Tipperary Now part Of “The Life & Lore Series”
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A fascinating new book that gives a wonderful insight to life in Tipperary over the past hundred years has just hit the bookshelves....
A fascinating new book that gives a wonderful insight to life in Tipperary over the past hundred years has just hit the bookshelves. The book entitled “The Premier County Of Tipperary - Living Voices” was compiled and produced by two of Ireland’s most distinguished historians Jane and Maurice O’Keeffe. The book now forms part of the “Irish life And lore Series” which also includes “The Ancient Barony of Duhallow” and “Recollections of 1916 and its Aftermath – Echoes from History”
Martin Mansergh, Jane O`Keefe and Maurice O`Keeffe pictured recently at the launch of “The Premier County Of Tipperary - Living Voices”
at the Rosck Of Cashel
Included within the book is an hour long CD, giving snippets of the forty five recordings that were made as part of the Living Voices collection which can be heard on 42 individual CDs, each of approximately one hour in length. The CD’s are of great quality and are marvelous in their variety and depth of knowledge.
Topics covered in the book and on the CD collection include local history, national history, music and dancing, hurling and other sports, farming traditions, archaeology, religion, customs and traditions, boating and fishing on Lough Derg, island life in all its variety and isolation, pisheogs and superstitions and so much more.
There is some unique and marvelous material to be found in the book. Tom Ryan of Ballinree House, Cashel, Philip Ryan of Boherlahan, Maura O`Brien and Breda Tierney of Dualla, Fr. Nivard Kinsella, Mount St. Joseph, Roscrea, Peter Read, George Cunningham and William Hayes of Roscrea, Jim Tiernan, Monroe and Islandmore, Joe and Margaret Rea, Cahir, Kathleen Hogan, Caherconlish, John Knightly, Cashel, Tom Wallace and St. Placida Barry, Ardmayle, Peggy Geraghty, Monroe, Bridget Malone and Pat Moloney Portroe, Peter Meskell, Ardmayle, Bill Collins and Packie Ryan, Chrissie Ryan Coole and Michael Collins, Newport, Tadgh Pey, Birr, Michael Joy Portroe ,Marjorie Quarton, Nenagh, Kitty Mooney, The Doon and Hannah and Violet Cahill, Clonderrig are all featured. Along with their recollections of events of their personal lives, one can read of local historical events, archaeological discoveries, hurling matches and the history of the game, traditions of farming, local customs and traditions and events of a supernatural nature, Mass Rocks and pattern days, quarries, fishing, teaching, tragic events which occurred locally during the War of Independence and the Civil War and much else besides. Many old recitations and songs are also included, which are no longer widely known due to their lack of use in today`s busy world.
Unfortunately, several of the participants in the Tipperary recordings have passed away since their unique voices were recorded by Maurice O`Keeffe, but we can take some comfort from the fact that their memories and great depth of knowledge of their local places has now been archived in oral and text form. People whose voices can now unfortunately be heard only on the recordings include Michael Hassett from Birdhill, Nora Humphries, Newport, Margaret Kennedy Doughan, Templemore, Br. Peter McGovern, Mount St. Joseph, Roscrea, Mary Finn, Katie Ryan and Ellen O`Brien of Dualla, Sr. Consilio O`Toole Newport and Roy Mooney, The Doon, Co. Offaly. These fine people gave their time and shared their wonderful recollections, so that the Collection of recordings and this accompanying book could come to fruition.
Illustrating the book are many old photographs, previously unseen in the public arena, but graciously loaned to Maurice and Jane for use in the book. The book is now being distributed by the O`Keeffes into the bookshops in Tipperary and may also be found in the larger bookshops in the neighboring counties. It is moderately priced at just €20.00.
As regards the actual CD collection itself, each individual CD may be obtained by contacting Maurice and Jane O`Keeffe. The Collection of Tipperary recordings has been taken for study and research by many of the Universities and Libraries around the country as have the previous Collections made in other parts of Ireland during the past ten years. A full overview of the tremendous work carried out by the O’Keeffe’s may be seen at www.irishlifeandlore.com. The official launch of the book in North Tipperary will take place during Heritage Week. A date and venue will be named in the coming weeks.
ADDRESS BY SENATOR MARTIN MANSERGH AT THE LAUNCH OF “THE PREMIER COUNTY OF TIPPERARY – LIVING VOICES’ IN THE IRISH LIFE AND LORE SERIES, TEXT BY JANE O`KEEFFE, RECORDINGS BY MAURICE O`KEEFFE.
ROCK OF CASHEL, FRIDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER 2006. 7.30PM.
It is a great pleasure ot be here at the symbolic centre of Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel, which is depicted on note books and credit cards, to launch a precious collection of living memories which stretch back the furtherest.
The importance of oral history and personal testimony, both about the ordinary patterns of life and about more extraordinary experiences, has long been recognized. The UCD Folklore Department collected much material in the 1930`s and 1960`s. Indeed, when Taoiseach Albert Reynolds launched an exhibition relating to the Roscommon material, I found and pointed out to him a piece written b y his elder brother aged 10, about their grandparents.
A century previously, before the Famine, the Ordnance Survey collected much valuable material, relatd to the significance of placenames and heritage sites and explanations about them from older people. Survivors of the War of Independence were invited in the 1940`s and 1950`s by the Bureau of Military History to record their recollections, a most valuable resource which has recently been released. Local historical societies and journals as well as newspapers and radio stations have also done good work collecting memories.
Of course, right beside the Rock here, we have Bru Boru, where traditional music is featured and played to appreciative audiences from home and aborad, led by my Senate colleague, Labhras O Murchu and his wife Una, through Copmhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.
I was first introduced to Maurice and Jane O`Keeffe by the Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern, who instructed me to discuss and negotiate with them the purchase of a signed lithograph of Thomas Francis Meagher “of the Sword” who was tried in Clonmel in 1849. It now hangs inside the Taoiseach`s Office, and is a talking point with many of his visitors, particularly from America.
My second encounter with the O`Keeffes was writing an article for the Irish Times highlighting some personal letters of John O`Donovan of the Ordnance Survey in the `830`s mainly about his `7th century ancestry, that belonged to the late Margaret Kennedy Doughan, who is featured in this book, the letters being now deposited in the Royal Irish Academy.
The Survey was a Janus-headed exercise. Once could view the Ordnance Suvey, as Field Day have done, as an exercise in British imperialism under army supervision. Alternatively, one can see it as the retrieval, just in time, of a priceless heritage before much of it and the associated memories vanished in the cataclysm of the Famine, a heritage that would become part of the cultural basis for independence.
Maurice and Jane O`Keeffe have written up and recorded the memories of around 40 Tipperary people. Most of us will know some of the individuals, who are from a wide variety of backgrounds, and be familiar with many of the places. My presence here redresses the county balance a little, as most of the voices in this v olume are from the North of the county.
The meories, some of them handed down the generations, range back to the time of the Hedge School and earlier to Cromwell, if not Brian Boru, with special reference to the Tan war, still just within living memory. It is always fascinating to observe the interaction of the individual with wider historical events. One also gets a flavour of how things were 50, 60, 70, 80 years ago.
Chrissie Ryan-Coole of Coolnacalla, Newport can remember the creamery going up in flames during the Tan war. She remembers how during the Economic War “there were very many desperately poor people in the locality in those days” Breda Farrell of Dualla, whose father Jack was an aide-de-camp to W.T.Cosgrave, was told by Michael Collins after the signing of the Treaty: “Now Jack, remember this – your children and their children and their children`s children will never see peace in Ireland”. Sadly, that prediction was right for the best part of 80 years, but today we are permitted to hope that present and future differences will be peacefully resolved, having learnt the hard way in the interim.
I did not realize that Mount St. Joseph in Roscrea, which I have visited as a guest speaker, was underwritten by Arthur Moore of Moorefort, in the late 19th century, whom I believe became a papal knight.
Peter Read, whom I remember with his mother and his brother playing in the Co. Tipperary lawn tennis championships in the 1950`s, recalls his uncle Dr. Watson being spoken to by de Valera shortly before the surrender of the Boland`s Mills contingent in 1916.
Sister Consilio from Newport welcomed some relaxation of convent rules in the course of her life. As a child, I remember nuns swimming in heavy black costumes at Ardmore. She welcomed the purchase of a holiday house in Ballinskelligs. My mother painted the beach there with the castle, which hangs in my bedroom.
A couple of Tipperary historians who have given great service are recorded here, and it hs been my privilege to know them both, George Cunningham, who has taken under his wing valuable special collections of old books and documents, both in the Bolton Library here in Cashel and in the University of Limerick, and Willie Hayes.
I had forgotten Willie Hayes was once a priest. Tipperary will forever be in his debt for his role as a curate in helping to persuade people that Holycross Abbey could and should be restored. For those who like myself can still remember it is its ruined state, the superb restorations internally and externally which still gives me pleasure is proof that old monuments are not always better left as ruins.
Last Sunday, I visited Dresden with my wife, chiefly to view the Frauenkirche restored sixty years after being bombed to the ground. For a time, the ruin stood as a symbol. Today it looks as it did in early 18th century pictures of Canaletto. In the 1770`s Kildare Cathedral was also once a roofless ruin like the Rock of Cashel. I hope one day there will be people skilled enough to take on the restoration of the cathedral. Archbishop Agar would have done it in the late 18th century, if he could have found or justified the expense.
I loved Hannah Cahill, one o two sisters just across the border in Offaly, saying “you would need great qualifications for marriage” as some of us who are keep lerning. She elaborates: “one would need the love o Christ, the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon and the strength of Samson”.
According to Jim Tiernan of Monore and Islandmore, Lough Derg, there are church plate and chalices womewhere on the lake bed, thrown in to escape from the Cromwelliam soldiery.
The irrepressible Joe Rea, former President of the IFA, is also featured. There are few of us in politics or farming who have not some experience of his swordplay, and no, he never took prisoners. Still this book shows that there is a sentimental side to him after all. His wife Margaret comes from Dan Breen country near Donohill. He liked Jimmy O`Dea`s quip “the Danes may have killed Brian Boru, but they woun`t kill me with their butter”. He pointed out that Ireland in 2004 now produces enough food to feed 30 million people, “a staggering contrast to the state of affairs which prevailed 50 years ago.” The IFA and the other farm organizations deserve a share of the credit, but then I am only an ordinary member. He too brings Cromwell into the picture, ollking down from the Vee in the direction of what is now Jor Rea`s farm and declaring: “there`s a land worth fighting for.” The National Roads Auithority clearly thinks so too.
The late Margaret Kennedy Doughan shows that “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” was accurate enough, recording a Black and Tan lorry that stopped by her house, fired into a flock of geese, then put them on the lorry and drove away. For what it is worth, to borrow Kevin Myers` colourful phraseology, a Black and Tan shot the Mansergh family hound (actually a pet dog of my father`s at the age of 10) at the Grenane gate “for reasons that seemed good to him at the time”.
John Knightly of Cashel waqs a godson of the famous Antartic Explorer Tom Crean of Annascaul, brought to life again in the Guinness Ads. We stopped at his pub on an afternoon in Dingle when it was pouring with rain last summer and enjoyed all the old photographs. Sadly, Crean had to be discreet about his past, because he was in the Royal Navy. Today, his personal achievements as an explorer can be openly admired, regardless of the flag he sailed under.
Bridget Malone of Portroe recalls the social life that was involved around the creamery, an experience I can rem ember as passenger and sometimes driver to the Grenane cremary by donkey and cart as a child some 50 years ago.
Edward Carson`s uncle was rector of Ardmayle, and the boy enjoyed riding a donkey and playing hurling with the local lads, according to Peter Meskell of Marlfield, Clonmel. If there is ever a GAA pitch built in a Protestant area in the North, it should obviously be called Carson Park.
It is unfortunately only possible to refer to a sample of the contributors. This is an exercise that has been carried out by the O`Keeffes in a number of counties, and obviously, as Willie Hayes will tell Maurice and Jane, a county like Tipperary, which has at least two of everything, may well deserve a second helpling.
Having run an antiques business in Tralee in tandem with this project, the O`Keeffes are now working full-time collecting material for the Western Munster counties and Galway, with work now going on in collaboration with heritage officers in Laois and Offaly. They will be glad to know that a a wedding in Co. Limerick yesterday, I mentioned this to the Minister for Finance Brian Cowen, who of cours supports Laois-Offaly, and he warmly welcomed the news.
This Tipperary book by the O`Keeffes follows “The Ancient Barony of Duhallow” and “Recollections of 1916 and its Aftermath” launched by Arts Minister John O`Donoghue last year which I have read with great benefit and which is a definite addition to the subject.
Coming home to Tipperary there is a tremendous pride in this county, for its sporting achievements, its rich heritage and wonderful landscape, its contribution second to none from 1820`s to the 1920`s to the different phases of the long struggle for freedom, and above all for it sresilient and resourceful people. Tipperary is coming b ak into it sown again, with a rapid pace of development all oer th county, and with improvements in infrastructure, which, when complete, will make it even more one of the chief crossroads of Ireland. The town of Cashel, among others, is already benefiting. The future will require a solid spirit, a great sense of community and pulling together.
The book and CD we are launching today are a great aid to all of that, and I hope it will be widely read, appreciated and listened to.