O’Hurley Pipe Band from Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

Children carried miniature Irish tricoloured flags, courtesy of School Caretaker, Jim Fogarty as they sat on little stools for the occasion.
A sumptuous repast was enjoyed by all, including a fabulous cake in the shape of a rugby ball and treats were courtesy of past pupil, Siobhan Holohan.

Brian and his parents, Pat and Fionnuala, and sister Aoibhe, were welcomed to the school by School Principal, Mrs Edel Kelly Ryan. A former star dancer with the Bru Boru Seisiun Group in Cashel, Mrs Kelly Ryan noted that they might be back again next year celebrating as Brian would be eligible to play for the Ireland under 20s again next year.
A proud former Rahealty NS Principal, Thurles RFC personality and former rugby referee, Michael Quinlan spoke of Brian’s achievements with Rockwell College, Senior Clubs, the Munster Academy and the Munster panel.
Mr Quinlan presented a beautiful Genesis Art piece to Brian Gleeson in memory of eight students who wrote the poem, “Our Brian Gleeson”. Students recited their tribute in verse and Mrs Edel Kelly Ryan presented a copy of the poem to a delighted Brian.
Local priest and noted vocalist, Father James Purcell sang “Ireland’s Call“ and was joined by the young pupils, parents and guests who included Jackie Cahill ,TD. and local Councillors, Jim
Ryan, and Seamus Hanafin. Fr. Purcell offered a special blessing ahead of the World Cup in South Africa.

Mrs Kelly Ryan said Brian Gleeson and his classmates had great success over the years in both hurling and football, Quote “From early on it was clear to see, Brian was extremely driven”. “When he took the Number 8 jersey on the Irish team, there was great excitement in the school, but the joy that Brian brought to the school over the following months, he would never know.” added Mrs
Kelly Ryan.

The famous school’s mixed rugby finals in their grounds annually are one of the highlights of the sporting year in Tipperary with leading rugby personalities from various parts of Ireland frequently in attendance.

The school has a high profile and has featured often on local and national Press, on a number of RTE Shows including “The School Around The Corner” with the late Gerry Ryan and also BBC radio.

Former School Principal Mr Michael Quinlan of Thurles RFC, who started it all in 1970, said “I have the privilege of observing intelligent young people aspiring to be Primary Teachers prepare and deliver lessons to their young charges. There are some important criteria by which their efforts are assessed but by far the most important is inclusion. I am passionate about the necessity that our Primary School classrooms are inclusive in every way. For me rugby is the most inclusive field game Boys and girls of primary school age can play. There is a role for everybody regardless of skill or ability”.
Mr Quinlan said that in his teens Brian faced a real dilemma as so many talented sportspeople do.
“He was being wooed at the highest level by another code and a decision cannot have been easy. We can be happy an important decision was made for all the right reasons and lucky for us that decision was the game of rugby football”, added Mr Quinlan.