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8 Miscellaneous

<span class="postTitle">Moyaliffe House</span> Clonoulty-Rossmore Vintage Club, 19th Annual Vintage Rally, Clonoulty Village, Co. Tipperary, September 1, 2019

Moyaliffe House

Clonoulty-Rossmore Vintage Club, 19th Annual Vintage Rally, Clonoulty Village, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, September 1, 2019

Moyaliffe House is a large house, built over several periods. It is situated within a mature garden, beside the River Clodiagh and within the grounds of a ruined castle. The approach to the house is between a stately avenue of lime trees, planted over one hundred years ago. Nearby is Moyaliffe Hill, which rises to over four hundred feet above sea level, from the top of which are fine views of the Rock of Cashel and the Devil’s Bit.

The name ‘Moyaliffe’ or ‘Mealiffe’ is a derivation meaning ‘field of Olaf’. As far as is known, Olaf was the reigning King of the territory in 900 AD, when he fought a fierce and defensive battle on the banks of the River Clodiagh, losing two hundred men.

The ruins of a castle, which was built about 1100 AD, can be seen to the south of the house. The castle was one of a series built by the Butler family to preserve law and order over their vast domain granted by King John of England. In 1500 AD it was besieged by Turlough O’Brien, when one hundred Kilkenny men with Robert Shee, the sovereign of that city, marched out to the assistance of Sir Piers Butler at Moyaliffe, but were defeated and left a great number of their men dead on the field, including Shee.

The House

The oldest wing of the house at one time adjoined the castle. The middle wing was added in the 17th century, while the newest wing, which made the house the fine structure it is today, was built in 1810. All the walls of the house are of exceptional thickness. Behind panelling, in the thickness of one of the outside walls enclosing a passage on the first floor, is what might have been a secret closet, in which a man could have hidden. In the courtyard is a deep well which assured a water supply, which was important in such houses in case of attack.

The Armstrongs

The owners of Moyaliffe since 1695 were the Armstrongs when Thomas Armstrong (1671-1741) purchased the townland and the ruins of a towerhouse, which had been built there by the Butler family in the early fourteenth century. Thomas was the younger son of Captain William Armstrong of Farney Castle, who had come to Ireland to fight for the royalist cause in the Irish Confederate Wars. The Armstrongs were of Scottish origin and are said to have derived their name during the Battle of the Standard (1138), when a warrior of the clan lifted a fallen king back onto his horse by using just one arm. The family motto, vi et armis Invictus maneo (by force and arms I remain unvanquished, reflects the fearless and warlike nature for which the clan was famous.

The Moyaliffe branch of the family was rather more peaceful in its inclinations than the motto might suggest. While many men of the family continued in the tradition of serving in the army, equally many took to the cloth and served as clergymen in parishes in Tipperary and elsewhere. William ‘Billy’ Carew Armstrong (1752-1839) served as rector of Moyaliffe from 1789 to 1797. He also held the rectorship of Moylough in the diocese of Tuam and the chancellorship of the diocese of Cashel. Billy’s marriage to Catherine Beresford in 1789 was not only good for his career but brought money into the family, allowing him to improve the holding at Moyaliffe. He extended the modest family home by the addition of a Georgian wing, planted a parkland of oaks and beeches and established a beech walk overlooking the Clodiagh River. As a result of this prosperous marriage, many subsequent generations carried ‘Beresford’ as their middle name.

Billy’s eldest son, John Armstrong (1791-1846) also married well. His wife, Catherine Somers, was the only surviving child of Thomas Somers of Chaffpool, County Sligo. Through this marriage, the Armstrongs came into possession of estates in Mayo and Sligo, and for many decades the family abandoned Moyaliffe House in favour of Chaffpool House. Apparently John was a much-liked landlord and highly respected magistrate, and the local community were devastated to hear the news of his premature death during the famine from typhus fever he had contracted while working tirelessly to ease the suffering of the poor and starving.

End of the Family Connection

Eventually the Moyaliffe estate came to Captain Marcus Beresford Armstrong and, following the death of his only son, he made the decision to pass the state to his second daughter, Jess (1891-1949). (The Mayo and Sligo estates had been sold to the Congested Districts Board in 1904.) She was married in 1927 to Captain William Daryl Olphert Kemmis (1892-1965) of Ballinacor, County Wicklow.

She and her husband divided their time between Moyaliffe and Ballinacor until the death of Captain Kemmis in 1965, when, through a series of events, Jess Kemmis lost ownership of Ballinacor, which was inherited by her husband’s maternal cousin, Major Richard Lomer, and Moyaliffe, which was offered for sale to the Land Commission. She was later able to regain possession of Moyaliffe House and 12 acres of the demesne, but not the surrounding farm.

As Jess had no children, and he younger sister was also childless, Jess Kemmis bequeathed Moyaliffe House and grounds to her distant relation, Robert George Carew Armstrong (1911-1983) of Natal, South Africa. Following Robert’s death, the property passed to his eldest son, Graham Carew Armstrong (b. 1946). It remained in the hands of the Armstrong family until July 1999, when it was sold to John Stakelum.

Life in Moyaliffe

In his comprehensive Life of Tom Semple and the Thurles Blues, Liam Ó Donnchú gives an interesting picture of life at Moyaliffe in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Many of the workers on the estate were brought in from Scotland. Tom Semple’s grandfather, James, was one and worked as a servant at Farney Castle, where the father of the first Armstrong to take over Moyaliffe, was established. Tom’s father, Martin, is recalled locally as being a coachman and butler at Farney Castle and later at MoyaliffeI

It is clear, from the following account of a celebration at Moyaliffe, that Martin Semple was held in high esteem by the Armstrongs and could be trusted with a position of responsibility. ‘In October 1878, Captain Edward Armstrong celebrated the annual ‘Harvest Home’ at Moyaliffe Castle. Invitations had been sent to his tenants, labourers, tradesmen and their families and the celebrations began at about 4.00 p.m. for the assembled gathering of all ages, numbering about one hundred and fifty-five. They assembled in the vicinity of the farmyard, in an area specially built for such festivities, where a dance-floor had been laid and the area decorated with evergreens, corn sheaves and appropriate slogans, some in the Irish language. Fiddle music filled the autumnal air and the tables were ‘full and plenty’ and well-decked with a selection of meats including roast beef and a selection of hot smoking puddings. Captain Armstrong arrived with his wife and her companion, Miss Bagwell, about 8.00 p.m. amid welcoming cheers. The flowing bowl followed with plenty for all and the Captain drank to the health of his tenants, labourers and his invited friends from Farney Castle and Templemore. At 10.30 p.m. the Captain and his entourage retired. Tea, punch and porter were liberally distributed during the remainder of the night, under the supervision of Mr. Semple (Tom’s father), Mr. Hogan, Mr. Harrington and Mr. Aduett, all appointed by Captain Armstrong to act in his absence. Celebrations continued until 7.00 a. m., when all wished each other good-bye in friendship.’

<span class="postTitle">Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks in the Parish of Lorrha & Dorrha at the end the 19th Century</span> 2018

Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks in the Parish of Lorrha & Dorrha at the end the 19th Century


There’s a fascinating book called Devia Hibernia: The Road and Route Guide for Ireland of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Written by George Dagg, who was a member of the RIC, it was published in 1893 and when I went looking for it in the Tipperary County Library, they didn’t have a copy and I discovered there were copies in only four libraries in the country. One of these was the Dublin City Library, Pearse Street Branch. I consulted it there.

So, why my interest in this rare tome? I have been trying to establish the number of RIC barracks there were in the parish before we got our independence. I thought there was a study in existence of RIC barracks, giving the date of the foundation of each one, how long it was in use and how many RIC personnel were in occupation.

No such study existed but I was directed to Devia Hibernia as a source of the information I was looking for. It was partly satisfactory and included information on the other facilities that existed in the place it the time..

The Guide included all the RIC barracks in Ireland at the time, including those in the Parish of Lorrha and Dorrha in 1893, but it doesn’t include information on barracks that may have existed in the parish before that date.

The RIC Barracks

The Guide tells us that the population of Lorrha was 122, which must be just the immediate village. There was a telegraph office which functioned from 8 am to 8 pm. The Post arrived at 9 am and was despatched t 3-30. There was a Port Office in the village and one post car available. The sergeant’s name was Thomas O’Rorke but there’s no information on the number of constables he had under him. The Petty Sessions were held there every four weeks.

There was another RIC barracks at the Pike. The Sergeant’s name was James Murphy. The nearest Post Office was in Rathcabbin. No other information is given.

I include Riverstown, even though it was outside the parish. It also had an RIC barracks and the sergeant’s name was John Watson. The population of the village was 102 and it included a Post Office.

There was no RIC barracks in Rathcabbin but there was one in Annagh, close to the R438. The sergeant’s name was T. Malynn. The nearest Post Office was in Derrinsallow, which appears to have been a place on importance at the time. There was a mill these beside the River Brosna.

Another RIC Barracks existed in Portland. I’m not quite sure where the location was. The sergeant’s name was David Lavelle. There was also a Post Office in the place.

Not Included

I was interested in three other places where there’s supposed to have been RIC barracks in the parish. One of these was in Joe Corcoran’s in Grange. When the land was divided in the area the Corcoran family was given as residence a building which had once been a barracks.

Another place is McCormack’s pub in Abbeyville. There is a strong belief that the building was once a barracks and it includes features that seem to confirm that, including a central room that looks like a cell. Close by near Ashpark House is where a barracks existed at the time the Ordnance Survey Map was made. Opinion has it is that when it closed down a new barracks was built where McCormack’s pub now stands.

There is also a strong belief that a barracks existed on the hill behind Carrigahorig village. Rumour has it there was a barracks there as late as the 1920s, when Sean Treacy and Dan Breen were hiding out in the area.

Strength of RIC in County

However, none of these latter places are mentioned by George Dagg in his Guide. The book also gives information on the strength of the Royal Irish Constabulary in County Tipperary in September 1891. In the North Riding there were 1 County Inspector, 6 District Inspectors, 6 Head Constables and 257 Sergeants and Constables. In the South Riding there were 1 County Inspector, 7 District Inspectors, 10 Head Constables and 454 Sergeants and Constables.

The total cost of running the force in the country that year was £1,425,530 of which Horses and Forage cost £19,056.

<span class="postTitle">GAA Presidents Award</span> Croke Park, Feb 9th 2018

GAA Presidents Award

Croke Park, Feb 9th 2018

On February 9th, 2018 in Croke Park, Seamus King was a recipient of one of the prestigious annual GAA President's Awards.  The award was in honor of Seamus's  ‘outstanding voluntary contribution to the GAA over a prolonged period’ and was presented by Uachtarán Aogán Ó Fearghail.

Seamus J. King receives a GAA President's Award from Uachtaran Aogán Ó Fearghail

Seamus J. King receives a GAA President's Award from Uachtaran Aogán Ó Fearghail

From left to right; Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, Leascheannasaí TG4, Patrick Farrell, Head AIB Area South, Seamus J.King, Uachtaran Aogán Ó Fearghail.

From left to right; Pádhraic Ó Ciardha, Leascheannasaí TG4, Patrick Farrell, Head AIB Area South, Seamus J.King, Uachtaran Aogán Ó Fearghail.

A happy gathering of friends of Seamus J. King, Cashel King Cormacs, at Croke Park on Friday night, February 9, 2018.  Back row, left to right: Michael Perdue, Mick Mackey, Paul Hogan, Sharon Perdue, Shirley Hogan, Ruadhan King, Teresa Connolly, T. J. Connolly, Paddy Moloney, Pat Dunne, Tim Floyd, Liz Dunne, Liam King, Ger Slattery, Aodán Wrenn, Joe Regan;  Front row, left to right: Martin Cummins, Kathleen King, Uachtarán Aogán Ó Fearghail, Seamus J. King, Margaret King, Mattie Finnerty.

A happy gathering of friends of Seamus J. King, Cashel King Cormacs, at Croke Park on Friday night, February 9, 2018.

Back row, left to right: Michael Perdue, Mick Mackey, Paul Hogan, Sharon Perdue, Shirley Hogan, Ruadhan King, Teresa Connolly, T. J. Connolly, Paddy Moloney, Pat Dunne, Tim Floyd, Liz Dunne, Liam King, Ger Slattery, Aodán Wrenn, Joe Regan;

Front row, left to right: Martin Cummins, Kathleen King, Uachtarán Aogán Ó Fearghail, Seamus J. King, Margaret King, Mattie Finnerty.


A video highlight of the event can be seen below.





<span class="postTitle">Marjorie Hamill (1941-2018)</span> Eulogy at the Funeral Mass, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Creagh, Feb 7th 2018

Marjorie Hamill (1941-2018)

Eulogy at the Funeral Mass, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Creagh, Feb 7th 2018


Rev. Fathers, Andrew and Jane, members of the extended family.

I don't think it would be proper to allow Marjorie to disappear into the dark night of death without a few words in her honour.

I want to sympathise deeply with Andrew and Jane, who have lost a devoted mother, who was always there for them when they returned from their travels. She was the anchor of their lives.

Marjorie was the third in our family of two boys and two girls and she is the first to go and it will put a big gap in our lives because, even though we all lived apart we did keep in contact and we were always united on New Year's Eve with a meal and on New Year's day with a sumptuous repast  at Kathleen  and Liam's.

Marjorie was absent this year, having become ill on December 3, but we drank a few glasses in her absence and hoped that she would be well soon.

But, she wasn't. She gave us hope a few times during the past weeks but, more often than not it was only a short respite and, as the weeks wore on and she fought with the many failures in her system, our hopes for her recovery became fewer and we were all gathered on Sunday to watch her heading towards her end.

During this period we had the opportunity to have conversations with Andrew and Jane who, because of  their work continents away, had almost disappeared off our radar. Marjorie's illness brought us all closer together. 

During those weeks she was extremely well cared for by the front line staff in both the Portiuncula and Galway University Hospital. I have nothing but the highest praise for their caring professionalism and we are all extremely grateful to them for the way they looked after Marjorie during her last days.

Marjorie was a bit prone to accidents. We expected perhaps not the worst but something to go wrong when she was doing something. I remember going a play in the school in Oranmore when she was a boarder there. She was in charge of the curtain and she slipped off the stage and brought the curtain down with her.

Her driving skills were problematic and she had many an argument with piers and bollards.

She broke her leg on one occasion by falling over a trough for feeding the hens.

And, I heard last night that Marjorie went through a door in the Bundestag, Berlin for a smoke during a visit to that city, and almost created an international incident, when she tried to get back into the building!

I suppose because of these mishaps, we had a protective nature towards her, even though she learned to look after herself well.

I suppose another memory of her was to have been on the slow side. On one occasion we climbed Croagh Patrick and Liam and I left her behind on the way down, she was so slow. Also, at one stage she had to prepare the dinner at home for a period and she could never get it ready in time for Daddy who was a stickler for the 12 o'clock meal. Instead of improving her ways, she used to turn back the clock and convince him he had come in early.

But Marjorie managed and got on with her life and was in charge of medicines in St, Brigid's hospital at a time when the hospital was a very large going concern and in the days before computers were available to record and control what took place in her department.

And she did all this in a laid-back manner always having the time for a chat with a patient or a member of the staff. I suppose this is the quality I admired most about her, her time for people, her capacity to listen and to bond with others.

Her friends say she hadn't a bad bone in her body. They have nothing only good memories of her. She hadn't a bad word for people and was great to keep a secret. She didn't carry stories and was a thrusted friend

What I only learned recently was her love of poker, not high stakes stuff I might add but small stuff where a tenner pot would be big money. Marg and the cards revealed a different person.  She was a member of two schools and, as far as I can make out, she bossed both of them. She kept a great eye on the table and on the cards that were played and was very sharp on payments to the pool. In fact she wouldn't deal until everyone had the money paid in. Everything had to be in order before the cards could be dealt.

I suppose most of us associate Marjorie  with a love of smoking.. She was so happy when she had one and following the smoking ban, a regular sight during a gathering was to see her disappearing outside for the drag. We encouraged her often to give them up but she was never going to do so and it wasn't only the cigarette that gave her satisfaction but the conversations that occurred when she went out for her fix.

Marjorie had a good sense of fun and enjoyed the good story. I recall her remarking on how  all the old psychiatric hospitals were located between rivers and railways, as if the planners had a nefarious intent. She told me numerous stories from St. Brigid's and one she told with humour was of the patient running away and racing madly for the river and the nurses tearing after him with their white coats flying in the wind and he arrives at the water's edge before them and turns around to face his pursuers and says: I fooled you! I fooled you! The story tickled her humour.

And, so with these few thoughts and memories, we come to say a last farewell to Marjorie, the daughter of Joe King and Annie Slevin, the wife of the late David, the mother of Andrew and Jane, the sister of Maura, Seamus and Liam, the relation of an extended family, the friend of many of you and, as we do so we say goodbye to one who didn't do any extraordinary things during her seventy-seven years but who was a person with a generous heart,  a lively spirit, a person capable of strong friendships, and we wish eternal rest to her soul and that her memory will remain fresh in the lives of all who knew her.


sc002d53af marjorie david hammil 2.jpg
sc002f3e9201 hammil family 1986.jpg
sc002f2491 king family 1986.jpg

<span class="postTitle">Hurling: Part of the intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity</span> County Tipperary G.A.A. Annual Convention 2018 Handbook, Dec 18th 2018, page 143

Hurling: Part of the intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

County Tipperary G.A.A. Annual Convention 2018 Handbook, Dec 18th 2018, page 143

The news that hurling has been recognised as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, has to be received with great satisfaction by all followers of the game in Ireland, but particularly in Tipperary, which has long prided itself as the ‘home of hurling’.

The decision was announced at the time of year when the game goes into hibernation for a couple of months as the darkness of December days and the sodden state of playing areas make the winter months least suitable for the playing of hurling.

The body responsible for conferring this status on one of the oldest stick games in the world is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). One of its bodies, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held its meeting in Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius, from Monday 26 November to Saturday 1 December 2018. Over the six days, the twenty-four State Members of the Committee, elected by the General Assembly of the 2003 Convention, discussed a number of issues that are important for the safeguarding of living heritage around the world.

Representative List

One of its tasks was to add to the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Irish Government, as was the case with numerous other Governments, made an application for the inclusion of hurling. The listing of such elements of a country’s culture ‘seeks to enhance visibility for the traditions and know-how of communities without recognising standards of excellence or exclusivity.’

Minister for Culture, Joseph Madigan, welcomed the announcement and thanked the G.A.A. and the Camogie Association for their work with her department in preparing the application.

She said the list was intended ‘to promote visibility, awareness and diversity in cultural heritage internationally. The inscription of hurling is a wonderful opportunity to share a cherished aspect of Irish culture with others.’

G.A.A. president, John Horan, said the decision reaffirmed the fact that hurling ‘was more than just a sport. It is a national treasure, an ancient tradition that connects us to our Celtic past and a part of our DNA.

‘At a time of unprecedented popularity for the game here, we owe a debt of gratitude to the generations of people who preserved, protected and promoted the game at school, club and county levels so that it would survive and thrive for our benefit.

‘All of us involved in the association are charged with ensuring the promotional work we undertake preserves hurling for future generations.’

What is an Intangible Cultural Heritage?

An intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill, as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts, and cultural spaces that are considered by UNESCO to be part of a place's cultural heritage.

Ireland ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2015. The country’s first nomination, uilleann piping, was officially inscribed last year.

Hurling joins some interesting elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage on the representative list. Granted cultural status at the same time as hurling were Jamaican reggae music and Chidaoba, a form of wrestling practised in Georgia.

Already on the list is Horse and Camel Ardhah, a racing and riding skills festival in Oman, Traditional spring festive rites of the Kazakh horse breeders in Kazakhstan. Picking of iva grass on Ozren mountain in Bosnia and Herzegovina, As-Samer ritualistic singing and dancing typically at marriage ceremonies in Jordan, Avalanche risk management in Switzerland and Austria, to mention a few. I am firmly of the opinion that the addition of hurling to the list will increase its excitement an hundred fold!

How UNESCO Described Hurling

‘Hurling, or Camogie (a form of Hurling played by women), is a field game played by two teams which dates back 2,000 years and features strongly in Irish mythology, most notably in the epic saga of Cú Chulainn. It is played throughout the island of Ireland, particularly in more fertile agricultural areas, as well as overseas. Traditionally, the number of players in the game was unregulated and games were played across open fields. Nowadays, there are fifteen players on adult teams and the game is played on a clearly marked pitch. Players use a wooden stick (hurley), similar to a hockey stick but with a flat end, and a small ball (sliotar), with the aim being to use the hurley to strike the sliotar and hit it between the opposing team’s goalposts. The primary bearers and practitioners are the players, known as ‘hurlers’ (male) and ‘camógs’ (female). Hurling is considered as an intrinsic part of Irish culture and plays a central role in promoting health and wellbeing, inclusiveness and team spirit. Today, the skills are promoted and transmitted through coaching and games in schools and clubs. As the custodians of Hurling, the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Camogie Association, both volunteer-led organizations, play a central role in transmitting the skills and values associated with Hurling.’

No Cost involved

The addition of hurling to the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage doesn’t cost anything or bring financial assistance in its wake. It doesn’t commit the G.A.A. or the State to any additional expenditure. Rather it is, in the words of President Michael D. Higgins a ‘global acknowledgement of the unique cultural significance of this part of our national culture and of the important role Gaelic games play in Irish society.’

<span class="postTitle">Towards a Bibliography of Books relating to Cashel and by Cashel People</span> Compiled for Feile Fidelma Literary Weekend in Cashel, September 2017

Towards a Bibliography of Books relating to Cashel and by Cashel People

Compiled for Feile Fidelma Literary Weekend in Cashel, September 2017

by Peter Berresford Ellis & Seamus J. King

Sanas Cormac compiled by Cormac Ua Cuilennain, King-Bishop of Cashel in the 10th Century, the first known Irish ‘dictionary’.

Vision of Tnudgal written by Brother Marcus of Cashel c. 1148-1150, which is an aisling saga about a Cashel warrior who journeys to Cork and has a vision of the Otherworld. The best English version is translated by Jean-Michel Picard and Yolande de Pontfarcy, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1989.

Caithreim Cheallachain Chaisil (The Battle-History of Ceallachain of Cashel) which was translated into English and published by Professor Alexander Bugge, University of Christiana, Det Norske Historishe Kilderkritford, 1905. It was written about AD 1127-1138 and Cellachán Caisil mac Buadacháin (died 954) was the Eóghanacht King who drove the Vikings out of Munster long before Brian Boru did his ‘thing’ at Clontarf).

Leabhar Muimhneach (Book of Munster) ed. Tadhg Ó Donnchadha, Irish Manuscript Commission, Dublin, 1940.

An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland in 4 Volumes by Rev. John Lanigan, D.D. (Dublin 1822)

Forgotten by History: the life and times of John Lanigan, Priest, Professor and Historian by J. Feehan in Tipperary Historical Journal (2005), pp. 43-60.

Historical and Legendary Recollections of the Rock of Cashel by M. St. John Neville (Dublin 1873)

Cashel of the Kings by J. Davis White (Cashel 1876)

A Guide to the Rock of Cashel by J. Davis White (Cashel 1888)

Abstracts from the ancient records of the corporation of Cashel by T. Laffan (JRSAI, 1904)

The Storming of the Rock of Cashel by Lord Inchiquin in 1647 by Rev. St. John D. Seymour (English Historical Review, pp. 373-381, 1917)

Illustrated Guide to Rock and Ruins of Cashel by A Finn (Clonmel 1920)

Cashel of the Kings by L. M. McCraith (Clonmel 1920)

Royal and Saintly Cashel by A Finn (CTS 1929)

The Hermit on the Rock: A Tale of Cashel by Mrs. J. Sadlier (Dublin 1921)

The Archbishops of Cashel by Rev. M. Maher (Dublin 1927).

Cashel: The City of the Kings: Official Guide (Cashel 1930?)

The Singing-Men at Cashel by Austin Clarke (London 1936)

The Sack of Cashel, 1647 by John A. Murphy Cork Historical & Archaeological Society (lxx 1965, pp. 55-62)

Cashel and Its Abbeys by Ada St. L. Hunt (Dublin 1960)

Cashel of The Kings: A History of the Ancient Capital of Munster from the date of its foundation until the present day, Rev. John Gleeson 1927 (reprint De Burca, Dublin, 2001).

Irish Kings and High-Kings, Francis John Byrne, B.T. Batsford, London, 1973. (section on Cashel is still standard reading)

St. Patrick's Rock by Rev. A. O'Donnell (Cashel 1961)

The Rock of Cashel by K. McGowan (Dublin 1973)

Historical & Pictorial Cashel by Tom Wood (Cashel n.d.)

Cormac's Chapel Cashel by A. Hill (Cork 1874)

Gleanings from Irish History, W.F. Butler, Longman, Green & Co, London, 1925

A History of Medieval Ireland, Edmund Curtis, Maunsel and Roberts, Dublin 1923 (still a good standard)

Early Medieval Munster: Archaeology, History and Society, ed, Michael A. Monk and John Sheen, Cork University Press, 1988.

Armagh and the Royal Centres in Early Medieval Ireland, N.B. Aitchinson, Cruithne Press & Boydell and Brewer, Suffolk, 1994

The Golden Vale of Ivowen: Land and people in the valley of the Suir, Co. Tipperary, Col. Eoghan O’Neill, Dublin, 2001.

Royal and Saintly Cashel, Andrew Finn, Dublin 1929

Cashel and its ancient Corporation by A Finn (Dublin 1930)

A Martyred Archbishop of Cashel: Dr. Dermot O'Hurley (1519-1584) by Rev. Seósamh Ó Murthuile, S.J. (Dublin 1935)

Dermot of Cashel: Dermot O'Hurley, Archbishop of Cashel by Michael O'Halloran (Dublin 1948)

St. Patrick's Rock, Cashel, Co. Tipperary: Official Handbook by H. G. Leask (Dublin 1950?)

Vincent O'Brien: A Long Way from Tipperary by Tim Fitzgeorge-Parker (London 1974). Sporting Prints Series.

Times to Cherish, Cashel and Rosegreen Parish History 1795-1995, Bernie Moloney, Cashel, 1994

Rock of Cashel, Karmac Publications, 1992

Parliamentary election results in Ireland 1801-1922, Edited by B. M. Walker (Dublin 1978)

Parliamentary election results in Ireland 1918-1992, edited by B. M. Walker (Dublin 1992)

More Irish Country Towns, Edited by A. Simms & J.H. Andrews (chapter on Cashel by T O'Keeffe, pp. 156-167), (Dublin 1995

Our People are on the Rock: Gravestone Inscriptions from St. Patrick's Rock, Cashel, St. Dominic's Abbey, St. Mary's Abbey, Hore Abbey compiled by Tom Wood and Cecile Huftier (Cashel ?)

John Davis White's Sixty Years in Cashel by D. G. Marnane in Tipperary Historical Journal (2001) pp. 57-82, (2002) pp. 199-226, (2003) pp. 121-140, (2004) pp. 169-206.

Archbishop Charles Agar: Churchmanship and Politics in Ireland, 1760-1810 by A.P.W. Malcomson (Dublin 2002).

Rock of Cashel, Conleth Manning, Heritage Service, 2008

The Rock of Cashel, Annual Report of the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland, Dublin 1908.

Sister Fidelma’s Cashel: The Early Kings of Munster and their capital, Peter Tremayne, International Sister Fidelma Society, 2008 …!!!!

Cashel King Cormacs 1974: Celebration of a Great Year, (Cashel 1974)

Dublin Historical Record Vol. XXIX, No. 4 (Dublin 1975) (Includes an article on a visit to the Rock of Cashel by the Old Dublin Society).

Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review (Dublin, Winter 1975) (Includes an article on the Wall Paintings in Cormac's Chapel at Cashel by Mary McGrath).

A History of Handball in Cashel by Albert Carrie, (Cashel 1982)

G.A.A. History of Cashel & Rosegreen 1884-1984 by Seamus J. King (Cashel 1985).

A Tale of Two Cathedrals by Rev. Barbara Fryday (Cashel n.d.)

Vincent O'Brien: The Master of Ballydoyle by Raymond Smith (London 1990)

A Workhouse Story: A History of St. Patrick's Hospital, Cashel 1842-1992 by Eamonn Lonergan (Clonmel 1992)

Cashel & Emly Heritage by Walter G. Skehan (Holycross 1993)

The Quatercentenary of the Death of King Donal IX MacCarthy Mór 1596-1996 (Cashel 1996)

Love and Growth: Poems by Tom Leamy (Cashel 1997)

The Hurling & Football Heroes of Cashel King Cormacs 1974 by Seamus J. King (Cashel 1999).

The Cistercian Abbeys of Tipperary by Colmcille Ó Conbhuidhe, OCSO (Dublin 1999). (This work includes a chapter on Hore Abbey, Cashel.)

Cashel Memories by Francis Phillips compiled and edited by Martin O'Dwyer (Bob), (Cashel 2000)

A Brief History of the Sisters of Mercy in St. Patrick's Hospital, Cashel by Eamonn Lonergan (Cashel 2001)

My Favourite Haunt: The Collected Poetry of Michael Luke Phillips compiled by Thomas Wood & Marjorie Noonan (Cashel 2003)

Land and Settlement: A History of West Tipperary to 1660 by Denis G. Marnane (Tipperary 2003).

My Silent Voice by Sally O'Dwyer Bob (Cashel 2004)

Sacred Breath by Sally O'Dwyer Bob (Cashel 2005)

Cashel King Cormacs, County Junior Hurling Champions 1953, Golden Jubilee Celebrations by Seamus J. King (Cashel 2004)

Cashel King Cormacs G.A.A. History 1985-2005 by Seamus J. King (Cashel 2006).

The Ballad Collection of John Davis White by Denis G. Marnane (Tipperary Historical Journal, 2005)

Ireland & Europe in the Twelfth Century: Reform and Renewal edited by Damian Bracken & Dagmar Ó Riain-Raedel (Dublin 2006)

Cashel: History & Guide by Denis G. Marnane (Dublin 2007)

Bolton Library County Tipperary: Heritage Conservation Plan by the Heritage Council 2007

Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly: Pobal Ailbhe by Christy O'Dwyer (Editions du Signe 2008)

27 Main Street by Tom Wood (Listowel 2010)

Destination Cashel: 100 Things to See & Do in County Tipperary. Compiled by Catherine Stapleton (Cashel 2011)

The Pauper Priest – The Story of Fr. John Barry (first published 1890, republished by Martin O'Dwyer Bob (Cashel 2011)

Irish Gothic Architecture: Construction, Decay and Reinvention edited by Roger Stalley (Dublin 2012) Includes a couple of important chapters on the architecture and construction of the buildings on the Rock of Cashel.

My Life & Times in Cashel by Seán Ó Duibhir (Cashel 2012)

Cashel Rugby Football Club 1919-2012 by Seamus J. King (Cashel 2013)

The First 100: Talks on Tipperary's History by Denis G. Marnane (Tipperary 2013)

Archbishop Miler Magrath: The Enigma of Cashel by Patrick J. Ryan (Roscrea 2014).

Gift of Memory: Thoughts & Reminisences by Marjorie Noonan (Cashel n.d.)

The Many Faces of Cashel Vol. 1 by Mark Fitzell (Cashel 2016)

Views to Amuse by Joanie Browne (Lettertec 2016)

Yesteryears: A Photographic Trip Down Memory Lane in Tipperary (Tipperary Star 2017)

Freeborn 100: The Freeborn Exchange Celebrating Ireland 2016 at Cashel Arts Festival (London 2017)

The Many Faces of Cashel Vol. 2 by Mark Fitzell (Cashel 2017)

Cashel, Rhymes and Bygone Times by Joanie Browne (Lettertec 2017)

<span class="postTitle">Michael F. Cronin (1901-1982)</span> The Lamp, 2016-17, pages 56-60

Michael F. Cronin (1901-1982)

The Lamp, 2016-17, pages 56-60


Michael Finbar Cronin was born in Lorrha on the 26th September 1901. Seventeen years previously his father, Felix, had come to the parish as a National Teacher, all the way from Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry, where his parents had the Post Office. 

Three years after arriving at Lorrha Felix married a girl called Mary Dalv from Kenmare and they had ten children, eight boys and two girls. Michael was the seventh son. One of his brothers, Felix, became a Major General in the Irish Army. Another brother, Tom, lost his life in a shooting accident while out fowling. Two other brothers made their names on the hurling field: Gerard hurled for Clare and played against Michael. Phil played for Dublin. Michael was to make his name playing with Lorrha and Tipperary, the highlight of his hurling career winning an All-Ireland senior title in 1930 and being part of the American Tour the Tipperary team made in 1931

Michael was educated in his father's school in Lorrha and went to secondary at De La Salle, Waterford. After completing the secondary course, he transferred to the Teacher Training College. He got a fine gold medal in recognition of his position as De La Salle hurling team captain, 1922. 
On completing his teacher training he got a job at Lorrha and succeeded his father, almost immediately, as Principal. This was a controversial appointment as the practice was for a teacher to need five years’ teaching experience before becoming a Principal. The school manager, Fr. Gleeson, ignored the controversy, claiming that Michael was the best man for the job. The result was that when he retired in 1969, Michael Cronin must have been the longest serving National School Principal in the country. Later, he studied for his B.A. by driving to Galway after work. He was conferred in 1932 and received his Higher Diploma in Education the following year. He received an M.A. in 1935. He was also a fluent Irish speaker.

In an earlier article (Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook, 1983), I gave a detailed account of Michael Cronin’s hurling life. On this occasion I want to concentrate on his political life, which involved being one of the early members of Clann na Poblachta in Tipperary, a member of North Tipperary County Council from 1950-1967, and being a candidate for the Dáil in the 1948 and 1954 General Elections.


Party Established 1946

Clann na Poblachta was established in July 1946 as a radical alternative to the Fianna Fail party, which at that point had been in office continuously since early 1932. Many of those associated with the Clann were disaffected Fianna Fail supporters and the party appealed to disillusioned young urban voters and republicans, who were tired of de Valera and Civil War politics. Some of the members of the new party came from the ranks of the Irish National teachers Organisation, whose Dublin members had engaged in a protracted strike with the government on the issue of pay. 

The Clann set out to challenge Fianna Fail on economic and social policy in particular. The country was in a mess following the deprivations of the Second World War, suffering from emigration, economic stagnation, poor health and terrible housing conditions. For instance, over 4,000 people a year were dying of tuberculosis.

The new party’s primary purpose was to establish complete national independence and provide a decent living in a free Ireland for every citizen, who was able to engage in useful activity. It also claimed to stand for the ideals of the men of 1916.

The party got a great chance in 1947 when there were three bye-elections, in Dublin, Waterford and Tipperary. Clann na Poblachta decided to contest the three and won in Dublin and Tipperary.
The Tipperary candidate was Paddy Kinane of Upperchiurch, who had played a prominent part in the fight for freedom and was a strong supporter of Irish language and culture.

The bye-election was held on 29th October 1947 and it was the last election to be fought in the county as one constituency. It was called following the death of Clann na Talmhan T.D., William O’Donnell.

There were five candidates in the election and Kinane caused a sensation when he won the seat, even though he was well behind the Fianna Fáil front runner after the first count.

Sean Hayes (Fianna Fáil)                         17,169
Paddy Kinane (Clann na Poblachta)        11,471
Col. Jerry Ryan (Fine Gael)                11,341
Denis O’Sullivan (Labour)                 7,201
Michael Fitzgerald (Clann na Talmhan)         6,323

Kinnane caught up with Hayes in subsequent counts and was elected on the fourth with 23,265 votes to the Fianna Fáil candidate’s 21,647.

De Valera and Fianna Fail immediately recognised the threat caused by the new party and called a general election for 4th February 1948 in the hope of stymying the Clann’s progress. The result failed to reach their expectations.


His Political Beliefs

Michael Cronin worked for Paddy Kinane in the bye-election and when the General Election was called, was selected as a running mate for Kinane in the North Tipperary constituency.
In the course of the election he spoke at many political rallies and at Thurles on January 17, he elaborated on what the party stood for and what it would do for the Irish people.

He called Clann na Poblachta ‘a peace-loving, Christian, democratic party, whose political aim was the complete independence of Ireland and a 32-county republic.’

Economically, the party ‘would strive to develop their land and natural resources and their industries so that there would be a decent living for every citizen and a substantial volume of goods for export in order to pay for the materials, which they must necessarily import.’
He continued in the following vein: ‘They had a fertile land and a virile people and with full production and full employment there was no occasion for this proud nation to seek loans or charity from any other country. Must they go with hat in hand to beg for money or alms when they had the full means of production in their own country, good arable land, and willing workers to produce the bulk of their own requirements? Full production and full employment at a Christian family wage and related directly to the cost of living, would be assured if the people rallied around Sean McBride and Clann na Poblachta in the election.

‘Clann na Poblachta had a plan and a policy which would bring back to the Irish people their national self-respect, their complete political freedom, their economic opportunities and their cultural inheritance. Under the leadership of Sean McBride. Ireland would march forward to complete nationhood and to a fuller life for all its citizens,’

Cronin went on to describe the role of agriculture in the Irish economy: ‘Agriculture was their principal industry: it was the primary child of the nation and needed to be fostered and developed. Millions of acres, capable of producing excellent crops, but now flooded and incapable of yielding their best, must be drained and reclaimed and put to the best possible use.

The farmer must be encouraged to grow the crops best suited to his land and must be paid a price, which would be guaranteed over a number of years so that he could purchase in the certainty that he would be in a position to dispose of his products at a remunerative price and be enabled to pay the agricultural worker a proper wage for his labour. It was the first concern of Clann na Poblachta to ensure that the people of the land would have a decent honest livelihood in their own country.’


General Election

The 12th Dail was dissolved on January 14, 1948 and polling day was February 4. The electoral landscape was changed as a result of the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1947. This had increased the size of the Dáil from 138 to 147 seats. Another important change was the increase in the number of three-seat constituencies from 15 to 22. Under this change Tipperary was divided into two constituencies, Tipperary North with 3 seats and Tipperary South with 4 seats. Critics of the change claimed that the increase in three-seaters would enhance the chances of the bigger parties. 

There were eight candidates in the new North Tipperary constituency for three seats. Four of the candidates, Mary B. Ryan, F.F., Andrew Fogarty, F.F., Paddy Kinane, C. na P., and Dan Morrissey, F.G., were outgoing T.D.s, so one was going to lose out. As it happened Andrew Fogarty was the one, falling between two stools in the political divide of the county.


Election Results

The result of the first count was as follows in a total poll of 28, 217 with a quota of 7,055:

Dan Morrissey, F.G. 5656 (20.04%)
Mary B. Ryan, F.F. 4601 (16-31%)
Paddy Kinane, P. 4502 (16.31%)
John Murphy, Lab. 4408 (15.62%)
Andrew Fogarty, F.F. 4377 (15.51%)
Thomas McDonagh, F.F. 2227 (7.89%)
Michael F. Cronin, C. na P. 1638 (5.81%)
Joubert Powell, F.G. 708 (2.51%)

Kinane, Ryan and Morrissey were elected in that order. A second Clann na Poblachts candidate, Timoney, was elected in South Tipperary. However, at national level the result was frustrating with only 10 T.D.s elected, in spite of receiving 13.3% of the national vote. A total of 93 candidates had stood for the party across the country but 51% lost their deposits.

Michael Cronin  was disappointed but realistically it was never going to happen that Clann na Poblachta would get a second seat in a three seat constituency.

In his concession speech he said that Clann na Poblachta were idealists. They were a new party and had got a fine vote. Paddy Kinane eventually headed the poll and it was great that Sean McBride had done so in Dublin also. The party gave the lead in idealism. They had the youth of the country behind them. It would take some time before the youth had the majority. Clann na Poblachta stood for a sovereign Irish republic and he believed Sean McBride was the only man to achieve that result. 

‘They owed allegiance to no one and never would and it would be the men who believed in Ireland Gaelic and free, who would achieve an independent republic, . . The party would get what they wanted by democratic means and they would one day rule the country, when the people would get freedom, democracy, prosperity and independence.’

The new Dáil met on February 18 to form a new government. De Valera was defeated by 75 votes to 70 for Taoiseach and a compromise candidate from Fine Gael, John A. Costello, was elected by 75 votes to 68. Four Independent T.D.s voted for de Valera in the first vote but two of them abstained in the vote for Costello.

The new government under Costello was known as the inter-party government. Clann na Poblachta became part of it following intensive debate and the decision was poorly received by a large minority, especially on the republican side, who found it loathsome to be political bed-fellows with Fine Gael. The party got two prestigious ministries with External Affairs going to Sean McBride and Health going to Dr. Noel Browne.


Decline of the Party

It has been said of Clann na Poblachta that the party reached the zenith of its power in the bye-elections of 1947 and that its decline began when it joined the interparty government in February 1948. As already stated the decision to go into power was not well received by many in the party. The party’s central organisation was weak and it became riven by disputes and personalities. The fact that the leader was away much, as Minister for External Affairs, didn’t help matters either. And, then the fate of Noel Browne in the Mother and Child controversy led to the party’s terminal decline. Many T.D.s resigned in sympathy with the Minister for Health.

The result of all this was that they lost eight seats in the 1951 General Election. Three were returned in 1954 and they supported the second interparty government but withdrew their support in 1956 because of the government’s I.R.A. stance. The party won one seat – John Tully in Cavan – in 1957 and he retained it in 1961 and 1965. Eventually, having struggled on to the latter year, the party was dissolved  following a special Árd Fheis in July.

The decline of the Clann na Poblachta is reflected in the party’s share of the national vote between 1948 and 1965. It peaked at 13.3% in 1948, declined to 4.1% in 1951, to 3.8% in 1954, to 1.7% in 1957, to 1.1% in 1961 and to 0.8% in 1965. Decline in North Tipperary

This decline in North Tipperary was equally dramatic. From 22.1% in 1948 the percentage of the vote for Clann na Poblachta dropped to 9.2% in 1951. There was a slight recovery to 10.00% in 1954 but further decline to 5.7% in 1957. The party didn’t contest the 1961 election in the constituency.

Michael Cronin didn’t run in the 1951 election. The three T.D.s elected were Dan Morrissey, F.G., John Fanning, F.F. and Marty Ryan, F.F. Paddy Tierney, Lab., contesting for the first time came fourth and Paddy Kinane came fifth with 2,601 votes as distinct from a combined vote of 6,140 for Clann na Poblachta in the 1948 election

Michael Cronin went forward again in the 1954 election and the combined vote of the party increased slightly. The three outgoing T.D.s, Morrissey, Ryan and Fanning, retained their seats. Paddy Kinane received 1898 votes or 6.72% of the poll, and Michael Cronin received 935 votes or 3.31% of the poll.

The party’s final fling was in 1961. Dan Morrissey, F.G. didn’t stand and the party failed to get a seat. Fianna Fail retained their two seats with John Fanning and Mary Ryan and Paddy Tierney, Lab. got elected for the first time.

Neither Paddy Kinane or Michael Cronin stood for Clann na Poblachta. Daniel Kennedy was the party’s candidate and he received 1537 votes or 5.7%. The party didn’t contest the constituency after that.


Local Elections

Michael Cronin was one of four councillors elected to North Tipperary County Council for the Borrisokane Area between 1950 and 1967.

In the 1951 local elections the electorate in the Borrisokane area was 6751, the turnout was 3637, the valid poll was 3601 and the quota was 721.

The results of the First Count were as follows:

Paddy Tierney, Lab. 913 (25.4%)
William Brennan, F.F. 816 (22.7%)
Martin Collins, F.G. 570 (15.8%)
Michael Cronin, P. 523 (14.5%)
John Cahalan, F.F. 478 (13.3%)
James McGrath, P. 188 (5.2%)
Michael Carroll, REP 113 (3.1%)

Michael Cronin was elected on the 5th count without reaching the quota.

The electorate in the 1955 local elections was 6,400, the turnout was 4235 and the quota was 836.

The results of the First Count were as follows:

Martin Collins, F.G. 1017 (28.7%)
Paddy Tierney, Lab. 895 (23.5)
John Cahalan, F.F. 868 (22.8%)
William Brennan, F.F. 526 (13.8%)
Michael Cronin, P. 500 (13.1%)

Fifty transfers from Collins brought Cronin past Brennan in the second count and he got plenty of transfers in subsequent counts to be elected on the fourth count.

In the 1960 local elections the electorate was 6024, the turnout 3619, the valid poll was 3591 and the quota was 719.

The results of the First Count were as follows:

Paddy Tierney, Lab. 1068 (29.7%)
John Cahalan, F.F. 613 (17.1%)
Pat Cleary, F.G. 486 (13.5%)
Liam Whyte, F.G. 459 (12.8%)
Michael Cronin, P. 435 (12.1%)
John Donoghue, F.F. 313 (8.7%)
Seamus Ó Slatarra, S.F. 217 (6.0%)

Tierney, Cahalan and Whyte were elected in that order and Croinin was elected on the Sixth Count

The next local election didn’t take place until 1967 and Michael Cronin stood as a Non-Party candidate on this occasion. The total valid poll was 4,110 and the quota was 823.

The results of the First Count were as follows:

Paddy Tierney, Lab. 863 (21.0%)
John Cahalan, F.F. 826 (20.1%)
Liam Whyte, F.G. 761 (18.5%)
James Darcy, F.G. 709 (17.2%)
John Cashen, 552 (13,4%)
Michael Cronin, Non-Party. 399 (9.7%)

Tierney and Cahalan were elected on the First Count and when Cronin was eliminated in the Second Count, his votes were distributed as follows: Whyte 146, Darcy 60, Cashen 90.
Whyte and Darcy were elected to the remaining seats. Following the count the remaining candidates sympathised with Cronin ‘who was a very good councillor and had served the area well.’


End of Political Career

This was the end of Michael Cronin’s political life. He was well got by all who knew him in politics and was noted for his loyalty. He was a member of the Library Committee and the Vocational Education Committee. His family- he married Madge Hoctor of Sharragh in 1938 and had three children, Clare, Felix and Mairead, who was tragically drowned in 1954- relate how avid a reader he was and how he enjoyed his membership of the Library Committee. 


<span class="postTitle">The Story of Martin O’Meara</span> The Lamp, 2016-2017, Journal of the Lorrha & Dorrha Historical Society, page 51

The Most Fearless and Gallant Soldier I Have Ever Seen.
The Story of Martin O’Meara


The Lamp, 2016-2017, Journal of the Lorrha & Dorrha Historical Society, page 51


The above is the title of the first full length biography of Martin O’Meara, ‘Australia’a only Irish-born Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War’. Written by Ian Loftus, an Australian journalist, and published by himself,  it fills many of the gaps in the life of arguably the most famous Lorrha man who ever lived.

The basic facts of Martin O’Meara’s life are clear. Born in Lissernane, Lorrha of farming stock he left Ireland circa 1911, first to Liverpool, later to Australia, where he worked in the timber business. Following the outbreak of World War 1, he enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force, was shipped to France, fought with extraordinary bravery on the Western Front, won a Victoria Cross, eventually got back to Australia in November 1918, was hospitalised in a mental institution soon after and died there in 1935, following which he was buried with full military honours at Karrakatta Cemetery near Perth.

The book is a fine example of investigative journalism. The author, as anyone who has researched the life of O’Meara will have found out, had vey little to go on when researching his subject. The amount of information on his early life is minimal excepting his baptismal record and the 1901 census. There is no information on his voyage to Australia. There is little information on his work life in Australia. He left little or nothing from his years in the army behind him with the exception of a badge and the Victoria Cross. Probably the most information available on him comes from the hospital records of the last sixteen years of his life in Claremont Hospital.

And, in spite of this paucity of source material, Ian Loftus has put together a very credible  account of his life in a publication of over 270 pages. In the context of what was available on the subject, he has written a comprehensive account of the life of Martin O’Meara, and his family, the people of Lorrha and others farther afield, who believe in the great personal qualities of the Victoria Cross winner, will be happy with the result.

There are many things that stand out in the account. I was delighted with the details of O’Meara’s life in south and west Australia that were discovered by the author through a diligent search of contemporary newspapers and documents. There is a lot of information on the role of scouting in which O’Meara was involved on the Western Front. He uses quotes from officers to describe O’Meara ‘s actions: ‘I saw O’Meara on a number of occasions attending to or bringing in wounded men from the area over which the Battalion had advanced to and from No Man’s Land. I estimate that the number of men rescued by him is not less than 20.’ And: ‘I saw O’Meara on many occasions on the 10-11-12th Aug. searching the ground for wounded to whom he rendered first aid and whom he subsequently brought in or assisted to bring in.’

The author has also sourced a lot of information on O’Meara’s relationship with Mary Murphy of Kilmacow. He also quotes from an interview which O’Meara gave after receiving the Victoria Cross, revealing the modesty of the man: ‘I am lucky, while others have gone unrewarded, because either their deeds were not seen, or their officers had fallen before they could make a recommendation.’ The author reproduces the grainy newsreel of the presentation of the Victoria Cross by King Ceorge V on July 21, 1917, one of twenty-four presented that day. According to the account Martin spoke briefly to the King ‘before saluting him and then marching away’.

There’s a detailed account of O’Meara’s involvement in the war and a lengthy presentation of medical reports from his time in Claremont Hospital. Some of the latter make sad reading. He was no sooner back on Australian soil than he suffered a serious mental breakdown which was probably the result of the traumatic conditions he experienced during the war. The result was a deterioration in his behaviour which led to him being placed in a straight jacket in the evenings and he remained in it until 11 o’clock the next day.

The author has a chapter on the two wills that Martin made during his life and how their differences were resolved. There is a chapter entitled ‘Remembering Martin O’Meara’ on how he is remembered in Australia and Ireland. There is also a collection of all the extant photographs of the man reproduced in an appendix.

This book would make a great Christmas gift for and is available to purchase by clicking here. It is also available from the Army Museum of Western Australia at Fremantle, the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and from Boffins, Perth’s best specialist bookshop. The book can also be purchased directly from me – I have a small stock myself – and I welcome inquiries – feel free to contact me directly at



<span class="postTitle">Laochra Gael Awards 2003-2016</span> West G.A.A. Convention Handbook, December 7, 2016

Laochra Gael Awards 2003-2016

West G.A.A. Convention Handbook, December 7, 2016


The Laochra Gael Awards, originally known as the Sean Gael Awards, were inaugurated at a meeting in Hayes’s Hotel, Thurles on April 23, 2003. The attendance included John Moloney, Noel Morris, John Costigan, Pat Moroney, Seamus J. King and Michael O’Meara. Seamus McCarthy was unable to be present. At the outset John Moloney, who had initiated the idea, was unanimously appointed chairman and Michael O’Meara secretary.
The chairman outlined the aims of the group, which were chiefly to honour annually persons over 70 years of age, who had given significant service to the Gaelic Athletic Association in whatever capacity, player, official, groundsman, , jersey carrier, tea maker, referee, umpire, etc
Initially it was decided to present 40 awards annually, 10 per division, in order to catch up with a backlog of deserving persons. The number was reduced to 32 in 2008 and to 24 in 2014. To date 472 awards have been presented.
The awards presentation took place in Brú Ború, Cashel up to 2008, when they were transferred to the Dome, Semple Stadium. The guest of honour is usually a distinguished figure in the G.A.A. The guests of honour at the early presentations, were Past Presidents, Joe MacDonagh, Jack Boothman and Sean Kelly.

West Division Recipients

The following persons in the West Division have received awards to date.
Aherlow: Mgr. Christopher Lee, Tom O’Shea, Philly Kiely, Billy Kiely, Hannie Hanley, Jack Ivory, Jackie Bourke,
Arravale Rovers: James O’Donoghue, Hugh Kennedy,  Richard Meagher, Sean Hayes, Liam O’Dwyer, John Cleary (Tipperary H.C.), Seamus O’Donoghue,
Cappawhite: Willie Walsh, John Treacy, Joe O’Carroll, Jerry Creedon, Paul McCarthy, Tom Joe McGrath, Anne Holmes, Francis Grisewood.
Cashel King Cormacs: Mickey Murphy, Pat Donoghue, Willie O’Gorman, Michael O’Dwyer, Pat O’Donoghue (Cashel H.C.), Paddy O’Sullivan, Peter O’Sullivan, Albert Carrie (Cashel H.C.)
Clonoulty-Rossmore: Fr. Roger Kinane, Philip Maher, Jack Gleeson, Tom Ryan (Casey), Joe Tuohy,  Michael O’Dwyer, Philip Maher, Tom Ryan, Michael Coen.
Eire Óg: Thady O’Carroll, Mick Gleeson, Pakie Joe Ryan, Martin ‘F’ O’Dwyer, Michael Ryan ©, Liam O’Dwyer, D. J. Gleeson, Don O’Mahony,
Emly: Jimmy Ryan, Paddy Clancy, Mick Frawley, Patsy Dawson, Sean McManus, Mike Dawson, Martin Condon, Michael Burke.
Galtee Rovers: Jim Byron, Jim Doocey, Jerry Whyte, John Moloney, Jimmy Quirke, Nicholas Bergin, Larry Roche, Roger Roche, John Marnane,
Glengar: D. J. Treacy, Harry Bradshaw, John Ryan (Luke), Michael Ryan.
Golden-Kilfeacle: Tommy Landers, Con Cash, Jack Leamy, John Bargary, Arthur Landers, John Stapleton, Alice O’Carroll.
Kickhams: Jimmy Hennessy, John Farrell, Tom McCormack, Maurice Ryan, Paddy Ryan, Bill Hayes, Joe Lonergan, Billy Shanahan.
Lattin-Cullen: Jimmy Hannon, Ned O’Neill, Jackie Hannon, Liam Leahy, Johnny Slattery, Michael Maguire, Sean Crowe, George Ryan
Rockwell Rovers: Val O’Dwyer, Tim Curran, Andy O’Dwyer, Paddy Hally, Philip Heaney, Tom Buckley,
Rosegreen: Paddy Cooke, Willie O’Grady, Teddy Gould, Oliver O’Donnell,
Sean Treacys: T. J. Caplis, Michael Ryan, Mick Caplis, Bill Quigley, Jerry Fahey, T. K. O’Dwyer, Fr. Christy O’Dwyer, Michael O’Brien, Michael Ryan (W),
Solohead: Bill Stapleton, Donie Nolan, Dick O’Connor, Con Ahearne, Michael Cunningham, Paddy Verdon, Lar O’Keeffe.

The total number of West recipients is 117, of whom 3 are women. Hannie Hanley broke the mould in 2008, when she was nominated by Aherlow. Anne Holmes was nominated by Cappawhite in 2015 and Alice O’Carroll by Golden-Kilfeacle in 2016.

The 2016 awards were presented at the Dome, Semple Stadium on November 20 with Tipperary senior hurling manager, Michael Ryan, Guest of Honour.

The current organising committee is as follows: chairman, John Costigan, secretary, Seamus J. King, Seamus McCarthy, Sean Nugent, Noel Morris, Michael Bourke



<span class="postTitle">Memories & Reflections, Twenty Five Years Later</span> Strictly Come Dancing Program, Halla Na Feile, Cashel, June 5th 2016

Memories & Reflections, Twenty Five Years Later

Strictly Come Dancing Program, Halla Na Feile, Cashel, June 5th 2016


Click here to view article


Cashel King Cormac’s club president, Willie Ryan (T), (the man with the cap), watching proceedings during the presentation of the cup at Cappawhite.

Cashel King Cormac’s club president, Willie Ryan (T), (the man with the cap), watching proceedings during the presentation of the cup at Cappawhite.

Twenty-five years on from what was probably the club’s greatest year, Cashel King Cormac’s are remembering the glorious year of 1991 when the senior hurlers climbed to the summit in winning the county senior hurling championship for the first time. They went on to take the Munster title and narrowly missed out on All-Ireland honours.

They were accompanied to county honours by the junior and under-21 teams, an achievement unmatched up to then by any club in the county. In fact, earlier in the year on January 13 to be exact, Cashel won another county final, albeit for 1990, when they defeated Commercials in the under-21 football championship final at Kilsheelan. Three players, Seanie Barron, Seanie O’Donoghue and Joe O’Leary, were members of all four panels giving them a unique personal distinction.

The senior success was the most celebrated because it was a first for the club. The King Cormac’s reached the final the previous year only to lose out to Holycross-Ballycahill on a miserably wet day. Three earlier final appearances, in 1937, 1939 and 1940, also ended in defeat.


A Long Wait

M. Quinn (Referee) about to throw in the ball before the Munster Club final at Mitchelstown, December 1991. Cashel King Cormac’s captain, Colm Bonnar, and Midleton captain, Ger Fitzgerald.

M. Quinn (Referee) about to throw in the ball before the Munster Club final at Mitchelstown, December 1991. Cashel King Cormac’s captain, Colm Bonnar, and Midleton captain, Ger Fitzgerald.

So, when victory eventually came at the final hurdle in 1991 it was long-awaited, greatly savoured and much celebrated. In fact my memory is of outstanding occasions in O’Reilly’s Pub, later O’Sullivan’s, Chief’s, Campion’s, Penny Lane and currently McCarthy’s. It was a wonderful pub for celebration, having three entrances to facilitate access on crowded occasions!

It was also a time  of  unprecedented  support for the club with great crowds attending the games, plenty of financial sponsorship – Garveys Supervalu was proudly displayed on the jerseys
- and support. The level of that support was reflected in the turnout for the club social after the 1991 victory when 330 sat down to dinner at Dundrum House Hotel. I remember the extensive display of silverware that night, all shining brightly following hours of work by Tricia Fitzell.

Another memory from these years was the excitement of club president, Willie Ryan (T) as victory followed victory. He walked on air!

There were signs in 1988 that the hurling prospects of the club were improving. Although beaten ultimately by Borrisileigh in the county semi-final, Cashel’s performance in the final quarter of that game, which produced goals from Peter Fitzell and Sean Slattery, gave the supporters hope that there was a future for the team and made the public look up at a new hurling force.

Another development that year was the success of the minors in winning the county championship. This was followed up in 1989 with a further success in that grade and, while the seniors stumbled and fell badly against Cappawhite in the West championship, there were a number of recruits from the minor sides, like Ailbe Bonnar, T.J. Connolly, Raymie Ryan, Timmy Moloney and Seanie O’Donoghue, who were bursting to get into the senior ranks.



Outside Help

The following year, 1990, was a crucial one. There was the promise shown in 1988 and the influx of young talent from the minor champions. Something extra was required to drive the team to a higher level. This came with the appointment of Justin McCarthy as coach.

Justin brought to the team a number of very important things. Probably the first was an immense experience from years of managing not only club but county teams as well and the respect that this generated in the players. Then there was his total dedication to the cause of Cashel King Cormac’s. The club became the only one that mattered to him and he thought about it and planned for it not only when he was in Leahy Park but when travelling to or away after a training session. There was also his totally professional approach, one aspect of which was his emphasis on how every hurley had to be an individual piece of equipment for each player and he spent many hours shaping and repairing hurleys to meet individual requirements. There were also his man-management skills which facilitated good individual rapport with each player. In fact the team became a family and Justin’s family became part of that family.

The victorious Cashel King Cormac’s panel of 1991  Back row, left to right: Seanie O’Donoghue, James O’Donoghue (RIP), Ramie Ryan, John Ryan, Pat O’Donoghue, John Grogan, Seanie Morrissey, Seanie Barron, Don Higgins, Joe Minogue; Middle row, left to right: Pa Fitzell, Willie Fitzell, Sean Slattery, Tommy Grogan, Ailbe Bonnar, Colm Bonnar (capt.), Cormac Bonnar, Conal Bonnar, Timmy Moloney; Front row, left to right: Joe O’Leary, Ger Slattery, Michael Perdue, Declan McGrath, Liam Devitt, T.J. Connolly, Tony Slattery, Peter Fitzell.

The victorious Cashel King Cormac’s panel of 1991

Back row, left to right: Seanie O’Donoghue, James O’Donoghue (RIP), Ramie Ryan, John Ryan, Pat O’Donoghue, John Grogan, Seanie Morrissey, Seanie Barron, Don Higgins, Joe Minogue;
Middle row, left to right: Pa Fitzell, Willie Fitzell, Sean Slattery, Tommy Grogan, Ailbe Bonnar, Colm Bonnar (capt.), Cormac Bonnar, Conal Bonnar, Timmy Moloney;
Front row, left to right: Joe O’Leary, Ger Slattery, Michael Perdue, Declan McGrath, Liam Devitt,
T.J. Connolly, Tony Slattery, Peter Fitzell.

The result was that he developed  the  players not only into a better bunch of hurlers but into a better team as well. He raised the bar of their performances and the result was qualification for the 1990 county final.


Other Contributors

Cashel King Cormac’s first aid man, Pearse Bonnar, dispensing aid to son, Conal, with Justin McCarthy looking on.

Cashel King Cormac’s first aid man, Pearse Bonnar, dispensing aid to son, Conal, with Justin McCarthy looking on.

It would be an omission not to mention two other people who played an important part in the preparation of the team, Dinny Keating and Paddy Greaney.  Dinny looked after Leahy Park and had it perfectly prepared for every training session, even to the extent of having tea in the dressing-rooms – the milk supplied by Tommy Moloney – after training sessions!  He may be an unsung hero but anyone who remembers his many years of contribution to the park, will agree that any praise of him is well-deserved. Paddy’s contribution was in another area. As well as being the club’s greatest promotor of the County Draw with over one hundred subscribers, Paddy was the person who gave the team their supper in the splendid surroundings of the panelled Vincent O’Brien room in the Cashel Palace Hotel, a place not normally associated with hurling. This was an innovation inspired by Justin following the last training session before matches. The food was always top class and the place conducive to the pep talks given by the selectors, Brendan Bonnar, John Darmody and Aengus Ryan, as well as contributions from the players.

Paddy Greaney, Tommy Grogan and Dinny Keating

Paddy Greaney, Tommy Grogan and Dinny Keating

The rising graph of success was temporarily halted with defeat in the 1990 county final. This was a finely balanced game throughout. Holycross led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval on a day when the weather made good hurling difficult. In fact Tommy Grogan had the ball in the net eight minutes before half-time, only for the referee to call back the play for a foul on Jamesie O’Donoghue. With eight minutes to play the sides were level but it was Holycross’s, Tony Lanigan, who got the winning scores, three unanswered points in the final minutes.

Cashel King Cormac’s, West senior hurling champions 1993  Back row, left to right: T.J. Connolly, Joe O’Leary, Donal Ryan, Pat O’Donoghue, John Ryan, Seanie O’Donoghue, Joe Minogue; Front row, left to right: Michael Butler, Ramie Ryan, Ailbe Bonnar, Colm Bonnar, Conal Bonnar, Cormac Bonnar, Willie Fitzell (capt.), Michael Perdue.

Cashel King Cormac’s, West senior hurling champions 1993

Back row, left to right: T.J. Connolly, Joe O’Leary, Donal Ryan, Pat O’Donoghue, John Ryan, Seanie O’Donoghue, Joe Minogue;
Front row, left to right: Michael Butler, Ramie Ryan, Ailbe Bonnar, Colm Bonnar, Conal Bonnar, Cormac Bonnar, Willie Fitzell (capt.), Michael Perdue.

Holycross had lost to Clonoulty- Rossmore in 1989 and the mantra was that a team had to lose one to win one. Would Cashel’s time come in 1991?


A Team of Brothers

At the last meeting before the 1991 county final, the selectors and Justin McCarthy went into conclave in the Cashel Palace Hotel to pick the team. This piece of paper, supplied by Aengus Ryan from his job as office manager in O'Connors Vets, was used for writing out the team, and the handwriting was by Aengus

At the last meeting before the 1991 county final, the selectors and Justin McCarthy went into conclave in the Cashel Palace Hotel to pick the team. This piece of paper, supplied by Aengus Ryan from his job as office manager in O'Connors Vets, was used for writing out the team, and the handwriting was by Aengus

One of the contributory factors to the strength of the Cashel team in 1991 was its brotherly composition. Over half the panel, fifteen out of twenty-seven, was made up of bands of brothers.

The Bonnars contributed Cormac, Colm, who was also captain, Conal and Ailbe. In mentioning them one has to include Pearse, the father of them all, who was the first aid man to the team and who was a familiar figure rushing in from the sideline – belying his years - with his case of aids for the injured. And, there was also Brendan, one of the three selectors, making it an overwhelming family affair, which was manifested in the sign erected on the Cahir entrance to the town: ‘Welcome to Bonnar City’!.

The other bands of brothers were the Fitzells, Pa, Peter and Willie, the Grogans, John and Tommy, the O’Donoghues, Pat, Jamesie (RIP) and Seanie, and the Slatterys, Tony, Ger and Sean. Needless to add the remaining twelve members of the panel, who included cousins T. J. Connolly and Raymie Ryan, also contributed significantly to the team’s success.


Used to Success

Any reflection on this team has to question why it took so long to achieve success. Some of the panel had achieved county success as long ago as 1969, when Cashel under-13s won the county final in football and were beaten by Ballina in the hurling final with virtually the same panel of players. The team included John and Tommy Grogan, Tony Slattery, Joe Minogue, Don Higgins, Brendan and Cormac Bonnar, Pa Fitzell. Guided by the coaching and management of Brother Noonan the club enjoyed further unprecedented success during the early seventies, culminating in successive county minor successes in 1974 and 1975. Progress stalled after that with West senior titles in 1975, 1976 and 1980 and, as mentioned above, in 1988, but no progression to county titles that the successes between 1969 and 1975 might have anticipated.

Cashel King Cormac supporters after county quarter-finals at Golden in 1991 Left to right: T.J. Connolly, Jim O’Leary, Brendan Bonnar, Denis Fitzgerald.

Cashel King Cormac supporters after county quarter-finals at Golden in 1991
Left to right: T.J. Connolly, Jim O’Leary, Brendan Bonnar, Denis Fitzgerald.

The management team in 1991 Back row, left to right: selectors, Jack Darmody, Aengus Ryan and Brendan Bonnar; Front row, left to right: club chairman, Seamus J. King and coach, Justin McCarthy

The management team in 1991
Back row, left to right: selectors, Jack Darmody, Aengus Ryan and Brendan Bonnar;
Front row, left to right: club chairman, Seamus J. King and coach, Justin McCarthy

The  victory  over  Holycross  by  2-8   to 1-5 in 1991 final was belated then as the expectation created by  the  victories  in 1969 and the years following was only then realised. However, these thoughts were far from the mind of Colm Bonnar , when he became the first Cashel player to receive the Dan Breen Cup from county chairman, Michael Maguire. Neither did they dim the excitement of Raymie Ryan, as he received the man-of-the-match award,  his third time to be so honoured on county final day, having twice accepted similar honours following the minor deciders in 1988 and 1989.

Whenever players and supporters look back to the early nineties they remember a time when it was great to be alive, when the King Cormac’s reached the summit and when it was such pleasure to follow them.


At the launch of Justin McCarthy’s book ‘Hooked, at Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork on April 22, 2002 Back row, left to right: Seamus J. King, John Grogan, John Ryan, Tommy Grogan, Raymie Ryan, Cormac Bonnar; Front row, left to right: Michael Perdue, Jack Darmody, Mattie Finnerty, Ger Slattery.

At the launch of Justin McCarthy’s book ‘Hooked, at Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork on April 22, 2002
Back row, left to right: Seamus J. King, John Grogan, John Ryan, Tommy Grogan, Raymie Ryan, Cormac Bonnar;
Front row, left to right: Michael Perdue, Jack Darmody, Mattie Finnerty, Ger Slattery.





<span class="postTitle">Knocknagow</span> United Sports Panel Presentation Booklet for the Annerville Awards, Clonmel Park Hotel, Jan 23rd, 2016


United Sports Panel Presentation Booklet for the Annerville Awards, Clonmel Park Hotel, Jan 23rd, 2016


I love you, Tipperary dear, for sake of him who told
The tale of homely ‘Knocknagow’ – its hearts as true as gold –
For sake of ‘Matt the Thresher’s’ strength, and Nora Leahy’s grace,
I love you, Tipperary, tho’ I never saw your face.


The words are by Brian O’Higgins and the poem includes five more verses outlining all the places of beauty in the county that he loves as well as ‘one dear friend, Within whose eyes your smiles and tears forever meet and blend.’

O’Higgins was born in County Meath in 1882 and took part in the Easter Rising. He was present in the GPO during the rebellion. Elected MP for Clare in 1918, he was re-elected to the Dáil in 1921, 1922 and 1923. He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and lost his seat in the 1927 election. Active in the Gaelic League, he started a successful publishing company in the late twenties. He was an ardent lover of Ireland, its history, culture, language and freedom. From 1935 to 1962 he published the Wolfe Tone Annual in which he presented Irish history from a republican viewpoint. He died in 1963.

O’Higgins gave the background to his poem: ‘I always had a special love for Tipperary as my mother, God rest her, told us the stories of Kickham and recited the poems for us even before we were able to read, and when I did read them my love for Tipperary grew. It was far back in 1903, when I was a patient here in a Dublin hospital, that I wrote ‘I love You, Tipperary.’ While convalescing I amused myself and the other patients by composing poems. One day, a Tipperary man said to me: ‘It’s a pity you don’t write something about Tipperary.’ ‘But I have never seen Tipperary,’ I answered. ‘What matter? Haven’t you read Kickham?’ I composed this poem that day.’


Charles J Kickham

And, of course, as most people know, it was Charles J. Kickham who created Knocknagow, when he wrote his great novel, entitled Knocknagow, or the Homes of Tipperary. Published in 1879, it was an instant success and ran to seven editions between then and 1887. In it the author presents an idealised picture of the contemporary peasant as ‘simple-minded, honest-souled, high-spirited, animated and inspired by two noble passions, love of his religion and his country.’

This love of country finds expression in one of the most memorable incidents in the novel, the sledge throwing contest between Captain French and Matt the Thresher. The Captain has just delivered a huge third throw and most of the spectators doubted if Matt could possibly beat it. The account continues:

‘The captain is a good fellow,’ thought Mat Donovan, ‘and I’d like to lave him the majority – if I could do it honourable.’

He looked on the anxious faces of those around him; he looked at Bessy Morris; but still he was undecided. Some one struck the big drum a single blow, as if by accident, and, turning round quickly, the thatched roofs of the hamlet caught his eye. And, strange to say, those old mud walls and thatched roofs roused him as nothing else could. His breast heaved as, with glistening eyes and that soft plaintive smile of his, he uttered the words: ‘For the credit of the little village!’ in a tone of the deepest tenderness. Then, grasping the sledge in his right hand, and drawing himself up to his full height, he measured the captain’s cast with his eye. The muscles of his arms seemed to start out like cords of steel as he wheeled slowly around and shot the ponderous sledge through the air.

His eyes dilated, as, with quivering nostrils, he watched its flight, till it fell far beyond the best mark that even he himself started with astonishment. Then a shout of exultation burst from the excited throng; hands were convulsively grasped, and hats sent flying into the air, and in their wild joy they crushed around him and tried to lift him upon their shoulders.

‘O boys, boys,’ he remonstrated, ‘be ‘asy. Sure ‘tisn’t the first time ye see me throw a sledge. Don’t do anything that might offend the captain afther comin’ here among us to show ye a little diversion.’



For the Credit of the Little Village

‘For the credit of the little village’ has become a mantra of exhortation for all sporting endeavour in the county since then. Wherever the Tipperary sportsperson finds himself, he is exhorted to give his all, just as Mat did, for the honour and glory of his native place.

The mythical name of Knocknagow, with its broad vowels and solid sound, is synonymous with the county. It reflects great love for home and hearth, for friends and neighbours, for one’s native place, however small and insignificant it may appear to others.

The kind of inspiration that lifted Mat’s achievement to such heights came from the sights and sounds of the people around him, the people of his own  kith and kin. He was their representative, their saviour, their champion against the forces outside Knocknagow.

This kind of endeavour is extraordinary and drives  people to greater heights of achievement. One does it for one’s community and there is no nobler cause than the protection of and championing the cause of one’s community.

Of course the whole episode presents an idealised picture. There is a nobility and decency about Mat’s motives that are almost saint-like.. The captain is a guest in the community and the laws of hospitality have to be observed. These laws demand that you don’t do anything that might offend your guest and that is where Mat is torn, between his desire to champion his community and yet not beat the captain. The sound of the drum helps to make up his mind but when he has delivered his winning cast, he tries to prevent his supporters from being too triumphal.

Although it  presents an idealised version of Irish peasant life in nineteenth century Ireland, it does show the importance of local loyalty in driving people to greater endeavour for their communities. The G.A.A. recognised this when they made the parish the basic unit of the new Association, which came into existence only five years after the publication of Kickhams’s novel.

It is appropriate that the most prestigious of the Annerville Awards, which recognise athletic achievements, is the Knocknagow. Introduced in 1962, three years after the awards were initiated, the Knocknagow award is a unique and special honour for an athlete from the past. It recognises the pinnacle of achievement and the high level of excellence reached through dedicated commitment.. 

<span class="postTitle">Paddy Anglim (1904-1954) - Irish Olympic Athlete</span> Rosegreen Community Hall on July 8, 2016

Paddy Anglim (1904-1954) - Irish Olympic Athlete

On the occasion of the unveiling of plaque in his honour at Rosegreen Community Hall on July 8, 2016


On July 23, 1928 a party of 38 competitors, 33 men and 5 women, departed Westland Row Railway Station, Dublin for the start of a journey that would take them to Amsterdam for the Summer Olympics.

There were 11 athletes in the party and included were two Tipperary men, Paddy Anglim from Rosegreen, who was scheduled to compete in the ‘running broad jump’ and T. D. Phelan,  whose farther was a Clonmel man and who had qualified to take part in the hop, step and jump.
The party took the Mail Boat to London, having been seen off by President Cosgrave, and stayed there over night. They joined the Dutch Steamship, Orange Nassau, at Harwich the following day and sailed for Amsterdam. The boat was to be their accommodation and headquarters for the duration of the Olympics.

In an editorial on the day of their departure from Dublin, the irish Independent took a realistic attitude to Ireland’s chances of winning medals: ‘If we may judge from recorded performance this season, only one of the Irish team, Dr. O’Callaghan in hammer-throwing – has a reasonably good chance of winning his event. In the long jump, for example, the Irish representative (Paddy Anglim isn’t named) will be doing well if he exceeds 23 feet; a score of his foreign rivals will be under their best if they do not exceed 24 feet.’

Paddy Anglim qualified for the Olympics by virtue of his performance in the Irish Athletic Championships at Croke Park in June 1928, when he won the long jump with a jump of 24’ - 41/2” or 7.12 metres, the best jump in the national championships since 1906. It was a spectacular performance as there wasn’t much known about the athlete at the national level before then.

Paddy was born in Rosegreen on September 6, 1904, the only boy in a family of four children. His father was a farmer. There is very little information available of his younger years. He started in Rosegreen National School in January 1910 and was registered under the name of Pat Anglim. He attended only twenty-four days during the first three months. He remained there until 1920. In his last year he was in seventh class. There was only one other pupil in the class, a girl, and whether that had anything to do with the matter, he  attended for only twenty-seven days in his final year. It is believed that Paddy attended Rockwell College for some time but was unhappy there and finished his secondary schooling in Clonmel High School. Presumably he helped out on the farm during the holidays though from an early age he had little interest in farming. 

When he became aware of his athletic ability we don’t know. Neither do we know for certain when he joined the fledgling An Garda Siochana. The Civic Guard had been formed by the Provisional Government in February 1922 to take over the responsibility of policing the new state. It took over responsibility from the RIC and the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Later the name of the force was changed to An Garda Siochana with the creation of the Irish Free State in August 1923.

The first Commissioner was Michael Staines but he lasted only eight months and was succeeded by General Eoin O’Duffy. The latter was a physical fitness enthusiast and he put a great emphasis on the physical development of the new police force. He favoured the athletic types and any members of the force, who showed athletic talent was given every opportunity to develop and improve it.

The best information we have on how Paddy joined An Garda Siochána comes from Seamus Leahy. He got to know Paddy Anglim in 1952 at the time of a diphtheria outbreak in Nenagh, following which Paddy became a visitor to the family home. He recalls one conversation in which they were told how Paddy joined the new force. He was performing at some sports and this man arrived and began to take an interest in how Paddy was performing. At some stage he asked Paddy of his plans and whether he was interested in joining the new police force. The man turned out to be General Eoin O’Duffy.  He gave Paddy the fare for the train to Dublin and the following Tuesday he left Rosegreen with a suit case and presented himself in the Phoenix Park, where he was taken on as a new recruit.

Paddy’s athletic ability must have impressed the recruitment officers because when he applied to join he was a half inch short of the required height, 5’ 81/2 inches instead of 5’ 9”. So he got the name as the smallest  member of the force!

It would appear that the year was 1924, when he was twenty years of age because in that year the family farm was leased and was to remain so for nearly 30 years until Paddy’s second son, P. J., took it back in 1953.

There are many gaps in our knowledge of Paddy Anglim’s life during his first four years in An Garda Siochana. It appears that his first station was in Oylgate, Co. Wexford from which he was transferred to Clonmel. Later he was moved to Roscrea and he finished up his life in Puckane in the north of the county. He remained an ordinary policeman all his life and was never interested in becoming a sergeant.

Paddy was a member of Clonmel Athletic and Cycling Club and represented the club in many sports in the years before the 1928 Olympics. We read that on July 1, 1928 he took part in a sports meeting in Ballinasloe and ‘secured a very fine silver cup for the 100 yards open handicap.’ The following day he performed at the Cappawhite sports. His son, P. J. told me that at one stage a case he had for holding medals contained no fewer that seventy-three. Sadly this impressive collection was dispersed over time as the medals were taken by members of the family, and more, plus other athletic prizes, given away to friends. It appears that Paddy didn’t put too much store on his winnings as if taking part was the most important thing.

We do have a reference to achievements of his in 1926. He represented Tipperary against Limerick in an intercounty contest in that year and another reference has him winning the long jump and the pole vault at the Clonmel sports.

At any rate whatever he was doing during these years must have convinced him that he was above the ordinary in his athletic ability and quite capable of competing at the national level. He made his first appearance in the Irish Athletic Championships at Croke Park in June 1928 and made a winning long jump of 23’-41/2” or. In metre measurements, 7.16. It was a sensational jump and shot him so much into the national headlines that he was chosen to represent Ireland the following month in the Summer Games.

Unfortunately his achievement in Amsterdam didn’t live up to expectations as his best jump was 6.81 metres or 22’ 4”, well below his 7.16 in the national championships. He came 21st out of 41 competitors and well behind the winning jump of 25’ 5” of the U.S. athlete, Hans.

Paddy came 3rd in the long jump the National Championships in 1929 and second the following year. Then came his glorious achievement of six championships in six years, 1931-1936 inclusive. During these years he never bettered the mark he set in the 1928 championship. His best recorded jump was made in Tipperary Town on August 24, 1934, when he reached 24’ 6”.

His versatility as an athlete was revealed during these years. As well as the long jump Paddy won four National championships in the Pole Vault in 1931, 1932 1933, and 1934, and he came second in 1935. Also in the 1932 National Championships he came third in the javelin.

Michael O’Dwyer, who has written extensively on the exploits of Tipperarymen in sport, has this to say about Paddy Anglim’s achievements: ‘As well as his 24 ‘ 6” in the long jump, he could throw the javelin over 150 feet, he was a handy sprinter, a 37 feet shot putter and 5’ 7” high jumper, once recorded 15.8 seconds in the 120 yards hurdles, and on August 23, 1931 at the Templemore Garda Sports, he jumped 11’ 7” in the pole vault, beating his own Irish record.’ An impressive record indeed.

Paddy first represented Ireland internationally at Croke Park in 1929, competing in the long jump against Achilles AC. He won the long jump in the international v England and Scotland at Crewe in 1930, the only Irish victory with Pat O’Callaghan’s in the hammer. He won twice in internationals in 1931 in Dublin and was victorious in Edinburgh in 1932, his achievements internationally following his national championship wins.

He travelled to Wales in August 1934 to compete in the Swansea Valley Athletic Sports, where he not only broke the Welsh long jump and pole vault records but he also won the shot putt and discuss events.

He took part in the 1936 Irish All-Round Championships, or the Decathlon, held at Killarney Stadium and finished second to Ned Tobin.

Probably the greatest disappointment in Paddy Anglim’s life was his failure to qualify for the long jump at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. At the Irish Olympic trials the standard set was  23’ 10”. In his final jump Paddy landed out over the 24’ mark but fell back on one hand and the measuring tape had to be put on the hand mark, which was 23’ 8” from the board. He was convinced that had he got to Los Angeles his jump would have improved greatly and he was always disappointed that he never got the chance of joining O’Callaghan and Tisdall, who did so well at the games.

Paddy married Kathleen Carroll in 1931 and the couple had seven children, six boys, Willie, P. J., Francis, Matt, Thomas and John, and Rita, who came in the middle of the six boys. Matt and Rita have departed this life.

Paddy, himself died tragically at the young age of 49 years on March 3, 1954. He had been in bad health for some time and had been out of work since the previous September. It is appropriate that we should remember his passing on the evening that Mass was celebrated in Rosegreen Cemetery, where he is buried.

Equally important is the celebration of his life, which the unveiling of this plaque to his memory is all about.  Galteemore in the Nationalist on the occasion of his death, referred to him as ‘a splendid all round athlete’ as indeed he was and as these remarks about his athletic achievements bear eloquent testimony of. The village of Rosegreen and the wider parish of Cashel & Rosegreen have to be proud of him, their most distinguished native son, whose achievements have never been equalled let alone surpassed.

It has been a great honour to me to be asked to say these few words in honour of Paddy Anglim and I hope they do justice to his greatness as well as encouraging others to look closely at his life and achievements with a view to emulating them.

<span class="postTitle">Tony Reddin (1919-2015)</span> On the Day of his Death, March 5th 2015

Tony Reddin (1919-2015)

On the Day of his Death, March 5th 2015


Only one gift was presented at the funeral mass for Tony Reddin in St. Rynagh's Church, Banagher on March 4 and that was the hurley stick he used when winning the 1949, 1950 and 1951 All-Irelands. It was a fitting and complete presentation as it was offering to his Maker the symbol of the gift which Tony had received at birth and which he developed, honed and perfected during his hurling career.

It wasn't a particularly impressive looking hurley. Its narrow bás, cracked and hooped and mended following many exciting games contrasted with the ever-increasing, board-wide hurleys used by goalkeepers until the G.A.A. stepped in and limited the width to five inches.
The hurley was an extension of Tony's arm and he relied on his brilliant eyesight, allied to a wonderful agility, honed from hours practising against a rough stone wall, to be in position to stop the fastest moving shots that arrived in his goalmouth.

There were many examples of his great stopping ability but two come immediately to mind. The first was the North senior hurling final between Lorrha and Borrisileigh in August 1948. Played in a downpour, the Borrisoleigh forwards did all in their power to best Reddin in the second half after trailing 4-3 to 0-3 at halftime. They bombarded the Lorrha goals in an unceasing barrage but Reddin was in defiant mood and saved right, left and centre, even on one occasion with his head. They did get through for goals twice but, had they gone for points they wouldn't have found themselves in arrears by 5-4 to 2-5 at the end.

The second occasion was at Killarney in July 1950 in the replay of the Cork-Tipperary Munster final. Many of the estimated 55,000 spectators encroached on to the field as the game reached its climax. Referee, Bill O'Donoghue of Limerick had to stop the match for ten minutes to clear the field but as soon as it resumed so did the encroachment. Any time the ball came into Reddin he was teased, barracked, even pushed. Not only was he in danger from missiles from around the goals but also from Cork forwards rushing in after a delivery in order to bury him in the net, which was the lot of goalkeepers before health and safety issues changed their plight from being in the eye of the storm to being a protected species. After the game angry Cork supporters sought Reddin out and he had to be rescued by friends and camouflaged in a clerical coat. There couldn't have been a more fitting tribute to the quality of his play.

Tony was a professional in the days hurlers paid much less attention to personal fitness and match preparation than is the case today. At his peak he was 5' 9'' and never weighed more that eleven and a half stone. He trained as another might do for centrefield, running cross-country, jumping over hedges and ditches and he built up his arms to make him the strong player he became. He was no mere ball stopper but completed the act by clearing the ball. He was equally good on the right or left side. Probably his greatest ability was a sensitive touch allied with the tilting of the hurley's face at an angle which enabled him to kill even the fastest ball dead so that it rolled down the hurley into his hand.

Tony Reddin was born in Mullagh in 1919 and one of his cherished memories was winning a county under-14 medal in 1933. It was the only county medal he won. He played with Galway and Connaght before coming to work in Lorrha early in 1947.

The summer of 1947 was one of the wettest on record. Not a great time to come working in Lorrha but whatever about the work, Reddin put Lorrha on the hurling map and he made one proud to be from the place. He played a  major part in helping the club to two county finals in 1948 and 1956. He also married Lorrha native, Maura Smith.

In the early sixties Reddin moved to Banagher, where he and Maura reared his family of three boys and six girls. He also got involved with St. Rynagh's G.A.A. Club and made it a force in Offaly hurling. The club contested the first All-Ireland Club final in 1970.

The three clubs, so much a part of Tony Reddin's life and to whose success he contributed so handsomely, were well represented at his funeral and formed a guard of honour that escorted him along the final section of the route to his grave in the historic cemetery of Bonachum in the parish of Lorrha.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm.