Barack Obama Researcher Stephen Neill Moves To New Pastures

S-NeillChurch of Ireland Rector, Canon Stephen Neill, the man who confirmed US President Barack Obama’s ancestral roots with Moneygall, has decided to pull up and relocate his own roots.

The 45 year old has announced he is leaving his Cloughjordan and the Borrisokane Group of parishes to become Rector of Celbridge and Straffan with Newcastle–Lyons. His Service of Institution as Incumbent of the latter parishes will take place on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 next at 8.00pm in Christ Church, Celbridge, Co Kildare.

Canon Neill has ministered to Cloughjordan residents for the past seventeen years and as part of his move, he now relinquishes his Church of Ireland “Canon” status; laughingly admitting “I will be getting €50 less a month in salary, so I’m not going for the money.”

In explaining his desire to uproot, Canon Neill explains that he now seeks new challenges and fears becoming “too comfortable,” latter which has caused “an itch that needs to be scratched.”

Canon Neill admits that leaving the Cloughjordan and Borrisokane Group of parishes won’t be easy for himself, or for his wife Nicola and their teenage son Aaron. He feels a sense of guilt and regret walking away, after such a long time, having secured strong bonds of proven loyalty and tested friendships with those within his community; all of whom have stood together with him, through thick and thin.

The Dublin born Canon, who is also Precentor of the joint chapter of St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick and St Flannan’s Cathedral, Killaloe, made headlines around the world after his research led to the confirmation that US President Barack Obama’s great-great-grandfather Joseph Kearney had been baptised in the parish of Moneygall. Indeed his personal contribution, within the wider midland regions of Ireland to encourage tourism alone, has been outstanding.

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Canon Neill himself is a very keen reader, blogger and writer, contributing opinion pieces on his website and on local and national newspapers. Previously Curate Assistant in Monkstown, Dublin and in Limerick City Parish, he is a committed ecumenist, believing that the future of our Churches is in gaining closer bonds between all Christians of all traditions, while at the same time discovering where God is at work outside the walls of churches.

Rev Ruth Gill, latter who is already familiar with the Cloughjordan & Borrisokane Group of parishes will now serve as interim Priest-In-Charge for the time being.

In a recent Blog Canon Neill wrote:-

“As I write these notes I am conscious that there is still an occasion to come when I will have a chance to say a formal farewell to you my friends in this group of parishes. But for those of you who may not be able to be present may I thank you on behalf of myself, Nicola & Aaron, for the warmth and generosity you have shown us since our arrival in August 1998. It has been a privilege to be your rector and fellow companion on the journey of life. We will always consider this place very special and it is you the parishioners who have made our time here a happy one. We leave with good memories and not a little sadness. May God bless each and every one of you as you have blessed us.”

Moneygall Development Association made a presentation last Monday night in Ollie’s Bar to acknowledge Canon Neill’s contribution to their community; described him as being selfless and having strengthened bonds between faiths which will remain a lasting legacy. Using President Obama’s quote, “We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it” the association whole heartedly agreed that Canon Neill’s presence in their community had definitely shaped a brighter future for the area.

North Tipperary’s loss is most definitely a gain for the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough and so we wish Canon Stephen every success in his new journey and in the words of the old Irish Toast; “May you have warm words on a cool evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.”

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Ó Meachair (Meagher, Maher) – The Story Of A Clan

maher-

Author Gabrielle Ní Mheachair

Over a twenty-two year period, Gabrielle Ní Mheachair has researched and recently published a detailed history of the Maher/Meagher/ O’Meachair Clan, thus providing for the very first time a well researched history of the Clan. Same publication now provides a valuable asset to any library and more importantly a convenient research tool for any person wishing to research the Maher Clan.

Ó Meachair -The Story of a Clan” is the most thorough history of the Maher/Meagher Clan possibly ever written. Appreciate the role your Maher/Meagher ancestors played in all the major events of Irish history from the coming of the Celts to National Independence in 1922.

This book is not only a history of the Maher/Meagher Clan but also a simple history of Ireland written for an audience versed or unversed in Irish History.

Gabrielle Ní Mheachair – The Author

Author Gabrielle Ní Mheachair spent the first twenty years of her life residing on a rural farm just outside Templemore, Co. Tipperary, here in Ireland. After four years of teaching in Co. Donegal, she travelled to the United States on an adventure that has kept her resident there ever since.

A renowned historian, folklorist and genealogist, Gabrielle is also the author of several children’s books in the Irish language, together with three genealogical works and is a former columnist for the Mid West Irish Focus, Jefferson City, Missouri; latter which focuses primarily on Irish-Americans in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas and Oklahoma. She lectures and writes for various genealogical organizations and historical journals throughout the United States and currently resides with her husband and three children in Saint Louis, Missouri. The Tipp FM, Arts and Entertainment Award, was awarded to Gabrielle in 2009, for her valuable contribution to the arts through her various writings.

Irish authors, like Gabrielle, spent years of their lives researching history at tremendous personal expense. They invest thousands of Euros into the travel, research, and self-publication of their works for the benefit of future generations, knowing they can never ever recoup their expenditure. As a result, they rely on the help of our historical societies to promote their work, not for profit, but for educational value and for posterity.

This book is a ‘must have,’ for anyone who bears the Maher/Meagher name.

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“Carols By Candlelight” St Mary’s Church Thurles Tipperary Dec 14th

Carols by Candlelight 2014

“Carols by Candlelight,” the now long established ecumenical service of Christmas Carols by candlelight, returns to St Mary’s Church, Thurles, Co Tipperary this year, on Sunday next December 14th at 8.00pm sharp.

As special guests this year the St Mary’s Church of Ireland community welcome back singers and former Rock Band members “Cephas,” (Featuring Noreen, Edward (Ned) and John J. Cullinane), together with Thurles Town’s much loved tenor Mr Michael Molumby and Miss Rachel Willoughby; all under the superb musical direction of well known accomplished organist Ms Geraldine Delaney.

Of course the original idea of Carols by Candlelight first originated in south-eastern Australia, sometime in the 19th century, and was popularised in Melbourne in 1937. The tradition has since spread around the world and involves people gathering to sing carols by candlelight, accompanied usually by a band. Indeed one of the earliest forms of Carols by Candlelight began when Cornish Miners in Moonta, South Australia gathered on Christmas Eve to sing carols, lit with candles stuck to the brims of their safety helmets.

Amongst those taking part at this year’s event in Thurles will be community leaders; Mr Seamus Hanafin (Tipperary Co Councillor), Ms Joan Pollard Carew (Local published Poet), Mr John O’Shaughnessy (President Thurles Chamber), Mrs Lila Stanley (St Mary’s Church Restoration member) and Christopher J. Verling, (Rep. An Garda Síochána).

This years seated ecumenical service will be conducted by the Rev Ian Coulter, presently acting Rector of St Mary’s Church Thurles and Rev Fr Thomas Dunne, Cathedral of The Assumption, Thurles. All are invited to attend.

Note: Elderly persons are advised to attend this Christmas event early, thus ensuring seated accommodation.

The usual cup of Tea and a Biscuit or two will be provided after this Christmas event, thus enabling all those attending to “halt awhile” and chat.

Admission is free; however a charity collection will be taken up during the service.

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Upperchurch-Drombane Launch 2014 Historical Journal

UpperchurchThis year’s Upperchurch-Drombane Historical Journal will be officially launched in Upperchurch Hall this Sunday December 7th at 11.30 a.m. This is the fifth edition of the popular local publication and has the usual complement of historical records, articles, poems and photographs.
(Left Click on Image Left for larger magnification.)

Guest of honour this year will be Mr. Con Ryan of Glown, Upperchurch, whose record of activity in community affairs down through the years, is immense. Con will be joined by Mr Jimmy Duggan of Thurles, an equally tireless contributor to local activities. Jimmy will give a short talk on the history and ecosystem of bogs. The new one kilometre bog walk beside the community centre was opened just this year and excellent new interpretive signs have now been erected. Weather permitting, this talk will be given while walking around the bog. All are welcome to attend this event.

New contributors to this year’s journal will include Mr Eamon Ryan who has an interesting article on home butter making. Ms Evelyn O’Regan writes on the lives of two nuns from Drombane who were part of a group of some forty who left the Borrisoleigh area to go to Kansas in 1895. Br. Thomas Moynihan went in the opposite direction to India and his story is recounted by his nieces Margaret Hassey and Geraldine Duggan. Locals; Mr Ned Harrington and Ms Maura Armstrong have both contributed poetry.

The old reliable contributors are again led by Mr Eugene Shortt who takes us through a personal summary of parish history from the Ice Age to the new GAA dressing rooms. He also provides a list of the 133 families who lived in the towns-land of Drombane back in 1835. His brother Frankie trawls through the Civil and Down Surveys of the mid 17th century to examine the many place names no longer in use. Mr Paddy Dwyer has researched the history of the many local forges with the help of Mr Tom Stapleton and Mr Billy Clancy.

Part of the parish of Upperchurch-Drombane once belonged to the Castlefogarty estate in days gone by. Mr Thomas Fogarty explores these links and tells the tale of a member of the Fogarty family who fell foul of the Hastings born Titus Oates, latter the English perjurer who fabricated the “Popish Plot”, a supposed Catholic conspiracy to kill King Charles II. Titus Oates also inspired anti-Catholic hysteria that claimed the life of St. Oliver Plunkett.

Mr Eddie Kennedy was a world class race walker, who came from the Shanballyduff area and his remarkable story is told by Mr Tom Quinlan.

Last year Ms Joan Ryan gave an account of all the parish Priests to have ministered in Upperchurch and this year the complete list of curates is added. There are local people who can recall fifteen of them!

Mr Andy Byrne gives a history of music and musicians and also reminds us of local events held 50 to 100 years ago.

The Interment Lists relating to the local cemeteries are again added. Those who enjoyed the “Eamon an Chnoic” play two years ago will be pleased to note that the script is being published, (Act One this year and Act Two next year).

As the 2010 journal is now completely sold out it will be made available for viewing shortly in pdf format at www.upperchurch.ie.

Extra copies have been printed from subsequent years, however these are unlikely to be put on the website in the foreseeable future.

Remember the Date:- Sunday Next December 7th at 11.30 a.m.

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Upperchurch Tipperary Hosts 9th Annual Walking Weekend

The picturesque mountainous village of Upperchurch [Map Ref] will host its 9th Annual Walking Festival this coming weekend. Since its inception in 2006 this event continues to grow from strength to strength making it now one of the main walking festival gatherings of its type in the country.

This year’s program once again offers over a dozen different walks as well as cycling and indoor rock climbing activities. Set dancing and traditional music enthusiasts will also have a good time. For beginners and the less mobile, the new 1 km bog walk is short, level and suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

The fun will begin on Friday night (Nov 7th) with a choice of two torch lit road walks; the 10 km Glown-Garnakilka walk is for those who like a fast pace while the 7 km Moher-Gortkelly walk will cater for those who enjoy a more leisurely speed.

The really serious hill walkers will get going on Saturday morning, taking to the gruelling 18 km Hills of Upperchurch walk. This walk is entirely for the very fit, while later in the day there will be shorter and easier walks leaving Upperchurch village.

Next Sunday will see no less than six walks and three cycle events taking place simultaneously. There are two new routes this year; the 18 km Hollyford-Red Hill walk takes place in the Hollyford-Cappawhite area and will include an option of visiting a cave where the outlaw Ned O’ the Hill (“Éamonn an Chnoic,” Edmund O’Ryan 1670–1724) is understood to have taken refuge in bygone days.

The 14 km Farney Castle-Upperchurch walk is the only linear walk of the weekend. There will be an opportunity to take in a guided tour of the Castle before this walk for a small additional fee so arrive early. The 8 km walk on the Birchill Nature Trail starts at Rosmult and there will be two further walks in Upperchurch also.
Cyclists will have a choice of three different routes over 25 km, 50 km and 75 km all starting from Upperchurch at 12 noon on Sunday.

The Upper Limits Indoor Climbing Wall will be open after all walks and will offer short introductory climbs. (Note: Clean footwear please.)
All events start at Upperchurch Community Centre, except for the Hollyford-Red Hill Walk, the Farney Castle-Upperchurch Walk and the Birchill Nature Trail Walk, latter all on Sunday.

The organisers wish to thank all the landowners in the area involved for their cooperation.

Registration before all events. Friday night walks: €5. Other walks and cycles: Adults €10, post primary students €5, primary school students free. Farney Castle tour €5. Complimentary refreshments after all walks.

For further details visit www.upperchurch.ie or Telephone 086 0518934.

Programme of Events:

Fri. Nov 7th: Glown-Garnakilka Road Walk 10 km 7.30 p.m. Moher-Gortkelly Road walk 7 km 7.45 p.m. Reception and official opening in Upperchurch Hall at 9.00 p.m. followed by Seisiún Mór in Kinane’s.

Sat. Nov. 8th: Hills of Upperchurch Walk 18 km 10.00 a.m. Knockalough-Red Hugh Walk 8 km or 10 km 12.15 p.m. Eamon an Chnoic Loop Walk 8 km 12.30 p.m. Set Dancing lessons in Ryan’s 4.00 p.m. Traditional music in Jim O’ the Mills 10.00 p.m.

Sun. Nov. 9th: Farney Castle-Upperchurch Walk 14 km 11.00 a.m. Start Farney Castle on Holycross-Ballycahill Road. Guided tours of Castle at 10.00 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. Hollyford-Red Hill Walk 14 km or 18 km 11.00 a.m. Start Hollyford Village. Cycles over 25 km, 50 km and 75 km all start at 12.00 noon. Knockalough-Red Hugh Walk 8 km or 10 km Start 12.15 p.m. Eamon an Chnoic Loop 8 km Start 12.30 p.m. Birchill Nature Trail Walk 8 km Start 12.30 p.m. P.J.Ryan’s Pub Rosmult on Thurles-Upperchurch Road.

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