Journal highlights Tipperary's sporting heritage

Tipperary Historical Journal 2017

Journal highlights Tipperary's sporting heritage

Tipperary Historical Journal 2017, which was launched recently, is the 30th issue of the publication.

From its outset in 1988, the journal has made a major contribution to our knowledge of the history of Tipperary.

This latest issue contains a varied and interesting collection of articles.

The featured article in the journal is the first part of Patrick Bracken's bibliography of sport in Co. Tipperary. This most exhaustive and thorough work very successfully brings together the books, journals, articles and pamphlets which are relevant to sport in Tipperary. A total of thirty-two sports are examined.

In Part 1 Patrick deals with sports other than those of the G.A.A. This detailed analysis emphasises the great and diverse sporting tradition of Tipperary and will ease the task of researchers in the future. G.A.A. sports will be treated in Part 2.

Clonmel is well featured in the journal with Seán O’Donnell’s fine study of John Bagwell, politician and landlord. Seán also traces the intriguing role played by Rev. Michael Bourke in Bagwell’s success. Bagwell, though demonstrating a strong preference for the Union, enjoyed great popularity in Clonmel, where his benevolence and generosity was long remembered.

Louise Nugent’s research on stone faces and cats with two tails makes fascinating reading. The carving and sculpting of James Dorney of Newcastle in south Tipperary is recorded for posterity and the folk tales regarding the cat with two tails are explored. The legendary Gobán Saor also gets a mention here.

Denis G. Marnane, a long time contributor to the journal, in this his fourth and final article on, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”: A Military Barracks, a Song and a World War, details the changing role of Tipperary Military Barracks from a venue where in 1914 soldiers were trained and prepared for combat to its changed function by 1916 as a place where thousands of wounded, mostly young, soldiers were sent for recuperation and rehabilitation. The horrors of war are vividly brought home to us, the role of Canon Arthur Ryan, the local support for the barracks and how the military barracks functioned in relation to the local town and townspeople are all explored.

J.M. Tobin continues his forensic examination of the early years of the G.A.A. with his study of Michael Cusack’s Prairie Fire and Athletics in Thurles and Moycarkey-Borris. Tobin also highlights the stark contrast between athletic activity of pre and post GAA, with startling results. Cusack’s ‘prairie fire’ didn’t burn as brightly as intimated!

The fascinating account of the life of Lady Dorothie Feilding Moore by Alice McDermott deals with the heroism of this young lady, detailing her Great War overseas nursing experiences. Her courage was recognised separately by the Belgian, British and French governments and earned Dorothie each country’s top accolade for bravery. She was a very likable woman, totally unbound by her gender and background. Dorothie married Captain Charles Moore, from Mooresfort in Tipperary and after the war settled into life there until her untimely death in 1935.

It is fascinating to read Neville O’Connell’s study of Thurlesman Michael O’Connell (1887-1936), who was Vice Commandant of the 2nd Tipperary Brigade. The planning and execution of the Knocklong rescue is vividly detailed and there is an added interest in this account as it is researched by O’Connell’s great grandson, who shares with the reader that extra titbit of family knowledge, not generally available to historians.

Thomas MacDonagh’s departure from Kilkenny in 1903 is excellently researched by Proinsias Ó Drisceoil, who challenges received assumptions, casting new light on MacDonagh’s departure.

Richard Sadlier’s study of Patterns of Morbidity in 19th Century Tipperary shows a decrease in the frequency of violent deaths in the county. Increased accidental deaths due to the onset of steam engines and railways are recorded, although the predominant cause of accidental death is by drowning. Tim Boland recalls a fascinating but distressing tale of breach of promise to marry. Such cases were numerous in 19th century Irish courts.

Dunkerrin parish accounts have provided Daniel Grace with a most valuable source of information as he researched the income of Catholic priests in pre-Famine Ireland. Sources from other parishes in the Killaloe diocese are also included. The curate’s lot was not very attractive as he had to endure years on a low income before he could hope to reach the promised land of his own parish.

Mark O’ Keeffe in his study of Fenians, Spies and Army Munity: The Unravelling of the Tipperary I.R.B. in 1865-66 clearly demonstrates that security within this secret oath-sworn society was not as expected and how the organisation suffered from inept management and poor planning.

The Irish era of industrial tariff protection is recalled by Neil Sharkey’s very interesting research into three Clonmel industries: - Munster Shoes, Clonmel Industries Ltd. and Currans Enamelware. Such industries gave the town an important industrial base and helped the county survive the depressed and difficult period from the 1930s through to the 1960s.

Tipperary Historical Journal, now a well-established annual publication, is deserving of our support. It should also be an essential purchase for the libraries in our schools and colleges. All who value Tipperary’s rich heritage owe a debt to the authors and editor, Denis G. Marnane.