MY TIPPERARY LIFE

Tipperary award winning photographer John Cash shares his favourite things about the Premier County

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Tipperary award winning photographer John Cash shares his favourite things about the Premier County

Award winning photographer John Cash

Award winning photographer John Cash has had his work exhibited in many parts of Ireland, the US and London and previously worked as a photo journalist for regional newspapers. As well as having his work in a number of private art collections, John has also sold work into the state art collection on two occasions. Based in Golden, history buff John regularly runs his own photography tours and workshops all over Tipperary

What's your idea of a perfect day, or perfect weekend in tipperary?
The biggest problem I have is trying to keep it to one or even two things. Tipperary has inspired my love of history, my photography and even inspired a documentary film I made on this wonderful county. I suppose my perfect day or weekend would have to include the River Suir. We are very fortunate to have a wonderful walk along the River Suir from my native Golden to Cashel. You could never tire of the beauty of the Golden Vale and if you are of a mind, you can stop off in Cashel for something to eat or drink or return to Golden to do likewise there.

Who has made the greatest contribution to Tipperary in your lifetime - and why?
This took me quite a bit of time, but I kept coming back to Simon Ryan, brother of Tony Ryan (Ryanair). The wonderful Simon Ryan Theatre in the Tipperary Excel centre is a wonderful space. I, along with many others, have been fortunate to tread the boards on the stage of this theatre and so has my son Riain. Through his contribution he brought a professional stage to the general public. It is a fitting tribute to a great patron of the arts in Tipperary and Ireland and I hope that people, whether attending a show or taking part in one, appreciate the contribution of Simon Ryan to the arts.


What's your first tipperary memory?
My first memories of Tipperary associate with the River Suir. I do not think we realised as very young children the absolute freedom we had growing up. Fishing and swimming in the River Suir was a must growing up and sometimes I think that I swallowed so much Suir water learning to swim, that it must be still coursing through my veins. Perhaps that’s why I have such an abiding love of the river.

What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
This question is next to impossible to answer. Tipperary is unique in its beauty and whether it be lowland or highland the beauty is there. I know that as a photographer I tried for a period to cover all of Ireland only to realize that Tipperary had so much to offer and I should concentrate more on that. If I have to pick one part of Tipperary above another I will say The Glen of Aherlow. Sinead, my wife and I have always loved walking here but more locally, Athassel Abbey has something special that I have always felt an affinity with. We would also have good memories from here when our sons Neil and Riain were younger.

What do you think gives TIPPERARY its unique identity?
I think our incredible built heritage has to play a role. So many historic buildings in this county apart from the obvious Rock of Cashel. Again many are linked by the River Suir - Loughmore Castle, Bridge Castle, Holycross Abbey, Ballinahinch Castle (just west of Cashel) Athassel priory, Cahir Castle, The Main Guard Clonmel and Ormonde castle in Carrick on Suir. I know I will be told I have left some out and I apologize now.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author?
Yes, I have two actually. My first is Frank Delaney and I have to say his untimely passing came as a shock. We had gotten to know one another through a mutual friend Mary Alice O'Connor and had even reverted to the barter system - Frank giving me books in exchange for some of my images of his native Tipperary. His book Tipperary Castle, will always hold a special place in my heart with reference in it to many of the townlands in my own parish. My second author is Dr. Des Murnane - his books on Tipperary’s rich history are truly inspiring.

What's the biggest challenge facing the county today?
I believe the biggest challenge is the urban/ rural divide and the knock on effects from that. Companies do seem more interested in larger urban areas. We will have to be more creative in selling Tipperary. Tipperary Food Producers and Ireland’s Ancient East are doing a great job, but we will need tourism to really surge in the coming years is my belief. I have already pointed out what is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to built heritage and areas of natural beauty, but we have to reach people when they are at the planning stage of their holiday so they can come to and stay a bit longer here in Tipperary.

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Tipperary, what would it be?
This follows on from the previous, I would change the way we promote Tipperary. Tipperary is famous all over the world for the song “ It’s a long way to Tipperary” yet we do not get the visitor numbers we could. I do believe we have to bring Tipperary to the people of other countries rather than waiting for them to come to us. You have to speculate in order to accumulate. Tipperary people are getting opportunities to promote this county however they do not always get the support to accept these opportunities.