The County Tipperary Historical Society, founded in 1987, is a society dedicated to recording and disseminating the history, heritage and folklore of County Tipperary, a Munster county steeped in history. Dr. Martin Mansergh, at the launch of the 1996 Tipperary Historical Journal, reflected “Tipperary presents a rich historical patch-work. It is a part of Ireland that has played a very prominent part throughout our history. In some centuries it has been the epicentre of wars and troubles. In 1848, 1867 and 1919 it was the heart of the revolution. As my father once wrote, in January 1919, events on a Tipperary road at Sologheadbeg had as much importance in their way as the opening deliberations of Dáil Éireann. Apart from politics, Tipperary has important ecclesiastical foundations, Cashel and Holycross, to name but two. This town of Thurles gave birth to the GAA under the patronage of a marvellously outspoken churchman Archbishop Croke, whose political correspondence appears in the many books by Emmet Larkin. From Tipperary virtually every family, including my own, has sent sons and daughters to England, America, Australia and all corners of the globe. Ireland is the headquarters of so many families, and there is great interest in their roots. It seems to be that there is virtually limitless scope for local history stretching far into the future.”
On August 15, 1987, in St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, a small group of 16 people from backgrounds as varied as geographers, barristers, teachers, scientists, politicians, archaeologists and local & academic historians came together. The one factor that linked this group was their concern and enthusiasm for all aspects of the county’s heritage. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss the possibility of publishing an historical journal for the whole county, incorporating the various disciplines connected with Tipperary’s past. Not only was the matter discussed, but a society was inaugurated there and then to realise the project.
Spearheading the venture was a group most of whose names are well known in historical and other circles and included Dr. William Nolan, Dr. Tom Power, Dr. Tom McGrath, Mr. Marcus de Burca and Mr. Joe Walsh. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Willie Nolan, who outlined briefly how the idea of a county historical journal evolved and the objectives and agenda for the meeting. The recent impetus for the project came when the idea of a journal was revived and discussed at an historical conference in Cahir Castle in May, since when it had gathered momentum and support. The first objective of the meeting was to establish an umbrella organisation representative of the whole county and it was resolved to call this body the County Tipperary Historical Society and so the society was inaugurated without much further ado. It was also decided that the primary objective of this society be the publication of an annual journal of high quality and of wide interest.
Next on the agenda was the election of officers and committee for the society, which turned out to be an impressive panel indeed. His Grace, Dr. Morris, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly was proposed as patron of the society; Chairman Eddie Dalton; Vice-Chairman Dr. Willie Nolan, Coalbrook, Thurles; Secretary Joe Walsh; Treasurer Mr. Michael Fitzgerald, Thurles; Legal Advisor Mr. Marcus de Burca BL, Drogheda and Eagarthóir Gaeilge Mr. Liam Ó Duibhir, Clonmel. The Editorial Board would be Dr. Tom McGrath, Ballingarry, Dr. Tony Candon, Roscrea Heritage Centre and Dr. Tom Power, Waterford. Committee members appointed were Pat Keating, Tim Looney, Willie Corbett, Jim Condon, Michael O’Donnell, Fr. Christy O’Dwyer and Des Marnane. The committee was empowered to co-opt as many others as necessary to ensure equal representation of the whole county. The election of an editorial/reading committee to vet the various articles submitted for publication was been left to the editorial board. It was further resolved to start recruiting members for the society immediately in order to build up a sound financial basis before the publication of the journal, which would be called the Tipperary Historical Journal. The support offered by both County Councils, North and South Riding, was very encouraging and the presence at the meeting of Mr. Tom Ambrose MCC, Chairman of Tipperary SR County Council, who made a positive commitment to the venture, was gratefully appreciated by all present. After discussion of other minor points the meeting adjourned, a good day’s work having been done by all present.
It was hoped the journal would provide a forum for all those unpublished papers and lectures on Tipperary that had been delivered at various conferences over the years. In addition, it was hoped that the invaluable material gathered by students for BA, MA and PhD theses, for so long buried away in dusty university libraries or thrown under the authors’ beds, would at last see the light of day and be rendered accessible to interested readers through the medium of this journal. The vast Tipperary archives in various private collections scattered around the county could guarantee an indefinite supply of material for the journal over the next few years and hopefully longer. The success of “Tipperary: History and Society”, a collection of multi-disciplinary essays on the evolution of the county, published in 1985, had whetted the appetite of many at home and abroad and there was now a craving for information on Tipperary’s past. It was hoped this journal would satisfy that craving on an annual basis.
The first Tipperary Historical Journal was published in 1988 and launched by William Corbett. It sold out within an astonishing six months. Since then, the Tipperary Historical Journal has been published annually, each year bringing new research spanning all disciplines and has become recognised, both at home and abroad, as a Journal renowned for its quality of research and breadth of content.
George Cunningham, well-known Roscrea historian, spoke for many in his launch address for the 1997 Tipperary Historical Journal. “How well the 10 issues sit together on any shelf and how valuable they are. How justifiably proud the founders, the committee, the contributors and the editor must be, and should be, of this major contribution to the heritage of Ireland in general and to Tipperary in particular. Disastrous to dip in – the whole day goes: car owners in 1906; fulachta fias and guerilla warfare; Tipperary newspapers and farm accounts; convicts and bishops; politicians and shopkeepers … all will entrance you and provide “many unexpected and incidental pleasures”. Yeats’ words “We work to add dignity to Ireland” may well be repeated concerning all who are involved with this worthy work. If Holycross, Cashel, Kilcooley, Athassel, Monaincha, Lorrha, Terryglass, Doirenaflan, Ahenny, Donaghmore, Killodiernan, Liathmore and Toureen Peakaun, to mention just a few of our Christian treasures, can be spoken of as “Enduring Sermons on the Landscape”, so too will this Journal become an enduring source for future research into the place we are proud to call home. This is patriotism at its best in our times: living and working to the best of one’s ability for one’s native health.”
Within the pages of this web site, you will find a wealth of history, a list of all published articles in each Journal, original Newsletters as they were published and much more.
Publications by Tipperary Studies, including ‘County Tipperary 1917-1921: a history in 80 documents’ by Denis G. Marnane with Mary Guinan Darmody
Annual accounts are presented by the Hon. Treasurer to members at the Annual General Meeting. The accounts for the last number of years are available to view here.