Soon theatre groups around the county will betaking to the boards for rehearsals for the coming season, Holycross/Ballycahill plan to do a comedy at Christmas in addition to their festival play. But in his book "A Fair In The Square "Tom Ryan recalled a famous Thurles playwright and Players of other years in Thurles when traffic in Parnell Street was not quite as busy as today.
In the book Tom Ryan writes: “Theresa O’Brien Berry remembers great days in her former home in Parnell Street, once upon a time in old Thurles, when people used to get a wake up call to work with a hooter.
“That was the alarm clock for everyone on the road. Aha, it’s time to get up”.
Cyril Berry remembers when he lived in Parnell Street : “Hughie Killackey would be opening the shop and putting out all the bicycles and stuff and the radio blaring. The shop wouldn’t open officially until nine.
We bought al the prams there and he used to sell bicycles and electrical equipment. And we could hear the two of them talking across the street to one another. ”
Theresa Berry said: “Willie Carew, my uncle, the jeweller, would shout over across the road, ‘well, you Sir, will you come on out for a swim to the Bleach’.
And then Ray McInerney would come on and he’d be singing on the bicycle, ‘Oh What A Beautiful Morning.’
It was a lovely time then. There was little traffic. You’d be playing tennis on the road. And you’d say,‘ Hey ,there’s a car coming over the bridge. Keep in, lads. And at Christmas you’d have a Hansel for the milk man, the coalman and the post man.”
In Jim O’ Sheas, the butcher, they would hurl all the matches over again. They’d be talking all the hurling.
Cyril Berry said: “If you go into the back room in Skehan’s (hostelry)there are all these old pictures and there’s one of New Street (Parnell Street) with all the old houses on it.”
Theresa said : “I remember the Scoil Ailbhe drill displays in the Sportsfield. And the Ursuline and Presentation also used to have drill displays. And a lady from Limerick was our Gym Teacher in the Ursuline.
“You’d have your snow white knee-socks and your green uniform and we used clubs, dumb-bells and flags. All exercise. And the swinging of the clubs. We loved it.
And in between the drill displays they would have the little bit of ballet and dancing and things like that and Irish dancers. And Jackie Glasheen used to play in the Ursuline School Yard. The Sixth Class had the clubs because of the swinging of the clubs. And younger classes would have skipping ropes. Annette Lambe (Mrs Kelly, now, P.E. Teacher at Ursuline Secondary School who brought the first and only All-Ireland Kate Russell Hockey Trophy to Ursulines in 1996) was in the Ursuline Drill Display at that time.
Out of Parnell Street came great hurlers like Tommy Ryan of Thurles Sarsfields before Theresa’s time. And, also the famous Parnell Street Players who had a playwright in their ranks for years –and didn’t know it until he died. He was John O’Brien (uncle of Theresa) of Parnell Street and he wrote many successful plays anonymously under the pseudonym, JJ Finnan. He worked in O’Meara’s Accounts Office just off the Square.
Eddie was also in the Players and he worked in the Sugar Company.
“They were great,” said Theresa who recalls them practising in their kitchen in Parnell Street.” and they used to go up to the Hospital of the Assumption at Christmas to entertain folks there.
Other members of the theatre company were sisters, Tess and Una Graydon( who were also prominent in Thurles Musical Society);Ita McManus, Paddy and Jim Lambe, Ned Ryan, Mattie Gleeson, Jackie Ryan(Andy).
“There was no place to go in those days before television,” said Theresa, whose sister Marie O’Dwyer lives in Parnell Street and whose brother, Dr Jim O’Brien, a fine soccer player once, is living in Kentucky.
Theresa tells of the time her father, Eddie was holding a ladder for Jim Carew a painter. He was working on a shop near Blake’s, the lovely tobacconists in the Square. And then Eddie decided go off fishing or something and Jim was left up at the top of the ladder.
And this farmer came along in a pony and cart and tied his pony to the ladder before going in to Blakes to buy tobacco.”
Needless to say nervous moments up the ladder…..
Lowry “Committed” To Thurles’s Progress”
Last Thursday week saw the opening of a unique children's store in Croke Street, Thurles, "Imps and Elfs. The concept for the store was developed by owner Bridget Brennan in response to a market gap in provision of child centric clothing that was unique, fun, high quality but still an affordable alternative to the high street brands.
The openingwasby North Tipperary Independent TD, Michael Lowry. Deputy Lowry stated, "'Today's opening of a new Children's Boutique Store by Bridget Brennan and her team, is again testament to the entrepreneurial skills and courage of the local business community. I am committed to assisting local people and local businesses to achieve their goals, to cut through red tape and to continue Thurles's progress.”
Explaining the concept for the store, Bridget stated "the Imps and Elf's experience, is about creating a fun, unique environment, promoting a child centric magical experience. Our clothing provides parents with an alternative to some of the high street brand offerings of mini-adult ranges of clothing. Complimenting the clothing ranges are beautiful hand crafted wooden toys, including hand painted wooden scooters and tricycles chosen to fuel a child's wondrous imagination".
With over 1,400 children, in the 0-12 age group, in the Thurles area alone, the Imps and Elfs, will provide a fashionable alternative, for parents who seek to embrace the magic of childhood and allow children to be just children.“
The clothing ranges including Oopsy Daisy Baby, Baby Graziella, which are exclusive to Imps and Elfs, and were selected for old worldly elegance with a fun modern twist. Fabrics used include organic cottons, from Made-By, who protects against child labour in cotton production. Other ranges include the fun, contemporary, funky yet still child orientated labels such as Roxy, Timberland, Jottum and Mayoral. Bridget stated "the Imps and Elf's experience, is about creating a fun, unique environment.