Like so much else over the past few years, Tipperary Historical Society held no meetings so that the last AGM was in June 2019. Some degree of normality was restored when on Saturday 23 July members gathered at The Source in Thurles for a long delayed AGM.
The main business of the society is the publication of an annual journal, something achieved each year since 1988. While there were no meetings these past years, the annual journal was published, albeit later each year than wished.
This year however after the AGM was concluded, the chairman Daniel Grace from near Nenagh was able to welcome John Coman, Tipperary town native, the College Secretary in Trinity College and PRO of the Tipperary GAA Supporters Club to launch Tipperary Historical Journal 2022.
This year’s journal has fourteen articles and a book review section that includes discussion about four recent books on the Civil War. Of particular interest to people from the Thurles region is an article by Fr George Bourke a former PP of Moycarkey and trustee of the Stanwix Charity, which houses are a unique part of that town’s heritage. The article discusses the history of this charity in process of being renewed for our time.
Joe Tobin a regular contributor to the journal discusses ‘athletics, land and nationalism in Thurles, Moycarkey and Killenaule’ 1871-1921. Frances Maxwell looks at items from the records of the Trant family of Dovea. Danny Grace concludes his account of the adventurous career of John Hassett Gleeson, born near Borrisoleigh in 1837. He fought in the American Civil War and in the Papal Brigade. He was also a leading Fenian and took part in the famous Fenian ‘invasion of Canada’. He died in 1889 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
In the context of an increasing interest in family history, this year’s journal has a comprehensive listing of burials at Modeshill Graveyard on the Kilkenny border and a fascinating story about Dan Connolly from Roscrea who was transported to Australia in 1838 for theft, leaving behind his wife and three children. In Australia he had a new life and a new family. The article was written by a descendant, of the Australian family! A very different kind of Australian experience was that of Thomas A Fitzgerald who grew up in Thurles, became a Franciscan and had a big influence on Irish-Australian cultural life. He died in Sydney in 1921.
William Nolan from Coalbrook near Thurles is well known as the publisher of the County: History and Society series that began in 1985 with the volume on Tipperary and which has by now encompassed virtually all of the thirty two counties. Retired as professor of geography at UCD, his article on the legacy of Young Ireland 1849-1966 is a foretaste of his two volume history of that movement to be published later this year.
Francis Devine is very well known as an historian of Irish trade unionism and has contributed to this year’s Tipperary Historical Journal a comprehensive article on the history and impact of the ITGWU on the county between1918-1930. This is an invaluable work of reference as it gives detailed branch membership figures. For example there were 414members in Thurles in 1919 but this had fallen to nineteen in 1927.
As this is a county historical journal it provides coverage of the entire region. Seamus King from Cashel, well known as a writer about the GAA describes a campaign against TB in his home town in 1908. Donegal man Tom Plunkett writes about Valentine Ryan, a Cappawhite landlord who also had land in Donegal. Ryan was a latecomer, one of the new rich who bought land when it came cheap on the market after the Great Famine.
Very different was Trevor Lloyd Ashe, member of a long established family of Cromwellian descent in the Glen of Aherlow. Denis G. Marnane, the journal editor, describes Ashe’s life and times, including his conversion to Roman Catholicism and the building and collapse of his Gothic folly Castle Mary. One of the largest estates in the county was that of the O’Callaghan family, viscounts Lismore of Shanbally Castle at Clogheen which was one of the most lavish residences in the county. Margaret O’Sullivan writes about the role of the bailiff on the estate.
It is appropriate that the premier county has a premier historical journal and Tipperary Historical Journal for 2022 continues to add to what is known about the history and heritage of Tipperary. It is available from Tipperary Studies, The Source, Thurles and good bookshops.