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Horse & Jockey Singers Support Thurles Hospital

Horse and Jockey Singers support the Hospital of the Assumption Unit In Thurles.

The Horse and Jockey Singers annual variety concert is now a well-established event on the social and entertainment calendar here in Co. Tipperary.

Since its inception about five years ago, it has attracted a loyal band of regular supporters, who wouldn’t miss it for the world and many see it as the beginning of the festivities for the Christmas season.

Others point to the variety of entertainment that is regularly on offer, as audiences over the years continue to be enthralled by top class singers, dancers, choirs, soloists, musicians, not forgetting memorable recitations and sketches.

This variety concert has always supported charitable causes, both local and national, and this year will be no exception as the Comfort Fund at Unit C of the Community Hospital of the Assumption, will benefit from the proceeds.

Master Of Recitations Mr Noel Joyce

This year’s programme is as attractive and varied as ever.

  • The Doran family are back again on Saturday night, while the indomitable Jim O’ the Mill and family will entertain on Friday.
  • The singing of renowned soprano, Emma English, from Tipperary town will be a highlight of the evening.
  • Rathdowney’s Mick Creagh is new to the bill, but not to the stage as his one-man show has played to packed houses already this year.
  • Multi All-Ireland winner, Noel Joyce is back by popular acclaim and his recitations will, no doubt, have the audience in stitches.
  • The Presentation School dancers, recently returned from the stage at Nashville, the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee, are eagerly anticipated as are the group of Harpers who have delighted us in the past.
  • New to the programme this year are Sonas from New Inn, the Ryan Girls, Cashel and the talented Cailínís.
  • The ever popular Derrynaflan Male Choir has been busy rehearsing for the show.

The Horse and Jockey Singers are grateful for the wonderful support they have enjoyed in the past and are really looking forward to meeting old and new friends at the concert.

The choir first came into existence in September 2014 and comprises both male and female members. The love of singing permeates the group and the social outlet it provides enhances all their lives. Based at the Horse and Jockey Hotel, this fifty strong group, under the musical direction of Mr Patrick Conlon and accompanied by Ms Ann Marie Dwan, have participated in many concerts and choral festivals.

These popular concerts will take place on Friday November 22nd and Saturday November 23rd, at the Derrynaflan Theatre, in the Horse & Jockey Hotel, with winning author Mr Liam Ó Donnchú once again taking on the role of ‘Master of Ceremonies’.

Starting time is 8.00 p.m. sharp and tickets costing €20.00 are available from the hotel reception or from Connie O’Keeffe Tel: 087-6667988.

Please do come along and support this most deserving of causes.

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Camaraderie & Fun at Colaiste Mhuire Sci-Fi Musical

Mutual trust, friendship and fun gained from the Colaiste Mhuire Sci-Fi Musical.

Full report courtesy Thurles journalist Tom Ryan.

Impressed patrons were afforded a heartwarming and courteous honour guard by student greeters, in both English and ‘as Gaeilge’, as they wended their way through a spectacularly lighted entrance, at ‘The Dome’, latter beside Colaiste Mhuire, Co-Ed School, Thurles; for the famed academy’s ninth annual musical show, “The Little Shop of Horrors”, which played to packed houses and much applause, for three hugely entertaining nights, just last week.

As a delighted Mr Denis Quinn (Colaiste Mhuire Principal), informed audiences; “This richly entertaining show was the culmination of seven weeks of rehearsals by the 179 dedicated students involved both on and off stage”.

The sparkling production received numerous kudos from appreciative patrons, including hundreds of correctly proud parents, together with other relatives and friends of students, from various parts of the Thurles school catchment area.

Mr Quinn stated, “Each year the school musical provides our students with the opportunity to develop socially, personally and artistically by each year joining the cast of each of the chosen productions. It’s wonderful to see so many students treading the boards this year, many for the very first time”.

He added “This production is a dark sci-fi horror musical, same befitting this time of year, Hallowe’en, and it has plenty of electrifying pop and rock songs. I know you will leave the Dome with many fond memories. Even during rehearsals we had great fun and cameraderie anong ourselves”.

He went on to thank all who had contributed to the wonderful success of the show todate.

The main cast comprised of Mr Caylum Gooney (Seymour); Ms Rose Shanahan (Audrey); Mr John Shaw and Mr Cormac Leahy (Mr Mushnik); Mr Ethan Butler (Voice of Audrey [11] ); Mr Rian Power (Orin, The Dentist); Ms Kayleigh Cronin (Crystal); Ms Annie loughnane (Ronette); Ms Rebecca Elphick (Chiffon); Mr Keelan Fahey (Skip Snip); Ms Ellen Clarke (Puppeteer for Audrey [11]); Mr Denis Slattery (Voice of God Bernstein from NBC); Ms Eve Carroll (The Editor’s Wife) and Mr Ben Nolan (Dentist’s Patient).

Some of these talented young thespians have given previous excellent performances at Colaiste Mhuire during earlier productions and also to the Thurles Community Pantomime Society.

All portends well for the future of local musical societies and drama groups. The overall show was an enchanting two hours of fine acting, great comedy, splendid choreographed sequences and, above all, beautiful and enthusiastic singing from Principals, the Chorus and Pit Singers.

It was indeed just a joyful triumph; worthy of note by the accomplished Musical Director Ms Helen Wallace; Director Ms Shelley Martin, assisted by Ms Aoife Carey; and Choreographed by Ms Danielle Martin. The remainder of this truly experienced and accomplished production team, included, Ms Ann Conroy; TY Students (Backstage Manager and Props); Colaiste Staff (Backstage Supervision, Make-up and Hair); Mr Jack Spillane; Mr Michael Power; Mr James Ryan; Mr Jamie Fanning; Mr Kevin Gleeson (Set Construction); Star Systems and Colaiste students (Lighting and Sound); Set & Puppet Hire (Kilkenny Musical Society with extra puppets from Katie Carr).

How delightful were those spot-on timed puppets, which blended with their human fellow actors, to create such eye catching stage pictures and fun, in a show that will linger long in the hearts of all who were in attendance.

Mr Ethan Butler and Ms Ellen Clarke were our gracious MC’S, latter who welcomed us all to the theatre of enchantment with its imaginative and beautifully dressed and lit set, its lovely groupings and exciting dance routines; colourful props and surprising sound effects.

What a memorable experience of camaraderie all annual school musical offer to our young people. And it was nice to see Mr Quinn recommend “Sister Act”, latter being staged by the Ursuline Convent in tandem.

Others who played parts included Mr Bill O’Dwyer (Musical Secretary); Ms Patricia Hickey (Prompter); Ms Rose Shanahan; Mr John Shaw, Ms Ines Bafaluy (Dance Captains); Mr Dara Fahy and Ms Una Fogarty (Bookings); with Ms Deirdre Ryan and Mr Bill O ‘Dwyer (Programme).

The colourful costumes came courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brendan and Mary Healy, together with Ms Mairead Hayes of Thurles Community Pantomime Society and Stakelums Menswear, Friar Street, Thurles.

The Set Construction team comprised of Mr Ronan Carroll; Mr Eoin Craddock; Mr Darragh Kelly; Mr Stephen Doyle; Mr Killian Hayes; Mr James Gleeson; Mr James Casey; Mr Killian Crosse and Mr Sean Britton.

The Costumes team comprised of Mr Gavin Shanahan; Mr Stephen Maher; Mr Conor Duffe; Mr Adriana Ruiz and Ms Diana Perez.

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Thurles – Double Ditch

The world outside your private home is not your personal dump.

Last week I had the privilege, for two days, to show a number of American & Canadian persons around the town of Thurles, all intent on combining together to write a Great Famine TV script. Not having recently visited the “Double Ditch”, on the Mill Road, once a Great Famine project initiated for those starving here in Thurles; imagine my embarrassment on discovering the state of this National Monument.

A National Monument in the Republic of Ireland is a structure or site, the preservation of which has been deemed to be of national importance and therefore worthy of state protection.

Proud people just don’t litter.

This 174 year-old-old famine project has had its Mill Road entrance firstly destroyed by the very contractors employed by Tipperary Co. Council to erect fencing and a short concrete footpath, but now someone has erected posts and barbed wire on this public-right-of-way and once pedestrian Mass Path. It has also been turned into a graveyard for unwanted supermarket trollies. Observe it yourself as I viewed it last week.

“Double Ditch” at Mill Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

A ditch is a narrow channel dug at the side of a road or in a field. Its purpose to either hold or carry away flood water.
In Anglo-Saxon, the word ‘dïc’ was pronounced ‘deek’ or ‘deetch’. In digging such a water trench the upcast soil will form into a bank alongside it. This banked soil thus means that the word ‘dïc’ included not just the excavation itself, but also the bank of soil derived from such effort. Later word would later evolve into the words we more commonly use today, e.g. ‘dyke’ and ‘ditch’.

The idea of this Thurles “Double Ditch” was firstly to provide work for those unemployed and starving, but was it also possibly erected to provide a dry shortcut for Dr. J.Knaggs himself, when he was wont to cross from his home, (today’s Ulster Bank premises, in Liberty Square, then known as Main Street); travelling via College Lane, The Pike, (today Kickham Street), to visit family relatives in Knaggs Mill, Brewery and Bakery at Archerstown watermill, same later to become Brady’s Mill?

The Double Ditch featured in our video was built in 1846 and remains a well-worn public right-of-way and also later became a Mass Path to the ‘Lady’s Well’ area. During the 19th and early 20th century same naturally became a short cut for all pupils attending schools in Thurles coming from outlying areas and villages e.g. Littleton.

With next year commemorating the 175th year of the Great Famine, [Same officially began on September 13th, 1845 – 1849], today this video must surely bring a blush of shame, not just to the faces of those we have elected locally to represent us, but also to Tipperary Co. Council officials, who have failed to provide a Recycling Depot in Thurles.
Same depots are readily available in the towns of Cashel, Nenagh, Clonmel, Donohill and Roscrea, but Thurles local councillors have once again failed us in every way, except on their social media pages.
For the few who hold a driving licence to tow a trailer, a rough costing for those who wish to clean up such litter can be found HERE.

Meanwhile, those of our starving ancestors, must surely be turning in their graves due to the disrespect shown in their efforts to feed their children / families.

The gift to the town of fruit bearing crab-apple trees, once secretly sowed by these people bounding on this double ditch, are now set on fire; the existing young shutes of Japanese knotweed, which featured in many a “Spring rhubarb tart” during two world wars, are now forced to emerge through filth and grime. [Yes, we should be controlling Japanese knotweed by eating it, instead of Tipperary Co. Council inviting specialist companies to destroy is using poisonous chemicals and at considerable cost to rate payers.]

The “Double Ditch” featured in the above video gets mentioned for the first time in the “Minutes of the Thurles Famine Food Committee”, on Monday, April 20th, 1846.

Those attending that 1846 meeting included Venerable Archdeacon Rev. Henry Cotton [Chairperson [(C. of I.)]. Present also were Dr. O’Connor, Very Rev. Fr. Barron, [(R.C.) St. Patrick’s College, Thurles], Rev. Mr Baker, Rev. Mr Lanigan, Mr O’Brien [Treasurer], Dr. Joshua Knaggs [Medical Doctor] and Mr James B. Kennedy [Secretary].

From these same minutes we learn that the Famine Relief Committee have already begun creating work for those unemployed, ensuring that money in the form of wages, will enable those starving to purchase food. Dr. Knaggs reports his having inspected the works to be undertaken at College Lane and the proposed “Double Ditch”; calculating the expense for the works at College Lane at £20, latter sum today the equivalent of £20,000.

It was agreed that barrows should be purchased from Mr Patrick McGrath [½doz @ 9 shillings]; Mr Daniel Carroll [½doz @ 9/6] and also Mr Dan Dwyer; latter if he wishes to make them. It was further agreed that, when necessary, the Committee have the power to hire asses’ carts at 15 pence per day.

The previous day, April 19th 1846, Mr J. B. Kennedy Esq had informed relief commissioners of the state of Thurles: –
243 families containing 739 men, women and children unable to work and almost totally destitute; and 525 families containing 2625 individuals totally depending on the heads and sons to the number of 790 who cannot procure employment; thus, making in the town, 3364 persons to be relieved”. With regards to the immediate environs [referred to as ‘country parts’] of the town he states: – “The country parts of our District are divided into wards and similar enquiries are in progress, the result of which I have reason to believe will be painful in the extreme”.

On the same day we learn from further written communication sent to the Trustees appointed for the distribution of Indian Meal, quote: – “In the town of Thurles alone there are at this moment 768 families containing 3364 inhabitants in actual want; of these 739 are old men, women and children, unable to work and who have no one to labour for them; and the remaining 2625 are depending on the daily hire of the sons and heads of the families to the number of 790 able to work and now out of employment”.

The following rules for labourers employed to work on this ‘Double Ditch were adopted: –
(1) Hours of labour to be from 7.00am to 7.00pm with 2 hours for meals.
(2) Any labourer found to shirk from reasonable and fair work or refusing to follow the directions of his overseer shall forthwith be discharged and not admitted to the works again.
(3) That the persons employed shall be paid every evening.
(4) That in case a greater number of labourers shall offer themselves than the funds will enable the committee to pay, a preference shall be given to those who have the largest and most necessitous families”.

Work was ordered to commence on the following Tuesday and quote; “Iron is to be purchased to make 20 crow bars, and 6 picks are also to be purchased”.

It was further agreed that, quote: – “Henceforth there be two rates of payment; 8 pence and 5 pence, and that no boy under 12 years old be employed. That tickets of the form now agreed on, should be printed to admit labourers to work – those for men in black ink and those for boys in red ink; Ordered that 500 red and 500 black tickets be printed. Families containing 7 members and over and having 2 men over 17 shall at the discretion of Committee be entitled to 2 black tickets; Families having a less number shall, if the Committee wish, get 2 tickets, one red and one black”.

Yes, expect tourists and visiting footfall to flood Liberty Square soon, but in what century I do not know.

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Halloween Ghosts Specific To Ériu

No, our H1 heading does not denote a spelling mistake to which we admit to being often prone. Our modern Irish ‘Éire’ initially evolved from an old Irish word ‘Ériu’. Ériu was the name of a Gaelic goddess, same believed to have been the matron goddess of a sovereign Ireland, or possibly a goddess of the land.

Have you ever observed a ghost?

Which brings me to news emanating from our sister town of Cashel, Co. Tipperary, (latter just a 20 minute drive from Thurles via the M8 or the R639 [22.3 km] ). We travel next to Cashel Library, situated at St. Francis Abbey, Friar St, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, which will host a number of events over Halloween for both adults and children, thus celebrating this age-old tradition.

Adult Event

It is here that a resident historian and well known designated “Witch”, (latter in day light possibly better known as Ms Maura Barrett), will give a lecture on ‘Halloween Traditions’ and discuss in detail “ghosts” that are specific to Ériu (Ireland).

This event takes will take place on Tuesday 29th of October at 7:00pm and is for adults only. Patrons and other interested parties are invited to come by for a “spell”, and dressing up is both optional and acceptable. This event promises to be a fun but a scary occasion and refreshments will be served.

Children’s Events

Mum and Dad please note: Children will not be forgotten in the same venue with “Halloween Storytime”, all thanks to Children Services Manager Ms Aoife Moore. This latter event will take place on Thursday 31st of October, beginning at 3.30pm sharp. Dressing up as your favourite ghost is suggested.

In addition, they are showing the film “Casper” on Tuesday 29th of October, at 2:30pm and fancy dress is also optional for this most enjoyable of events.

Bookings are essential for all events and can be made by simply calling Cashel Library on Tel: 062 63825, during official opening hours.

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Thurles Cathedral Set To Welcome “The Priests”

The parishioners and priests of Thurles, together with the wonderful Cathedral of the Assumption, here in Cathedral Street, is fully set to welcome “The Priests” to the town on tomorrow evening, Friday 27th 2019.

A very limited number of tickets still remain available to hear and enjoy this world acclaimed classical musical group, made up of three Roman Catholic priests, latter from the Diocese of Down and Connor.

This unique opportunity to sit and enjoy “The Priests” live, in a building which enjoys some of best acoustic properties available; will see all proceeds from this concert, going to the Cathedral’s urgent fundraising initiative, which now requires the replacement of the roof area, of this most beautiful of ecclesiastical edifices.

This welcome world-famous singing trio is made up of Fr. Eugene O’Hagan and his brother Fr. Martin O’Hagan, both from the village of Claudy, Co. Londonderry, whilst the third member, Fr. David Delargy, hails from Ballymena, Co. Antrim.

All three have been singing together since they were boarders back in the in the 1970’s, studying as students in Co. Antrim. Having come to the attention of Sony Records, the group became an overnight success, having signed a £1m record contract deal in 2008.

Same resulted in their debut album, entitled “The Priests”, an album which spent 13 weeks at number one. They again renewed their recording contract with Sony Music; recording, in 2016, an album entitled “Alleluia”, which was released in November 2018. By the end of that November, the original supply in the US had completely sold out.

The group continue to tour successfully in Europe, Canada and the U.S.A.

The few remaining tickets available for this concert can be purchased from the Thurles Parish Office, Tel: 0504 22229. Car parking will be available in MIC (St. Patrick’s College grounds) and at the rear of The Munster Hotel, both close by and opposite the Cathedral building.

Note: Doors will open at 7.00 p.m. with concert starting sharp at 8.00 p.m.

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