Saturday 26 December 2015

St. Stephen

Saint Stephen, whose feast day is today, December 26, was the first Christian martyr. He was tried by a council at Jerusalem on a false charge of blasphemy. His long defence and his death by stoning are recorded in Acts 6 and 7 of the New Testament.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Commercials Keep On Rolling

All-Ireland Club SFC Quarter Final:

Clonmel Commercials 2-12; Tir Chonaill Gaels 0-9

Following the euphoria of their Munster Final victory over Nemo Rangers of Cork, Clonmel Commercials had to cross the Irish Sea to take on London champions, Tir Chonaill Gaels, at Ruislip Stadium. I considered this an awkward fixture for a young team travelling to unknown territory and having to take on an experienced outfit drawn mainly from Donegal exiles plus players from other traditional football counties. It didn't help that the game was held twelve days before Christmas in adverse weather. It was therefore a great relief that the mission was accomplished successfully.

The victory was achieved on the basis of a very good performance in the first half while playing against what reports described as 'a gale-force wind'. Commercials received a setback before half-time when two of their leading players had to leave the field for black card offences. The opposition duly went on to score three unanswered points.

The Clonmel side got a great start in the second half when after 15 seconds they had a fine goal from young Padraig Looram who had replaced the black-carded Aldo Matassa. The team was comfortable enough afterwards to run out worthy winners. They now go on to meet Leinster Champions, Ballyboden St. Endas, on 13th February next. They are well capable of gaining a victory and I wish them the best of luck.

Saturday 12 December 2015

By the Fireside

Where glows the Irish hearth with peat
There lives a subtle spell —
The faint blue smoke, the gentle heat,
The moorland odours, tell

Of long roads running through a red
Untamed unfurrowed land,
With curlews keening overhead,
And streams on either hand;

Black turf-banks crowned with whispering sedge,
And black bog-pools below;
While dry stone wall or ragged ledge
Leads on, to meet the glow

From cottage doors, that lure us in
From rainy western skies,
To seek the friendly warmth within,
The simple talk and wise;

Or tales of magic and of arms
From days when princes met
To listen to the lay that charms
The Connacht dweller yet

And still around the fires of peat
Live on the ancient days;
There still do living lips repeat
The old and deathless lays.

And when the wavering wreaths ascend,
Blue in the evening air,
The soul of Ireland seems to bend
Above her children there.

— T.W. Rolleston

Monday 30 November 2015

Stupendous Win for Commercials

Munster Club SFC Final:

Clonmel Commercials 1-7; Nemo Rangers 0-9

The victory for Clonmel Commercials in yesterday's Munster Club Senior Football Final, played at Mallow GAA grounds, was a stupendous achievement on a number of grounds: the Gaelic Football environment in Cork is at far higher level of positivity than in Tipperary; the structures and the playing process of club competitions in Tipperary still leave a lot to be desired; Nemo Rangers are renowned specialists in this competition having won it on 14 occasions.

The young Commercials players have had their confidence levels boosted by contributing to Tipperary's football success over the past few years including the Munster U-21 victory in 2009, All-Ireland Minor win in 2011 and the unlucky defeat in this years All-Ireland U-21 final. Participation at these levels allowed their innate skills to flourish on a rainy and wind-swept day at Mallow GAA grounds to produce a fine win with a "Darby-Like"goal that should make any true Tipperary supporter very proud.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Great Win for St. Mary's

County Tipperary Minor A Hurling Final:

St. Mary's (Clonmel); 2-11 Kildangan 0-13

Today's county minor hurling victory for St. Mary's hurling club, Clonmel — whose sister football club is Clonmel Commercials — gives a great boost to hurling in Clonmel and South Tipperary. Their near neighbours, Moyle Rovers — a traditional football club — also won county hurling titles in Minor A and Under-21 B grades last year which is evidence that Clonmel is establishing a strong base for Hurling as well as Gaelic Football.

St. Mary's was established in 1929 to promote hurling in Clonmel — the Gaelic football club in the town at the time was Clonmel Shamrocks. St. Mary's have won a surfeit of South Tipperary titles over the years but prior to today, the only county title came in 1975 when they beat Clonmore in the Junior A final which was then the next grade to Senior. They have supplied a number of All-Ireland winning players to Tipperary minor and under twenty one teams. Notable players in the early years of the club were Tony Neylon from Clare and Bob McGann of Tipperary football and Galway hurling fame. In the forties, Theo English, who went on to win five senior and one junior All-Ireland hurling medals with Tipperary, played at under age level with St. Mary's. Ditto Mick Kennedy who, having played minor hurling and all grades of football with Tipperary, went on to play senior hurling with Dublin and Leinster with whom he won a Railway Cup medal in 1962. Another former servant of St. Mary's, Matt Ruth, went on to win two senior All-Ireland medals with his native Kilkenny.

Today's final was played at the Drom-Inch GAA grounds at The Ragg.

Sunday 15 November 2015

William T. Cosgrave

William T. Cosgrave (1880—1965) was President of Cumann na nGaedheal and the first President of the Irish Free State. He became leader of a country devastated by the struggle for Independence followed by an insane Civil War when primeval instincts decided that violence was the only answer to political differences. Nevertheless, great progress was achieved by Cosgrave's government during this turbulent period.

Minister for Agriculture, Patrick Hogan, introduced the 1923 Land Act (and its amended form in 1925) which completed the transfer of land from landlords to tenants while empowering the Land Commission to acquire untenanted land both inside and outside the 'Congested Districts' for the relief of distress in these areas of the South and West. Hogan also pushed through a vigorous series of acts between 1924 and 1930 aimed at improving the marketing and breeding of livestock, insisting on improved standards of cleanliness, packing, marking and an honest description of the quality of meat produce. The most radical innovation in Agriculture was the decision to make loans available to farmers on reasonable terms and to this end the Agricultural Credit Corporation (ACC) was set up by the government in 1927.

The first sugar factory was established in Carlow by the Cosgrave Government and it was easily the best and most efficient as time was to prove. The most spectacular achievement was the Shannon Scheme begun in 1925 and the establishment of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in 1927 even though conventional business opinion of the time told him it was mad to attempt such ventures. The Shannon Scheme has been described as 'a gigantic undertaking for an impoverished country'.

William T. Cosgrave died on 16th November 1965, fifty years ago tomorrow. He was born on June 6th 1880. A man who believed in neighbourliness, he went out of his way to appoint Protestants to the Senate at a time when they might have felt very unwelcome in the new State. He did his best to normalise relations with Britain when he could have won cheap votes by stocking up anti-British sentiments as self-styled "republicans" were apt to do. The same mentality prevails at present from the relics of terrorism and their boot-lickers when favourable comment towards Unionists is dubbed as traitorous. I have no doubt that if the attitude of Cosgrave and his colleagues had prevailed in this regard, we would have achieved a unified country decades ago in which terrorists and anarchists would have been sidelined.

Certainly we have nothing to be proud of in the way we have treated the memory of William T. Cosgrave. A stranger could well ask if we have no sense of national pride. Do we turn our backs on our real heroes, preferring instead the easy versifier or failed revolutionary? Although he came from the opposite side of the political divide, Sean Lemass was eloquent in his admiration for the lasting achievements of W.T. Cosgrave. In many ways Lemass and Cosgrave were the same sort of men.

We have had few enough great men without ignoring those who are most deserving of this accolade.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

News Extracts: November 1945

The following are extracts from the Sunday Independent on November 11,1945:
  • There seems to be confusion in regard to the way in which motorists may pass out trams. The rule is that when a tram stops to take up or set down passengers, motorists must stop until the tram moves off again. It is a rule which is broken more often than it is obeyed. A vehicle may pass a tram in motion on either side.
  • An AP dispatch from Garmisch, Partenkirken, states that according to her sister, Frau Margaret Fegelein, Evan Braun wrote a farewell letter dated April 23, in which she said that she and Hitler had decided that neither would be captured alive. Frau Fegelein said she doubted their last-minute marriage, saying Eva never even discussed the possibility.
  • Jerome Kern, famous composer of light music, died in New York after a heart attack. Kern, who was 60, composed such famous songs as Old Man River, Smoke gets in your Eyes, The Last Time I Saw Paris and other popular numbers.

Friday 6 November 2015

Paul O'Connell

I was delighted to read of the granting of an honorary doctorate to Paul O'Connell by Limerick Institute of Technology. He has now become a Doctor of Science. It would be hard to find a more worthy recipient. He has achieved legendary status as a rugby player during his career with Young Munster, Munster and Ireland as well as the British and Irish Lions. He would be very familiar with LIT having been a student in the college where he received a Degree in Computer Management. He has availed of the facilities in the college for rugby training for many years. His exemplary conduct, both on and off the field, make him an outstanding role model for all young people, whether active participants in sport or otherwise.

Monday 19 October 2015

Rugby World Cup

I want to pay tribute to the performance of the Irish Rugby team in the World Cup, which has not yet concluded, in the UK. Having been involved in very physical games, they entered the quarter-final against Argentina minus three world-class forwards as well as commanding out-half, Johnny Sexton, and came up short on the day.

Rugby is the one true unifying force in this country involving players from every tradition on an equal basis. The 'Rugby Anthem', Ireland's Call, has words of unity without bigotry or oppression.

Commercials Edge Out Rovers

County Tipperary SFC Final:

Clonmel Commercials 1-12; Moyle Rovers 3-5

Yesterday's Tipperary Senior Football final, played at Semple Stadium, Thurles involved two clubs from the South Tipperary GAA division. This situation is not unusual as South Tipperary has been the mainstay of football in the county for the past 100 years. On this occasion the final involved next-door neighbours Clonmel Commercials and Moyle-Rovers (Powerstown-Lisronagh). It was the first time that two South Tipp teams played a final in Thurles. I believe it was a correct decision to play the game at the renowned venue at the centre of the county where the true followers of football would get a fair chance to witness the game.

The game itself produced a fine standard of football with good young players on both sides, some having won All-Ireland and Munster medals. Two goals by corner forward, Diarmuid Foley, in the first half, kept Moyle Rovers ahead for a long period; an opportunist goal in the early stages of the second-half giving them a six point lead. For the last twenty minutes or so, Commercials got on top, picking off points, and a goal as well, enabling them to hold on for a one point win. Best of luck to Commercials in the Munster club competition.

While the senior championship concluded at a reasonable date this year, it still involves the playing of too many games of low intensity which contributes to a lowering of standard. I feel the same about all other competitions in the county. It is sad to have a situation where all minor grades, in hurling and football, are entering the concluding stages at this time of the year. It is very wrong that such an important competition as the under-21-hurling championship has a starting date in October every year.

Friday 16 October 2015

News Extracts: October 1945

The following are extracts from Irish Independent newspapers during the month of October, 1945:

Irish Independent, October 16,1945
  • When the great doors of St.Patrick's Cathedral Armagh, where the remains of Cardinal MacRory lie in state, opened, hundreds of people were already waiting to take their last look at this great churchman. All day yesterday, until the cathedral closed at 2.30 a.m.,thousands had filed past the bier.
  • Pierre Laval, the butcher's son who became premier of France, was executed by firing squad at Fresnes Prison, after he had attempted to end his life by taking poison. He refused to have his eyes bandaged, and his request that he might give the order "fire"was refused.
  • The death occurred at his Dublin residence of Professor Eoin MacNeill, the eminent Irish scholar and historian. He took steps to prevent the Easter Rising when he issued the famous countermanding order of Easter Sunday,1916. Afterwards he was arrested by the British and sentenced to penal servitude for life.
  • Hitler promised the Japanese if they provided a safe refuge for himself and Eva Braun, he would give them plans which guaranteed victory in the Pacific, said a former staff officer of the Japanese Navy.
Sunday Independent, October 21, 1945
  • Alois Hitler, the 64-year-old step-brother of Adolf and one-time Dublin hotel worker, wants to change his name to "Hiller". Since 1905, when he left his home in Linz, Austria, at the age of 22, Alois only saw his step-brother on ceremonial parades. He first worked in London, in Dublin (1907), in Liverpool (1910) and finally as a waiter in the Criterion Restaurant in London, after which he opened his own restaurant in Berlin.
  • The Gaelic's League's much discussed ban on foreign dances and games will henceforth be relaxed as a result of a two hour-hour debate at the annual Comhdháil in the Mansion House, Dublin, yesterday. As a result each member will have complete freedom regarding personal activities outside of the League. 
Irish Independent, October 23, 1945
  • Sgt. Michael Gleeson,"F" District DMG, who is retiring was constable at Green Street Station during the gun-running at Howth in 1914, and was dismissed from the force for refusing to disarm gun-runners. He was re-instated after a public outcry, but resigned in 1921 and was associated with the IRA in Tipperary.

Saturday 10 October 2015


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see,in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

— William H Davies

Thursday 24 September 2015

Irish Company Law

My beloved niece, Gráinne Callanan, recently had the fourth edition of her book on Irish Company Law published; the previous editions were in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

Gráinne has been a lecturer in Company and Insolvency Law at Waterford Institute of Technology for the past 22 years. She has a number of publications in the field of Company Law and was previously employed in the corporate banking sector.

Gráinne has dedicated her latest book to the memory of her late uncle — our brother — James (Seamus) Callanan, who passed away on 26th October 2014.

I will hereon show the dedication that she wrote:
To the memory of my beloved uncle,
James Callanan (1933—2014). 
For the long, long road to Tipperary
Is the road that leads me home
O'er hills and plains, by lakes and lanes
My woodlands, my cornfields
My country, my home.

— John A. Carpenter, c. 1917

Friday 18 September 2015

The Late Eddie Connolly

It was with deep sadness that I learned of the death of Eddie Connolly, R.I.P.

Eddie was a true Tipperary Gael. As a native of the parish of Loughmore-Castleiney, he was a valued hurler and footballer with that great dual club in his native parish. He also played hurling and football for his county, captaining Tipperary's All-Ireland winning Intermediate hurling team in 2012.

Eddie had been afflicted by a malignant brain tumour for the past two years, which he fought with courage and determination. He may have lost the battle, but he has won the hearts of very many people by his courageous and spirited fight. He is now enjoying the rewards which he so richly deserves.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

A Donation Once Again

The following is extracted from a book on Irish political scandals since the foundation of the State, co-written and edited by journalists, Michael Clifford and Shane Coleman:
Neil Blaney stood on the podium, the perspiration glistening on his face. A senior government minister of Blaney's standing addressing his party's annual conference would normally be akin to a victorious general rousing his battle troops. But the January 1969 Fianna Fail Árd Fheis was different. Things were getting hot and heavy. The troops were not just restless, they were almost in revolt. 
Just a couple of months earlier Fianna Fail's second effort to abolish the proportional representation voting system had been resoundingly defeated in a referendum. It was the first time that Fianna Fail had failed to secure 40 per cent of the vote in any electoral contest since it took power in 1932. The result had led to much soul searching and prompted questions about Jack Lynch's leadership of the party. 
Party members laid the blame firmly at the door of Taca, the Fianna Fail fundraising organisation set up a couple of years earlier to tap the business community. Fianna Fail, traditionally the party of the small man, now looked like the representative of big business. Under pressure after the referendum fiasco, Lynch had moved to reform Taca, making it more accessible and transparent. But speaker after speaker at the Árd Fheis was adamant that this was not enough. They wanted Taca gone and they looked set to deliver a bloody nose to the leadership in the process. 
Until, that is, Blaney took the microphone. The Donegal man had little time for Lynch but Fianna Fail needed him. He paused briefly to mop each of the corners of his face with a handkerchief. He stuck his chin and then launched into a stirring defence of Taca, the 'sweat running in thin rivulets down his active jaws' — as the Irish Times reported at the time — as he belted home his point. 
It was almost the 1970s. You needed money to compete with the well-heeled gentlemen of the Labour Party and Fine Gael. The Taca men had been there for the party over many years in every election and by-election. Many of them hadn't a seat in their pants when Fianna Fail had started out. Now Fianna Fail had brought prosperity to the country, they were giving something back. 
Blaney sat down to a standing ovation and thunderous applause. The entire Árd Fheis was in the palm of his hand. In the ensuing vote, only a dozen hands were raised in opposition to the new Taca. It was, however, only a temporary respite for the fund-raising body. Within a year it would be gone. 
Despite the attempts to reform the organisation, Taca was effectively ended by the 1968 referendum result, which was somehow fitting because it had begun with another electoral embarrassment.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Barbara Frietchie

Up from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,

The clustered spires of Fredrick stand,
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach tree fruited deep,

Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

On that pleasant morn of the early fall,
When Lee marched over the mountain wall

Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Fredrick town.

Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,

Flapped in the morning wind; the sun
Of noon looked down and saw not one.

Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her four score years and ten,

Bravest of all in Fredrick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;

In her attic window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.

Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.

Under his slouched hat, left and right,
He glanced: the old flag met his sight.

'Halt! — the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
'Fire!' — out blazed the rifle-blast.

It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash,

Quick, as it fell from the broken staff,
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf.

She leaned far out on the window sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.

'Shoot, if you must, this old grey head,
But spare your country's flag' she said.

A shade of sadness,a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word.

 'Who touches a hair of yon grey head
Dies like a dog! March on!' he said.

All day long through Fredrick street
Sounded the tread of marching feet;

All day long the free flag tossed
Over the heads of the rebel host.
Ever it's torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;

And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with warm good-night.

Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
And the rebel rides on his raids no more.

Honour to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.

Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!

Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;

And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Fredrick Town.

— John Greenleaf Whittier

Monday 31 August 2015

Fine Win for Tipperary Minors

All-Ireland MFC Semi-Final:

Tipperary 0-11; Kildare 0-9

It always gives me special pleasure when Tipperary footballers achieve championship success at Croke Park. These successes have been scarce down the years; however they are happening more often in recent years. The All-Ireland final victory for the minors in 2011 was the pinnacle. This was followed by a Munster final victory for the minorsin 21012. Earlier this year, after a great campaign, the u-21 footballers were unluckily beaten by a point in the All-Ireland final which was played in terrible conditions. Great credit is due to the loyal band — many now gone to their eternal reward — who promoted the game against the tide down the years; and, of course, the gallant young players who are all heroes today.

Yesterday's game could have gone either way; both sides missed goal scoring chances — the Tipperary misses were more clear-cut. Individually, Kildare had the better players overall, but Tipperary combined very well as a team, showed great determination and will to win — and had the bit of skill where needed to score the vital points. The Tipperary players from clubs where the playing of Gaelic football is far down on the menu, overcame this handicap, to a point, by showing great spirit and using their hurling experience to read the game.

The senior game yesterday, where Mayo made a dramatic recovery to draw with Dublin, brought back memories of 1955 when Dublin and Mayo also played a draw in the All-Ireland semi-final. Mayo owed a lot to their full-back line, where blond right-full-back Willie Casey from Ballina was superb. The great full-back, Paddy Prendergast, also kept the shackles on Kevin Heffernan, who had bamboozled all the full-backs he had come up against that year. Dublin won the replay by one point but lost the final to Kerry, who had beaten Cavan — also in a replay — in the other semi-final.

Tipperary also contested the Minor football final that year, as well as the minor hurling, but defensive weakness in two positions allowed Dublin to score three soft goals and go on to win by six points.

Saturday 22 August 2015

August Weather

Dead heat and windless air,
And silence over all;
Never a leaf astir,
But the ripe apples fall;
Plums are purple-red,
Pears amber and brown;
Thud! in the garden-bed
Ripe apples fall down.

Air like a cider-press
With the bruised apples' scent;
Low whistles express
Some sleepy bird's content;
Still world and windless sky,
A mist of heat o'er all,
Peace like a lullaby,
And the ripe apples fall.

— Katherine Tynan

Monday 17 August 2015

Mixed Fortunes for Tipp Teams

All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Finals

Minor: Tipperary 2-17; Dublin 1-15
Senior: Galway 0-26; Tipperary 3-16

Both of yesterday's games, played in Croke Park, were close and exciting. The minor game lacked fluency at times with a high portion of mistakes being made, mainly by Dublin. Many of the Tipperary players were more workman-like than brilliant, but they had enough skill in the forward line to pick off vital points in the last ten minutes of the game. They will need a more cohesive team effort in the final against Galway, but they are the kind of team that might do it.

The senior game was a a tit-for-tat affair until the final Galway point in injury time gave them the spoils. When a player scores 3-9 and his team ends up on the losing side, there has to be something disjointed about their performance, especially as the winners failed to score a goal. This was the big difference — Galway played as a team; Tipperary did not. When Tipperary were on top in the early stages, they resorted to unnecessary attempts at passing, with the ball ending up with an opposing player on most occasions — and points resulting a few times. Passing, like most things in the game of hurling, is an instinctive act when you stall and think you are losing.

Tipperary's tackling, as often in the past, was flawed. Putting an arm, or a hurley, around an opponents back invariably results in the concession of a free. Galway got a lot of scores from placed balls.

The playing of Brendan Maher at centre-half-forward was wrong from the start. He has proven himself in the past as an excellent back or mid-fielder; it was Tipperary weakness at half-back and mid-field that allowed Galway to pick off a lot of their points. John O'Dwyer should be played at half-forward — even in the centre — with Patrick (Bonnar) Maher at right full forward.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Noel McGrath is Back

Noel McGrath
It was great news to learn that Noel McGrath has taken part in all the recent training sessions for Tipperary senior hurlers and is available for selection for the forthcoming All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final against Galway.

Noel's qualities as a hurler are universally recognized but his return to good health is more important than any game (he is also a top class Gaelic footballer, but the people in control of Gaelic games in the county would not entertain the idea of a player playing both codes at top level — an attitude that also prevails in some other counties). It is always sad to hear of somebody touched by serious illness, but in the case of a young man of the caliber of Noel McGrath, it was a terrible shock.

The McGrath family from Loughmore-Castleiney have a proud tradition of service to Tipperary GAA. Noel's grand-father and grand-uncles played with Tipperary senior and junior football teams in the late forties and fifties. His father, Pat, played in all grades of hurling with Tipperary teams; he also played on Tipperary football teams. Pat's brother, Tom, played on the Tipperary senior football team from 1975 to 1985. He also was a member of a Tipperary Intermediate hurling team. Tom is, at present, a great reporter on Gaelic games for local radio station Tipp FM; when you hear his account you know you are listening to the voice of a true Tipperary GAA person.

Finally, I want to wish Noel all the luck in the world for his future; good health and more sporting success!

Thursday 6 August 2015


Hiroshima is a Japanese city situated 190 miles south west of Kobe at the head of a bay in the Korean Strait. It was an important religious and commercial centre. Seventy years ago today, at 8 a.m. on 6th August 1945, the first atomic bomb used in warfare was released over Hiroshima by a US Air Force Super-Fortress. It destroyed the greater part of the city's centre to a radius of nearly one-and-a-half miles and over 78,000 people were killed. Rebuilding began in 1947.

Another atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki on the 9th August and Japan surrendered unconditionally to the Allies in the same month. Her empire vanished and her homeland was occupied by the Western Allies from 1945 to 1951.

Monday 27 July 2015

News Extracts: July 1945

Irish Independent, 21st July, 1945

The newly-elected Northern Parliament's first sitting was marked by scenes inside and outside the House. While heated exchanges were going on between Mr. Midgley, ex Minister of Labour, and Mr Beattie, 10,000 aircraft workers were demonstrating at the main gate of Stormont against the growing threat of unemployment.

Irish Independent, 25th July, 1945

"Éire had not come into the war in 1940 because a United Ireland apparently took second place to neutrality, and in any case the people of the south felt that the "British Chicken" was about to have its neck wrung", said Sir Basil Brooke in the Northern Commons.

Mr. H. Diamond (Republican-Socialist) said Northern Nationalists and Republicans had submitted a defence plan for the whole of Ireland which had been ignored by the British and Northern governments. The attitude of the Unionist Party was an invitation to any foreign power to attack Ireland, North or South.

Irish Independent, 27th July, 1945

Following one of the most sensational elections in British history, Mr. Churchill last night resigned office and King George asked Mr. Attlee, leader of the Labour Party which swept the country, to form a government. The Conservative Party suffered one of its biggest defeats and Labour, in office for the third time, had an overall majority. A large number of Mr.Churchill's Ministers were defeated, and he himself was elected in a new constituency.

The death has occurred in Dublin of Mrs. Kitty Cronin wife of Major-General Felix Cronin and formerly Miss Kitty Kiernan of Granard. She was the fiancee of General Michael Collins at the time of his death. She leaves two sons, Felix and Michael Cronin.

Monday 20 July 2015

The Snare

I hear a sudden cry of pain!
There is a rabbit in a snare:
Now I hear the cry again,
But I cannot tell from where.

But I cannot tell from where
He is calling out for aid!
Crying on the frightened air,
Making everything afraid!

Making everything afraid!
Wrinkling up his little face!
As he cries again for aid;
 — And I cannot find the place!

And I cannot find the place
Where his paw is in the snare!
Little One! Oh, Little One!
I am searching everywhere!

 — James Stephens

Wednesday 15 July 2015

St. Swithin's Day

Today, 15th of July, is St. Swithin's Day. Swithin, or Swithon, was bishop of Winchester from 852 until his death in 862, and the cathedral in the town was dedicated to him. There is a popular superstition that rain on this day presages rain for 40 succeeding days. This belief is thought to have originated in the fact that the removal of his body from the church-yard, where it had been interred, to the cathedral interior on July 15th 971, was delayed by heavy rain.

Monday 13 July 2015

Great Wins for Tipp GAA

All-Ireland Senior Football Qualifiers

Tipperary 3-21; Louth 0-7

Munster Senior Hurling Final

Tipperary 0-21; Waterford 0-16

Munster Minor Hurling Final

Tipperary 0-20; Limerick 0-17

The week-end just gone was a very successful one for Tipperary GAA teams. The most amazing result was that achieved by the senior footballers against Louth at Semple Stadium on Saturday. It was not surprising that they won, but the margin of victory against a traditional football county — who themselves had put up a big score when beating Leitrim in the previous round — leaves one stuck for words. It shows that the nucleus of a 'top-eight' football team is there. The county is lucky to have a great group of mentors involved with the team, composed of some born within the county, and others who, thankfully, have come to work and live here. There is another plus in the fact that as well as the Football Board, the present county chairman and county secretary are very positive towards football, as well as hurling, in the county.

The Munster Senior Hurling final reminded me of a tug-of-war contest with the little white band in the middle going one way and then the other until a final 'heave' brought it over the line. The final 'heave' in this case was provided by a few Tipperary forwards like John O'Dwyer — whose wrist work is poetry in-motion — Jason Forde and Nial O'Meara, who were capable of picking of points that the Waterford forwards were unable to emulate. There was some fine individual skill shown by players on both sides, there was also a lot of 'ping-pong' play, with a loose back on one side driving the ball into the other half where a loose back on the other side collected it. Tipperary will need to sharpen up in certain areas if they hope to attain the much sought-after All-Ireland. Their passing of the ball via hand or hurley left a lot to be desired yesterday. Their propensity to tackle an opponent with the arm, or hurley, around him continues to be a problem for them.

The minor hurlers achieved a great victory when beating a Limerick team going for three Munster titles in a row. They have struggled a bit to all their wins to date — often the pathway to All-Ireland glory! The best of luck to them.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Jimmy Doyle R.I.P.

It was with shock and sadness that I heard of the sudden death of Jimmy Doyle R.I.P. In my youth Jimmy was looked on as the boy-wonder of hurling. From a young age, through hurling skill and artistry, he could outwit much more senior opponents. He had the natural hurling instinct of being able to protect himself from the 'hatchet' types of his era, thereby never receiving a bad injury.

One of my earliest memories of Jimmy was at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, in 1957 for the Munster senior and minor hurling semi-finals between Cork and Tipperary. Jimmy was selected on both Tipperary teams. He didn't line out from the start in the minor game, but when things were looking bad for Tipperary he was sent on in the last quarter and in a short space of time he turned the game in Tipperary's favour and victory was attained. Things didn't work out so well for Tipperary in the senior game, where, even though they had more of the play than Cork, serious goal-keeping errors proved their down-fall.

I have other memories from that game: Fr. Ray Reidy, who sadly passed away two weeks ago today, was then a clerical student and was chosen as one of the mid-fielders on the Tipperary team. Due to doubts concerning his legality — he was born in Co. Meath before his father, a member of the Garda Siochána, moved residence to Thurles — was with-drawn from the team and replaced by Phil Shanahan, then very much in the twilight of his career. Phil passed away two years ago.

Fairly early in the second-half of the game, Cork maestro, Christy Ring, had his collar bone broken in a bodily clash with powerfully built Tipperary full back, Michael Maher. Christy had to leave the field and walked from the side line on the North side of the pitch around behind the city goal where the umpire with the green flag was none other than Limerick and Ahane legend, the great Mick Mackey. They exchanged "pleasantries" and were captured on film by Clonmel photographer, Willie Boland, and appeared in the Clonmel Nationalist on the following week. It has appeared in many a place since, including a well-known tavern in Clonmel.

Jimmy Doyle went on to have a glittering career with the Tipperary senior hurling team during their golden era of the sixties, winning six senior All-Ireland medals, nine Munster senior, and numerous other awards.

He remained an unassuming, gentle, man. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid the face amid a crowd of stars.

— William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Sacred Relics at Kilcash

The following is a piece from Romantic Slievenamon by James Maher, who was also editor of the book:
I visited Kilcash for the third time last week — out of reverence for that hallowed spot — Canon (William) Carrigan 

The Kilcash Prayer Book  
In the 14th volume of the Gaelic Journal, our late friend, Canon (Patrick) Power, lists a 96-page MS prayer-book from the library of St. John's College, Waterford. One does not associate romance with a prayer book, but Canon Power gives this most interesting note on the scribe, Tomás Ó Conchubhair: 
On a winter's evening, seventy years since (i.e. about 1820), a poor scholar in search of a night's shelter, called at the house of a farmer named Tobin at Ballypatrick near Kilcash. The hospitality sought for was freely given and, as a heavy fall of snow occurred during the night, the wanderer was invited to stay until the harsh weather had passed. In gratitude for the kindness shown to him, the guest requested pen and paper and transcribed his volume of prayers, which he presented to his host whose son in turn gave it to its present possessors. The MS, which is excellent, has been used in preparation of the Gaelic prayer-book of the Catholic Truth Society.

Monday 1 June 2015

Huge Tipperary Wins

Munster Football Championship

Senior: Tipperary 1-24; Waterford 0-5
Junior: Tipperary 1-12; Waterford 1-09

In yesterday's senior football, Tipperary recorded their biggest win ever in championship football when they inflicted a 22 points defeat on Waterford.

I feel sorry for the true football people of Waterford. Waterford have always had a high standard of club competition within the county — their performances in the Munster club championships are an indication of this. They always possess fine individual players. A dearth of confidence seems to be the big bugbear, and a loss of some of their better players to a hurling-only policy at county level.

While the structures, and the running of the club championships, in Tipperary still leave a lot to be desired, they have made progress in other areas; a lot of people are putting in great efforts to improve football at under-age level. Most of the county are involved in this effort, whereas previously the promotion of football in the county was very lop-sided. Success has been achieved at minor and under twenty one levels. This success gives great confidence to players when they make the step up to the senior team. This confidence has to be carefully nurtured, and managed, at adult level if the Corks and Kerrys of this world are to be seriously challenged consistently. I will say to the true football people of Tipperary: congratulations on your achievements so far and the best of luck for the future.

Friday 15 May 2015

The Village Blacksmith

Under the spreading chestnut tree
The village smith stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long;
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from the threshing floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the clergy pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling — rejoicing — sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begun,
Each evening sees its close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus on the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday 6 May 2015

The Sinking of the Lusitania

The Lusitania was a 31,500 tons Cunard Atlantic liner brought under the control of the British Admiralty during World War 1. On May 7th,1915, it was bound for England from the USA, with 1,255 passengers and 651 crew on board, when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine off the Old Head of Kinsale, Co.Cork, Ireland. Two torpedoes were fired, the ship sank within 20 minutes, and 1,198 people were drowned, including 124 Americans. The incident horrified most of the world, caused serious anti-German rioting in London, and may have helped eventually to bring the USA into the war. In Germany a commemorative medal was struck.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

News Extracts: 1916

Taken from the Evening Herald for the week of 26th April to 4th May 1916:
To avoid further slaughter 
We are asked officially to give the utmost publicity to the following document, signed by P.H. Pearse, who was described as being "The leader of the rebels" and bearing date 29th:- 
"In order to prevent further slaughter of unarmed people, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the commander of all units of the Republican Force will order their followers to lay down their arms". 
The Co-Inspector also published on April 30th an announcement that "James Connolly and other Sinn Fein leaders have unconditionally surrendered to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief in Ireland". 
Germany's "assistance" 
In a communication posted at Ballymun R.I.C. station on the evening of 29th April intimating, on behalf of the Irish command, the progress of military operations in the city, it was stated that "Roger Casement has declared that Germany has sent all the assistance she is going to send which assistance is now at the bottom of the sea".

Saturday 2 May 2015

Hitler Killed in Action

Taken from the Irish Independent, May 2nd, 1945:
  • The story under this banner headline on the main news page: Adolf Hitler is dead, killed yesterday, according to German radio — at his command post in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The announcement of the Fuehrer's death was made on radio at 9.25 (Irish time) last night and read as follows: "It is reported from the Fuehrer's HQ that Adolf Hitler has fallen this afternoon at his command post in the Chancellery, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism and for Germany. On April 30 the Fuehrer appointed Grand Admiral Doenitz as his successor. He has now taken over and says "the fight will go on".
  • Count Folke Benadotte, who returned to Stockholm from Copenhagen yesterday, said:"I have not seen Himmler during my last visit to Germany and Denmark. I have not forwarded any message from Himmler or other authorative German to the Allies".

Monday 27 April 2015

Easy Dublin Win

National Football League Division 1 Final:

Dublin 1-21; Cork 2-7

In yesterday's game, played at Croke Park, Dublin easily defeated Cork with the latter getting their second goal in injury time. I only saw small parts of the game on television but it was enough to learn that Cork's main failing showed through again: that is their slow-motion use of the ball, especially when they are in their opponents half of the field. Other prominent footballing counties with fine individual players — most notably Kildare — get bogged down by the use of similar tactics. Sometimes victory may be achieved despite the use of a quota of circular passing, but on the big stage, on dry lively ground with players getting close to top fitness levels, the futility of it is demonstrated.

My view is that the ball should be moved quickly towards the opponents goal at all times with judicious passing to players moving into space, thereby putting the defenders on the back foot. This should be followed by swift shooting when players get within range of their opponent's goal.

Monday 20 April 2015

Great Wins for Tipp U-21s

U-21 Football

Munster Semi-Final: Tipperary 0-15; Clare 0-7
Munster Final: Tipperary 1-15; Cork 3-8
All-Ireland Semi-Final: Tipperary 0-14; Dublin 0-12

Tipperary U-21 footballers are carving a niche in history with their heart-warming performances in this year's championship. Having beaten Clare in the Munster semi-final, they took on Cork — always a powerful force in under-age football — in the provincial final at Semple Stadium, Thurles, on the evening of Thursday April 9th. Cork had already beaten Kerry in the other semi-final.

Tipperary started well and led by 5 points to 2. A freak goal for Cork — when the Tipperary goal-keeper, apparently dazzled by the setting sun, mishandled a high ball and it bounced into the goal. This was followed by a Cork point which give them the lead. Cork scored a second goal early in the second half when a ball rebounded off the shoulder of a Tipperary defender into the hands of a Cork forward who put it in the net. Tipperary then showed their character and skill and were leading by five points with three and a half minutes to play. A scramble around the Tipperary goal with the ball on the ground ended with a Cork forward pushing it over the goal line. This was followed by a Cork point which brought them to within a point of Tipperary. Tipp held out for a memorable one point win.

It was then onto O'Connor Park, Tullamore for the All-Ireland Semi-Final last Saturday, 18th April, where Tipperary took on a Dublin team who won the competition last year, and whose players are drawn from clubs with a strong footballing ethos and experienced in high standard local competition. Tipperary found themselves 8 points to 3 in arrears early in the second half but they put on a magnificent display to win by 14 points to 12.

Now for the All-Ireland Final against Tyrone on May 2nd.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

News Extracts: April 1945

The following are extracts from The Sunday Independent of 15th April 1945:
  • Dispatches from Stockholm reported that American armoured reconnaissance patrols had reached the western suburbs of Berlin, and had been compelled to turn back after meeting with resistance. Other American units had reached the suburbs of Dresden. Earlier the Allies announced that Canadian units had reached the Dutch North Sea coast, and that British units were within 15 miles of Hamburg.
  • The big Austrian rail and road centre, St. Poelten, 25 miles west of Vienna, on the highway of Linz and Munich, had been captured by the Russians, as well as an industrial suburb of Vienna and Korneuburg, six miles north of the city.
  • A farewell message from it's supreme commander has just disclosed that all through the war a secret British civilian underground force, a highly organised "Marquis", existed in England, completely unknown, save to the very highly placed few. Threat of invasion would have brought the whole movement into instant operation.
  • In Italy, 8th Army troops were meeting heavy opposition against their bridgehead across the Sillaro River. To the left they had captured the German stronghold of Imola and advanced three miles beyond it.

Sunday 12 April 2015

The Wayfarer

The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk
Or little rabbits in a field at evening,
Lit by a slanting sun,
Or some green hill were shadows drifted by,
Some quiet hill where mountainy men hath sown
And soon would reap,near to the gate of Heaven;
Or children with bare feet upon the sands
Of some ebbed sea,or playing on the streets
Of little towns in Connacht,
Things young and happy.
And then my heart hath told me:
These will pass,
Will pass and change,will die and be no more,
Things bright and green,things young and happy;
And I have gone upon my way

— Padraic H. Pearse.

Monday 23 March 2015

Summer Time

In Ireland and the UK, Summer Time begins at 2am on Sunday 29th of March 2015 when all clocks are put forward one hour. It was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin (1706-90). The Waste of Daylight movement was founded in London in 1908 by William Willett (1856-1915) and a Daylight Saving Act was passed by Parliament in 1916 as a measure in the First World War.

During the Second World War, on 4th of May 1941, Double Summer Time (which advanced the clocks by two hours) was introduced for four months every year until 15th of July 1945; and again from 13th of April to the 13th of August 1947 in order to save fuel.

Monday 16 March 2015

Two Fine Wins for Tipperary

National Football League Division 3:

Tipperary 4-16; Louth 3-11

National Hurling League Division 1:

Tipperary 2-22; Kilkenny 1-13

Tipperary senior hurlers and footballers secured two very important league victories yesterday. The footballers had a good win over Louth after their long trip to Drogheda. They had two longer trips previously, to Armagh and Irvinestown, and were unlucky to come away empty-handed.

While promotion is very unlikely at this stage, if they win their two remaining games it will consolidate their position as an improving football force, which is something they can be proud of considering the difficulties for football advancement in the county.

The hurling game, played at Semple Stadium Thurles, was one that Tipperary had to win for the sake of their pride and self-confidence. They played with championship-like intensity, which closed down Kilkenny and denied them the acres of space which they thrive on. The game was much closer than the victory margin would indicate, which demonstrates how hard it is to put Kilkenny away — even with depleted forces — in the hurling style being applied for the past 25 years or so.

While Tipperary played with skill and passion, some aspects of their play need to be looked at. They use the hand-pass to good affect most of the time but they overdo it at times and lose possession. They should use the ball fast when in possession rather than hesitating and being hooked, as happens to some of them. The placing of an excellent back or midfielder like Brendan Maher at centre-half forward is wrong and he should be restored to his more normal position. No effort has been made to get a recognized full-back; a very good young newcomer, Michael Breen, played at full-back on the under 21 team last year and should have been tried out in that position during the course of the league.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is the name given in England to the 4th Sunday of lent, when apprentices in former days were given the opportunity to visit their mothers, taking a small present. English children in the 1960's were generally encouraged by schools and churches to observe the same custom.

Mother's Day in the USA is on the second Sunday of May. This was established by a Congress resolution in 1913. On that day Americans are encouraged, not least by shopkeepers, to give presents to their mothers.

Thursday 12 March 2015

My Old Home

A poor old cottage tottering to it's fall,
Some faded rose-trees scattered o'er the wall;
Four wooden pillars all slant one way,
A plot in front, bright green amid decay,
Where my wee pets, when e'er they came to tea,
Laughed, danced and played, and shouted in high glee;
A rusty paling and a broken gate
Shut out the world and bounded my estate.

Dusty and damp within, and rather bare,
Chokeful of books, here, there and everywhere.
Old-fashioned windows, and old doors that creaked,
Old ceilings cracked and grey, old walls that leaked.
Old chairs and tables, and an ancient lady
Worked out in tapestry, all rather shady.
Bright pictures in gilt frames, the only colour,
Making the grimy papering look duller.

What was the charm, the glamour that o'erspread
That dingy house and made it dear? — the dead,
The dead, the gentle, loving, kind and sweet,
The truest, tenderest heart that ever beat;
While she was with me 'twas indeed a home
Where every friend was welcome, when they'd come;
Her soft eyes shone with gladness, and her grace
Refined and beautified the poor old place.

But she is gone who made home for me there,
Whose child-like laugh, whose light step on the stair
Filled me with joy and gladness, hope and cheer,
To heaven she soared, and left me lonely here —
The old house now has got a brand new face.
The roses are uprooted, there's no trace
Of broken laugh, or blossom — no decay 
The past is dead, the world wags on alway.

— Ellen O'Leary

Wednesday 4 March 2015

The Lows and Highs of Sport

Last Monday, the 2nd of March, was a day of contrasts for me regarding two sporting figures whom I greatly admired.

During the day I learned of the death of Tony Reddin, after a short illness, in his 96th year. 1949 was the first year in which I was capable of appreciating the sporting events taking place at the time. That was also the first year of a golden era for Tipperary hurling which lasted for the senior team until 1966. In 1949, Tipperary won both the senior and minor All-Ireland hurling titles. The star, among many, on the senior winning team was goalkeeper Tony Reddin. Tony had made his debut on the team at the close of 1948 when he was approaching his 30th birthday. He continued to produce spectacular displays of goalkeeping for Tipperary and Munster, as well as for his club Lorrha until 1956, when an eye injury sustained in a challenge game against Clare ended his county career. He continued to play for his club until the early sixties.

Tony was born in Mullagh, Co. Galway, on the 15th of November 1919. He played both in goal and outfield for Galway senior and junior hurlers. He moved residence to Lorrha, Co. Tipperary in 1947 where he owned and drove a hackney car. He went to live in Banagher, Co. Offaly in 1963. He trained the local St. Rynagh's senior hurling team which won ten Offaly senior titles between 1965 and 1976.

Tony Reddin is laid to rest in Rathcabin graveyard in the parish of Lorrha, Co. Tipperary. May the Lord have mercy on his gentle soul.

On the evening of last Monday I was delighted to hear on the radio that Padraig Harrington had achieved a notable golfing victory after a long absence from the podium. The popular Irish golfer had won the Honda Classic at the PGA National Resort and Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, Flordia. This was his first win on American soil since the 2008 PGA Championship. He had a great run of wins in the mid noughties and then the wins dried up. I always admired his gentlemanly, and honourable, approach to the game which came through in his interviews. I hope that this is the restart of many more big wins for him.

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Love of Country

Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land;
Whose heart hath ne'er within burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
Despite those titles, power and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.

— Sir Walter Scott

Monday 16 February 2015

Pathetic Tipperary Display

National Hurling League Division 1A:

Dublin 2-20; Tipperary 0-14

In yesterday's game, played at Parnell Park, Dublin,Tipperary's inept display was reminiscent of the worst period — in the late '70's and early '80's — of their hurling recession between 1971 and 1987. The truth of the matter is that the recession in Tipperary hurling never ended; it simply improved from a dire situation as exemplified by the euphoria with which we all greeted the first round championship victory over Clare in 1983.

Being happy with winning one All-Ireland senior championship every decade is very depressing. In the 1950's and 1960's — the glory years of Tipperary hurling — titles were won by first time ground hurling, great spirit and physicality. It was a time when the leading Tipperary club teams could take on the top clubs in any other county and beat them. The changes to the club championship system allowed teams of inferior quality to continue playing senior year after year in a competition which guaranteed them 4 or 5 games even if they lost each one. The idea of relegation was anathema to those involved at club and board level. Not surprisingly, the competitive element and standard deteriorated. Tipperary teams, for a long number of years, have been unable to hit the ball on the ground and they are lacking the defensive qualities to properly defend the goal — and I am not talking here about foul tactics.

Unfortunately, hurling has become a handling game — especially over the past ten or more years. At times it is like rugby played with hurleys. Tipperary are finding it hard to compete with teams that always favoured the handling game because they lack the craft and physicality.

Sunday 8 February 2015

The Irish Peasant Girl

The song, Slievenamon, from the pen of Charles Kickham, has become the anthem of Tipperary. His other song, The Irish Peasant Girl, is dear to the hearts of those of us who live near the Anner at the foot of Slievenamon. I will quote the words hereon:
The Irish Peasant Girl
She lived beside the Anner,
At the foot of Slievenamon,
A gentle peasant girl,
With mild eyes like the dawn,
Her lips were dewy rosebuds,
Her teeth of pearls rare,
and a snowdrift 'neath a beechen bough,
Her neck and nut brown-hair. 
How pleasant 'twas to meet her
On Sunday,when the bell
Was filling with its mellow tones
Lone wood and grassy dell,
And when at eve young maidens
Strayed the river-bank along,
The widow's brown-haired daughter
Was loveliest of the throng. 
O brave, brave, Irish girls —
We well may call you brave;
For the least of all your perils
Is the stormy ocean wave,
When you leave your quiet valleys,
And cross the Atlantic's foam
To hoard your hard-won earnings
For the helpless ones at home. 
"Write word to my dear mother —
Say we'll meet with God above;
And tell my little brothers
I send them all my love;
May the angels ever guard them,
Is their sister's prayer" —
And folded in the letter
Was a braid of nut-brown hair. 
Ah, cold and well-nigh callous
This weary heart has grown,
For thy hapless fate, dear Ireland,
And for sorrows of my own;
Yet a tear my eye will moisten,
When by Anner's bank I stray,
For the Lily of the Mountain foot
That withered far away. 
— Charles J. Kickham
The following is taken from Tipperary County:People and Places which is described as an anthology of people, places and sites in the history of Tipperary. It was published in 1993 and it's editor was Michael Hallinan. Michael was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He occupied a number of important positions in the Civil and Public Service. He was born at Aughavolimane, Ballinamult, the southernmost townland in County Tipperary.
The Irish Peasant Girl was first contributed to the Celt in 1859. It was intended as a protest against the national evil of emigration, with special reference to the moral dangers to which young people were exposed on board ship in those harsh times. Kickham had been inspired by the fate of an exquisite gentle girl who pined away in exile, and who had sent some of her brown tresses, with a tender message, to her little brothers and sisters on Anner's bank at Killusty, Fethard, Co.Tipperary. The poet always called to see his cousin Catherin Carew, whenever trout-fishing in Killusty, and her departure for America. 
Michael Cavanagh of Cappoquin (later of Washington D.C.) who met Kickham in New York in 1864, on referring to Maid of Anner, was shown her photograph by him."The face seemed to be of a girl of eighteen, of oval shape, every feature as perfect as a painter ever imagined. But its great charm consisted in an expression of angelic innocence" 
— James Maher, Mullinahone

Monday 26 January 2015

Act of Kindness

A news item which appeared in last week's issue of The Nationalist newspaper, Clonmel, attracted my attention. It was written by staff reporter, Eamon Lacey, and it shows that there are people — and a young person in this case — who are capable of fine acts of kindness. At a time when all around us a low based agenda is being pushed — supported by the national organs of the media — noble acts like this give us hope.

I will quote the article hereunder:
John Delaney's Mum in Motorway Blizzard
Eamon Lacey
A Clonmel man who rescued a mother and daughter from a blizzard while on a journey home from hospital has been hailed as a hero. 
Joan Delaney, wife of former FAI treasurer Joe Delaney and mother of FAI chief executive officer John Delaney, and her daughter were saved by a young Clonmel man who came to their aid when he saw their car stopped up on the Cork/Dublin motorway near Watergrasshill in atrocious weather conditions on Tuesday night of last week. 
The car in which Joan and her daughter Jean were travelling seized up and came to an abrupt stop. 
"We were terrified. The blizzard was unbelievable. It was very frightening for us both", said Joan who had been collected from the Bons Securs hospital by her daughter Jean. 
"When we left Cork at 9.30 pm everything was okay but we then came into this awful blizzard a short distance after coming out of the Jack Lynch tunnel. Our car just stopped in the middle of the road, it seized up", said Joan. 
"We were there a while when we noticed this figure approaching the car. He asked us did we need help and he was just brilliant and looked after us and made sure we got home safely on the night", she said. 
The Good Samaritan, Jamie Fenton from Clonmel, who was doing a night course in Cork, managed to pull the car into the hard shoulder before driving it to Watergrasshill where they left it overnight. Jamie then drove Joan and her daughter Jean to their home in Tipperary town. 
"We got stuck in those awful conditions, we did not know what to do. Only for him we were in real trouble", said Joan. 
She said it was heartening to see such kindness. 
"Not only did he stop to help us in those awful conditions but he drove out of his way to bring us to our front door in Tipperary town. We were very grateful to him for saving us and looking after us so well", said Joan.

Sunday 25 January 2015

The Lake Isle of Inisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Inisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake waters lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

— W. B. Yeats

Sunday 18 January 2015

Pardon for Harry Gleeson

I was very pleased to hear on the radio during the past week that the Minister for Justice, Francis Fitzgerald, was about to give a posthumous pardon to Harry Gleeson.

I first became aware of  "the Harry Gleeson Case" on the publication of the book Murder at Marlhill in 1993. This was written by Dublin barrister Marcus Bourke who had a number of books prior to this — mainly about historical figures — and was also editor of the Tipperary Historical Society. Having read the book and spoken to people who remembered the period — including some from the New Inn area — I became convinced that Harry Gleeson was an innocent man.

For the benefit of people not familiar with the case, I will quote hereon the opening paragraph of the book:
At eight o'clock on the morning of Wednesday 23 April, 1941, Harry Gleeson was hanged in Mountjoy Jail in Dublin for the murder of his neighbour Mary McCarthy. Her body had been found in a remote spot on Gleeson's uncle's farm near New Inn in Co. Tipperary early on Thursday 21 November, 1940. Nine days later, on 30 November, Gleeson was arrested and charged with the murder. A six-day preliminary hearing in Clonmel District Court in January 1941 was followed by a ten-day jury trial in Green Street courthouse in Dublin in February. A four-day hearing in the Court of Criminal Appeal a month later and a reprieve campaign both failed, and the posting outside the jail gates of the customary notice by a prison official at 8.05 on the morning of 23 April recorded the execution of Gleeson.
Leading for the defence in the case was Sean McBride who was a young barrister at the time and was to become a senior council a few years afterwards. McBride had been a political activist from a young age and was Minister for External Affairs in the first Inter Party Government. He was convinced from the time he took on the case until his death of the innocence of Harry Gleeson. He, with Mr J.J.Timoney from Tipperary Town, visited the scene of the murder on two occasions, meticulously going over over ever detail. McBride had friends in the Cahir area — a town about 3 miles from the scene of the crime — whom he visited often. He obtained a lot of background information on the case from this source.

On the day before he was hanged Sean McBride visited Harry Gleeson in his condemned cell at the latter's request. When he returned to his car he wrote down what Harry Gleeson had said to him. He sent details to solicitor Timoney which makes for heart-rending reading:
He asked me to let his uncle and aunt and his friends know that he did not mind at all dying, as he was well prepared, and that he would pray for them as soon as he reached Heaven. He was quite calm and happy. He assured several times that he would not like to change places with anyone else, as he felt sure he had undergone his purgatory in this world and that he might never have the opportunity again to be so well prepared to meet his death. He was quite cheerful and chatted freely about his execution. He asked me to specially thank you all for the work you had done on his behalf, and said he would pray for you. At the end of the interview he stood up and said: "The last thing I want to say is that I will pray tomorrow that whoever did it will be discovered, and that the whole thing will be like an open book. I rely on you then to clear my name. I have no confession to make, only that I didn't do it. That is all. I will pray for you and be with you if I can, whenever you, Mr.Nolan-Whelan and Mr.Timoney are fighting and battling for justice".

Sunday 11 January 2015


What shall we do for timber?
The last of the woods is down.
Kilcash and the house of its glory
And the bell of the house are gone,
The spot where that lady waited
Who shamed all women for grace
When earls came sailing to greet her
And Mass was said in the place. 

My grief and my affliction
Your gates are taken away,
Your avenue needs attention,
Goats in the garden stray.
The courtyard's filled with water
And the great earls where are they?
The earls, the lady, the people
Beaten into the clay. 

No sound of duck or geese there,
Hawk's cry or eagle's call,
No humming of the bees there
That brought honey and wax for all,
Nor even the song of the birds there
When the sun goes down in the west,
No cuckoo on top of the boughs there,
Singing the world to rest. 

There's mist there tumbling from branches,
Unstirred by night and by day,
And darkness falling from heaven,
For our fortune has ebbed away,
There's no holly nor hazel nor ash there,
The pasture's rock and stone,
The crown of the forest has withered,
And the last of the game is gone. 

I beseech of Mary and Jesus
That the great come home again
With long dances danced in the garden,
Fiddle music and mirth among men,
That Kilcash the home of our fathers
Be lifted on high again,
And from that to the deluge of waters
In bounty and peace remain. 

— Translation by Frank O'Connor

Friday 2 January 2015

A New Political Party

For some time past there has been much chatter about the need for a new political party in this country. The notion that it will solve all our financial woes is so infantile. I will not insult children, who are very clever, by describing it as childish.

The basic rules of simple arithmetic will always apply. We must use all reasonable means to obtain maximum value from our resources in as efficient and cost-effective a manner as possible. All aspects of our educational structures should be utilized to enable more and more people to avail of the fruits of a productive economy. Thankfully, for some years past, many schools have been promoting a culture of enterprise.

At the present time individuals and groups that have unfortunately been elected to Dail Eireann are spouting simplistic populist cant in order to fool the gullible into thinking that they will cure our financial ills. This is nothing short of criminal.

Lucinda Creighton
Today Lucinda Creighton signalled her intention that she, along with others, will announce the formation of a new political party in this country within the next eight weeks. I wish her well — she has courage. The new party will attract people for a while who still believe that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The one thing that one can be fairly sure of about this grouping is that its leaders will be honest and honourable.

At the present time Dail Eireann is infested with dangerous levels of terrorists and communists. They are expecting to greatly increase their numbers following the next General Election and control the Government. If this ever happened it would be a greater tragedy for this country than a combination of Oliver Cromwell, the famine and the Black and Tans all rolled into one.