Author: Liam Ó Duibhir
Archives of the “Freeman’s Journal” newspaper, which are available at the Tipperary Studies Department in Thurles library, give an insight into parish life and activities of the past. The following are samples of reports which appeared there. In order to save space, I have edited and abbreviated them.
In the early years of the nineteenth century, Fr James Slattery, the then parish priest of Ardmayle-Ballysheehan, along with his people, had the hope, courage and vision to build a new church on a new site in a more public place to replace the old penal chapel, which was located back in the fields behind the existing church in Boherlahan. It was dedicated to SS Peter and Paul and remained the centre of worship for the local community until its restructuring in the early 1960s, when it was rededicated to the Immaculate Conception.
7 Aug, 1829 – O’Connell Fund. Per the Rev. William Kirwan, P.P., from his parishes of Boherlahan and Dualla, County Tipperary, £8. The Rev. gentleman says, “The collection would have been much larger, had not the building of a chapel and the payment of the county taxes unfortunately interfered to exhaust a poor but grateful people.”
8 Dec, 1832 – A party of the Enniskillen Dragoons, commanded by Major Rose, of the 92d Regiment, who is a Magistrate for Tipperary, proceeded to have tithe notices posted in the parish of Boherlahan, by order of the government.
10 Aug, 1846 – Meeting of the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly on Thursday, the 6th August. Proposed by the Rev William Kirwan, PP, Boherlahan; seconded by the Rev Robert Grace, PP, Moycarkey: Resolved – That we recognise Daniel O’Connell alone as the Leader, the Guide, and the Political Director of the People; and with his doctrine of using Moral Force only in working out the freedom of Ireland, we, as ministers of peace, cordially and unanimously identify ourselves.
12 May, 1847 – Death Census returns read on Monday at the meeting of the Repeal Association. From the Parish of Boherlahan and Dualla, per the Rev. William Kirwan, P.P.
Number of deaths from 1st October, 1846, to 1st April, 1847: 200
Number of same known to be occasioned by the famine: 150
Number of deaths for the same period during the prior year: 50
The Rev. gentleman remarks – “The land of the destitute lies a complete waste, with no attempt at cultivation from the necessity of self protection on the public works. We apprehend the most awful consequences from a third reduction of labourers on the public works, turning out the old, the young, and only retaining the able bodied to finish the works. Emigration, to a most alarming extent, has and will take place in this union.The grave alone will put a period to our most unheard of sufferings.”
12 Nov, 1861 – On Sunday last the mortal remains of Catherine Henrietta, the beloved daughter of Charles Bianconi were removed for interment to the new and beautiful mortuary church erected by him on the Longfield estate. The exquisite monument, executed by Benzoni, bears the following inscription:–– “Erected by Charles Bianconi to the memory of his beloved daughter, Kate Henrietta, whose remains repose beneath. She was born at Clonmel, 4th June, 1828, and died at Pisa, 27th May, 1854. May she rest in eternal peace. Amen.” At one o’clock on Sunday the remains, which had been conveyed from Dublin to Thurles were placed upon a bier. At the railway station there could not have been less than three thousand people. The carriages of the leading gentry of the neighbourhood and a large body of horsemen and pedestrians followed the bier, and some idea may be formed of the length of the cortege when it is stated that it extended two miles and a half of the road. Before the procession reached the cemetery it was met by a vast concourse of the tenantry and parishioners of Boherlahan. When the coffin was removed from the bier, it was borne in procession round the cemetery. His Grace the Lord Archbishop, when the coffin was placed in the church, read the solemn and beautiful service for the dead. The coffin was then removed into the vault. After his Grace had retired, the people were admitted into the little church in groups, and many a fervent prayer was uttered.
30 Jun, 1869 – Charles Bianconi is now erecting a handsome glebe house and suitable out offices upon a glebe of nine acres, part of his property. There will be a handsome entrance gate and lodge; a well walled-in-garden and the needful appliances. The house and offices are in course of construction; the latter being roofed in and ready for slates; the walls of the former have reached the second storey, and the workmen are making rapid progress. Mr Bianconi intends to convey it by deed trust to suitable persons for the perpetual use of the parish priest of Boherlahan.
7 Apr, 1875 – The Very Rev. Canon Wm. Kirwan, P.P. died on the morning of Thursday, the 1st instant, at his residence, Ballinree, near Cashel, in the 85th year of his age and the 62nd of his sacred ministry. He lived through the many trying vicissitudes of famine and depopulation which marked the history of their country. He was promoted to the pastorship of Boherlahan in 1828, the year before Catholic Emancipation, in the struggle for which he took his part. His heart was deeply grieved at the sufferings of his people, and he was ever ready both with his voice and his purse to aid in every movement which had for its object the redress of their wrongs and the amelioration of their condition. Failing health had induced him to resign the cares and responsibilities of the pastorship, and for some years he had been living in retirement. His obsequies were celebrated today (Monday) with befitting pomp in the pretty little church of Boherlahan, which he had done so much out of his own private means to beautify and adorn.
27 Sep, 1875 – Funeral of Charles Bianconi. The obsequies of this lamented gentleman took place on Saturday at Boherlahan, and was most numerously attended by the clergy and gentry of the county. Several arrived from Dublin by the mail on Friday night, which, through the kindness of C. Ilbery, stopped at Goold’s Cross. The funeral cortege left Longfield House at a quarter-past 10 o’clock. The coffin was on a hearse drawn by four horses, preceded by the tenantry on foot wearing hat-bands and scarfs.
18 Dec 18, 1880 – To E. Dwyer Gray, Esq., M.P.
Boherlahan, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Dec.15th.
Sir––Enclosed is a cheque for £48 7s 9d, which, in addition to the sum of 38 15s previously sent through the Cashel Branch, makes a total of £57 2s 9d, the contribution of the united parishes of Boherlahan and Dualla to the Parnell Defence Fund. If English statesmen be at all possessed of those exalted ideas of policy and government with which they have been by many accredited, they will allay Irish discontent by other means than by pursuing the prosecution of our true-hearted and devoted leaders. But should it be desired to exhibit the old love of misgovernment, these objects will be attained and these only by the manner which (as the contemplated trials threaten) it is proposed to prop up the tottering fabric of landlordism.
––I remain, sir, yours very faithfully,
Edmund Hogan, C.C.
20 Jul, 1900 – A meeting of the Nationalists of Boherlahan and Dualla was held on Sunday outside the chapel grounds at Boherlahan for the purpose of establishing a branch of the United Irish League in the locality. During the stormy days of the fight on the Smith-Barry estate the Nationalists of Boherlahan were almost the first to toe the line to fight Mr Smith-Barry. On Sunday all were, as in the old days, proud to get a chance to fight for the old cause. In the early morning, Mr TJ Condon, MP for the division, drove over from Clonmel. The Dualla Fife and Drum Band played him to the place of meeting.
16 Sep, 1905 – Parochial House, Boherlahan, Cashel, 12th Sept., 1905.
Gentlemen––Enclosed I send you £5 11s from the newly-established Branch of the United Irish League in Dualla towards the Parliamentary Fund. This contribution together with £15 2s 6d recently subscribed by the Boherlahan Branch forms a respectable total of £20 13s 6d from these
united parishes, and demonstrates, if need be, their earnest and practical adhesion to the National Cause.
John Kelly, P.P., President
9 Oct, 1907 – Boherlahan, Co. Tipperary, October 7th, 1907.
Dear Sir––Your columns kindly gave due publicity, some short time ago, to the usual contribution of our branch of the League to the Irish Parliamentary Fund. The amount is, we consider, a very fair indication of the patriotic spirit that is still alive and active amongst us. Whilst others may be lagging and halting and sulking, we pursue the even tenor of our consistent course of action. We are proud to proclaim our unabated confidence in a pledge-bound, united parliamentary Party, and we fail to discover any better component parts for that policy than John Redmond and his lieutenants.
John Kelly, P.P., President.
N. Ryan, M.C.C., Treasurer.
Daniel Walshe, Hon. Secretary.
4 Aug, 1915 – Mr John Redmond, MP, and Mr John Dillon, MP, travelled from Dublin to Thurles for the purpose of attending the National Convention, called to reorganise the United Irish League throughout the country. A large crowd assembled at the station cheered then enthusiastically. The motor car of his Grace the Most Rev Dr Harty, Archbishop of Cashel, was in waiting to convey them to the Archbishop’s Palace. A procession was formed, headed by the brass band of the Thurles Confraternity of the Holy Family. Then came the Boherlahan Volunteers with shouldered rifles, under the command of Capt DC Maher. The Archbishop’s car, with its distinguished occupants, was flanked by an escort of the Thurles Volunteers with fixed bayonets.
When just past the entrance to the Archiepiscopal Palace grounds, the Boherlahan Volunteers, by an evolution neatly executed, made an “about turn” and came to the salute as the Archbishop’s car turned to enter the grounds with its escort of gleaming bayonets.