Commons (Co. Tipperary / East)
Commons / The Commons is where the Young Irelanders are said to have initiated what became known as The Cabbage Patch Rebellion of 1848 by unfurling the Irish tricolour (first flown by Thomas Francis Meagher in Waterford City earlier that year on his return from France).
The Irish tricolour, apparently inspired by the unofficial green, white and rose banner created in 1843 by Bishop Fleming at the behest of William Carson to symbolise peace between Protestants and Catholics in Newfoundland, the birthplace of Meagher’s father, who became Lord Mayor of Waterford.
The village has a strong Republican tradition (the IRA had an active local company from 1917 – 1922); a committee still solemnly hoists the flag every day.
Commons also has monuments honouring famous mid-C20th locals, athlete John Joe Barry, aka “the Ballingarry Hare”, and traditional musician Larry Wall Fitzpatrick, commemorated by an annual festival every summer.
Palatine Street is the name of a road near the local areas of Black Commons / Blackcommons and Bawnlea, settled in the early C18th by German Protestant refugees from the Rhine Palatinate at the invitation of Chambre Brabazon Barker of Kilcooley Abbey; descendants of the original settlers still live in the vicinity.
A Methodist church used until the 1960s and a former schoolhouse now used as a community hall can be seen on the roadside.
Commons is close to Grange on ByRoute 6.
Ballingarry (Co. Tipperary / East)
Ballingarry (Baile an Gharraí – “Town of the Gardens”) is a picturesque traditional style village which, despite the encroaching suburbs of Kilkenny City, has managed to retain much of its rural air.
The Cabbage Patch Rebellion
On 29th July 1848, at the height of the Great Famine, the Young Irelanders staged their ill-fated “Cabbage Patch rebellion” against British rule.
In emulation of the rebels on the streets of Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Prague, Budapest and Krakow earlier that year, the idealistic young revolutionaries William Smith O’Brien, Thomas Francis Meagher, James Stephens and Terence Bellew MacManus, unfurled the tricolour of green, white and orange and marched around the locality at the head of a column of somewhat bemused locals waving pikes, muskets and blunderbusses.
Sub-Inspector Trant and 46 other local policemen barricaded themselves in the McCormack House, a large two-story farm dwelling, taking the five young McCormack children as hostages and pointing their guns from the windows, and a stand-off ensued. Mrs. Margaret McCormack, the owner of the house and mother of the children, demanded to be let in, but the police refused and would not release the children. Mrs. McCormack found O’Brien reconnoitring the house from the out-buildings, and asked him what was to become of her children and her house. Together they approached a window. O’Brien stated, “We are all Irishmen-give up your guns and you are free to go.” O’Brien shook hands with some of the police through the window.
It is widely but not universally held that a constable fired the first shot at O’Brien, who was attempting to negotiate. General firing ensued between the police and the rebels. O’Brien had to be dragged out of the line of fire, and several locals were killed or wounded.
The position of the police was virtually impregnable. When a party of the Cashel constabulary under Sub-Inspector Cox were seen arriving over Boulea Hill, the rebels attempted to stop them even though they were low on ammunition, but the police continued to advance, firing up the road. It became clear that the police in the house were about to be reinforced and rescued. The rebels then faded away, effectively terminating both the Young Ireland and Repeal movements.
O’Brien and the other three leaders were arrested, tried and found guilty of Treason and were among the last people to receive the traditional sentence, i.e. to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but (some say on the intervention of Queen Victoria) this was commuted and they were instead transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).
Dr Thomas McGrath‘s interesting account of the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848 can be read here.
The McCormack family emigrated to the USA about 1853. Since that time, the McCormack house (which was owned by a number of other families after 1848) has always been known locally as The Warhouse. In 2004 the State declared the building a national monument, officially designated as the “Famine Warhouse 1848“.
Ballingarry is not far from Mullinahone on ByRoute 4.
The Copper (96 ft) is the tallest of several chimney-like structures (”steeples”) dotted about the Slieveardagh Hills since the early C19th zenith of the local anthracite coal mining industry. Fires were lit inside the flues to draw impure air from underground shafts. For some reason the Copper was never connected underground.
Mardyke is the location of a ruined Engine House and chimney dating from the same period. Around 1000 miners used to work shifts here.
Killenaule (Co. Tipperary / East)
Killenaule (Cill Náile) (pop. 2500) at the southern extremity of the Slieveardagh Hills, is a pleasant rural town with several good pubs. The surrounding area has a large and varied heritage of Ring Forts, Tower Houses and castles.
The Slieveardagh Culture and Enterprise Centre, housed in the former Church of Ireland building on River St., provides information on activities in the area, collates genealogical data and exhibits examples local artisans’ work.
St. Mary’s church (RC) has fine stained-glass windows.
Rathmoley is the site of one of the finest complete double Ring Forts in Ireland. In 1925 the Killenaule Viking Silver Hoard was discovered here; it is now preserved in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
Derrynaflan is an “island” of green pasture surrounded by brown bog. This was the site of an early Christian monastery, and also the home and burial place of the legendary craftsman, An Goban Saor.
On 17th February 1980 locals Michael Webb and his son, exploring with a metal detector, found a priceless treasure hoard near the pre-Romanesque church within the monastic enclosure, giving rise to a national controversy about ownership and compensation.
The Derrynaflan Chalice, a silver paten, a paten stand, a strainer and a bronze basin, all dating from the late C8th / early C9th, are regarded as among the most important surviving examples of Insular metalwork found so far. They were eventually “donated” to the Irish State and are now in display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
Derrynaflan also has a remarkable Sheela-na-Gig, the largest of a group of stones about 100m SSW of the ruined C13th Norman church on the hill. The stone depicts a skull at the top and two large testicles at the bottom. In the centre a small face appears, followed by a small body, a vulva and 2 upturned legs. This Sheela turns out to be a sword handle and the head and feet match a fully clothed Norman lord. Two other stones are of a similar pattern.
(Nearby Moyglass was the birthplace in 1820 of John “Red” Kelly, found guilty in 1841 of stealing two pigs and sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. His son Ned Kelly became a famous Australian outlaw and national icon; as he was hanged in Melbourne on 11th November 1880 his last words were “such is life”.)
Killenaule is north of Fethard on ByRoute 4 and south of Glengoole / New Birmingham on ByRoute 6.
Ballinure is the location of Derrynaflan House, an attractive Virginia-creeper covered C18th farmhouse run as a friendly B&B / Guesthouse by Mrs. O’Sullivan, who bakes soda bread and scones and preserves her own jams. This is the home of Derrynaflan cheese.
Dualla / Dually (Dubhaille) a small village on the R691 near Cashel, comprises a parish church and a few scattered houses, plus a number of small housing estates built in recent years. The local ‘Big House’ is called Dually.