Sr Philomena celebrates her 100th Birthday
On this the year of 150th Anniversary of the Presentation Sisters in Fethard, I would like to share and say thank you especially for some lovely memories of my happiest year at school, 1960 in 3rd Class with Sr Philomena, who celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday last, August 20.
Thank you Sr Philomena for the Nature Table which was always decorated and changed with every season of the year. You taught us the names of the flowers, the birds, the trees, the animals and the insects. You walked us around the Convent Garden showing us and naming all the growing vegetables. We smelled the roses and sang hymns and prayed with you at the Grotto. You fascinated us as you described the structure of the Monkey Puzzle tree, still standing and now so big!
Thank you especially for the gift of music - for the tambourines, the triangles the drums and the castanets and for our very own class ‘orchestra’. You played out the melodies with us on your violin or on the little harmonium! You taught us to listen and you taught us to sing. You taught to us our very own local songs, ‘Slievenamon’ and ‘She Lived Beside the Anner’.
Thank you for the elocution lessons - teaching us how to speak and pronounce our words properly like Rhubarb, Forget-Me-Nots, Daffodils and Tulips! We were your Angel's Verse Speaking Choir! You were very proud when we scored 96% when examined by Miss Burke from the Leinster School of Music and Drama. I still have the card to prove it!
Thank you for teaching us etiquette like sitting correctly with good posture with our hands cupped on our laps, and never looking sideways when the classroom door was opened or knocked on!
Yes, amazingly, all this was achieved during the course of the school year. There was even time left to cover the curriculum of Irish, English, Sums and Catechism!
Later on, Sr Philomena, you continued to encourage me as I studied music. You gave me my first opportunity to do piano accompaniment with some of your own violin pupils.
On this the year of your 100th birthday and on the 150th anniversary of the Presentation Sisters in Fethard, I salute and thank you Sr Philomena, from the bottom of my heart. It is more than 50 years since I sat in your classroom, but I still enjoy every day many of the special gifts first nurtured in that room
With every good wish and blessing.
Reunion attracts visitors from far and wide
The Green and Barrack Street Reunion took place on Saturday night, August 18, and began with an informal walk at 4.30pm around the Green area, which was led by Don McCarthy. A group of approximately fifty people really enjoyed reminiscing and rambling around the lanes and streets where they played as children.
The 7.30pm Mass in the Augustinian Abbey was offered for all deceased residents from The Green and Barrack Street and a large group representing the various families attended the Mass, celebrated by the Prior, Fr. Martin Crean OSA. The poignant occasion was suitable enhanced by the presence of the Abbey Choir who sang beautifully under the direction of organist, Ann Barry.
The highlight of the reunion was the reception in the old convent hall. Following Mass in the Abbey the crowds meandered down to the hall and by 9pm the place was buzzing. Families and extended families travelled from far and wide to attend the reunion creating a fantastic atmosphere for the 170 people present. Everyone appeared to know everyone else and all expressed the necessity for similar events as many hadn’t met since back in their school years. Another encouraging factor was the cross section of local people who attended, young and old from several parts of Fethard, all with their own story of how they crossed paths with The Green or Barrack Street. The local organising committee supplied a tasty selection of buffet food, teas, wine and refreshments which really added to the informal format of the evening.
A commemorative sixty-page booklet of photographs and articles was given to all who attended and this also stimulated memories and conversation. The hall was also used to display a vast array of photographs spanning The Green and Barrack Street for many generations. This was complemented with an on-going ‘big screen’ presentation of photographs in the main hall and cinema room, these displays were both enhanced with snippets of recorded audio from residents of the past.
It was almost midnight before people began to leave, but, promising to return again for the next similar community event. A night to remember for all who attended!
‘Buster’ Dog Race
Killusty soccer club and Cloneen Sports and Social club have joined forces to hold a ‘Buster’ dog race at Clonmel greyhound track on Sunday, September 2. Tickets at €10 are available from club members and proof of purchase on the night will get you half price admission to the races. This is the first fundraiser of its kind for both clubs and we ask for your continued support.
Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto
The lucky numbers drawn on August 15 were: 10, 15, 21 and 27. There was no Jackpot winner and no ‘Match Three’ winner so the following drawn tickets received €50: Marion Walzer, c/o Peter Gough; Michael Russell and Jim Kenny, c/o Seamus Maloney; and Rose Lonergan, c/o Diana Stokes.
The three following ‘Lucky Dip’ winners also won €50 each: Seamus Moloney, Cloneen; Kathleen Spillane, c/o Maria Murphy; and Caroline Hall, Canon Hayes Court, Fethard.
The next Lotto draw will take place on August 22, and you can also purchase your lotto ticket in local shops or online at www.fethard.com. Buy seven weekly tickets online and get one free! Check on the Fethard website for lots of special offers. Next week’s Jackpot commences at €3,850 and the Jackpot seller’s prize is €385. All proceeds go towards community work in Fethard.
Newfoundland Group to visit Fethard
Up to sixty Newfoundlanders will be visiting Fethard next Tuesday, August 28. Most people of Irish decent in Newfoundland come from a forty-mile radius of Waterford port where they sailed from in the 1700s and 1800s. The Newfoundland records of marriages and especially deaths show that many people from Fethard were amongst those who sailed to the ‘fishing grounds’ off the shores of Newfoundland over two hundred years ago. For instance, the records show that John Trahy, age 28, native of Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland’ died on October 29, 1861, and he is but one of many such natives of the area.
The group will visit Coolmore Stud and will be shown around the Medieval Town by members of Fethard Historical Society. In the evening the group will eat and be refreshed in McCarthy’s Bar. As up to thirty of those travelling are either musicians or singers there is every chance that a ‘session’ might develop so it could be worth while checking it out.
Gala Charity Concert
In St. Mary’s Parish Church in Irishtown, Clonmel, on Monday, August 27, at 8pm, there is a Gala Concert of Newfoundlander and Irish musicians and singers which should be well worth attending. The Newfoundlanders include ‘The Celtic Fiddlers’ (twenty of them!) and other traditional singers and banjo and accordion players. The Irish include noted musicians and singers from Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir.
The concert proceeds go to Hospice and SERT and Tickets are €10 and are available from Premier Music in Clonmel or at the door on the night.
A History Conference takes place in Kildalton College at 10am on Wednesday, August 29, ‘The Suir Valley and Newfoundland’, and the launch of ‘Tipperary Trails to Newfoundland’ by the Canadian Ambassador Loyola Hearn (ancestors from Carrick) will round off their trip to south Tipperary. Further information from www.irelandnewfoundland.com
Fethard Heraldic Book Launch
Up to a hundred people attended the launch of ‘Heraldic Memorials in Fethard’ on Saturday night last in old Holy Trinity Church. The book, by heraldic expert Gerard Crotty, describes and explains twenty four plaques and shields that can be found around Fethard ; in the Town Hall, Holy Trinity Church, The Augustinian Abbey and one of the ‘Arms of Robert St. John’ from St. Johnstown Castle.
It was a very special occasion indeed and Holy Trinity church was the perfect setting for the launch. It was especially interesting for those whose family names are included in the book and of course many of the names are still very common in the area i.e. Roche, Everard, Butler, Hackett, Tobin, Wall and of course St. John.
Mary Hanrahan, representing the hosts, Fethard Historical Society, was MC for the evening and introduced the speakers; the author Gerard Crotty, Labhaoise McKenna, County Heritage Officer - who formally launched the book, Peter Stocksborough from Fáilte Ireland - who grant aided the book and the musicians and singers, Siobhán Hall (harpist) and John Birmingham (guitar).
Fethard is rich in Heraldry
Gerard Crotty again emphasised how rich Fethard is in regard to heraldic memorials of all types and he thanked Dóirín Saurus of the Historical Society for “her support and encouragement” in getting the project going in the first place.
Peter Stocksborough of Fáilte Ireland stated that such books and information are a great help to tourism and especially in 2013 for ‘The Gathering’, when up to a quarter of a million people of Irish decent will be encouraged to come back to Ireland for their holidays.
Labhaoise McKenna congratulated all involved in bringing the project to fruition and that it was exactly the type people and place heritage that connects people to their local area.
Barton Wine Connection
Another special feature of the evening was re-connecting with the whole Barton Wine story. Terry Cunningham of the Historical Society told of how a Thomas Barton, from Fermanagh, went to France in the early 1700s, got rich in the Bordeaux wine business and came back and bought the Everard estates in Fethard, especially Grove House and lands to the south of the town. Anthony Barton, the present owner of the Bordeaux vineyards, arranged that a case of their ‘2008 Reserve de Leoville’ be delivered for the book launch.
Present on the night also was Marine Legoupil, Brand Ambassador for Barton and Guestier in Ireland who also have a range of wines ‘Thomas Barton’ that commemorate the original ‘French Tom’ who bought Grove all those years ago. Barton and Guestier, although founded by the Bartons is now a totally separate company and interestingly their agents in Ireland are the Gleeson Group that have strong Tipperary Connections.
The book will be available in local shops and at Historical Society events.
Fethard Medieval Festival
Sunday last saw Fethard’s sixth Medieval Festival and Fair being held on the Streets and in the Valley park by the Town Wall.
As expected, the Tipp-Kilkenny hurling match (or mis-match!) reduced the numbers attending but for the still large crowd present it was probably the best Festival to date. The array of family friendly events and ‘hands on’ sites was truly amazing for a festival in such a small town.
There were many new exhibits this year, with Wolfhound Archaeology’s four tented display being a huge attraction. Here, children could really get a feel of what ‘digging up our roots’ is all about and to see the skeletons emerging from the big sand boxes was great fun indeed.
There was also stalls with great collections of medieval fighting gear and equipment and of course local medievalist Colm McGrath and his ‘merry men and women’ waged another few fierce battles to the delight of the crowd.
There was noticeably more tourist visitors present as Failte Ireland and the Heritage Council promoted the Festival on all their websites and printed material.
Garda Mounted Unit
A big surprise to all was to see two of the Garda Mounted Unit from Dublin on their big strong horses joining in the parade. The organisers of the festival put in a request six months ago to Garda HQ seeking their presence but it was only in recent days that it was confirmed that they were coming. So congratulations to all involved and thanks to the Garda authorities for favouring Fethard on the first Sunday of Heritage Week.
One of the big hits of the day was Humpty Dumpty who sat on the wall of the footbridge and insulted all and sundry as they passed by, but he did it in a nice way. Humpty was delighted with the Art Competition in his honour and he thanked Tom Hennessy Spar for the €200 in prizes that he donated to the nine winning children. Then there was Prince Charming, who seemingly is a brother of Humpty’s, who went around charming the ladies and blowing up balloon figurines for any child that wanted one.
Again, the Dog Show, drew the crowds, even though it was in opposition to the hurling and the Full results will appear next week. The new category ‘Best Native Irish Breed’ was introduced and it was sponsored by the Fethard Historical Society in honour of the overall ‘heritage promoting’ nature of the day.
All the usual stalls and exhibits were present; the Falcons, Pet Farm, Food Stalls, Children’s Activity Tent, many hands-on Craft Stalls, Coin Striking, Big Band, Dunking Tank, Wobbly Circus, Raffle, Quiz, Stocks , Forge and new side shows as well.
The new/old Wheel of Fortune spun on in its ‘on-tender hooks’ way (with the punters nearly beating the Spinning Master!). The Celtic Stickmakers Club showed you how to adorn your walking stick and master stonemason Julia Gebel was seen working on her Watergate Sheela na Gig masterpiece. Then there was Willie O'Meara and his old style board game that tested the dexterity and speed of anyone who wanted a free go at turning and moving the timber pegs from one side of the board to the other.
The Festival organisers would love to see more people or groups coming forward with games such as Willie's as they are great fun for all involved.
Big Financial Outlay
All in all it was a wonderful and very cheap day out for the family. It was all made possible by the financial support of the Heritage Council, the Heritage Office of South Tipperary County Council and Fethard Historical Society. In all, over €18,000 was paid out to make sure that all the events over the weekend went ahead. Then there is the huge effort by the Festival Organising Committee in planning and executing the event and also in publishing the event around Tipperary and even around Ireland.
Unfortunately there was one small, but very annoying, blot on the day. No, not the result of the hurling match, but a group of local young teenagers, and younger, who tried to make a nuisance of themselves at every turn they could. One performer had to terminate his ‘show’ because of this petty harassment and overall it is a huge slur on the town that these young teenagers seem to be allowed free rein to do as they please. It put a great strain on the organisers to watch and patrol the site to ensure that the 99.9% of people present had a fun family day out –which they did.