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Tag: Tipperary

If on a summer’s night in Bansha a traveller

Wednesday, 27 June, 2018

Classical reference in the title to If on a winter’s night a traveller (Italian: Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore), a 1979 novel by Italo Calvino. The narrative is about a reader trying to read a book called If on a winter’s night a traveller.

Bansha (Irish: An Bháinseach, meaning “a grassy place”) is a village in County Tipperary strategically located on the eastern approaches to the Glen of Aherlow and the Galtee Mountains. There’s a neighbouring castle and one pub, the excellent Nellie’s.

Bansha


The Galtees and the Irish apostrophe

Sunday, 10 June, 2018

Today’s climb of the Galtees, the Munster mountain range that encompasses Tipperary and Limerick, is in aid of the Mercy University Hospital Foundation, which does good work for the people of Cork and neighbouring places.

The Galtees

Punctuation note: When referring to the Galtees, there is no need for an apostrophe. In Ireland, though, the fact that the apostrophe is seldom used to form a plural noun in English, is ignored, generally, and the general punctuation rule that the possessive of a singular noun is formed by adding an apostrophe and s, whether the singular noun ends in s or not, is applied arbitrarily.


New Year’s reading: Bowen’s Court

Friday, 5 January, 2018 0 Comments

We’re finishing our week of reading books that were the presents of this Christmas past. On Monday, we had The Best of A.A. Gill, a gift from Noel Donnelly, on Tuesday it was Five Escape Brexit Island, placed in the Rainy Day Xmas stocking by Ian McMaster, on Wednesday was the turn of Change Agent, given to this blogger by himself, and yesterday was Motherfoclóir, put under the tree in Clontarf by Brian. This series ends today with Bowen’s Court & Seven Winters by Elizabeth Bowen, a Christmas present from our valiant sister, Mary.

Bowen’s Court & Seven Winters is the history of one Anglo-Irish family in north County Cork, from the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1653 until 1959, when Elizabeth Bowen, the last of the family, was forced to sell the house she adored. With the skill that marks all her writing, she describes the lives and loves, the highs and lows of ten generations of Bowens. These were a class apart — the Protestant Irish gentry — and theirs was a story of war, land, powerful women, ruinous lawsuits, horses, hunting, entertaining, sex, drinking, melancholy and loss.

The date is 5 August 1914 and the Bowens have set out from their estate by pony and trap for a party at Mitchelstown Castle, the home of the Earls of Kingston. They stopped at the village of Rockmills to collect Silver Oliver, a playmate of the 15-year-old Elizabeth, and they could not have anticipated that an event in far-off Sarajevo would start a conflagration that would inspire Irish men to burn Mitchelstown Castle to the ground on 12 August 1922. Snippet:

At Rockmills my father — whose manner, I do remember had been growing graver with every minute — stopped the pony and went into the post office. There was a minute to wait, with the pony stamping, before I again saw him framed in the low dark door. He cleared his throat and said: “England has declared war on Germany.” Getting back into the trap, he added: “I suppose it could not be helped.” All I could say was: “Then can’t we go to the garden party?” … We picked up Silver Oliver and drove to Mitchelstown — Henry, with his whole mind, courteously answering a rattle of questions from us girls. If at ten or twelve I had been precocious, at fifteen I was virtually idiotic. The bye-roads had dried in the wind and were glaring white; the War already had given them an unreal look.

That afternoon we walked up the Castle avenue, greeted by the gusty sound of a band. The hosts of the party were the late Lady Kingston’s second husband, Mr. Willie Webber, and his companion, Miss Minnie Fairholme. They were not young, and, owing to the extreme draughtiness everywhere, they received their guests indoors, at the far end of Big George’s gallery. In virtue of this being a garden party, and of the fact that it was not actually raining, pressure was put on the guests to proceed outside — people only covertly made incursions into the chain of brocade saloons. Wind raced round the Castle terraces, naked under the Galtees; grit blew into the ices; the band clung, with some trouble, to its exposed place. The tremendous news certainly made that party, which might have been rather flat. Almost everyone said they wondered if they really ought to have come, but they had come — rightly: this was a time to gather. This was an assemblage of Anglo-Irish people from all over north-east County Cork, from the counties of Limerick, Waterford, Tipperary. For miles around, each isolated big house had disgorged its talker, this first day of the war. The tension of months, of years — outlying tension of Europe, inner tension of Ireland — broke in a spate of words. Braced against the gale of the mountains, licking dust from their lips, these were the unmartialled loyalists of the South. Not a family had not put out, like Bowen’s Court, its generations of military brothers — tablets in Protestant churches recorded deaths in remote battles; swords hung in halls. If the Anglo-Irish live on and for a myth, for that myth they constantly shed their blood. So, on this August 1914 day of grandeur and gravity, the Ascendency rallied, renewed itself.

It was an afternoon when the simplest person begins to anticipate memory — this Mitchelstown garden party, it was agreed, would remain in everyone’s memory as historic. It was also a more final scene than we knew. Ten years hence, it was all to seem like a dream — and the Castle itself would be a few bleached stumps on the plateau. Today, the terraces are obliterated, and grass grows where the saloons were. Many of those guests, those vehement talkers, would be scattered, houseless, sonless, or themselves dead. That war — or call it now that first phase of war — was to go far before it had done with us.

Elizabeth Bowen


At the apple juice shop

Sunday, 22 October, 2017 0 Comments

“Frost sharps the middle music of the seasons, and all things living on the earth turn home again… the fields are cut, the granaries are full, the bins are loaded to the brim with fatness, and from the cider-press the rich brown oozings of the York Imperials run. The bee bores to the belly of the grape, the fly gets old and fat and blue, he buzzes loud, crawls slow, creeps heavily to death on sill and ceiling, the sun goes down in blood and pollen across the bronzed and mown fields of the old October.” — Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and the River: A Legend of Man’s Hunger in His Youth

Apple juice


The Deposition at Lisvernane

Saturday, 1 April, 2017 0 Comments

The ecclesiastical definition of the noun deposition means “a work of art depicting Christ being lowered from the Cross.” Rubens and Caravaggio did famous depositions, but the grandfather of the theme, as it were, is The Deposition of Christ by the Italian Renaissance master Fra Angelico, which was executed between 1432 and 1434 and is now housed in the Museo di San Marco in Florence. Giorgio Vasari declared it was “painted by a saint or an angel.”

A more modest but no less saintly deposition in wood can be found in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Lisvernane in Tipperary.

The Deposition at Lisvernane


Remembering those who built for us

Saturday, 18 June, 2016 0 Comments

On 18 June 1952, Michael Fitzgerald and Catherine O’Donnell were married in the village of Lisvernane, County Tipperary. The ceremony was followed by a meal at Riversdale House Hotel in the Glen of Aherlow. Transport for the bride and her family was via a Ford V8 driven by Jack Fraser, grocer/publican/undertaker, but cars were scarce in the Ireland of the early 1950s so some of the guests cycled. The wedding cake was prepared by the bride, baked by Mrs Ryan-Russell, who had a Stanley Range cooker, and the icing was added by the confectionery specialists of Kiely’s Bread Company in Tipperary town. The sun shone and the couple went on to spend 59 years together, during which time they earned love and respect from those who loved and respected them.

Mammy and Daddy

Scaffolding is one of the first poems Seamus Heaney wrote. It’s a metaphorical work about the construction of a marriage and the measures needed to keep it firm in the face of the shocks. Walls of “sure and solid stone” will be strong enough to stand on their own, says Heaney. “Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall / Confident that we have built our wall.”

Scaffolding

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.

Seamus Heaney (1939 — 2013)


Clonbeg Churchyard

Thursday, 20 August, 2015 0 Comments

Clonbeg Church is located in the Glen of Aherlow and its origins as a sacred place are associated with Saint Sedna, a 6th-century Bishop of Ossory. Today, it is a Church of Ireland property with both a Protestant and a Catholic burial ground. Many of the fascinating headstones date back to early 1700’s, but this one is from the 20th century.

Clonbeg Church


A mass of priests in Glencoshnabinnia

Thursday, 2 January, 2014 0 Comments

During the days when people travelled on horseback, there was a priest whose parish included a portion of the Galtee Mountains and it’s recalled that he decided to introduce a visiting cleric to his far-flung flock. At one point, they reached Glencoshnabinnia, which is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic for “the glen at the foot of the peaks”, and they stopped at a small home where they were made welcome and offered tea by a woman surrounded by a throng of small children.

“And how many children do you have?” asked the parish priest of the head of the household.
“21, Father,” replied the man, whose name was Brien or Ryan.
“Good heavens,” said the priest, “What do they all do?”

In response, the man began to recite a litany of names and related tasks: Jack minded the sheep; Mary was in charge of the hens; Peggy fed the cow; Billy took care of the pigs; Jim had the task of going to the well for water; Norah milked the goat; Nell baked; Tom cut turf… and before long he had listed 20 names and their occupations.

“And this little lad beside the fire,” said the parish priest. “You haven’t mentioned him. What does he do?”
“Ah, young Ned does nothing, Father. We’re thinking of making a priest out of him.”

The Galtees


“10 shillings to go and a pound to come”

Monday, 23 December, 2013 0 Comments

In my mother’s time, life in the foothills of the Galtee Mountains was simple and, sometimes, short. When it came to illness, various traditional “cures” and treatments would be tried before the doctor would be called as he represented a considerable expense for people who eked out a living on tiny farms. “10 shillings to go and a pound to come” was the maxim that applied to the doctor, meaning that it cost 10 shillings to attend his practice and that he charged one pound to visit the home of the sick person.

When, for instance, a child was unwell and refusing to eat, jelly would be made as it was sweet and consisted mostly of water. Anyone unable to eat jelly was a considered a case for the doctor and then it was a question of spending either 10 shillings or a pound.

One pound


The Tipperary Star bids for ‘Headline of the Year’

Thursday, 5 December, 2013 0 Comments

According to the 2011 census of Ireland, the population of County Tipperary was 158,754. That of Tipperary Town was put at 4,415. Both numbers are useful as it is not clear which “Tipp” entity The Tipperary Star is referring to in its recent headline.

The Tipperary Star

Situation clarified: “There are twelve women working as prostitutes in County Tipperary at the present time, The Tipperary Star can reveal,” the paper reported on 19 November. Councillor Billy Clancy pointed to the example of Germany, where he claimed “that 1 million per day are availing of” legalised prostitution. “They are even opening a mega brothel at the moment and I just feel that if we introduce legislation to ban prostitution people will just go to where sex is available to satisfy their desires,” he added.

The Tipperary Star, by the way, is owned by Johnston Press, a British newspaper conglomerate, and has a declining weekly circulation, now below 7,000 copies, down from 9,000 in 2008. Given the “sex sells” theory of newspapering, The Tipperary Star knows which buttons to press when it comes to doing the business.


Changing station for Mr Bianconi’s horses

Sunday, 10 March, 2013 0 Comments

“In July, 1815, I started a car for the conveyance of passengers from Clonmel to Cahir, which I subsequently extended to Tipperary and Limerick. At the end of the same year I started similar cars from Clonmel to Cashel and Thurles, and from Clonmel to Carrick and Waterford; and I have since extended my establishment […]

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