Michael O’Gorman, proprietor of “The Monks,” public house in Mitchel Street, Thurles, Co.Tipperary, is reluctant to talk about the “Hound of Death,” or “The Monk,” latter who occasionally is spotted siting near the fireplace, only observed by the most sensitive of his nightly customers on the odd winters night.
As Michael says himself, “If you throw a pebble into a pond, the small stone sends ripples of water out from around where it strikes the surface. These ripples are deflected backwards again as they strike the ponds bank, returning to where they originally began, so maybe the passing of human life is somewhat similar. A mans very existence after all must surely cause the odd ripple.”
Music played in this video:- The Handcuffs (Hornpipe) and the Easy Club (Reel).
Song:- The Gaol of Cluain Meala.
The strange tales regarding the ‘Hound of Death,’ started around 1915 with Thurles soldiers in the British army, involved in the first World War, returning home on leave. It is said that a large over sized black hound would occasionally be seen late at night, circulating in the area of Mitchel Street, Cathedral Street and the Pike, (Latter now known as Kickham Street.) here in Thurles.
Legend states the animal hung around ‘The Monks,’ public house entrance and would growl or attack just some of the individual soldiers at closing time. On returning to the European theatre of war, it was believed these soldiers, who ran foul of the ‘Black Hound,’ would tragically loose their lives a short time later.
Pub trading, at ‘The Monks,’ public house, goes back to just after the Great Famine period in Irish History, around 1860, with the basic structure today little changed, except for essential maintenance down through the years. A larger, very comfortable extension was added on to the original structure in recent years stretching out to the boundaries of an area known locally, for generations, as “The Monks Field,” and despite the name P.O’Gorman clearly displayed over the door, the pub has become known as ‘The Monks.‘
If you are looking for the ultimate in a real Irish traditional pub experience, then a visit to “The Monks,” is essential at least once in anyone’s lifetime. Expect no gimmicks or commercialism stationed here, but do expect a quality pint, combined with impromptu music, singing and story telling, particularly on a Wednesday night, and all delivered courtesy of visiting, very talented clientele.
Expect to run into people from all walks of life and from almost every country in the world, all anxious to soak up this genuine old Irish Rambling House experience. Indeed it is in this candlelight atmosphere of The Monks, Mitchel Street, heated by the large welcoming wood and turf fire, on any winters night, that you first begin to understand the true meaning of the phrase “A stranger is just a friend you have’nt met yet.”
Mr O’Briens big black Labrador was the only dog we encountered on our visit and when we asked jokingly was the Monk around, Michael, the proprietor came out to greet us. (It appears he is also affectionately known by his customers as The Monk Gorman.)
Well now on reflection, I think it was Michael, but I suppose it might have been the other one.
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My great great Grandmother, Alice O’Gorman (born 2 May 1815 in Thurles) and her sister, Bridget, ran a pub located next to the police station in Thurles where my great great Granfather, Martin Morgan was stationed. They married in 1837 and left for Australia in 1841. Could The Monk’s Public House possibly be the place where they were?
Are you of the Morgan’s who ended up in Bulgandramine NSW? I once worked at Peak Hill & my Gorman’s are slso from Thurles.
Hi Andrew, yes that’s my father’s line.
Tipperary to Parkes: A history of the life and times of the Morgan Family in Australia 1841-1941 By Micheal Morgan
Text: p.20. Indicates ‘The Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly hold a baptism record in Register/47 in the Parish of Thurles for Alice Gorman/O’Gorman dated 2nd May 1815. Her father was Edmund Gorman/O’Gorman. Mother Mary Britton. Sponsors James Quinlan and Bridget Brett’.
Would you know if there are any copies of that book available and where could I buy one?
I was friends with Sherree & Glen Morgan while I was stationed at Peak Hill during the 90’s.
My great grandfather John O’Gorman had a pub in Thurles but we have yet to find it. A number of us would like to gather there one holiday and share a pint or two. He led a charmed life.
only just saw your reply, I was lucky enough to get a copy directly from the author, my dad’s uncle, don’t think many were published but you can access it thru National Library, NSW State Library and Parkes Shire Library.
So do you think John O’Gorman is a relation of Alice and Bridget, we have their father as Edward, married in 1810 at Tipperary. I am happy to share any information I have which may be useful to you and your family. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Michael. I remember when my husband John and myself were visiting the Ryan Family ” Noard Two Mile Borris” Thurles in the 70s. We came across a pub, looking just like the place you describe. We spotted this Monk walking up and down out side the pub. When I asked him what he was doing, we will never forget his reply. ‘Sure I am praying for the drunks as they come out of the pub.’ I think the pub was near a grave yard or church. Michael your pub looks great and sounds fantastic. Wish we could be there with you all on Saturday night. I look after a lot of expats here on the Gold Coast from all over Ireland. Cant wait to show them this. Katie
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Mr. Michael O’Gorman, I was in your pub in Thurles this past October. I met your man “Poddy”. I’m certain that’s an incorrect spelling and I apologize. I was in Thurles for a few days searching for information regarding my Grandfather. You were out of town I was told. My grandfather was John O’Gorman and claimed that his father, also John, and mother Margaret Dunne lived in Thurles around 1930. We believe my grandfather John was born sometime in the 1890’s. I have heard about the John who married a Margaret and then an Alice, but that’s not my John. Do you have any clues who my John was?
I’m am so sorry to have missed you last year and will try again. Colleen O’Gorman
My grandparents Stephen Roche and Bridget O’Gorman lived in Thurles Ireland in the 1930s and 1940s. The 1911 census shows that Stephen lived in Quarry St Thurles (now Mitchel St where O’Gormans pub is) as a child. We have not been able to trace my grandmothers family yet but I wonder if she was related to the O’Gormans from the pub and that is how they met
Visited The Monk’s Pub this past October (we are from the states). The Monk (Michael) and Puddy were both present. Fine Irish gentlemen who were incredibly hospitable. The pub is amazing. If you’re travelling through Thurles then it needs to be on a list of places to visit. The musicians that frequent on Weds are fantastic. My family and I hope to make another trip to Ireland in the future and plan to visit The Monks Pub again.