Thurles Mini Walk
Cead mile failte!
Morning folks and a thousand welcomes to the Cathedral Town of Thurles Mini walk.
Here at our starting point which is the Italianate Romanesque Cathedral of the Assumption, you are free to roam around and soak up the history. Before you go in, let me just give you a little background information. Dr. Patrick Leahy, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly from1857-1875 had the vision and ambition which brought about its existence. The architect, J.J.McCarthy, modelled the design on the Cathedral of Pisa in Italy and work commenced in 1865. In 1879, Archbishop Thomas Croke solemnly dedicated the Cathedral of the Assumption. Recent renovations were completed in Oct2003 and there is an ongoing appeal for a restoration fund. Inside you might like to walk around the altar as there are beautiful stained glass windows and various prayer shrines, particularly the Chapel of Prayer where many people irrespective of religious bias like to send out positive thoughts into the universe.
Right off you go and meet at this spot in 15mins please…………………………………
We will turn right out of the Cathedral and head over the bridge into the square. Please notice on your left as we cross the river Suir, the large complex which houses a large library and one of the country’s top arts centres. If anyone would like to pop in after the tour to see what entertainment is on at present feel free. There is also a public swimming pool and fully equipped leisure centre at your disposal if you would like to relax after the sightseeing.
Next stop is Hayes Hotel in Liberty Square for a refreshment break…coffee shop at the rear and bar for a Guinness! This is a landmark building because on the 1st November 1884 the hotel’s billiard room was the venue for the founding meeting of the G.A.A (Gaelic Athletic Association) Clare man, Michael Cusack, the principal architect of the organisation had convened the meeting in order to preserve and cultivate national pastimes. It is usually a hive of activity on days when matches are played locally in Semple Stadium and is traditionally renowned as the country’s premier hurling venue ( bar Croke Park stadium in Dublin) I am happy to give directions to anyone who feels like extending their walk in order to see the stadium after.
Meet back here in reception in 30mins please……………………………………….
Before we go any further, I would like you to look across at the statue at the lower end of the square’s parking area which was unveiled on St Patrick’s Day in 1900. You will see the 1798 rebellion Memorial referred to as ‘the stone man’. The ten foot limestone pedestal of a pike man has carvings depicting prominent United Irishmen: Wolfe Tone, Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Robert Emmet. There is also an inscribed verse by John Kells.
They rose in dark and evil days to right their native land
They kindled here a living blaze that nothing can withstand.
Alas! That might can vanquish right- They fell and passed away,
But true men, like you men, are plenty here today.
Now let’s head to the top of the square where we can see a bronze life-sized monument made by F. Doyle, a Londoner, dedicated to Dr Thomas Croke. Now who can remember the connection to an earlier sight? Yes, the Cathedral! The limestone tapering shamrock statue faces the Cathedral and commemorates not only his drive for the erection of the Cathedral but also the fact that he was the first patron of the GAA. Dr Croke retired as Archbishop in 1896 and died in 1902. He is interred at the Cathedral of the Assumption.
Well this brings us to the end of our mini walking tour. There are many places of interest left to see: St.Mary’s Church of the Famine and museum, Lar na Pairce for G.A.A history and souvenirs, Semple Stadium, The Source Arts, a picturesque walk by the river and the inevitable shopping centre with full amenities and cinema complex to name but a few here in Thurles!
On behalf of the people of Tipperary, I hope you enjoy your stay and if you need any more information, please do not hesitate to contact the office again.
THE THURLES MINI WALKING TOUR
Patricia Loughnane, 18th June 2011
Source Writers group