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Tipperary Remembrance Trust – Annual Remembrance 2013

It was a great privilege to take part in the Tipperary Remembrance Trust annual  remembrance over the last weekend in September.

DSCF2585The Tipperary Remembrance Trust was founded to commemorate Irish men and women who have  sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom and peace  across the world. To this end they have reclaimed and restored a portico from the officers Mess and living quarters from the Tipperary Military Barracks, built in the 1870’s. At one time there were up to 10,000 troops stationed in Tipperary Town and the military  presence had a big influence on the town.

DSCF2618The weekend kicked off with a most enjoyable dinner at the Aherlow House Hotel, beautifully located in the fabulous Glen of Aherlow,overlooked by the majestic Galtee Mountains. Damian Shiels, author of The Irish in the American Civil War delivered the after-dinner speech on the forgotten Irish who fought and died or were maimed in the shaping of the United States of America that we know today.

Guests of Honour at the dinner /commemoration were

Lt.Col Conor Burke, Irish Defence Forces

General David The O’Morchoe (Ret) C.B . C.B.E., President of the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland

Sqdn Leader Susie Barnes Defence Attaché New Zealand Defence Forces

Liet. Col. Sean Cosden Defence Attaché U.S.A Defence Forces

Lieut Col. Sean English Defence Attaché United Kingdom Defence Forces

Liet. Col. Jean Trudel Defence Attaché Canadian Defence Forces

Group Capt. Peter Wood, Defence Attaché Australian Defence Forces

Lieut Col. Conor Burke, Irish Defence Forces

Guy Jones Irish Lebanese Cultural Foundation

William Kane Irish U.N Veterans Association

On Sunday morning we gathered at St Mary’s Church in John Street, Tipperary,once the Garrison Church of the town and sadly now in need of maintenance. This Church has a stunning stained glass window, erected to the memory of 3 members of one family who died within months of each other in 1916. Also in this church is a plaque in memory of  39 Abbey Boys – pupils of the local Abbey School – who lost their lives in the  First World War.The Rector,Rev. Browen Carling with Fr  Dan McCarthy Chaplain to the Defence Forces,conducted a most edifying service in remembrance of Irish soldiers who have died in conflicts, serving with our own or other forces, across the world.

St Bridget’s Pipe Band then led a procession from the Church to the Remembrance Arch ,about 1 km away, for a wreath laying ceremony

The ceremony was very moving, especially of course at the sounding of the Last Post, always an emotional moment,and again when  a Lone Piper piped ‘Going Home’  .

It was so good to see the Military Attachees from other countries – many of whom visited Ireland specifically for this ceremony – honour our dead Irish soldiers by laying wreaths.

Mick Haslam, as the ‘face’ of the Tipperary Remembrance Trust has done excellent work in setting up, planning, organizing and implementing these annual commemorations. Huge thanks are due to him for his trojan work. I love these pictures of him at the ceremony, raising the Irish Flag from half-mast. The memory of our  countrymen, who have given their lives for peace on this planet,has been in a safe pair of hands.

It was a privilege to have been there.

Further information:

The History of Tipperary Barracks

The Abbey Boys, TipperaryTown

Tipperary Remembrance Trust

David, The O’Morchoe CB, CBE 

Damian Shiels, Author, Conflict Archaeologist,PhD Scholar,Blogger

 

12 Comments

October 7, 2013 · 10:05 pm

Silver Surfer Awards 2013 with Google and Age Action

I was delighted to receive an invitation  for myself and a guest to the award ceremony for the Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action, which took place in Dublin  on Wednesday last. I was thrilled to be back in Google, with Louise, for the first time since I won the  Social Networking Award in 2011, and to meet again with the stalwarts of Age Action – Robin Webster, Eamon Timmins and Pauline Power.

Google  epitomizes everything that is young, innovative and fun. This is clear from the moment you step through the front door! All the more wonderful then that they sponsor the annual Silver Surfer Awards that celebrate older people and technology. A perfect marriage in many ways.

The ceremony took place in the spacious and comfortable state of the art Google auditorium. We were entertained by the talented Bugle Babes with their Andrews Sisters type repertoire and  harmonies, and their (perfectly straight) seamed stockings (George Hook checked them out).Their singing was beautiful and well enjoyed by everyone!

The ever young George Hook, broadcaster, journalist and rugby pundit hosted  the ceremony with great wit and humour, and Mr Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources attended – both of whom are, appropriately enough, Seniors.  Minister Rabbitte expressed the wish that no senior citizen be left behind in this era of  instant communication.  Sinead Gibney, Social Action Manager with Google, and Robin Webster, the indefatigable Chief Executive of Age Action were also present. Sinead  treated us to a reading of the poem ‘When I am old’, which can be seen on my blog page here . Pauline Power who operates the Getting Started Programme with Age Action and Anne Marie Walsh, the Event Manager, ensured that things flowed smoothly.

And so to the fabulous people whose terrific achievements were to be honoured at these awards. There were several categories as follows:

New to IT Award
A person over the age of 50 who is new to technology and has overcome challenges to become an IT user

Finalists were:

Austin was the winner of this category. His story is inspirational – having left school early he had some catching up to do in later life and this he did using technology. He has written a biography for his family.

Hobbies on the Net Award was next with 5 finalists

An older person who uses the Internet to pursue their passion or hobby or who uses IT for communication and social networking

I was particularly interested in this category as my ears pricked up when I heard the name Seamus Harkin from Creeslough. Creeslough is 7 mile s from my home village of Carrigart, Co Donegal.  On an all-too-rare visit back to my roots this summer, we were in search of the site of  a former 19th Century  Revenue Barracks in Creeslough. We were given Seamus Harkin’s phone number. Seamus Harkin is all things Creeslough and is a highly respected fountain of all sorts of historical knowledge in this particular area   He was most helpful and accommodating. We spoke several times by phone, but I had not met him until today, so that was a particularly pleasant meeting!  Thanks again Seamus for sharing your knowledge  and time with us.

Seamus is known as the Singing Undertaker at home and he fixes fiddles  as a hobby- how interesting is that!  Well done on this achievement Seamus agus  Tír Chonaill Abú!

IT Tutor(s) of the year 

An individual or group of any age who provides voluntary support to older learners. Anne won this award for her work in upskilling some 40 tutors. Anne is from Louth and were other nominees – Drogheda & District Support 4 Older People.  Small county with big hearts for older people!

Golden IT Award
An individual over the age of 80 who uses technology to enhance their lives

 

I love the Golden category – here are people of advanced years who have engaged with what can be a challenging medium – perhaps they came to it after losing a life partner –  and here they have found a new way of doing things, new ways to keep in touch, and have enhanced their lives.  Michael was the winner this year. He has long been an advocate of technology and encourages older people especially to use it . Michael has a blog  The Commonplace Book that is worth a visit for the quotes alone!  The judges for all of these categories had a challenging task to pick just one from each of these categories as they are heroes all!

Google Silver Surfer Award

An older person who embraces the Internet or technology with a sense of fun and adventure.

The winner of this over arching award was David,  who has become something of a techie since his retirement and has indulged his passions for music and digital photography, and entertains his grandchildren with his technical expertise!  With Apologies to Maura and Fred for the blurred photographs. Michael in this category was an inspiration to all of us – he suffered a stroke but then used his experience to help others and technology is a perfect medium for him. Well done to you all!

This is an appropriate place to give a huge shout out for Age Action Ireland   This is a n Irish Charity that promotes positive ageing and  better policies and services for older people. Age Action is regularly in the news headlines speaking out about issues that affect all of us who are older and more vulnerable. Ageing is an issue that hopefully will affect all of us of every age.  Do drop in to their webpage  here to see the wonderful work that they do, – work that enhances the lives of thousands of people and of society as a whole.

At a delicious and beautifully presented  lunch afterwards ,entertainment was provided by the excellent  and splendidly named barbershop quartet, the Sea Sharps .

It was a great event and hearty congratulations again to all the finalists  – winners all!

As  we left the premises,I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the decoration in the washrooms.

DSCF2687

The very colourful landing  with floor, walls and ceiling covered with faces – after all that is what Google is all about –  people of ALL ages!

DSCF2695

Further biographical info  on the winners can be found here

Thank you Google, and thank you Age Action!

13 Comments

October 6, 2013 · 1:15 pm

Culture Night, Ireland September 2013

This is the eighth annual Culture Night, with 34 regions, towns and cities around the island of Ireland taking part in a variety of free cultural and artistic events.

Music, dance, theatre, spoken word, literature, visual art, tours, workshops and exhibitions are all part of this year’s programme, with details available at:www.culturenight.ie.

To mark this special night, I am reposting  a blog about Sean O ‘Riada who had such an influence on our Irish traditional music, modernizing it and bringing it to the attention of an entire generation. 

Happy Culture Night to all readers in Ireland!

https://thesilvervoice.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/irish-traditional-music-and-sean-o-riada/

13 Comments

September 20, 2013 · 3:42 pm

You are my Sunshine

I have been given a Sunshine Flower by Jean Tubridy, for which I am most grateful and surprised!  I do not normally take part in these blog ‘awards’, as they are so time consuming but have made an exception here to mark a beautiful sun-filled summer of 2013  and to acknowledge the wonderful bloggers that I follow and who follow my scribbles here on the internet. I am doing so as a once-off celebration of  you all!

There are rules :

Link back to your nominator. 

http://socialbridge.wordpress.com/

I have  followed Jean Tubridy’s blog almost from the get-go. Such a wonderful writer with a beautiful command of English who is able to get to the heart of the matter in a  half sentence. Inspirational, funny, delightful.

Display the Sunshine Award image as you see below:

image of yellow sunflower representing sunshine blogger award

Rule 3: List Ten Random Things about Yourself

These things enlighten my life

1. I love the sun and  first thing every morning I look to see if the golden rays are dancing on the tree outside my bedroom window.

2. I love light – my house faces south with huge windows to the south and to the west to enjoy the setting sun

3. I love flowers – wild and in the garden – and spend hours peering at them.

4. I love scenery and am blessed to live in Ireland that has such wonderful scenery.

5. I love books and good writing and read in the hope that some of the writing eloquence might be transmitted to me! 

6. I love music, especially the big emotional kind, such as Renee Fleming singing Song to the Moon.

7. I love the Moon and the Stars and am blessed with my own piece  of sky here in the country and have a telescope to enjoy them all the more!

8.I love meeting with friends for coffee or to go to theatre or just for a chat as they lighten my days!

9. I love solitary walks in the company of birds and insects and hearing the sounds of nature.

10. I love the internet and blogging-  it has enlightened me more than anything else in my life and opened up a whole new world to me in the ‘golden’ years of life.

So who will receive my Sunflower?

If YOU are reading this, then please accept one from me ! I read so, so many wonderful posts each week,I cannot  single out a few as each is a gem, a jewel, a ray of sunshine in my life. Each is thoughtfully written and ‘put out there’ to inform, to inspire, to provoke, to gladden, to dismay, to enlighten, to bring Sunshine to our lives!  Thank you all!

5 Comments

August 27, 2013 · 10:22 pm

Balls of Flour – the joy of new potatoes

It has been a long, long wait!  The awful cold and wet spring weather has held everything up. Finally, after a few false starts,  I have enjoyed the first ‘balls of flour’ of 2013.The term ‘balls of flour ‘will mean nothing to anyone who has not been born and bred in Ireland.  It refers of course to the eagerly awaited early crop of new potatoes . Potatoes! To many people outside of Ireland  the very word conjures up images of Famine. The reality is that when the new potatoes arrive each year , it is in fact a fabulous feast!

My own earliest encounter with the expression was way, way back in the mists of time.  My father rented a small field each year for the sole purpose of growing potatoes. In early days it was a number of drills in a big field in Drumnamona,outside Carrigart, but the plot I remember best was in Tirlaughan, beside an abandoned stone house, up on a hill. The plot was small and my memory is of it being  warm and sunny. Early  in the year seed potatoes were put into boxes to develop eyes. On Good Friday each year, sprouted seed potatoes were inspected, and if they had ‘eyes’ they were good to plant. Big ones were cut in half.

Sprouted Seed Potato. Image WikiMedia Commons

Sprouted Seed Potato. Image Wikimedia Commons

They were planted in drills – backbreaking work for youngish children – and later they were ‘earthed up’ to exclude all light. On the morning of  June 29th, (the Feast of St Peter & Paul, and coincidentally, also the  annual sports day in Cranford)  we went off with my father, carrying  the grape (a two-pronged fork) and a bucket. The grape was plunged deep into the black earth  under the leafy green plant, and the first new spuds came up – with many of various sizes attached to the roots of each plant, eliciting ‘oohs ‘ and ‘aahs’ from all of us as the earth was shaken off and the potatoes fell to the ground.

Drills of potatoes. Image Wikimedia Commons

Drills of potatoes. Image Wikimedia Commons

They were inspected, tested to see if the thin skin would just ‘rub off’, placed in the bucket and off we went with our treasure .  In  a couple of hours, (in these days dinner  was the mid day meal) they were on a huge plate in the middle of the table, ready to be devoured. If they were declared to be ‘balls of flour’ it was the ultimate accolade and a promise of a great meal to follow.

2013-08-07 18.39.00

Great Balls of Flour!

With almost the same intensity as we think of them at Christmas, our emigrants are uppermost in our thoughts at this time. Wherever they are, whether it be USA, Australia, Canada, the UK or Europe, or any place else – chances are, they are missing the balls of flour at this time of year. The Irish taste for dry floury potatoes is not shared by others, whose preference is for waxy varieties. I recall being unable to eat the potatoes in England when I first went to live there, as the texture was so unappealing to me. Similarly in Australia last year, the offering of a so-called potato was underwhelming!

2013-08-07 18.54.03

A dish of Queens

For a few weeks we will enjoy this beautiful early crop, steamed ( not boiled) , skins removed and served with a knob of butter and a grind of black pepper.  Heaven!

Royal Feast - Skins removed, with a knob of butter  on top

Royal Feast – Skins removed, with a knob of butter on top. A dinner fit for Queens.

19 Comments

August 13, 2013 · 12:39 pm

A Balmy Evening

Lawn1 9 pm on a balmy summer evening, in Limerick, Ireland. The acre has just been mown and the  air is heavy with the scent of freshly cut grass .

lAWN3Low flying birds are feasting on evening insects as the sun prepares to slip behind the hill.

The delicious scent of freshly cut grass mixes with the heady perfume of  a Honeysuckle in full bloom.hONEYSUCKLETruly, a perfect evening!

 

10 Comments

August 7, 2013 · 8:49 pm

Stamp Your Mark on Irish Commemoration of the American Civil War

As events commemorating the  150th Anniversary of the American Civil War continue  into 2015, there is still an opportunity for Ireland to recognize the enormous contribution of tens of thousands of Irishmen who gave their lives, limbs  hearts and minds in this conflict. A commemorative stamp would be a fitting tribute and as An Post are looking for suggestions for a commemorative issue, would you like to make this suggestion by filling in their form here ? It will only take a few minutes!

Read more on this in the repressed item from Irish in the  American Civil War blog

Stamp Your Mark on Irish Commemoration of the American Civil War.

 

2 Comments

January 27, 2013 · 9:35 pm

A Good Read: The House on an Irish Hillside

One of the silver linings in the cloud of a very un-festive flu is the extended reading time available to make an impression on the reading list. With its large readable format and easy prose, fitting the bill perfectly for propped-up- in- bed reading is Felicity Hayes McCoy’s ‘The House on an Irish Hillside.

This book is a true love story between Felicity and the spectacularly beautiful  Dingle Peninsula. From the day of her arrival  as a student of Irish at the age of 17, the magic of the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, in the south-west of Ireland filtered into her heart and mind down the years, the incessant ‘pull’  culminating in herself and her English husband buying Tí Neillí Mhuiris – (The house of Nellie, daughter of Muris), a house built from stones picked from the fields and remembered with affection for its once smoke-filled kitchen.

Dingle_peninsula_panorama_crop

Anyone who has ever crossed  the magical Connor Pass, and dropped down into the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula has experienced the unique sense of this place. Few who visit here are not enchanted by the  fabulous scenery, the friendly people, the history, the cultural tradition and  the wonderful food.

Dingle Peninsula

Patchwork of fields on the slopes above Coumeenoole Strand at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula ( Image Wiki commons)

Felicity’s book is beautifully written – flowing along with perfectly chosen words  building  the word pictures that pervade  every page. We are enticed by the ‘polished pewter waves’ and ‘rain-washed mornings with skies like mother of pearl’ and ‘waves shimmering emerald, turquoise and jade’. Dingle is a place that challenges those who wish to describe it, for we simply do not have the vocabulary.  My two abiding images are of red hens pecking at watercress and girls cycling to dances with their high heels slung around their necks! It was at this level that Felicity’s writing appealed to me so very much, but there is more.

gold boat Celtic hoard

The Gold Boat in the National Museum of Ireland, dates from the 1st Century and thought to have been an offering to the God Manannan Mac Lir (Image National Museum)

Felicity has an extensive knowledge and regard for Irish myth and local folklore and these together with the beauty of the place are the ‘weft ‘ on which she weaves a beautiful tapestry of stories of  her love affair with Dingle’s people and places. Manannán Mac Lir, the Celtic God of the Sea , Mrs Hurley, Danú the Fertility Goddess, Kath the London neighbour; Spot the neighbour’s dog and the Sun God Lugh – all woven  together to deepen the understanding of this place. On these pages you will find present day relevance of Imbolg, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain, the great festivals and turning points in the Celtic year; you will join in on dancing in the kitchen and music  by the fireside, celebrate Nollag na mBan and the ‘Wran’ boys.  The mythology, the folk-tales  the music, song and dance, the living friends and neighbours and the simplicity of things that matter to them, together with the memory of the dead,some of whom died  before the author came to live here and  some of whose coffins she followed, is all intertwined into a wonderful tribute to all that is Dingle.

This book will I believe,  appeal to anyone who has visited Dingle and has been smitten by it and who keeps going back.  It will also appeal to people with Irish roots, who have never stood on these shores as it will give them a sense of what it is to be Irish, what it is to be tied into the traditions and myths of our heritage and how these things impact on everyday life .  I heartily recommend it as an excellent read.

HuseFHMcC

The House on an Irish Hillside by Felicity Hayes-McCoy is published by Hodder & Stoughton and is available in all good book shops and online.

Felicity Hayes -McCoy website

Felicity’s blog 

Dingle Tourism

11 Comments

January 5, 2013 · 6:06 pm

Ireland Calling: The Gathering 2013

In the closing days of 2012 we read that our young people are leaving this country at the rate of 200 a day, a level of emigration not experienced since the great famine. They head off to Britain, Canada, United States of America, New Zealand, many parts of Europe or as in the case of my family, to far off Australia. Although 46,500 Irish-born  left us  in the year to April 2012, these new emigrants have opportunities to stay in contact with brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends through social media and the irreplaceable Skype.  Long ago – and indeed not so long ago – when our family members departed these shores, it was often a challenge to stay in contact; people did not have telephones, for those who did, phoning was expensive;  people either could not write or were not good at writing letters.

Today New Year’s Day, marks the beginning of The Gathering 2013, a year-long series of events celebrating our heritage, our musical and literary traditions and our sense of fun all arranged to tempt our departed kinsfolk to visit the land of their fathers.  We Irish have a natural instinct to gather, rooted perhaps in the old rural tradition of the ‘meitheal’ where neighbours came together as a team  to help with the harvest or some other major event and where firm friendships were shaped.

Spike-island-aerial

Spike Island (Cork County Council)

This afternoon, a 21 gun salute resounded out over the splendid Cork Harbour,from where countless thousands left here by choice or necessity down the ages. The 21 gun salute was heard here for the first time in almost 30 years. Spike Island in the Harbour is the site of  one of only two fixed national saluting stations in Ireland, the second being on the end of the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire, appropriately enough also at the point of departure of tens of thousands of Irish seeking better lives abroad.

The sounding of the 21 gun salute is a tribute to all the people who have left Ireland, and while it  also symbolizes a ‘caoin’ from the heart of those of us who are left behind, it is a mighty symbolic call  to Ireland’s emigrants to come home, a symbolic call that has been sent out across the oceans, across continents to all parts of the world where Irish have settled to remind them of their heritage and to come back and share in some of it .

Mouth of Cork Harbour photographed from Cobh

Mouth of Cork Harbour photographed from Cobh, from where thousands of Irish left to take up new lives.

2013 is set to be a spectacular year-long celebration.

Taragaí linn. Beidh failte roimh gach duine  in the wonderful year that is planned!

References:

Central Statistics Office 

History of the 21 Gun Salute

24 Comments

January 1, 2013 · 10:25 pm

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 23,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

 

11 Comments

December 31, 2012 · 11:58 am