Monay, February 3, 2020
Tipperariana book award for ‘Emigrants Newsletter’
The two-hundred and fifty-page 2019 edition of the ‘Emigrants Newsletter’ is continuing a tradition started by the Fethard branch of the Legion of Mary back in 1959. The whole Irish economy - and society in fact - were in a state of near collapse during the 1950s era, with nearly a half-million people emigrating in a dozen years, from a country of only three million people.
The concept of the ‘emigrant newsletter’ was a national project by the Legion of Mary to get parishes all over Ireland to produce an annual ‘parish newsletter’, that would then to be sent to the huge Irish ‘diaspora’ overseas, so as to keep them in touch with the ‘old country’.
Mary Guinan-Darmody, County Library’s Local Studies section in Thurles, was the guest speaker on the night, and she outlined that many parishes in Tipperary initiated the ‘newsletter’ idea, but that Fethard was unique in continuing the tradition uninterrupted for 60 years - from 1959 to the present. Speaking Mary went on to say, “ I believe it to be the oldest and longest running parish journal in the county and with the dedication of its hard-working committee will be around long after many of the other journals have unfortunately ceased. It is therefore very fitting that it has been selected as the recipient of the Tipperariana Book of the Year 2019.”
Mary, then went on to explain the importance or significance of a parish journal.
"A quick answer might be that it brings both locals and those who are living far away up to date with events that have happened throughout the year, from a social and cultural viewpoint. Indeed it does this. But in my opinion, parish journals do a lot more than this. Their significance is much more important and far reaching, on historical, cultural and social levels. They record the present so that in future, that present, having become the past, will be a record worth exploring by people yet unborn.
There is no one formula for a successful parish journal, all have similarities but each has its own individual characteristics depending on the parish, the history of the parish and the approach of the editorial committee. It doesn’t mean that one is right and one wrong. Journal articles include Historical facts and oral traditions of the locality – it may be growing up in the 1930s or 1940s, the big snow, the local landlord, townland names, old mills, the Great War and of course now, the War of Independence and the local participants etc.
Just taking one past journal – In 1974, the Fethard journal records the restoration of the Holy Year Cross which had already been erected on Slievenamon in 1950. In a few sentences, we are brought back 70 years.
It gives a brief history of Fethard GAA Club history which was founded in 1855, almost thirty years before the famous 1884 meeting in Hayes Hotel, Thurles founding the Gaelic Athletic Association. While not everybody has the patience to sit and read through an entire history book, the parish journal is a taster, an appetiser to several aspects of the parish, including sports.
How lovely to see something like the U12 Football/Hurling photo, kids who might never otherwise be mentioned and who may never go ahead to county acclaim but their contribution and participation is recorded there for posterity.
The Fethard newsletter is published by the Emigrants Newsletter committee ....even though I am not an emigrant, having moved only about twenty miles away from Fethard. I can easily imagine what it must mean to somebody far away...
In the 2019 journal, I read ’A man for all Seasons’ and some forty years after leaving school, while never been taught by him I can still see Timmy O’Connor walking round the school in his sports coat and pants. At the end of the article, the group photo of teachers from 1973 brings back a collection of memories both of the teachers and incidents associated with my fellow pupils - like the day when Miss Baldwin, later Mrs Stokes (only unnamed teacher) – had to rescue Jacinta O’Connell who managed to put the needle from the sewing machine through her finger.
For 50 people to read the journal, it could mean something different to each of them, whilst again I recognise several photos, like the one of Jack O’Shea outside his shop again brings me back to my childhood when my sister Kitty worked there before her marriage. To somebody else, this photo may bring back memories, of friends they chatted with while sitting on the bar stool or the pair of shoes for a special family event that were repaired by Willie Stapleton in Jack’s shoe repair shop. It might be one article or one photo but the memories that it can evoke and for a brief moment, one is brought back to an earlier time, possibly a more carefree time.
What a treasure trove, to have all sixty editions of the journal, the amount of information they contain, gems that are being lost with each passing year. Without the Fethard journal of 1995, who would be able to name the members of the Fethard Confraternity Band of the 1920s? Cultural life is part and parcel of a community, the sports, drama, music all so valuable in uniting a parish and improving our daily life. Parish Journals chronicle these in an easy read format and can form the useful basis for which a more complete history to be developed at a later point.
I once heard the academic Raymond Gillespie define Local History as the ‘history of a Group of people in a particular place over a period of time’ and to me this is exactly what the parish journal is and should be. In this case the history of us 'Fethard people in Fethard over time’.
So long live the parish journals, particularly the Fethard Parish Journal while I most likely won’t celebrate my 100th birthday, I hope it will."
In praising the longevity and exceptional high standard of the Fethard Newsletter, she also drew attention to the many other present day parish newsletters and historical journals in the county, saying that they will also be a huge resource for future historians, and will act as ‘the memory of the people’ in this fluid digital age. Another, quite incredible, feature of the Fethard & Killusty Newsletter saga is that it is posted free of charge annually to over 700 emigrants worldwide, a fact which really demonstrates that Fethard remembers her own.
A Night to Remember
Dóirín Saurus, Crampscastle Pottery, created the presentation piece depicting the 60th anniversary of the Emigrants’ Newsletter, and then presented it to Joe Kenny, who accepted the award on behalf of the current production crew and all those involved in the Newsletter since it first began in 1959. He also thanked the Historical Society for the honour of been chosen for the prestigious county-wide ‘Book-of-the-Year’ award and wonderful reception bestowed on the Newsletter’s local representatives who were able to attend. He also thanked Mary Guinan-Darmody, who was most accommodating and helpful while researching items at the County Library’s Local Studies, at The Source, Thurles.
The ‘formal’ aspect of the evening was rounder off by Fethard native and now Cork based actor and performer, Jack Healy, who recited amongst other things, the famous (or infamous) poem, ‘The Traders of Fethard’, composed in 1932 by Coolbawn bard Paddy Carroll, which comes from a time when ‘political correctness’ was not yet invented.
Twenty-Fifth Book Fair on February 9, 2020
Social dancing at Fethard Ballroom
Senior Citizens Club meeting this Tuesday
Fethard Athletic Club meeting this Thursday
Past Pupil Mia gives Senior Cycle Talk
Fethard ICA February meeting
Fethard Day Care Centre ‘Senior Day’
Fethard Bridge Club
Next Wednesday, February 5, we play the second round of the Player of the Year competition which is a change of partner. Bridge starts at 7.15pm each Wednesday. Anyone looking for a partner contact Gemma Burke 086-6064148.
Crocanóir thriving after 10 years and 100 concerts
Proprietors, John and Monika Bermingham, held their first concert in 2010 and weren’t sure if they’d get ten people to attend, never mind survive for ten years, but here they are in 2020 – one hundred concerts later – still singing after all these years! Their sincere thanks is extended to everyone who came on board and helped create magical musical memories at the end of the boreen.
The next concert coming up at Crocanóir is the very popular Dónal Clancy, on Saturday, February 8, starting at 8pm. Dónal Clancy performed a special commissioned show for Clonmel World Music in November 2019, entitled ‘Dónal Clancy’s Folk ‘n Blues Revue’. Such was the audience reaction that Donal will be touring the show in 2020. The show includes bluesy versions of songs from legends like Bob Dylan, Elizabeth Cotton, Rev Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Big Bill Broonzy among many others including some of Dónal’s own compositions.
Dónal is the son of Liam Clancy, from the world-famous Clancy Brothers and he is proudly carrying on the family tradition of storytelling and ballad singing of the highest order. Liam Clancy gave him his first guitar at the age of eight and he was playing professionally by his early teens. Donal was a member of trad group ‘Danu’ for many years, and has toured and recorded with Riverdance fiddler, Eileen Ivers. He was a guest with The Chieftains on their ‘Tears of Stone’ tours in Japan and the US. Dónal Clancy, in his own right, is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest guitarists and ballad singers. Donal has, since the death of his father, focused his attention on the family repertoire of songs that he grew up with. He is bringing the tradition to audiences all over the world. Come along to Crocanóir on Saturday, February 8, for a great musical treat, starting at 8pm. Further information and booking, contact John or Monika at Tel: 086 8907329. Congratulations on ten years of great music!
Fethard U18 Girls Rugby through to Munster League Semi Final
They are away this weekend to Ennis who won last year's final. Wishing the girls the best of luck and special thanks to coach Pat O'Donnell for all his work with the girls. Great for the Club as this is the 5th season on a row that the U18 Girls team have made a Munster semi-final. New members are always welcome to come and ‘Give It A Try’. Enquires to Polly 086 3394959.
Community Games Table Quiz postponed to February 14
The County Final of Swimming will take place in Thurles pool on Sunday, February 16. Closing date for entries at Area level is Wednesday, February 5. Please contact Noreen Sheehy if interested.
Freestyle: Girls U8 Freestyle 25m; Boys U8 Freestyle 25m; Girls U10 Freestyle 25m; Boys U10 Freestyle 25m; Girls U12 Freestyle 50m; Boys U12 Freestyle 50m; Girls U14 Freestyle 50m; Boys U14 Freestyle 50m; Girls U16 Freestyle 50m; Boys U16 Freestyle 50m.
Breaststroke: Girls U12 Breaststroke 50m; Boys U12 Breastroke 50m; Girls U14 Breastroke 50m; Boys U14 Breastroke 50m; Girls U16 Breastroke 50m (new event); Boys U16 Breststroke 50m (new event).
Backstroke: Girls U10 Backstroke 25m; Boys U10 Backstroke 25m; Girls U12 Backstroke 50m; Boys U12 Backstroke 50m; Girls U14 Backstroke 50m; Boys U14 Backstroke 50m; Girls U16 Backstroke 50m; Boys U16 Backstrock 50m.
Butterfly: Girls U14 Butterfly 50m; Boys U14 Butterfly 50m; Girls U16 Butterfly 50m; Boys U16 Butterfly 50m.
Relays: Girls U13 Freestyle Relay 4 x 25m Panel of 6; Boys U13 Freestyle Relay 4 x 25m Panel of 6; Girls U16 Medley Relay 4 x 50m Panel of 6; and Boys U16 Medley Relay 4 x 50m Panel of 6.
Fethard & Killusty Community Lotto
The following three ‘Lucky Dip’ winners received €50 each: Michael Russell, c/o S. Moloney; Ian Gough, St. Patrick's Place, Fethard; and Richie Nevin, c/o Friendship Club.
Next week’s draw takes place on Wednesday, January 29. The Jackpot is €10,000 and the Jackpot seller’s prize is €1,000. All proceeds go towards community projects in Fethard, and we thank you for your on-going support.
GAA Sports Development Lotto
The committee of Fethard GAA/Sports Centre Development Lotto would like to thank all our supporters near and far who participate in our weekly lotto draw. The next draw takes place on Friday, January 31, in Burke’s Bar at 7.30pm, when the jackpot is €24,800 and the seller's prize is €1,000. The funds raised are used to promote sport in the local community.
Donating books to the Book Fair?
Modern books in good condition, are always sought after at the fair, as the thirty or so dealers who attend have mostly more serious and antiquarian type books on their stalls.
It is true to say that there are very few ‘valuable’ books – in the monetary sense – lying around. But there are lots of ‘sought after’ books and pamphlets, especially in older households, that may seem ordinary and uninteresting but can be of great interest to collectors and even wanted by Tipperary County Libraries for their Local Studies Centre in The Source in Thurles. So, the organisers will gladly receive all books – especially ones of local and Tipperary interest. If possible, people who are clearing out old houses should try and contact a member of the Historical Society to advise in case some rare items are not ending up in the dump.
Everything is not on the Web!
Tipperary Books and the Book Fair
Secondly, the organisers of the book fair , the Fethard Historical Society, receive donations of ‘ould books’ that otherwise might end up in the skip , and the odd one can be rare or special in some way and will go for sale at the fair and make some purchaser very happy on the day.
Tipperariana Book of the Year
The organisers also try to invite as many as possible of the authors of ‘Tipperary’ books – published in the preceding year – to come to the fair to promote, sell and sign their books.
Anyone wishing to make contact with the organisers of the upcoming 25th Tipperariana Book Fair on Sunday, February 9, or who wish to donate books, can email email@example.com or text or phone 087 9305232 or 087 9009722.
Jake Carter coming to The Abymill
Faces and Places from the Past – 36 Year Ago
Some more local photographs from the archives:
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