Why North Tipperary: The Baronies

Map of the baronies of County Tipperary in Ire...

Map of the baronies of County Tipperary in Ireland; taken from Atlas and cyclopedia of Ireland, p.267 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As has being mentioned many a time on this Blogsite, North Tipperary is a very historic region of the island of Ireland. As well there being the North and South Riding’s, there are also the baronies of either part of the county, but I’m gonna focus on the baronies of North Tipperary.Over all there are six baronies in North Tipperary, but what are baronies? Well a barony is a subdivision of a county, with North Tipperary being subdivided in the baronies of Eliogarty, Ikerrin, Ormond Upper, Ormond Lower, Owney and Arra, plus Slieverdagh, after the Norman conquest. So lets take a closer look at each of these baronies (as is described in Wilkepedia):

Surviving west gable of the 12th-century Roman...

Surviving west gable of the 12th-century Romanesque church in Roscrea. This church was in use until 1812 when most of it was demolished with the exception of this gable. It serves now as gate to the Church of Ireland parish church. (See entry 1843 in Jean Farrelly and Caimin O’Brien: Archaeological Inventory of County Tipperary: Vol. I – North Tipperary, ISBN 0-7557-1264-1.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eliogarty

The chief town is Thurles and the baroney lies between Ikerrin to the north, where the chief town is Roscrea, Kilnamanagh Upper to the west, where the chief town is Borrisoleigh and Middle Third to the south, where the chief town is Cashel. The ancient territory of Éile obtained its name from pre-historic inhabitants called the Eli, about whom little is known beyond what may be gathered from legends and traditions. The extent of Éile varied throughout the centuries with the rise and fall of the tribes in occupation. Before the 5th century A.D. the details of its history which can be gleaned from surviving records and literature are exceedingly meagre, obscure and confusing. During this century however Éile appears to have reached its greatest extent, stretching from Croghan Bri Eli (Croghan Hill in Offaly) to just south of Cashel (in Corca Eathrach Eli). The southern part of this territory embraced the baronies of Eliogarty and Ikerrin, a great part of the modern barony of Middlethird, the territory of Ileagh, and portion of the present barony of Kilnamanagh Upper.

English: Coat of arms of County Tipperary, Ireland

English: Coat of arms of County Tipperary, Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the 8th century, the territory of Ancient Éile had broken up into a number of petty kingdoms: the O’Carrolls occupied the northern portion, the O’Spillanes held Ileagh (Ileigh) while the Eóganacht Chaisil had annexed Middlethird. The O’Fogartys held what is now the barony of Eliogarty, while to the north of them, at least some time later, were O’Meaghers of Ikerrin. The River Nore, at its position between Roscrea and Templemore, although just a small stream at this point, is usually taken as the southern limit of Ely O’Carroll territory.

Ikerrin

The cheif town of Ikerrin is Roscrea, while the baroney lies between Eliogarty to the south and Ormond Upper to the west, whose chief town is Toomevara. As a county ‘peninsula’, it is surrounded on three sides by counties Offaly and Laois.

When County Tipperary was split into North and South Ridings in 1836, Ikerrin was allocated to the north riding. However, the neighbouring barony of Kilnamanagh was split into Upper and Lower half-baronies, being allocated to the north and south ridings respectively.

Tipperary shown in Herman Moll's New Map of Ir...

Tipperary shown in Herman Moll’s New Map of Ireland (1714) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ormond Upper

The chief townland of Ormond Upper is Toomevara and this barony lies between Ormond Lower to the north, where the chief town is Nenagh, Kilnamanagh Upper to the south, Owney and Arra to the west, where the chief town is Newport and also Ikerrin to the east. The O’Meara’s had an entensive territory in the barony; the name of their chief residence, Tuaim-ui-Meara, is still retained in the village of Toomavara.

Gramscis cousin 11:14, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Gramscis cousin 11:14, 12 July 2006 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ormond Lower

The chief town of Ormond Lower is Nenagh and this barony lies between Ormond Upper to the south-east and Owney and Arra to the south-west. As a ‘peninsula’, it is surrounded on three sides by counties Galway and Offaly.

Owney and Arra

This barony, whose chief town is Newport, lies between Ormond Lower to the north, Kilnamanagh Upper to the south and Ormond Upper to the east. To the west lies the River Shannon, which separates it from County Limerick.

Kilnamanagh Upper

The chief town of Kilnamanagh Upper is Borrisoleigh, while the baroney lies between Ormond Upper, Kilnamanagh Lower of South Tipperary, whose chief town is Dundrum and Eliogarty to the east.

Nave, looking east.

Nave, looking east. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so they are the baronies of North Tipperary. Filled with mountains of ancient history, of legendary heroes, betrayal, murder, beautiful scenery, mystic trails; this and much, much more, but you won’t know for sure until you pay us a visit and taste North Tipperary for yourself. See you soon and bye for now!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

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Why North Tipperary: Golf Clubs

In the small district of North Tipperary there are several golf clubs situated in some wonderful scenery. This week I’m going to take a look at a few of them, which might wet your appetite to visit or travel around North Tipperary. There’s more to see in North Tipp than you may have guessed, as the saying of Nenagh town goes: It’s a Strangers Paradise!’.

Nenagh Golf Course SceneNenagh Golf Course Scenery

Nenagh Golf ClubNenagh Golf Club

Situated along the outskirts of Nenagh town, the local golf club, which was originally built in 1929 with its architects being Alister McKenzie, Eddie Hackett and Patrick Merrigan, however, it is a public and modern facility that is open all year round. It has a price range of €15 to €25, while it’s type is described as ‘Parkland’ ;other facilities include a bar, restaurant, practice facilities and a club-house. A very popular golf club, it even has a positive review on it’s profile on the WorldGolf website from Tiger Woods – this was a five-star review and it was posted on the morning on April 18th, 2012 at 9.40am. More information can be found at www.nenaghgolfclub.com.

Roscrea Golf ClubRoscrea Golf Club Scenery

Roscrea Golf Club LogoRoscrea Golf Club

Roscrea Golf Club is situated just outside Roscrea on the Dublin road and this very old golf club is open to the public, while it has a style that is described as ‘Parkland’. The architect of this golf club was one Arthur Spring and the golf club was built in 1892. The price range for week days and weekends is the same ranging from €20 to €45, while it’s other facilities include a club-house, practice facilities and changing rooms. More information can be sourced at www.roscreagolfclub.ie

Thurles Golf CLubThurles Golf Club Scenery

Thurles Golf ClubThurles Golf Club

Thurles Golf Club, which was originally built in 1909 and is situated on the outskirts of the town, is described by one reviewer as being a “great course in pristine condition“. Again, it’s description is ‘Parkland’ and this eighteen hole course is also opened to the public throughout the year. There are quite a number of other facilities including a restaurant, bar, sauna, gym, club-house, banquet facilities and meeting facilities. The rates at this club are from €10 to €45 weekdays and weekends. More information can be sourced at http://www.thurlesgolfclub.com.

Templemore Golf ClubTemplemore Golf Club

Templemore Golf ClubTemplemore Golf Club

The Golf Club that is situated in Templemore was built in 1970 and is open tot he public while it is described as ‘Parkland’. It is open all year round, while its rates range from €15 to €20 and its extra facilities include a Club-house, bar and practice facilities. Other information can be found at http://www.templemoregolfclub.ie.

A golf ball.

A golf ball. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well that’s it for this week, but rest assured I’ll be back in a week’s time with some more good reasons to come and visit or just travel around North Tipperary. And don’t forget, there’s more to Irish scenery and tourist opportunities than Dublin and ‘The West’. This year, why not give ‘North Tipperary’ and the ‘Midwest’ a chance!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Short Film: Dirty Money

Here’s a short silent film with Nenagh SIlent Film Festival Friend and Fair City actor Bryan Murray, which was directed by Kevin McGee. Let’s see if we can get it up to a thousand views.

 

Press Release: The Ballsbridge Poisoner

The Ballsbridge Poisoner

[PHOTO: At the Official Launch of the Offline Film Festival. L to R: Kevin McGee, Enda Oates, Film Board Chairman Bill O’Herlihy, Festival Director Gary Hoctor.]

FESTIVAL TRIUMPH FOR NENAGH FILM-MAKER

A film by Nenagh native Kevin McGee has been selected for three prestigious festivals in one month. The Ballsbridge Poisoner, which Kevin wrote and produced, was one of fifteen films chosen from almost 300 entries in the OffLine Festival. It will also highlight the Clones Film Festival and the International Short Film Festival in Dublin, where it has been nominated for Best Film and Best Actress.

 Eimear Morrissey 1Eimear Morrissey Performing

Kevin is thrilled by the success of the film, an Irish-English co-production starring Eimear Morrissey (Damo and Ivor), Enda Oates (Fair City’s Pete Ferguson), and the renowned Beckett interpreter Sara Jane Scaife. Despite the international crew, the film is something of an underdog on the festival circuit.

The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 1“We had no budget at all. Most of us are freelancers, so we’ve all felt the effects of the recession. That means free time, so we decided to take advantage of that and make something for ourselves. It’s fantastic that the film has also resonated with other people.”

Part of the reason is its topicality: “It’s about an office worker who is fighting against redundancy. She uses her wit and her intelligence to escape the chop. It’s a story people can identify with.”

Eimear MorrisseyDespite the title and the grim topic, the Ballsbridge Poisoner is a light-hearted affair. Kevin goes onto say that: “We wanted to say something about the downturn, but it had to be a comedy. If people want to be depressed they can turn on the News.”

The film was shot over two weekends in Dublin, with a crew of nearly thirty. Friends and family were drafted in to help. Kevin’s wife Brigie did the catering, and cousin Charlie McGee stepped in as Assistant Director. The key member of the team was the celebrated director Clive Arnold.

“Once we got Clive on board,” Kevin says, “we knew we could do it.” Clive was fresh from his success with the Bafta-winning live episode of Eastenders, so he a serious draw. His generosity was also an inspiration.

 The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 2[L to R: Producer and Writer – Kevin McGee, Director – Clive Arnold & Cameraman – John Fay]

“When Clive found that everyone was working for nothing, he turned down the fee. He paid for his own flights. He paid for his hotel. He’d hardly even take a cup of coffee. He’s a class act.”

The Ballsbridge Posioner 3Enda Oates is Watching!

Does Kevin have any plans for a follow-up? “First we have to follow the festival trail with this one. Three appearances in four weeks is something special, but we want to take it outside Ireland too. We’re hoping for a New York premiere early next year.”

 The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 3The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew

In the meantime, Kevin and Charlie are back at work on the Nenagh Silent Film Festival, which is due to take place on St Valentine’s weekend. Kevin states that:“We’ll be launching the programme later this year. The committee will kill me if I let anything slip, but it’s going to be special. Even better that than last year.” -END

Why North Tipperary – Famous Musicians

Rainy Night in Soho

Rainy Night in Soho (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello again all; welcome back to Why North Tipperary – our weekly look at why it would be a good idea to pay North Tipperary a visit, if you want to do some traveling. This week I’m going to look at some of the world famous musicians who are connected to North Tipperary. You’ll also be able to view one of the major hits connected to each musician, so do enjoy.

Brendan Graham is a very successful Irish novelist and he is also a well renowned songwriter, with the composition of two of Ireland’s winning Eurovision tunes: Rock n’ Roll Kids and The Voice, but his most famous song is You Raise me Up, for which he wrote the lyrics for Rolf Lovland. He was born in 1945 and grew up in Nenagh town.

Shane MacGowan is one of the greatest contemporary song-writers of the 1980s right through to the 90’s and noughties.and his music is world famous with some of his more famous tracks including Fairytale of New York, A Rainy Night in Soho, Summer in Siam and The Sunnyside of the Street. Shane was born in London, but spent his youth in his mother’s family home in Carney, which is just outside of Nenagh. He regularly visits Nenagh each year, as he has a dwelling just outside of the town, so you are very likely to bump into an Irish musical legend  at anytime down in old Nenagh town.

Frank Patterson was an internationally renowned Irish tenor, who was born in Clonmel on October 5th 1938, however, he lived for a time in Borrisoleigh. Frank, who was known as Ireland’s Golden Tenor, is said to have followed in the tradition of famous Irish singers like Count John McCormack and Josef Locke. Frank Patterson passed away June 10th 2000, but his voice lives on – one example in the above Youtube video is of his version of Danny Boy in the film Miller’s Crossing.

Thurles woman Una Theresa Imogene Healy is an Irish singer-songwriter and musician who is best known as a member of the world famous girl group The Saturdays. The group have enjoyed eight top ten hits and have three top ten album hits. Theresa is married to the England rugby union player, Ben Foden.

Boy George was born George Alan O’Dowd in Kent on June 14th 1961, however, his parents, Jeremiah and Dinah O’Dowd, were form Thurles, County Tipperary. Boy George, who formed his own group called Culture Club, was part of the English New Romanticism movement, which emerged in the early mid-1980s.

John Francis Waller, who was born in 1810 and died in 1894, was an Irish poet and editor and also a writer of popular songs. Some of his more famous tunes include Cushla Ma Chree, The Spinning Wheel and Song of Glass. He was born at Limerick, but lived for a long time in Borrisokane.

John McCormack, Irish tenor

John McCormack, Irish tenor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so you have it. A short piece this week, but how many of these world famous musicians did you know had such strong roots to North Tipperary? If anyone can direct me to others, please feel free to drop me a line. Till next week then.

Why North Tipperary: National Monuments 1

Hello again and welcome to Why North Tipperary, where it is my goal to give you a reason to visit North Tipperary and why this part of Ireland is just as rich in heritage and scenery as any other part of the Emerald Isle, and even on a higher scale than most. This week I’m going to provide you with the first part of a list for a number of the National Monuments that are situated in the North Tipperary region, and it may surprise you to learn about the amount of history that is squeezed into the wonderful landscape of North Tipperary.

Lackeen CastleLackeen Castle

First up is Lackeen Castle, which is situated in the townland of Abbeyville, near the village of Lorrha. Lackeen Castle was built in the 12th century and is a fine example of an Irish Tower House. The description of this ancient building in the Abandoned Ireland website is that that it is: “Standing in a bawn, four stories high and featuring fine fireplaces. A straight stair runs up to the first floor and a spiral staircase runs to higher levels, the third storey is vaulted.” Lakeen belonged to Brian Ua Cinneide Fionn, who was cheiftain of Ormond and who died in 1588. His son Donnachadh inherited the Castle, but he was the last Ua Cinneide Chief of Lower Ormond and he ended up surrendering to Cromwell in 1653. The name Cinneide was anglicized to ‘Kennedy’ and these were the same clan as the great American political O’Kennedy clan. Indeed, the O’Kennedy’s ancestors ruled the lands of North Tipperary at one stage and they have castle ruins dotted all over the landscape. One piece of folklore about Lackeen Castle tells the tale that O’Kennedy from Lackeen Castle at one stage managed to catch a Pooka, who had being sent by a bunch of old hags to protect them as they went about the morbid act of robbing from the dead. A Pooka is a type of fairy that can shape shift and is capable of assuming a variety of terrifying forms. After O’Kennedy caught it he managed to bind it up an was about to bring it into Lackeen Castle, even though the Pooka was cursing him to the high heavens that it would burn the O’Kennedy with all it’s breath, but O’Kennedy was then persuaded by a servant called Tim O’Meara to let the Pooka go. O’Kennedy did, but only after receiving a promise from the Pooka that it would harm no breed, seed or generation of the O’Kennedy family. Can you imagine what might be lurking around Lackeen Castle, even to this day?

Ashleypark Burial MoundAshleypark Burial Mound

In Ashleypark, which is situated to the West of Ardcroney and to the North Of Nenagh town on the N52, lies a Neolithic tomb that is estimated to be about 5,000 years old. This burial mound was undisturbed in that length of time until a local farmer tried to bulldoze the mound and discovered the tomb about 30 years ago. There is no definite chamber beyond the widening of the passage, while the entire site is 90cm metres in diameter. The ditches surrounding the burial mound are in good condition, the mound itself is 26cm in diameter and the passage is off-centre – Some archaeologicalists who have viewed this site believe that this could mean there is a second passage in the mound somewhere. Amongst the cairn material there was found animal bones and the remains of an infant, while the remains of an adult male and another infant were found in the chamber itself. These remains were dated to 3350BC. More information can be found at www.thestandingstone.ie.

Ballynahow CastleBallynahow Castle

Ballynahow Castle, which is situated to the north-west of Thurles, is one of the few round tower houses in Ireland. This building was built by the Purcells in the 16th century and it’s initial use was to provide shelter to the local people against attacks from intruders. The castle is five stories high at 50 feet and it possesses four evenly-spaced machicolations, a mural staircase that is situated on the left of the building and two internal vaults, which cover two floors each. There is also a murder hole that is leading from a small chamber on the first floor, while on the upper floors there are a number of small musket holes that can be found near some of the principal windows. Also the top of the building at one stage had a conical timber roof.

The Timoney StonesThe Timoney Stones
The Timoney Stones, that are located in the Timoney Hills, south-west of Borris-in-Ossery and south-east of Roscrea, are described in The Standing Stone website as: “something of a mystery among scholars and in the Archaeological Inventory of Tipperary the stones are listed separately tot he other standing stones in the county.” In all there are roughly 121 standing stones, while it is estimated that about 90 others have been removed over time. The stones range in size from 30cm to approximately 2m and they are laid out in no identifiable pattern, which has led to discussion. Also, they are in close proximity to the Cullaun Stones and the authors of The Standing Stone website believe that this means that they were probably part of the same complex. There is a complete randomness about the Timoney Stones though, which follows no archaeological pattern and with a lot more suggestions to the the origins of these stones than any plausible answers, the mystery will persist.
 Holy Cross Abbey 1841Holy Cross Abbey 1841
Holycross Abbey is situated near Thurles and it is a restored Cistercian monastery, while the abbey itself takes it’s name from a relic of the True Cross. The story goes that around 1233, a fragment of the True Cross was brought to Ireland by the Plantagent Queen, Isabella of Angouleme. Isabella, who was the widow of King John, bestowed the relic on the original Cistercian Monastery in Thurles and thenceforth it’s name has been Holy Cross Abbey. Holy Cross has a mountain of history connected to it throughout the 800 years of English rule and rebellion against it in Ireland, and this was especially seen during the Reformation and on through to Cromwell’s invasion and it’s aftermath, when the Abbey fell into ruins. Although the Abbey became a scheduled national monument in 1880: “to be preserved and not used as a place of worship“, a Special Legislation in the Dáil on it’s 50th anniversary on January 21st, 1969, enabled Holy Cross Abbey to be restored as a place of Catholic worship. The Sacristan of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican provided an authenticated relic of the Holy Cross, and the emblem of the Jerusalem Cross, or Crusader Cross, has been restored to the Abbey.  …. And so, I think I’ll leave it at that for this week, but I’ll be back next week with Part II of the National Monuments that are dotted all around North Tipperary – some more great reasons to visit North Tipperary.

Why North Tipperary National Monuments Map

 

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why North Tipperary – The Hollywood Connection

Hollywood, Keeper Hill, North Tipperary, IrelandHollywood, Keeper Hill, North Tipperary, Ireland

Did you ever realize how many connections North Tipperary has to Hollywood; it’s true and I’m not just talking about bit-part players or yer wan down the road who just happened to be on some B-Movie set. I’m referring to some major players from the world of Hollywood, who have visited North Tipperary again and again, and some who have made their homes amongst us. So who are they? Well I visited this subject a number of months ago, but since then I’ve added a few names to the previous list. This week I’m going to take another look at some of these world famous names, because you’d never know who’d you meet in and around the highways and byways of North Tipperary.

Rex IngramReginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock

So, first of all I’m going to start with the big man himself. Reginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock, later to become known as Rex Ingram, was born in Rathmines in Dublin. As a young man his family moved to North Tipperary, whereby his father was employed as a verger in the Borrisokane Church of Ireland and also the Nenagh Church of Ireland. He lived for approximately eighteen months in Nenagh and it was here where he viewed his first moving picture. That was in 1901 at a traveling circus. The experience obviously stuck with him, because as we all know, Rex went on to become one of the great pioneers of Hollywood in the silent era. A plaque in his honour was erected in the town at the house where he lived by the Nenagh Silent Film Festival Committee in February 2013. He died on July 21st 1950.

Gene KellyGene Kelly in ‘Singing in the Rain’

The first of a couple of Hollywood musical greats to be mentioned is the great Gene Kelly – he of Singing in the Rain fame. Gene Kelly loved Ireland and his Irish roots and he especially loved Puckane village. After his wife, Jeannie, passed away in the early 1970’s, Gene Kelly escaped what has been termed as a ‘Hollywood that was buzzing with curiosity and sympathy‘ to Puckane, near the shores of Lough Derg in North Tipperary. That was in 1973 and he spent the best part of a month in the area. There is a wealth of stories about Gene Kelly’s time in his ‘ancestral home’ including one regarding a man named Peter McGrath. Peter walked into Paddy Kennedy’s bar and having stopped momentarily to take in the appearance of the stranger at the end of the bar counter, he then approached him and said: “Did anyone ever tell you that you look a lot like Gene Kelly?” Gene Kelly enjoyed that and jumped up immediately and performed a dance routine to prove his identity.

Bing CrosbyPhotographer unknown – Can anyone educate us on this?

Another musical genius, who had a fondness for North Tipperary was Bing Crosby. The famous crooner was a visitor to Nenagh town during the 1960’s and it is obvious that the town was filled with excitement when word spread around that the Hollywood great was staying within their midst. The full story of this visit is that back in 1961 Bridie Brennan, who was a Borrisokane native that was living and working in Nenagh town, answered an advertisement for a nanny for Bing Crosby and his wife, Kathryn. Over the following years, Bridie became very close to the Crosby’s and even became an adviser and travel companion to Kathryn. A few years after Bridie took up the position, during 1965, Bing Crosby was visiting Ireland to see how a horse named ‘Meadow Court’ of which he had a third share in fared in the Irish Sweeps Derby at the Curragh. Bing stated at the time that he didn’t bet on the horse himself, but he had placed a wager of £2 on the horse for Bridie. Meadow Court was to win the Irish Sweeps Derby that year. While in Ireland, Bing Crosby had decided to travel to Nenagh town in recognition of what Bridie meant to the Crosby’s and he also wanted to see where Bridie had lived. Of course news of his visit to O’Meara’s Hotel spread like wildfire and a number of photos were taken of the visit. Bridie Brennan passed away in the Crosby residence, where she had been greatly cared for, in San Francisco on April 23rd, 1973. Bing Crosby, who regrettably had been unable to attend the obsequies after Bridie’s remains had arrived back to Ireland for burial, arranged through Interflora to have a carpet of flowers delivered to the grave.

MartinSheenMartin Sheen in ‘The West Wing’

So who’s next, well you see, there’s more than one president connected to North Tipperary (see President Barack Obama of Moneygall, which is on the border of County Tipperary and County Offaly and is just 12 miles from Nenagh town) and also (President Ronald Reagan of Ballyporeen, County Tipperary). The world renowned Hollywood actor and star of The West Wing, Martin Sheen, has very strong connections to North Tipperary. His family roots are from the Borrisokane area and it was from here where his mother emigrated to the United States. Martin is a proud son of North Tipperary and is a regular visitor to the area.

Patrick BerginPatrick Bergin

And it doesn’t end there; in fact I’m only starting as there is another famous Hollywood actor who lives within our midst here in North Tipperary. Patrick Bergin lives in a castle that is situated near Cloughjordan. Patrick has plenty of form as an actor including Sleeping with the Enemy, in which he wouldn’t leave poor Julia Roberts alone, and of course Robin Hood along with a number of very impressive titles. He is regularly seen in Nenagh town and other North Tipperary parishes.

Charlie SheenCharlie Sheen

And then there’s Charlie! Charlie Sheen, son of aforementioned Martin Sheen has, through his father and then of course his grand-mother, strong connections to the North Tipperary locality. Martin is very well known as a major Hollywood actor and American television star. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’ll never know who you might meet around about North Tipperary.

Emilio EstevezEmilio Estevez

Now I couldn’t leave it at that about the Sheen clan. There’s also Martin‘s other son Emilio. He may have taken the name his father was christened with, but like his brother and of course his father, there is still North Tipperary blood running through his veins. Another major Hollywood connection for North Tipperary. Emilio has a wonderful career in his own right with some wonderful productions behind him like Young Guns, St Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club to name just a few. He also has a career as a director, screenwriter and a producer.

Johnny DeppJohnny Depp

Now Johnny Depp hasn’t being able to find roots to North Tipperary as of yet, that I know of, but he was reported to be in the Toomevara village graveyard searching for his ancestral roots a few years back. But Johnny is no stranger to Nenagh town and the North Tipperary countryside. He’s a very close friend of Shane MacGowan, who is from and lives a few miles from Nenagh and he’s a regular visitor to the area. We’ll just have to dig a little deeper and I’m sure before long we’ll find his true Irish roots in the heartland of North Tipperary, but let me provide you with what is possibly a bit of an exclusive here: I’ve been led to believe, from a very reliable source, that Johnny Depp will again be visiting Nenagh town at some stage over the coming months (October probably). The thing about Johnny Depp’s visits is that he is gone before you’d know he was there, but I’ll keep an eye on that one.

Frank ThorntonFrank Thornton

There is also Frank Thornton, who played Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served? and also other productions like Crooks and Coronets, (1968); Spike Milligan’s The Bed-Sitting Room, (1969); No Sex Please We’re British (1973); The Three Musketeers, (1973); Steptoe and Son, (1974); The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones, (1975); and Gosford Park, (2001). Frank Thornton made his professional debut at the age of 19 in the old Confraternity Hall in Thurles town in a production of Terence Rattigan’s play “French Without Tears”.

George ClooneyGeorge Clooney

There are quite a number of other connections to the world of film and television and this is something we are very proud about. To name just a few more, there’s George Clooney who has been reported to have visited North Tipperary in the recent past in search of his own roots. Then there’s Brigie de Courcy (Executive Producer of Fair City and formally Producer on Eastenders), who is married to Nenagh man Kevin McGee (Award-Winning Playwright, Director, Producer, Irish television script-writer). And there is Kevin’s brother Noel, who is also an Irish television script-writer. There are countless others and if you want to remind me of them please leave a comment in the Comment box below. So until the next time …, that’s a wrap!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee