County Tipperary’s Haunting Landscapes

“On a clear day rise and look around you and you’ll see who you are.
On a clear day how it will astound you that the glow of your being, outshines every star.”

(Words by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner, from the musical “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”.)

This weekend, why not take a leisurely drive into the area of the Knockmealdown mountains known as “The Vee”, situated in south Tipperary on the remote, picturesque borders of counties Tipperary and Waterford.

The Vee, situated on the R668 between Lismore, Co. Waterford and Clogheen in Co. Tipperary gets its name from a V-shaped bend on the road leading to a gap in the Knockmealdown mountains. The roadway itself is situated on the slopes of Sugar Loaf, passing from Tipperary to Waterford; running between Knockaunabulloga and Bay Lough (a low lying picturesque lake) on the right and the Sugar Loaf itself, on the left. Local folklore states that the Vee road was constructed during the ‘Great Famine’, but the area’s Ordnance Survey map of 1840 would appear to contradict this account.

The heavy rain showers during the last few days will possibly have removed a great deal of that sea of pink rhododendron blossoms, stretching for as far as the eyes can see; freely growing in groves in the area, at mother nature’s discretion. However their absence will take little from the rugged, untended, wild beauty of this outstanding landscape, nor indeed the breathtaking panoramic views afforded to travellers and sight-seers.

From this viewpoint almost 2,000 ft above sea level, same lends itself to views across the valley to the towns of Clonmel, Cahir, and the lesser hamlets of Ardfinnan, Clogheen and Ballyporeen, latter village ancestral home to former late United States President Ronald Reagan. You can also view the Galtee Mountains the Comeragh Mountains together with Slievenamon, quite clearly from this vantage point.

Few people today refer to the 1975 British-American period drama film ‘Barry Lyndon’, directed by Stanley Kubrick, which chose this mountainous area ‘The Vee,’ as their period location. Based on the 1844 novel ‘The Luck of Barry Lyndon’, by William Makepeace Thackeray, this film won four Oscars in production categories and is today regarded as one of Kubrick’s finest films ever made.

This film starred Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger and, as shown in the clip above, Leonard Rossiter, the dancing Captain, (Remember “Rigsby” in Rising Damp & in the Title Role of “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin”). The film recounts the exploits of a fictional 18th-century Irish adventurer.

Samuel Richard Grubb, High Sheriff of Tipperary 1916.

It is here also at this scenic area that a rather curious pile of limestone rocks emerge, dome-shaped, from the hillside. This stone erection is the last resting place of Mr Samuel R. Grubb, appointed High Sheriff of Tipperary in 1916 and who requested that he be buried here to overlook a ‘picturesque and romantic view’ of his county.

Local tales that he believed he would be reincarnated into a bee in an after life situation (memorial shaped like a beehive) and that he insisted that he be buried with his horse standing upright are hardly believable, but facts we do know are recorded hereunder.

grubb

Picturesque Obsequies – Burial on Mountain.

Funeral of the late Mr S. R. Grubb. (As reported by the Clonmel Chronicle, 10th September 1921.)

“In accordance with his request, the remains of the late Mr Samuel R. Grubb were interred today on the Sugar Loaf Mountain, on his property. The place selected is a most picturesque and romantic one and commands an excellent view of the county for a considerable area.
The remains arrived in Castlegrace on Friday by motor hearse from Dublin, and the funeral started at 10.30 this morning. The coffin containing the remains was conveyed on a farm cart to the foot of the mountain and then carried on the shoulders of his tenants and employees to the place of internment on the mountainside.
On arrival at the grave the remains were received by Rev. J. Talbot, Clogheen, who conducted the Burial Service.
The scene on the wild mountain side was picturesque and impressive and will long remain implanted on the minds and hearts of those who had the privilege of witnessing it.
The chief mourners were – Major Raymond Grubb M.C. (Son), Mrs de Sales le Terriere (daughter), Mrs Grubb (daughter-in-law), Mr de Sales le Terriere (son-in-law), Mr Cecil Barrington, Mrs Taylor, and Mr James Binny.
There were a large number of beautiful floral tributes from, amongst others, Mrs Grubb (Widow), Major Grubb, Mrs Grubb (Suir Island), Mr and Mrs de Sales le Terriere, Mrs Denny, Mrs Gutherie, Lady Beatrice Pole-Carew and Mr D. Mahoney.
Those present in addition to the chief mourners included – Major Murdock, Major Hutchinson, Captain Seymour, Mr Gerard Denny, Mr Blakeney (Junr.), Dr W. Walsh, Mr Palmer, Mr Kennedy (Derrygrath), Mr Kennedy (Ballindoney), Mr E.Boyle, Mr J. Mulcahy (Corabella), Mr W.Byrne (Ballinamona), Mr Sutcliffe, Mr Geoffrey Prendegast, etc.
Acting in accordance with the directions of deceased, all the tenantry and employees who attended the funeral were subsequently sumptuously entertained at Castlegrace.”

Voluntas Ultima (Last Will)
[The late Mr Samuel R. Grubb, of Castlegrace, requested that his remains should be interred in a beautiful and romantic spot on the side of the Sugar Loaf hills.]
—————————————————
O place me in a silent grave upon the mountain crest,
‘Mid endless fields of golden gorse, the heather on my breast
‘Mid endless fields of golden gorse, O shape my narrow bed,
Nor plant the cypress at my feet, the willow at my head.

O place me in a silent grave on storied Knockmealdown,
The drowsy churchyard’s not for me, in country or in town;
And when the final trumpet sounds and bids the world “Arise”
‘Twill find me nearer unto Thee, wherein salvation lies.

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ᗅᗺᗷᗅ Tribute Night – Premier Hall, Thurles

ᗅᗺᗷᗅ Tribute Night in aid of Suir Haven – Mr Tommy Barrett Reports

“Moyne Road Residents Committee are delighted to announce details of their upcoming fund-raising event in aid of that wonderful Cancer Support Centre, better known as the Suir Haven Centre, situated here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

On Saturday 18th June an ᗅᗺᗷᗅ tribute band with special guest Tina Turner Tribute“, will perform in The Premier Hall, in Thurles.

Abba Event

Pictured Above: A section of the group who attended the recent launch of this Abba event on Tipp FM Radio; recorded in the new Order of Malta Centre in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

For the first time ever band “Waterloo bring their fabulous show to Thurles. Tickets for the night are a mere €10 and are available right now from Tony’s Shop, Ryan’s Daughter Restaurant and the Tipperary GAA Shop, latter all situated in Thurles Town. Tickets can also be purchased by contacting the box office on (089)4487657 / (0504) 22983.

To avoid disappointment, the organisers are urging people to purchase their tickets before the actual night; to be in with a chance of winning a ‘two night break away’ for two people (Bed & Breakfast) in the magnificent, 5 star Victorian Park Hotel overlooking Kenmare Bay in Kenmare, owned by the Brennan Brothers.

Note: Please ensure you give your name and number to the ticket seller; to be in with a chance to win this amazing prize, with the draw taking place on the night. Members of the organising committee will have the Box Office in the Premier Hall open each day from Monday (13th June) to Friday (17th June) from 10.00am-12 noon to facilitate ticket sales, so please do drop-in and support this worthy charity. All monies raised from the upcoming event will stay in our local Community to aid the ongoing wonderful work being undertaken by the Suir Haven Cancer Support Centre.

Truly a great night of fun and entertainment is promised. This event will allow for patrons to perform on the dance floor, while seating will be arranged for those patrons who want only to come to listen and enjoy the music.

So without delay purchase your tickets today and join us on Saturday 18th June and dance the night away to all your ᗅᗺᗷᗅ favourites.

And finally to ᗅᗺᗷᗅ (pardon the pun), “Thank You For The Music.”

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Tipperary – The Sheehy Skeffington Connection

Hannah Sheehy Skeffington – Loughmore Mill, Loughmore, Templemore, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

A State commemoration ceremony for Francis Sheehy Skeffington and journalists Thomas Dickson and Patrick McIntyre, all who were executed together in Portobello Barracks (today known as Cathal Brugha Barracks), in Rathmines, Dublin, was held recently on the 26th April of this year.

It is however possibly less well known that Hanna Sheehy (1877-1946 & wife of Francis Sheehy Skeffington) lived and received her early education at Loughmore, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, at the end of the 19th century. This historic occurrence, today, closely connects the now presently inactive Loughmore Corn and Wool Tucking Mill, with this same unfortunate April 26th 1916 event.

Loughmore

Pictured L-R: (A) (L-R) Msgr. Dr. Maurice Dooley, with mill proprietors Tom, Geraldine & Tomás Larkin. (B) Existing partial interior of Sheehy’s original Mill, soon to be restored. (C) Hanna Sheehy’s original residence, as seen today.

About 1878 David Sheehy (Hanna Sheehy’s father), his wife Bessie (née McCoy), and their eldest child Hanna, came to live; renting the Mill in Loughmore. David was born in County Limerick and attended the Irish College, studying for the priesthood, in Paris with his older brother, Eugene,[*1] latter known as the ‘Land League Priest‘ and also one of Éamon de Valera’s teachers. However he (David), was sent home from Paris during an outbreak of cholera, there in 1866. On his return home he became implicated in the ill-fated Rising of 1867, after which he fled the country going to sea. After a few years he returned home and ran a mill at Kilmallock and later at Kanturk, before renting the mill at Loughmore around 1878. It was while in Kanturk that he married Bessie McCoy,[*2] who was from the region of Ballyhahill, in Co. Limerick.

[*1] In 1886 Fr Eugene Sheehy was C.C. of Kilmallock, Co. Limerick and later P.P. of Bruff. He resigned in 1909 because he had gotten into trouble with his bishop, Dr Edward Thomas O’Dwyer. He went to live with the Sheehy’s who were then living in Dublin. He was jailed in Kilmainham with Charles Stewart Parnell. He died in 1917 and is buried in Glasnevin cemetery.

[*2] Bessie’s sister Kate was Mrs Kate Barry of Barry’s Hotel, Dublin.

David and Bessie went on to have seven children, six of whom were born in the village of Loughmore, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Before the end of the century the whole family had moved to No 2. Belvedere Place, Dublin. David became Secretary to the Irish Parliamentary Party and an M.P. for Meath and later for South Galway; a post he held until the Sinn Féin landslide of 1913. James Joyce, a student at the nearby Belvedere College was a regular visitor to No 2. Belvedere Place, in 1896-1897 and he nursed a secret love for Hanna’s sister Mary, who was later married to Irish economist, journalist, barrister, writer, poet, soldier and Home Rule politician Tom Michael Kettle. Bessie died in 1917 and David around 1932/33, at the age of 86.

Before moving to Loughmore, his eldest daughter Hanna Sheehy had been born 3 years earlier in Kanturk, North Co. Cork, on the 24th May 1877.
The text hereunder is reproduced from an old newspaper clipping from the year 1938.

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Thurles Lions Club’s Annual Vintage/Classic Car Show 2016

Lions2 Pictures: (1) Lions Club Poster, (2) Car actually used by Kitty Kiernan & Michael Collins, (3) Lions Club Vintage Car Emblem to be presented to all vintage cars on display.

A 1916 Ford Model T, once belonging to Larry Kiernan, brother of Kitty Kiernan and used often by both Kitty and Michael Collins, will be just one of the star viewing attractions at the forthcoming Thurles Lion’s Club Vintage & Classic Car Show on May 8th 2016 next here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

One of the principal founders of our Irish State independence and later Chairman of the Irish Provisional Government, Michael Collins was first introduced to the ‘bubbly and cheerful’ Kiernan sisters and their family, by his cousin Gearóid O’Sullivan. Gearóid was already courting Kitty’s sister Maud. Kitty, latter the fiancée of Michael Collins, planned to marry in Dublin on November 22nd 1922, in a double ceremony, to include her sister Maud and Gearóid O’Sullivan. The death of Collins four months earlier sadly however would result in only one wedding taking place, with Kitty attending same, dressed in black.

As already stated, the 1916 Ford Model T belonged to Kitty’s brother Larry and has just recently been restored. Back in 1916, it was then a new car – just of the assembly line, when it first arrived in Granard, Co. Longford, with Larry having it registered then as a hackney vehicle. Larry, trading as L.D. Kiernan, was a successful businessman in Granard, owning the Greville Arms Hotel, a shop and a licensed premises, latter which he inherited from his parents Bridget and Peter Kiernan, following both their deaths in 1908, within a couple of months of each other.

In 1916, the car drove two volunteers to Dublin including Paul Cusack, a relative of Larry Kiernan’s wife and later often collected Michael Collins from Ballywillan Railway Station, situated on the Dublin to Cavan railway line, when he visited Granard to see Kitty.

Over 35 years ago the vehicle was discovered in a field, in the Mullinlaghata/Cloncivid area of Co. Longford; in very poor condition, however, with the help of a local vintage enthusiast, the wreck was brought back to a garage in Granard and since then has been slowly and carefully restored to its original glory.

Thurles Lion’s Club Vintage, Classic Car Show
This vehicle will be just one of the many items on view at the Thurles Lions Club’s Annual Vintage/Classic Car Show and family day, to be held in Thurles Greyhound Stadium on Sunday May 8th 2016 beginning at 12:00 noon5:00pm.

Amongst the other attractions will be; a Dog Show; an Artisan Food Fare; Craft Stalls; a Bouncy Castle; Auto-Jumblers; Face Painting; an Obstacle Course; a Fortune Teller and a 1916 Exhibition of rarely seen artefacts, latter not just relating to that troubled period in our Irish history, but to a broader world history of that particular era, one hundred years ago.

With children under 12 years FREE and admission to adults only costing €5, this well organised event is expected to attract a large crowd of visitors to Thurles on Sunday, May 8th next.

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It’s National Pilgrim Paths Week In Co. Tipperary

National Pilgrim Paths Week – March 22nd to March 29th, 2016.

Over the coming Easter 2016 period, thousands of Irish residents and foreign visitors are expected to retrace ancestral heritage as they take to Ireland’s ancient pilgrim paths to celebrate the inaugural National Pilgrim Paths Week. This Easter Festival will see a nationwide series of pilgrim walks taking place on Ireland’s medieval penitential trails. Knowledgeable local guides will lead each event, outline the story of the route and explain how medieval penitents coped with their arduous and often dangerous journeys.

Pilgrim-launch Pictured above, taken at the launch of Pilgrim Paths Week, shows (L – R): John G O’Dwyer (Thurles), Chairman of Pilgrim Paths Ireland; Diarmaid Conden, Knockmealdown Active; Isabel Cambie, Manager South Tipperary Development Company; Mark Rylands, Knockmealdown Active; Beatrice Kelly, Heritage Council and John Egan ( Drom & Inch), Secretary of Pilgrim Paths Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of the new festival, Chairman of Pilgrim Paths Ireland, Mr John G O’Dwyer stated; “National Pilgrim Paths Week was created to raise awareness and use of Ireland’s historic pilgrim routes. The event is targeted, not only at those who enjoy exploring Ireland’s ancient tracks, but also the growing number of people seeking to escape from the daily grind of life and take some time out to reflect and enjoy the outdoors.

The medieval pilgrimage was originally a journey combining prayer and sacrifice – with an element of physical discomfort – by which the pilgrim could become closer to God. In recent times, there has been a renewed interest in following the footsteps of pilgrims past and over the last number of years we in Pilgrim Paths Ireland have worked to develop these routes for the enjoyment of walkers and pilgrims alike.”

Upcoming Events In Tipperary
St. Declan’s Way: In Co Tipperary two pilgrim walks are planned for Holy Saturday, March 26th. Knockmealdown Active will retrace the footsteps of St. Declan over the scenic Knockmealdown Mountains on the border of Tipperary and Waterford. St. Declan’s Way is an ancient pilgrimage route linking the 5th century monastery of St. Declan in Ardmore, County Waterford with Cashel in County Tipperary. This event commences from Mount Melleray Abbey at 11:00am. For further information contact Kevin O’Donnell on Mobile (086) 354 1700.

Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop: On Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop the event will commence at 12:30 pm from Kilcommon Community Hall, with registration and a ‘Welcome Lecture’ by Fr. Dan Woods, P.P., (Kilcommon Parish), on the spiritual heritage of the walking route and the surrounding landscape. Further details available here by telephoning (062) 78103.

To find out more about these two events and the other nationwide series of walks for National Pilgrim Paths Week, go to website www.pilgrimpath.ie

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