In his role as Muintir Na Tire President, Michael was present at the opening of the extension to Ballyduff Hall
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A few weeks later I returned to Cappauniacke (near Bansha), to visit some of the places I had been told about. Accompanied by John Marnane, we climbed the short but steep hill behind his house. The muddy terrain was stamina sapping to say the least, but the effort was justly rewarded. About 500 feet up, located between two of the Galtees smaller hills, was a field of quite incredible proportions, called “the Hurling Glen”. It is as level as Semple Stadium in Thurles and is approximately 1500 feet long by 180 feet wide, covering five acres in all. There is a strong local tradition that the game of hurling was played there over 100 years ago.
Continuing our travels that after noon, we crossed a mountain stream and walked through a Coillte forest to reach Cappauniacke waterfall. This was truly a magnificent sight, as the crystal clear water cascaded down over two levels of polished rock making sweet music in its fall. Oak, beech and sycamore reached skyward as a gentle breeze whistled through their naked branches. The white rays of the Winter sun filtered through the trees and dazzled like diamonds on the cascading waterfall .
On a foggy misty morning in Ballyagran on 15 October 2011, ladies from the Glen of Aherlow, brought a little bit of heaven down to earth, by capturing the Munster Junior A Club Championship. Ballyagran, on the Cork / Limerick border was a somewhat difficult place to find, but it transpired to be a magnificently appointed venue.
After a ding dong first half, the Dromina (Co.Cork) girls took a very commanding seven point lead early in the second half. But then the fighting spirit and the considerable ability of the girls from the Galtees came into play. They gradually whittled away the Cork lead and after hitting the woodwork twice, Aherlow ran out two point winners.
It was an historic occasion, as it was the first time ever that an Aherlow side won a Munster club championship. Great credit is due to the Management team of Pat Moroney, Eamon Mullins and Lar Ivory, but above all to the panel of girls themselves who brought such glory and honour to the Glen of Aherlow.
In going through some old photos to day, I came across a classic—-a good quality picture of myself between two of Tipperarys greatest ever hurlers, namely Babs Keating and John Doyle. It brought back memories of some of the great games I saw when Babs and John were playing, be it in Semple Stadium,Thurles, Croke Park,Dublin or elsewhere. It even reminded me of watching my first big game in Thurles in May 1939, accompanied by my father and some cousins. Four years later, I cycled to a Munster final in Thurles on a very small bike and on bad roads. Thank the Lord last September, I was present in Croke Park to see one of the great hurling finals when Tipperary decisively defeated old rivals Kilkenny. Hopefully I will get this photo into the 2nd edition of Behold Aherlow.
Many people regard the abortive 1916 Rising as the start of the War of Independence. In West Tipperary and East Limerick, however, the ambush at Soloheadbeg on 21st.January 1919 is regarded by most people as the real start of the War. From there on many incidents such as ambushes and reprisals took place in this guerrilla type warfare. The British in 1920 set up a body of police that became known as the “Black and Tans”, so called because of their motley uniform. By the end of 1921, there were 9,000 of this much hated force. Their pay was ten shillings per day. The War ended when the Treaty was signed on 6th December 1921 and the Partition of Ireland became a permanent feature.
People often ask how Galbally and district was already such a nationalistic area when the War of Independence began. My opinion is that it has to do with a branch of the IRB being there from the early 1900s. The IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) was formed in1858 by such men as James Stephens, Charles J.Kickham and John O Leary. Despite a failed Rising attempt in 1867, the spirit of the IRB stayed very much alive and it took a leading part in the 1916 Rising. The Galbally branch remained active and my father Paddy Lynch and a friend Mick Scanlon travelled to Dublin in Easter 1915 to meet Tom Clarke and Sean Mac Diarmada (later to become two of the seven signatories to the 1916 proclamation). The main advice was recruit more and train more. There is a picture of the Galtee Battalion training camp in my book.