Fethard Country Market’s 60th Birthday
On Friday last Fethard Country Markets celebrated their 60th birthday with founder member Hannie Leahy cutting a beautiful birthday cake, baked by Marie Moclair, at their weekly market held in the Town Hall. Hannie, the only surviving founder member, fondly remembered many of the people that were involved in the Country Market throughout the years which prompted me to publish this extract taken from The Farmer’s Gazette first published sixty years ago when the Fethard Country Market was founded.
“Our market started in most adverse circumstances. Vegetables had never been scarcer owing to the bad weather of 1946, and bread rationing, which had recently been introduced, was stringent, and no one had surplus flour. All the other towns in South Tipperary had been discussed as possible sites for the venture, but the local
committees, for some reason or other another thought that nothing could be done.
Fethard Guild, spurred on by its members, and against the advice of the chairman, who writes this report, decided to open a weekly market, on the model of the markets run by Women’s Institutes in England, charging one penny in a shilling for all produce disposed of.
We rented the bottom of the Town Hall, which is in a central position, and we insured it against fire. This Hall has wide doors which open straight off the street. It was being used as a store for empty packing cases and for a fire engine, and part of it is being used as an office for the town weighing scales. The ancient fourteenth century walls are pierced with deep apertures, which make the hall very cold and draughty, and we had before us two months of snow and flood.
We put in plugs for an electric fire and kettle. Before many months had passed the authorities decided to block off a portion of our abode for the fire engine, and this was a blessing as it made the room of more manageable proportions and got rid of some of the draughts.
Some broken down furniture was roosting in the hall, so we arranged it to act as counters, when we had camouflaged it into respectability with some Hessian from the country shop Luckily, we had inherited from a previous adventure, a shallow and very long chicken run, which had been used to protect eatables at shows. This kept the bread and cakes safe from too eager customers. Our third possessions were, a weighing scales lent by Miss Drury, and some excellent steel-framed chairs and tables, which were hired to the market.
We bought an electric kettle and were lent an electric stove. We converted a handsome Victorian workbox into the most efficient of moneyboxes by getting a carpenter to divide it into sloping compartments. We bought a lock-up case for our books and we had the loan of some egg packing cases. We had a few pounds which had been subscribed by sympathizers, and we had two jolly posters which showed glorious cakes and vegetables, and were headed, ‘The shape of things to come.’
Some local opposition was to be expected, and to meet this, we had circularised every household explaining our plans saying, “A Market should not conflict with shopkeepers or traders, as the prices charged will be current market prices, and if the country women bring their produce into the towns they will spend their money in the town, and do their shopping there. Where these markets have been held, they have proved a stimulus to business, and created a steady demand for high-class produce. We hope we shall have your sympathy and support.”
The report goes on to tell of the increase to trade in the town, also of the opening of a brand new Market garden during the first year of trading.
The pricing proved to be a problem, and the controller, May Quinlan, had the ultimate authority of the task. It was soon found out to be increasingly difficult to look at everything brought in during the crowded half-hour in which they were getting their stalls ready, to combat this problem the pricing was done by the stall-holders, who became expert with added experience.
A Friday morning was chosen for the day of the market, which proved to be a wise choice as it was a day for collecting the pensions, also for people from the country to go to the Bank to get money for wages. The streets were full of potential customers. Being a Fast Day, there were more customers for eggs, vegetables and savoury dishes.
The Market as reported went from strength to strength, more than one third of the total sales was in eggs and poultry, and a dealers license had to be taken out to comply with regulations, also a girl had to be employed as egg packer.
There was twelve to sixteen workers and every one needed, as they had to ride in miles on cycles in all weathers, and be punctual, there was to be a cup of tea and something to eat available. The sellers were all but one, members of the ICA and loved the job.
From that first day when they opened and everything had been sold, and the takings were ten pounds, as quoted, ‘We knew we would succeed if we persevered!’
Fethard & District Day Care Centre
The Fethard & District Day Care Centre will hold a ‘Senior Day’ on Friday 29th June starting at 11am. The appointed chiropodist will also be in attendance and the cost of this service if needed will be €10. The district nurse will be there as usual and a hot meal will be served at a nominal cost of €5. All our senior citizens are invited and welcome to come along and avail of the centre’s facilities.
Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto Results
The numbers drawn on Wednesday 20th June were: 1, 3, 5 and 23. There was no Jackpot winners and four Match 3 winners of €40:
Monica Pollard, Rocklow Road, Fethard;
Anne Kenrick, c/o Kenrick’s, Burke Street, Fethard;
Kate O’Shea, Woodvale Walk, Fethard;
N. Coffey, Spitalfield, Fethard.
The €50 Luck Dip winners were:
James Cooney, Rathdrum, Fethard;
Marie Smyth, The Well, Fethard;
Dermot Darcy, St. Patricks Place, Fethard.
Next week’s Jackpot continues at €10,000 and the Jackpot sellers prize is €1000.
The Presley Picture!
Nobody had ever seen this man before but it was obvious what he wanted when he walked into the local bar. His appearance gave him away. He wore his hair in a quiff, sported generous sideburns, his collar raised and his jeans were tight. He approached the counter, “Is it true that the Presleys were here?” he asked the barman. He was directed to their picture hanging on the wall. He rushed down to look at it and there in front of him was Lisa Marie Presley, her husband Michael Lockwood, and her mother Priscilla Presley, photographed on 2nd January 2007 where the picture now hung. He couldn’t have looked more impressed if Elvis Presley himself had stood before him. He asked if he could take a picture of the picture and rushed off into the night to get his camera. An hour later he returned, took the picture and shot off again. The Elvis fan had just left the building.
He returned the following day with friends and sat at the table where the picture was taken. Two of the group are Elvis fans from Fethard and the man who took the photo was an Elvis impersonator. The group live and breathe Elvis and many have made the pilgrimage to Graceland in Memphis as do thousands of other fans to worship at his grave. They are members of over thirty dedicated fan clubs both in Ireland and England who attend Elvis gatherings regularly. With fans like these, Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, will remain on his throne forever.
Summer Visitors Scarce
Has anybody noticed the scarcity of swallows this summer (sic). Four members of the swallow family sand martins, house martins, swallows and swifts are annual visitors from Africa to Ireland.
The working out of local sandpits, notably the large pits in Rathcoole where the martins nested, put pay to them. The house martins, which nest under the eaves of houses, have also been very scarce for a number of years. The power-hose used on new bungalows and the smooth plaster used on most houses has also helped their demise.
The swallows have been more or less holding their own although there has been a continuous decline nationwide since the 1980s.
This year the swifts are almost gone. These are the last of the swallow tribe to arrive around 1st May and they are gone by the first week in August. Time was when literally hordes of these birds nested in the ruins of the old Military Barracks where the cattle mart now stands. Under the roof of the Abbey Church and the old Convent National School were also the sites of many nests. All these sites have now been demolished. The Abbey Church has been re-roofed and the swifts have disappeared. The destruction of their habitat is not the only reason for the swifts decline. An article in the Daily Telegraph last week states the same situation has arisen in England this year. Hardly a dozen swifts are flying over Fethard this season. Are they going to follow the cuckoo and corncrake into oblivion?
However, on the credit side, we are glad to report that a skylark, another member of the endangered species, has been seen and heard, for the first time in twenty years, soaring and singing over Brodeen.
Caoineadh Luimnigh (Lament for Limerick)
The game is over, the match is won and lost and now the inquest on Tipperary’s defeat is underway. Tipp were narrowly beaten by a better team on the day no more, no less! Do many people accept that? Judging by the phone calls throughout Monday last, many do not. The referee is the principal reason for Tipp’s defeat, according to most people. One wonders how many of these experts have ever even read the rule book of the GAA or even ever seen it.
Tipp lost principally in the first half because of their failure to score from play for 33 minutes, Eoin Kelly’s free-taking keeping them in the hunt. The only thing we can say about the ref on Sunday last is that he is a bit beyond his ‘best before date’. This is quite common to many referees of top GAA matches and something that will have to be remedied. Remember, a referee to do a proper job in a match like Sunday last must be prepared and able to run as much if not more over the ninety minutes that any of the players.
Great controversy was caused also by the replacement of Brendan Cummins in goal by Gerry Kennedy from Killenaule for the Limerick replays. That was the selectors decision and must be respected. The young Killenaule player stood up to the plate excellently and he certainly has the makings of a top class keeper. His positional sense, his narrowing off of forward’s angles, his advancing when required, his staying on the line in certain situations, coupled with his speed and agility were all top class. The jury are still out on his ability as a shot stopper as he has not been yet severely tested in that department. We feel sure that when that day comes Gerry Kennedy will not be found wanting!
Fethard Heartsafe Programme
At long last the Fethard Heartsafe Programme defibrillators are now in place. The Town is now geographically covered with a defibrillator outside O’Sullivan’s Pharmacy, Fethard Community Ballroom, Country Life Shop (Glanbia), Fr. Tirry Community Centre and Dawn Fresh Foods.
The committee would once again like to thank all our sponsors and especially the brave cyclists who raised so much money for this community effort.
Training and retraining will recommence in September. Those interested please give your name to Joan O’Donohoe at the Community Office, phone (052) 31000.
Community Alert Meeting this Thursday Night
Fethard & Killusty Community Council have organised a public meeting on this Thursday night (tonight) 28th June, at 8.30pm in the Tirry Community Centre to form a Community Alert Programme in Fethard. The meeting will be attended by Margaret Quinn, Co-ordinator Community Alert Programme, South Eastern Region. The programme addresses the issues of community care, community safety and community crime prevention and is organised by voluntary groups in association with Muintir na Tíre and An Garda Siochana.
Fethard ICA Celebrate 80th Anniversary this weekend
The ICA will celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the forming of the Guild in Fethard on this coming Sunday, 1st July, commencing with Holy Mass celebrated in the Augustinian Abbey at 11.30am, followed afterwards by refreshments in the ICA Hall at Rocklow Road. All former members of the Guild are cordially invited to join the celebrations and we hope to see you all on the day.
Fethard Coursing Club AGM
The Annual General Meeting of Fethard & District Open Coursing will take place on Monday 2nd July at 8.30pm in the Tirry Community Centre. All members and intending members are asked to attend this meeting.
Fethard GAA News
Our second round Senior Football County Championship replay against Commercials is fixed for Sunday 1st July at 7pm in Kilsheelan. Come along and support the players and team.
On Saturday last in Marlfield our Intermediate hurlers had great difficulty in fielding fifteen players due to holidays, injuries, weddings, suspensions and players in America, but those available gave of their best in a sporting game that saw us lose on a scoreline, Fethard 2-6 (1-2), Fr Sheehys 3-13 (1-6). The team was: Ciarán Treacy, William O’Brian, Michael Carroll, Richard Gorey, John Leahy, Michael Ryan, Dean Tobin, John P Looby, Michael Ahearne, Brian Coen 0-3F, P J Aherne, Kenneth O’Donnell 0-1, Peter Gough 0-1, Miceál Spillane 1-1, and Edmond Sheehan. Sub used was Tommy Sheehan.
Our next game in Minor Hurling is against Carrick Swans this weekend. For Junior A and B Football games, check sports page for fixtures.
Hello from Pennsylvania
I have enjoyed the Fethard website since I found it about a year or so ago. My grandfather, John James Donovan, was from Fethard and left sometime in the 1890s. Through your site, with its cemetery records, I was able to do research and found many Donovan records in Killusty cemetery. I know they are my people through correspondence with the late Mrs Mary Donovan of Killusty. Your site helped me fill in dates and peoples names. I would never have found this information here in America and I also was able to contact two cousins, John Donovan and his sister Nora, both from Killusty area. I also loved reading the history.
I had planned a trip with my brother Tom but we were unable to make it and at 71 years of age I doubt we will, but I will continue checking your site everyday as I usually do. So I want to close by wishing you and yours all the best. God bless and thanks again. Jack Donovan, Aston, Pennsylvania, USA. (email: email@example.com)
Killusty Soccer Club rebuilding team
Last season was certainly not one to remember, having ended up being relegated to the second division. This is the lowest league position that Killusty has been in for many years. Next season we hope to get back to more winning ways and to set about achieving this, we begin training on Tuesday next, July 3rd at 7.30pm. The club is in a transitional period at the moment with many of our seasoned players fast approaching the golf course years of their lives, and so this year's team manager Gerry Lawless has the task of building a new team. His hopes are to build a team with a mix of youth and experience and thankfully this year there seems to be a renewed interest among the young men of the parish and hopefully they will get a chance to display their talents while youth is still on their sides. Anyone who is interested in playing soccer please be in Killusty next Tuesday night on the pitch at 7.30 sharp.