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Saturday 31st January 1998

Key study of Tipp's medieval grave slab
Doreen Saurus, P.R.O. of the Fethard Historical Society, was delighted to welcome local author and rapidly rising young archaeologist, Denise Maher, to the Abymill Theatre in Fethard on Friday evening last for the launch of her book Medieval Grave Slabs of County Tipperary 12001600 A.D. by Dr. Martin Mansergh, special advisor to An Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahearn.
Doreen was also very pleased to introduce as a guest speaker Professor Peter Woodman, Professor of Archaeology at University College Cork and former Keeper of the Ulster Museum in Belfast whom Doreen described as a scholar of international repute. She also said that the Archaeology Department at UCC, where Denise had studied and now works, was one of the finest in Britain and Ireland.
Professor Woodman was delighted to be in Fethard, the original source of inspiration of Denise's book and Fethard Was' he said, `a jewel here in Munster" as far as archaelogy and heritage were concerned.
He described Denise's county study as a key work which identified a lot of gravestones that are not known and the book brings them into the consciousness of local historians whom he
describes as "the front line of the development of our physical heritage." Kilcooley, Cashel, Fethard and Holycross, emerge as important centres and he felt it important that local communities would value their rich heritage.
Moving to a new millennium this first line of protection of local awareness needed to be welcomed.
Dr. Mansergh, writer and lecturer on the Peace Process and Irish History, and special advisor to An Taoiseach, was lucky to be able to make it to Fethard to launch the book because of a hectic scedule earlier in the day with Bertie Ahern in Belfast and Derry and he apologised for his delayed arrival.
Dr. Mansergh warmly congratulated Denise Maher on her book which he described as "a considerable achievement" and he felt it was important to be able to record Tipperary's medieval past for posterity in this case through its funery monuments. Her work was a most challenging and unique scholarship. Tipperary was rich in medieval remains including notably the Rock of Cashel and monuments in the county related both to the heritage of the Irish and Anglo-Irish populations.
Dr. Mansergh praised the supportive attitude of the Government towards heritage preservation and especially the direction of the efforts of Ms. Sheila De Valera, Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.
Despite a lot of destruction of our archaeological heritage over the last 150 years enough has been initiated to have the potential "which will keep generations of archaeologists occupied for centuries," said Dr. Mansergh.
He concluded: "Denise Maher's contribution to our knowledge of medieval Ireland is a very real personal achievement."
Denise, who is now an assistant tutor with the Archaeology Department at UCC, explained that her book emerged from a thesis for her M.A. and had taken a number of years of research. Tipperary has a rich variety of medieval monuments she said. She was "spoilt for choice" in this regard. There was a fine collection of gravestones on her own doorstep in Fethard just across the road from her home in the Augustinian graveyard which had first inspired her work.
The south and east of the county was rich in Norman heritage in relation to gravestones and the north in native medieval monuments. She hoped her work would cause others to be interested in the subject.
She thanked her late mother to whom the book is dedicated and her father, Patrick Maher, who was present for the launch. She was very grateful to Fethard photographer Joe Kenny who is responsible for all the photographs in the book. Joe is also chairman of the Fethard Historical Society. Denise thanked the
their much-appreciated support.
Patrick Maher, Denise's father, was delighted by the recognition for his daughter whom he said had a rich source of inspiration everytime she looked across from her bedroom. Patrick Kavanagh, the writer, was inspired by local stimuli and he felt that Denise's inspiration had come from "self confidence in our own surroundings."
Denise's aunt, Mrs Rita Smith, was also very happy for her niece and was delighted to be present as was Rita's daughter-in-law, Philomena Smith (nee' Fitzell), a native of Cashel.
In a comment to The Nationalist an established historian said that the book was the first detailed study of grave slabs in County Tipperary, North and South from I200AD to 1600AD. Other less exhaustive studies had been carried out by such people as John Bradley for example in St. Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny but were not intended to be such a comprehensive report.
Ms. Maher's book con: sists of seven chapters and involves considerations of the_origins of the County of tipperary itself, the process of Anglo-Norman settlement in it, the Gaelic resurgence in the 14th century and the role of the Church.
The book represents very good reading for those interested in history and archaeology. It is a notable work and a most detailed study.

Fethard Bridge Club
Monday 19th January
1st gross Frances Burke and Margaret Hackett; 2nd gross Annie O'Brien and Nell Broderck.
1st nett Margaret O'Rourke and Joan Cooney; 2nd nett Olive Looby and Marie Delaney.
Wednesday 21st January - 1st gross Bernie Myles and Moet Hackett; 2nd gross (tie) Rita Kane and Eileen Dillon, Bridget Gorey and Betty Walsh.
1St nett Father John Meagher and Dick Gorey; 2nd nett Philly Kenny and Tess O'Flynn.

Recent deaths
The death has occurred of Margaret O'Donnell, Killusty.
Interment took place at Lisronagh Cemetery.
The death has occurred in London of Seamus Hayes, eldest son of Mr Jimmy and Mrs Bridget Hayes, Main Street.
Interment took place in Calvary Cemetery.

Book launch
The Abymill Theatre was packed to capacity for the successful launch of Fethard archaeologist Denise Maher's book: Medieval Grave Slabs of Co. Tipperary 1200-1660AD.
The book was launched by Dr. Martin Mansergh (special advisor to An Taoiseach).
Guest speaker was Professor Peter C. Woodman, Department of Archaeology, UCC.

Thirty teams of five have entered for the GAA sports centre beginners' racquetball tournament.
The organisers are very pleased to note the number of young footballers, hurlers and camogie players entered.The tournament will commence first week in February.

Just a reminder to note the postponed annual general meeting of Fethard GAA Club takes place in the Abymill tis Sunday evening February 1st, at 630pm.

Credit Union
The Irish League of Credit Unions sponsored a very successful primary school quiz which took place last weekend under the auspices of the local CU branch.
The victorious team was once again Killusty NS, who took first and second place, with Nano Nagle NS third. Over 85 children participated.
The first three prizewinners were presented with their prizes by Marian Gilpin, chairperson. Fethard Credit Union branch.

GAA collection
Fethard Juvenile Club are holdin' their annual collection this weekend. Support will he greatly appreciated.

The Patrician Presentation volleyball team are through once again to the all-Ireland final of their division. Here's hoping 1998 will be their winning year.


This site is maintained by Joe Kenny, Rocklow Road, Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.