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Pick – Poolbeg Chimneys Or Thurles 175 Year Old Great Famine Double Ditch?

Poolbeg industrial chimneys, Dublin.

The two x 207metre high Poolbeg industrial chimneys situated standing at the mouth of Dublin Harbour were built and came into operation in the 1970’s and are amongst the tallest, hideous, eyesore structures in Ireland, visible from most areas of Dublin city.

The twin chimneys, with their distinctive red and white, dirty, rust streaked facades, when built had only a planned operational lifetime of 30-40 years. While Poolbeg itself continues today to be an operational power station, the existing chimneys were decommissioned back in 2006 and 2010; same no longer required for the 470MW gas turbine plant, which generates electricity for more than half a million Irish homes.

Bear this information in mind, when you hear that Dublin City councillors have called for the 50 year old chimneys to be listed as protected structures. To this end they have commissioned an architectural historian to research and report on the state of the chimneys, with a view to encasing them in concrete or fibreglass at a cost of several million euro.

Here in Thurles, Tipperary Co. Council officials, elected County Councillors and TD’s are on a totally different thought wave length.

Surely, the Poolbeg chimneys built in the 1970’s can hardly be observed as an international tourist attraction, while the Great Famine Double Ditch situated on Mill Road, Thurles Co. Tipperary has major tourism attraction potential, bringing benefit to a town centre currently on its knees.

Tipperary Co. Council officials, elected County Councillors and TD’s have now condemned the 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch to total eradication, without the consent of those residents of the county who elected them and who continue to pay their massive salaries.

In the words of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defence, Mr Charles Erwin Wilson, which of these scenarios offers “most bounce for ounce” or “bang for your buck”, for the Irish taxpayer.

Restore and protect a 50 year old defunct and hideous eyesore, known as the Poolbeg chimneys; costing “Several million euro”, placing the debt burden on a State-owned company, who will be required to foot a continuous annual maintenance bill.
Restore and protect an historic 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch, Right-Of-Way and Mass Path, already slightly damaged by Tipperary Co. Council officials; which offers major tourism attraction potential, costing “Between €15,000 and €20,000”.


Thurles 175 Year Old Great Famine Double Ditch Demolition Scandal

Survey Sent To All Thurles Elected Representatives Including Teachtaí Dála Mr Jackie Cahill and Mr Michael Lowry.

A simple definition of the word “Hypocrisy“, is the practice of claiming to have higher standards, virtues, principles and beliefs that one in fact does not have and in most cases are unlikely to attain.

For examples of real “Hypocrisy” one does not have to go outside of County Tipperary or past page 4 of the “Tipperary Heritage Plan 2017 -2021” to find 2 major examples. View same by simply clicking HERE

First example of “Hypocrisy” comes from Cllr. Siobhán Ambrose, (Back between the years 2017 – 2021 Ms Ambrose was for a term Cathaoirleach, of Tipperary County Council.)

Quote: “The aim of the plan is to connect the citizens of Tipperary to their heritage and to make it an integral part of everyday life at the core of our communities. ……The aim of the plan is to connect the citizens of Tipperary to their heritage and to make it an integral part of everyday life at the core of our communities. Tipperary is a county with a rich heritage of which the Council and the citizens of Tipperary are very proud. Heritage projects provide a great opportunity for communities to come together and across the county local groups are working together to promote their localities. I have attended numerous events in the last months where people are celebrating their heritage, be it Built Heritage, Biodiversity and Wildlife, Culture, Music or Folklore. This strengthens our communities and contributes to our sense of place and puts heritage at the heart of our communities. I would like to acknowledge the work of these groups and individuals and hope that through the actions of this plan that we can work in partnership to look after this valuable asset and protect it for generations to come”.

The second example comes from the current reigning Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Mr Joe MacGrath.

Quote: “Our heritage is about our past, our present and our future and contributes greatly to the quality of life in our urban and rural communities. It is shared by all and is fully inclusive. Interaction with our heritage not only provides physical and mental health benefits, but contributes to overall well-being, while biodiversity is an essential component in the functioning of our environment.”

While we can’t be sure who wrote the above two introductory paragraphs to this ‘Tipperary Heritage Plan‘ document; we do know that both the Tipperary Co. Council officials named above, signed them; while receiving hefty salaries from Tipperary taxpayers.

Elected Representatives Questionnaire/Survey

The above survey is being sent to the following persons.

Elected Co. Councillors, Templemore / Thurles Municipal District.

Mr Peter Ryan. peter.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Eddie Moran. eddie.moran@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Jim Ryan. jim.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie
Note: Latter Mr Ryan will also reply to our survey issued yesterday.
Mr Shane Lee. shane.lee@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Noel J. Coonan. noel.coonan@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Michael Smith. michael.smith@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Micheál Lowry. micheal.lowry@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Seamus Hanafin. seamus.hanafin@tipperarycoco.ie
Mr Sean Ryan. seano.ryan@tipperarycoco.ie

Local Politicians

Mr Michael Lowry. michael.lowry@oireachtas.ie
Mr Jackie Cahill. jackie.cahill@oireachtas.ie

Of the 6 questions forwarded to all elected representatives; the first 3 questions require only a simple YES or NO answer.

(1) Do you support the continued destruction of Thurles history and its historical sites, as in the past?

(2) Do you support the recently confirmed plans by Tipperary County Council to destroy the Great Famine Double Ditch historical site?

(3) As part of the Tipperary County Council development plans, in relation to this proposed inner relief road; has any alternative to the destruction of the Double Ditch been explored at Municipal district level or County level, Chaired by Tipperary Co, Council Chief Executive Mr Joe MacGrath?

(4) If you agree that the Great Famine Double Ditch should be taken from the people of Thurles and destroyed as part of Tipperary Co. Councils development plans, please now outline why you believe this to be so justified?

(5) If you disagree and believe the Double Ditch should be protected and marketed to the world; what action do you propose should now be undertaken to prevent its destruction?

(6) Will you be inviting ÆGIS and their Archaeological Impact Statement report author, namely Mr F. Coyne BA MIAI to return and acknowledge that the Great Famine Double Ditch actually exists?
The qualified professional author Mr Coyne, should also explain how and why he excluded the phrases: “Double Ditch”, “Public Right-of-Way”, “Mass Path” and “Great Famine” from his Archaeological Impact Statement and declare that he was not requested to do so by any engineer or other official within Tipperary Co. Council. (See page 5 & 6 of link shown HERE.)

NB: The Questionnaire/Survey must be returned by Sunday 14th March 2021 and in the interests of openness & transparency, all details will be published in full, on this website for our readers.


Cllr. Jim Ryan Confirms Destruction Of 175 Year Old Great Famine Double Ditch.

The Great Famine Double Ditch that Thurles Elected Councillors
say does not exist.

The following email from Cllr. Mr Jim Ryan was sent to me in the last few days. Same now confirms that, sadly, the Great Famine “Double Ditch” is to be destroyed, to construct an inner relief road to benefit the new Thurles Town centre, being developed at Slievenamon Road. [The former town centre at Liberty Square, Thurles, having been destroyed by Tipperary Co. Council assisted by Thurles Municipal District Councillors].

The Email from Cllr. Mr Jim Ryan, Mill Road, Thurles, sent on March 1st, 12:21pm, is show hereunder.

Dear George
In a follow up to your concerns regarding the removal or closure of the double ditch walkway in Thurles I can now confirm the following as presented to me by Roads Section of Tipperary County Council.

  • The proposed new Thurles Link road from Clongour to the Mill Road will be going through a small section of the double ditch or College Lane walkway on the Mill Road side.
  • The walkway will remain fully accessible with a newly opened access point from the new link road on the Mill Road side after construction.
  • The construction of the new Link Road will require the removal of the existing walled entrance on the Mill Road side along with the removal of a small section of the walkway itself on that same side.
  • The council stated that a full and comprehensive Archeology (Read as Archaeology) and Envirnomental (Read as Environmental) Assessment was carried out as part of the process that highlighted no concerns to the council or An Bord Pleanala
  • The Double Ditch or College Lane walkway will not be closed off to the public or removed once the construction of the new link road is completed. It will however be reduced slightly in length with a new access point on the Mill Road side.

I hope this clarifies some of the issues raised by you.
Cllr Jim Ryan
Comhairle Contae Thiobraid Árann
Tipperary County Council

The content shown in the above email, to say the very least, is a watered-down version, designed to affect my silence.

One example of this is that Mr Ryan has failed to notice that a further two-lane exit through the double ditch is designed to allow traffic onto the new road, from the new housing estate; see area/map reference indicated between F4 & F3.
A second exit is designed possibly to connect to the rear of the Mary Immaculate College (formerly St. Patrick’s College). See between F6 & F5 on the map immediately published hereunder.
Also on the map hereunder the Double Ditch has been shortened, by almost one half, compared to the cover map on our first video shown above. Same map referred to above is the first map ever recorded of this area in the 1800’s. This is deceit of the first order, by Council officials.

We now learn that none of our Municipal District Councillors can be trusted following the disclosure by Cllr. Ryan.

Tonight, I have replied to Cllr. Jim Ryan, Member of Thurles Municipal District, Council.


Thank you for your communication of the 1st instant.
My sincere apologies for failing to respond to your communication earlier.

I am fully aware, since June 3rd, 2019, that it was the intention of Tipperary Co. Council to demolish the Great Famine Double Ditch, latter situated within 500 meters of your principal private residence on the Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

It was to that end, indeed, that I contacted, in November 2019, Ms Rosin O’Grady, (Latter Tipperary Heritage Officer and Creative Ireland Co-ordinator), asking that she contact the National Monument Service, with a view to granting protection to this historic area. I was soon to realise that Ms O’Grady, despite her official title, is not fully independent of her titled duties, governed indeed by Thurles Municipal District Councillors and senior officials within Tipperary Co. Council.

Suffice is to state that Ms Rosin O’Grady has been instructed not to enter into further communication with me or has failed in her required duty as a County Heritage Officer.

You and your Council colleagues and Co. Council officials, including Chief Executive Mr Joseph MacGrath were informed regarding this wanton destruction of our local Thurles history, on May 24th 2020 (almost 10 months ago).

You Sir, including your County Council C.E. Mr Joe MacGrath, together with all elected Thurles Municipal District Councillors, and the Lowry Team, deliberately and with ill will, chose to ignore every communication sent to each and every one of them, while failing to acknowledge or even reply to any and all of my communications.
Following my complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) regarding you and others of your Council colleagues, including TD’s Mr Jackie Cahill and Mr Michael Lowry; you were contacted by Registrar, Mr David Coleman, (Administrative officer, Corporate Services) regarding your failure to maintain proper standards of integrity; conduct, and concern for the public interest. It took you Cllr. Ryan, almost 3 years to inform me of what you knew, refusing to confirm the information which I had already informed you.

You will now please answer for the moment the following two questions:-

(1) Do you support this decision to remove yet another piece of Thurles history, which if properly marketed would benefit, greatly, the community of Thurles.

Note: I am aware that you are a senior, active committee member, with that grouping known as “The International Garden of Remembrance Committee”, (Chairman Mr John Worth), situated at St. Mary’s Graveyard, Church Lane, Thurles.
You annually attend a ceremony in this garden to commemorate “An Gorta Mór – Ireland’s Great Hunger 1845-1849”. Indeed your group unveiled a large headstone of black marble, (latter which in the past I have strongly objected to its introduction, without planning permission), breaching, as it does, government heritage guidelines and regulations.
Are you now going to support the destruction of a real piece of Thurles heritage, which Thurles can use to attract the ever elusive Thurles tourist?

(2) Do you or any other extended member of your family, either in the past or at any time in the future, expect to benefit, through the sale of land, or other advantage, conveniences or possessory rights, which is being now brought to bear, thus aiding the future destruction of the 175 year old Great Famine Double Ditch, at Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Mr Ryan, you, your council colleagues, local TD’s and Co. Council Officials bring shame on this community and you are observed as no better than delinquent, vandals.

Your answers are of particular interest to me, in relation to steps I intend to take to reverse this outrageous, wilful and destructive decision.

Yours faithfully,
George Willoughby.

I now invite Thurles Chamber of Commerce, Tipperary Tourism, Thurles Tourism groups and the Irish Government, to support the retention of this piece of valuable history.
As a right-of-way Tipperary County Council are obliged to clean up this area and restore, that which they damaged on the watch of Mr Joe MacGrath, CE. Tipperary, Co. Council, in the last 9 years since 2013.


Thurles – Looking Back.

Cathedral Street, east of Thurles town centre, in Co. Tipperary has possibly undergone the most change in the last 50 years.

Gone of course is Ryan’s brewery stores, positioned in the monochrome picture hereunder, dividing Church Lane from Kickham Street (The Pike). Same has been replaced by modern shop units and a petrol station.

Image of Cathedral Street, Thurles (formerly known as East Main Street), possibly captured sometime between 1930 and 1940 based on the 1927 Ford Model T. Some 15 million of these cars were sold, and the model, as of 2012, stood eighth on the top-ten list of most sold cars of all time.

It was to this building, according to a traditional story, that a servant was dispatched from the Palace of Archbishop Price, in Cashel, Co Tipperary. Estate manager and the father of renowned Arthur Guinness, namely Richard Guinness, was in charge of supervising the brewing of beer for the estate’s employees on the Archbishop Price estate. Supplying beer to employees at that time was considered part of their weekly entitlement.

The servant had been charged with purchasing and delivering the necessary beer making materials, from Ryan’s brewery stores in Cathedral Street.

Cathedral Street, Thurles, February 2021.
Photo: G.Willoughby.

Later, back in Cashel in the Palace kitchen, the purchased barley was accidentally roasted until virtually black, thus giving that unique burnt flavour known to us today as “Porters Ale” or “Guinness Porter” and described by the then Protestant Archbishop at that time as being “a brew of a very palatable nature.”


Update to Irish Civil Records

E. J. Brennan

Our numerous readers of Thurles.Info all currently living overseas, especially those involved in searching for their “Roots”, are asked to please take special note.

Website www.irishgenealogy.ie, for free, has added a whole additional year of historic Births, Marriages and Deaths, now available to research.

The records now available online include:
Birth register records – 1864 to 1920.
Marriage register records – 1845 to 1945.
Death register records – 1871 to 1970.

NB: Civil Registration of Marriages in the Roman Catholic Church only commenced in 1864.

The Civil Registration Service are currently working on updating the remaining records of Deaths dating back to 1864. These will be included in future updates to the records available on their website.

The website linked shown above is operated by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Again the website remains free of charge to use and no subscription or registration is required to use it.