AMID all the excitement of the Queen’s visit, what might have been overlooked is that this is not the first Royal to come and admire the City of the Kings.
The Tipperary Star has learned of a little known episode in the early 1960’s when the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, happened to be a passenger in a car which broke down in Cashel. Wandering out of her car, Princess Margaret spied a number of cushions with heartwarming faces of little dogs and cats in the front window of a local Drapery.
The premises, now O’Dwyer’s Pharmacy on Main Street, was then being rented by local Draper Tom O’Dwyer, who now lives on the Old Road in Cashel. Tom happened to be away from his work that day, but as he explained to the Tipperary Star, he soon learned that Princess Margaret would do anything to get her hands on those deep pile cushions with the doggy faces on the front.
Something had happened to the Princess’ car, forcing the Royal to stop outside McInerney’s, what is now SuperValu.
“It was on a Sunday,” said Tom. “She happened to walk over to one of the windows. She asked William McInerney, was there any chance, would the proprietor sell these cushions?” Tom was out of town, but the next day, William told him that no less a character than the Queen’s sister would pay handsomely for his cushions.
Only half believing the yarn to be true, Tom sent off the cushions to Buckingham Palace. Within days, he received a letter requesting three or four more. The Princess had an obvious fondness for dogs, adds Tom. “There was a dog, a lovely Irish Fox Terrier. Some had cats; they had a lovely red colour.”
Sure enough, Tom quickly received a cheque from Buckingham Palace honouring the sale. Local photographer John Joe Grogan took a picture of Tom with the cheque, which appeared in that week’s Tipperary Star. Badly needing the cash, Tom didn’t waste time cashing the cheque.
Now retired, Tom has enjoyed massive success in greyhound racing, having won three Oaks in Powerstown, being a runner up in two of them, he’s won a Derby, and sold two Derby winners.
Princess Margaret died in 2002.
See this week’s Tipperary Star for a full round-up of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Cashel.