The charming North Tipperary village of Killea (Cill na Sleibhe) in the shade of Bearnan Eile or the Devil’s Bit was awash with oh so cheerful sunshine recently as the great Thomas Mac Donagh Pipe Band, Templemore, marched through the village playing heart stirring numbers such as “Scotland The Brave”. It was a very commendable performance, indeed, from a band that has won glory in many parts.
(Photo: Pictured at Killea Family Fun Day recently, were: Harry Naughton, Eleanor O’Sullivan, Madeleine Kearney, Patricia O’Sullivan, Patrick Crowe, Bernard O’Sullivan, Aideen O’Sullivan, Michael O’Sullivan, Mary Russell, James O’ Driscoll and Doreen Naughton. Photo: Brid Ryan).
And the inimitable Joe Barry and the other musicians are congratulated. They traditionally officially open the Killea Fun Day which this year was for development at the local graveyard.
Following the march of the band to the GAA field, just across the road from the local church, we enjoyed the colourful parade of vintage vehicles by Thurles and District Vintage Club which recalled a more leisurely time in rural Ireland.
And all around us were nostalgic reminders of blissfully happy days in a bygone age of charm, joyfulness and simplicity in rural Ireland.
The only concession to a technological era seemed to be the flat screen televisions which would ensure hurling fans at the event would not miss out on all the excitement later in the afternoon of what turned out to be a very exciting Munster Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final in which inspiring Noel McGrath from nearby Loughmore was to score a vital goal that made all the difference in our heroic struggle against a gallant young up and coming Cork side at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. And we now eagerly await the All-Ireland Semi-final against Kilkenny.
And best wishes to our great Tipp Minor and Intermediate Hurling teams and our Minor Football team who are also impressive Munster champions. Heady days in Tipp for Hurling and football at various levels. And our Tipp Under -21 hurling team is in the Munster Final tonight (Wednesday) against Clare in Ennis (And good luck to them! ”Bubbles” Boys Abu!
We received a courteous reception from the gentlemen at the entrance to the Killea field with the beautful backdrop of the Devil’s Bit where people from Laois, Dublin and all over Tipperary, particularly Killea, Templemore and Thurles, were enjoying the many fun attractions on offer.
We received a cead mile failte back to Killea from North Tipperary Fine Gael Dail Deputy, Noel Coonan whose wife, Councillor Pauline Coonan, was also present. The Fun Day committee comprised Michael Duff (Chairman) who was Master of Ceremonies for the day, Jim Hamill, Secretary and John Fogarty, Treasurer.
The local Graveyard committee comprises of Eamonn Burke, John Fogarty, Aoife Maher, Tim Quinlan and Don Maher.
Met local lady, Denise Meagher, who had some interesting ideas about a field evening. Of course, field evenings were once a great treat in rural Ireland and once upon a time this column attended 30 Macra na Feirme field evenings a year in County Tipperary, North and South.
Denise introduced us to Laurie Kavanagh, who was helping out with the catering and who is involved with the Tidy Towns Committee in Killea. Also spoke to Linda Cheshire, formerly a very helpful receptionist in the Anner Hotel, Thurles, and who now organises junior and adult set dancing classes with the local music school/Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann branch. And set dancing on an open -air stage is very much an attractive feature annually of Killea’s Fun Day, now in its fifth year. It has been a huge success and a great boom to the local community. And community spirit in Killea is at an all-time high, it appears.
Zeus may be the God of War but the very rare three and a half years old dog, “Zeus”, we met with his owner, Liam Black of Drom, is a most friendly English Mastiff. Liam tells me has been at dog shows all over Ireland winning rosettes with “Zeus”, a big hit with everybody on the day when a large number of cute canines entered the dog show.” I love coming to Killea every year”, said Liam, who added he had been to Cork, Waterford and Belfast recently with the great “Zeus”.
He obviously has huge affection for and is rightly very proud of his four-legged friend. Met also Pat Carey, Thurles who is a member of the Munster Tug of war Board and one of Ireland’s leading Tug of War personalities who was with members of the famous Thurles Tug Of War team who won the 720k Munster Senior Championship recently and are on a winning streak currently. Tug of war is also a popular attraction annually in Killea.
Pat tells us that there are three teams in Tipperary currently and the others are the Mill in Upperchurch and Farranree in Thurles.”Tug of War is going well now” said Pat Carey. Met Dan Russell who was giving a pony ride to Stephen Shaw on the pony,” Magic”.
Other attractions included golf, skittles, sheaf tossing, penalty taking, balloons, a blue and gold bouncy castle, ball in barrel. And, up on a tractor, we met genial horse lover and former Killea hurler, Mick Coffey, who told us he would be 94 years young on July 24th.
We met him with his granddaughter, Samantha Treacy, with Donal Kenneally.
Mick was asking for Thurles hurling legend, “Musha” Maher of Thurles and legendary musician, Jackie Glasheen of Holy cross, whom Mick invites over on a visit. Met also Andy Kenneally. From Templetuohy came Julie Campion and Hannah Campion (11) and Caoimhe Everard (11) whom I met with “Maggie”, a cute West Highland Terrier.
Also met well known Thurles Credit Union personality, Patrick Crowe, whom we met with his daughter, Eleanor O’ Sullivan, and Madeleine Kearney, Harry Naughton, Patricia O’ Sullivan, Michael O’ Sullivan, Bernard O’ Sullivan, Aideen O’Sullivan. And Eleanor O’ Sullivan wondered if her rose bush is the tallest in Ireland. It certainly looked mighty impressive. Also met Mary Russell.