Update - President Higgins expected in Cabragh Wetlands, Thurles, on Saturday after 5pm

Eoin Kelleher


Eoin Kelleher

Update - President Higgins expected in Cabragh Wetlands, Thurles, on Saturday after 5pm

President of Ireland for Cabragh Wetlands - updated ETA.

President Higgins is due to visit Cabragh Wetlands in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, tomorrow (Saturday, May 19th). It had been previously scheduled that he would visit at around 3pm, however his visit has now delayed by two hours due to the Funeral of Tom Murphy, the playwright.

Guests should now be at the Wetlands for 5pm. Apologies but the delay is unavoidable. For more information contact organiser Mary MacMahon, Committee Member, at 0862079213. 

The recently erected Visitor Centre on the lands of the Cabragh Wetlands Trust, will be officially opened by the President of Ireland, Mr Michael D. Higgins, in an outdoor event. 

All attendants are expected to be in place one hour before the ceremony, which is now expected at 6pm. There will be no parking at the Visitor Centre Site, however allowances will be made for people requiring to be dropped at the Centre’s main gates, and Wardens will direct drivers of vehicles to specially provided parking areas, made available by local landowners.

"Who would have thought, gazing out on the site of a potential dump for the Thurles Sugar Factory well over thirty years ago that the President of Ireland with hiswell-flaggedd concern for Ireland’s environment, would arrive at this ancient place to mark an important step in the story, not only of Cabragh Wetlands but of the wider Tipperary landscape, with his presence?

"In welcoming all our supporters including the local community, anybody with an interest in the natural world, the children of all our schools, the members of the adopt a plot scheme and all contributors in one way or another to a development that has taken decades to reach this point, we wish to outline the arrangements for the day," say the organisers. 

There will be no parking on the site, although people may be dropped at the gate and the stewards will direct you to suitable parking places. We are grateful to the local landowners for their offer of parking space. It is envisaged that it will be an outdoor event with some seating available for those who need it but in general we will stand in the open air. Thankfully, if the weather is not kind, the inside of the centre itself will provide an alternative.

The President’s allotted time with us is 45 minutes and although there will be a small window of opportunity to mingle, we ask everyone to observe the protocol. Since the President’s own poetry is engraved in stone on the Cosmic Walk, he will take the opportunity to view it and indeed the wide expanse of the wetlands having first unveiled a commemorative plaque and spoken at length.

The President will be accompanied by his wife Sabina and to her also we extend a warm Tipperary welcome.
We would be delighted to see family groups and of course plenty of children as the whole project is primarily concerned with their futures and if they can wear tokens of pride in their communities, all the better.

Cabragh Wetlands is very proud of the niche it has carved out in the world of music and song and having arrived early you will get an opportunity to savour the best of it as it wafts across the reeds. Be assured that the committee along with the Fás workers will have the whole place in tip top shape for you to enjoy what by any stretch of the imagination is a very special day in the long standing story of Cabragh, Fertiana and Galbertstown.

How fitting that we are this week beginning National Bio-diversity week -I doubt if there are many places on this island that are so biodiverse as Cabragh - nurtured by people who lived on the edge of the reedbed for millennia, rescued in 1992 from a fate that would have seen either industrial sludge covering the reeds or a municipal dump. The foresight of the founders along with the generosity of Irish Sugar deserves to be recognised.

Since then, Shannon Development, Tipperary County Council, the Heritage Council and particularly Leader, both north and south, along with members’ contributions, individual benefactors, fundraising, church gate collections and the contribution of Fás workers have helped to arrive at this moment when the President of Ireland unveils the plaque to open one of very few centres specifically designated to the environment in Ireland.

In thanking each and every one who played any part in reaching this moment of celebration, it seems a very appropriate time for a much wider involvement of the civic authorities, very welcome guests next Saturday, for whom the environment and its future is a cause for concern and action.

"The plants of the wetland are coming alive, the birdsong is reaching a crescendo, the paths are drying and the sun is reaching its zenith. Why not set next Saturday evening aside to welcome our President to our own place and make it a day to remember for you, your elders and your children."