International Miss Macra Festival 2014

International Miss Macra Festival 2014

Miss Eiblish Maher (International Miss Macra Festival PRO) Reports.
As the 2014 August bank holiday draws ever closer, we find ourselves glimpsing the last remnants of our Irish Summer. That agreed, there now remains that impulse, found within all of us, to complete at least one great ‘last hurrah’ before our Summer season once again fades to Autumn.

So if you are looking for a fun and unique party event in which to participate, why not visit the 2014 International Miss Macra Festival, taking place in less than two weeks time from Aug 1st – Aug 3rd inclusive, at the luxury Dundrum House Hotel, Dundrum, Thurles, Co Tipperary.

Watch Video HERE in HD.

International Miss Macra Festival 2014

This year will celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the International Miss Macra Festival, superbly organised as always by the Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra na Feirme club, here in Co Tipperary.

Calendar of forthcoming Macra Festival events for 2014.

Friday: The festival will kick-start on Friday August 1st when this year’s 21 contestants will meet the Festival Committee in the grounds of the luxury Dundrum House Hotel; beginning midday. Dundrum House Hotel, often described as an ‘Irish Oasis’ set in the heart of Tipperary’s Golden Vale, creates the perfect location for those intent on seeking relaxation and fun. The competitors will then be taken on a tour of the world renowned Coolmore Stud Farm, followed by a ‘Zumba Secession’ in Clonoulty Community Hall. Later that evening the girls will meet up with their host families. The tradition of the contestants staying with host families is very strong within the local community and Macra are extremely grateful for their generosity and commitment by our host families over the past 43 years. This year the Friday night will be a themed disco and what more fitting a theme this year than ‘Farmer Style,’ (Make sure you all have your peaked caps, dungarees and steel capped rubber boots at the ready.)

Saturday: The contestants will awaken early on Saturday morning for their interviews with this year’s competent judges. There are three judges; (1) Declan Ryan who has held every officership on our festival committee, including Chairman throughout the years and is currently the President of Clonoulty/Rossmore Macra club. Joining him will be; (2) Joan Pollard Carew, renowned poet and well known patron of Irish dancing. Joan is also the wife of Michael Carew, of Michael’s Jewellers fame who sponsors annually the second prize in our festival and who has contributed greatly to same in terms of resources, time and advice. This year we are proud to announce that there will be a new judge; (3) joining us will be Caroline Kinane from Tipp FM Radio and we wish her the very best of luck with the tough task of selecting International Miss Macra 2014.

After the interviews on Saturday, the contestants will again have a chance to relax at the annual South Tipperary Macra Raft Race, which will take place in the neighbouring village of Golden at 4.00pm sharp. This activity is mainly for assembled Macra supporters who don a life jacket and make their county proud as the person – made rafts battle the river currents. (Trust me the historic St.Brendan’s voyage wasn’t a patch on this major upcoming event.)

Saturday night will see the girls dressed in their finest; ascend the stage for the cabaret. Mike Egan, previous Macra member, will interview the girls two at the time in front of a marquee full of supporters, friends and family. Once the cabaret is finished the contestants can enjoy themselves, with their supporters, in the Venue to the band ‘Lebowski.’

Sunday: Sunday morning sees the girls attend Church in the local parish of Clonoulty. Afterwards, there will be a Macra family fun and sports day, followed by a barbecue. The contestants will proudly wear their county colours as they battle it out through a custom built Macra obstacle course, complete with parallel Tractor Parking (toy) and a demonstration on Friesian Cow milking (cardboard).

Immediately after these sports, the preparations for the Miss Macra Annual Ball will commence. There will be a hairdresser, Tara and others, on site for each contestants and female committee members. Photographs of the girls plus their escorts will be taken by the festival photographer, beginning at 6.00pm sharp. This will be then followed by a ‘Champagne Reception,’ and a Five Course Banquet which will takes place in the Dundrum House Banqueting Suite.

Following the Banquet and after dinner speeches the band ‘Memphis’ will take to the stage to begin the dancing, until the bewitching hour of 12.00 midnight when the judges will announce this year’s winner, together with those adjudged as taking second and third place. The crowned winner and runners up will then have their photographs taken with the main sponsors of the festival.

Now with the winner crowned; the festival now draws to a close, as the committee breathe a sigh of relief, proud of their many months spent planning, as the entire ballroom fills with Macra and non-Macra members who will continue to dance late into the night.

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Join Birdwatch Ireland At Cabragh Wetlands Sunday Next

Are you wondering how to enjoy some truly high quality family time this coming weekend?
Why not bring the whole family along to Cabragh Wetlands from 9.00am to 12.00 noon this Sunday, 13th July 2014, when Birdwatch Ireland will open their ‘ringing nets’ to the public and giving you a chance to look at and hear about the birds that have been caught and tagged that morning.

To view video in HD please click HERE .

Ringing nets are the process used to attach a small, individually numbered metal or plastic tag to the leg or wing of a wild bird. This later enables individual bird to be identified should it be recaptured or recovered.

It is common to take measurements during this capture for ringing. The subsequent recapture or recovery of the bird can then later provide valuable insight on migration, longevity, mortality, population studies, territoriality, feeding behaviour and many other aspects that are studied in detail by ornithologists.

There will also be a Star Systems television crew filming and recording, for public broadcasting later in the year and they would truly love to film your children busily active and engaged with ‘Mother Nature.’

Insect traps will be set up and the pond dipped, so there will be plenty to see and lots to learn from a team of experts under the supervisory and informative wing of senior Birdwatch Officer Alex Copland.

This will be a great family morning, and we advise that you come earlier rather than later, as trapped birds and insects can’t be kept for too long and must be released back into the wild as soon as possible after capture.

Trust me when I say that this educational primary source experience will be the total conversation around your dinner table for many days to come.

There will be a small charge of €5 for adults and €2 for children, with same being used as a contribution to the Cabragh Wetlands current and very important environmental building programme.

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A Taste of Lough Derg 2014

Tipperary Fayre

A Taste of Lough Derg, Tipperary

Food producers and restaurant owners surrounding Lough Derg have joined forces in an effort to promote the region as a food tourism destination. ‘A Taste of Lough Derg 2014′, a pilot initiative for 2014, features 13 separate food events taking place in villages and towns along the shores of Lough Derg in counties Clare, Galway and Tipperary.

Commencing this week and continuing through mid-September, the series includes;  Sunday Picnic at the lake in Killaloe,  Butcher Masterclass in Terryglass, Farm Walk and Cheese Tasting in Portumna, BBQ Garden Party and talent show in Garrykennedy and Chocolate Making and Tasting in Tuamgraney and Newtown. The series will also highlights the excellent country and farmers markets around Lough Derg.

The initiative is one of the recommendations of the Roadmap for Lough Derg, which was launched in conjunction with the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group (LDMSG) and Fáilte Ireland in March 2014.  The strategy has identified a number of areas to focus on over the period of the plan in order to achieve the vision for Lough Derg which is to develop it as a key destination for superb water based activities combined with a range of very high quality walking, cycling, heritage, culture and food experiences that will entice the domestic and international visitors to stay longer.

 “One of our objectives early on was to establish an initiative that showcased the local food sector, something that has not previously been done in a coordinated fashion,” explained Joe MacGrath, Chairperson of the LDMSG.

He added: “The local food tourism sector is fortunate to be served by a number of high quality artisan food producers and established chef-led restaurants. ‘A Taste of Lough Derg’ brings these various elements together as a method of promoting Lough Derg as a destination for food and illustrating the food produce in the area. As well as being aimed at attracting new visitors to the region, we hope this series will also inform people in the surrounding area of the quality food providers and suppliers that exist on their own doorstep.”

The participating stakeholders from around Lough Derg include Brookfield Farm, Tuscany Bistro, The Derg Inn, Lough Derg Chocolates, Sunny Meadow Farm, Good and Green, The Wooden Spoon, Larkin’s Bar & Restaurant, Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, Irish Seed Savers, Wilde Irish Chocolates, and Paddy’s Bar & Riverrun House & Cottages.

Áine Mc Carthy, Tourism Marketing Coordinator for Lough Derg commented: “The development of a new food tourism initiative is one of the objectives of the Roadmap for Lough Derg which seeks to enhance the overall visitor experience around Lough Derg and to establish an identity that is unique to this region. We are delighted to partner with local businesses to develop this initiative and further enhance the Lakelands ‘Lough Derg’ experience.”

‘A Taste of Lough Derg’ includes ‘Walk, See & Taste’ on Sunny Meadow Farm with a BBQ and Killeen Cheese Tastings, Portumna (Sun 13th Jul); ‘Taste & Make’ at Wilde Irish Chocolates Real Working Chocolate Factory, Tuamgraney (Thu 17th Jul); Pizza Picnic, Riverrun House & Cottages (Sun 20th Jul); Chocolate Demonstration and Tastings, Lough Derg Chocolates, Newtown (Fri 25th Jul); Tuscany Bistro World Cup of Forrestal Wines & Feast of Local Produce, Ballina (Thu 31st Jul); Scariff Harbour Festival 2014 feat. cooking demo with Chef Adrian Martin (Sat 2nd Aug); Farm walk on Brookfield Farm All Ireland Permaculture Gathering feat. workshops, foraging, wild swimming, Coolbawn (8th-10th Aug); ‘Meet the Producer’ organised through Paddy’s Bar, Terryglass (Tue 12th Aug); ‘Making the most of it – 50+ foods from an Irish garden’ at Good and Green, Annacarriga (Fri 15th Aug); Larkin’s BBQ Garden Party & Talent Show, Garrykennedy (Sun 24th Aug); A Celebration of Tipperary Beef and Lamb feat. Master Butcher demo & craft beer tasting, The Derg Inn, Terryglass (Sat 6th Sept); ‘Apple Week’ at Irish Seed Savers, Scarriff (11th-14th Sept); and ‘Sunday Picnics at the Lake’ with The Wooden Spoon Killaloe (Sun 14th Sept).

A nominal charge applies to some events while others are free. Pre-booking is recommended.

For complete details on each event, visit www.facebook.com/ATasteofLoughDerg.

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What Is Free To Tourists Visiting Tipperary?

Fairy Park

Templemore Park Fairy Trail, Templemore, Thurles, Co Tipperary

With the exceptional fine weather being enjoyed around Tipperary and forecast for the next week, the Hidden Tipperary Tourism Group are pleased to point out that on the first Wednesday of each month all Office of Public Works (OPW) managed Heritage Sites, here in Co Tipperary, will continue to offer Free Admission to all individuals wishing to visit their venues, for the complete duration of the 2014 holiday season.

These ‘First Wednesday of each month Free Admissions’ will include Cahir Castle, Swiss Cottage in Cahir, Rock of Cashel, Roscrea Heritage (Castle and Damer House) and the Blackmills.

Tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, however visitors may experience delays at some of the busier sites and therefore are advised to arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Note: Opening times can also change at these venues at short notice, so those intending to visit are requested to check all websites for updates, prior to their intended visit.

Do you and your family members enjoy walking?

Other permanently Free Admission sites for strollers, not managed by the OPW, but well worth visiting in Co Tipperary include Templemore Park Fairy Trail at Templemore, Thurles, Co Tipperary, plus the Clare Glens at Newport, Co.Tipperary and The Glen of Aherlow, at Aherlow, Co Tipperary.

Please remember that all young children, visiting these areas of great curiosity, should be fully supervised at all times, in the interests of safety.

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Gratuitous Famine Relief Book 1847 Goes On Display In Thurles

The recently discovered ‘Gratuitous Relief Ration Record Book,’ (or the ‘Distribution Book,’ as it was also called,) for the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill in 1847, has now been digitized, allowing an instant search facility for those anxious to trace their family roots.

The rare book, found in private collection, is now on public display at St. Mary’s Famine Museum here in Thurles and will be available to be viewed by all those attending the forthcoming Thurles Sarsfields International Festival Of Gaelic Sport (July 4th – 12th 2014).

This book contains the names of those who were classed as paupers in the hinterland / towns-lands of these aforementioned areas, during that most harrowing period of the Great Irish Famine, referred to as ‘Black ’47′.

This extremely rare ‘Rations Record Book,’ contains the names of the heads of each household and in many cases the names of all the adults in each household. It also contains the number of rations each householder was allowed.

Just over 3 million Irish people were being supported by outdoor relief in July 1847. To those it supported, covering the electoral divisions of Holycross, Thurles and Ballycahill while providing records of the food rations distributed in the period May – Sept. `47 and part of `48, it was a very humiliating and an insufficient system. Nevertheless it did keep starvation at bay for a very sizeable portion of Tipperary people at that crucial time in Black ’47.

Admission to St Mary’s Famine Museum costs just €2.00.

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