About Us

Stewart Willoughby

St Mary’s Famine and War Museum

In 1995 the Thurles Church of Ireland community kindly donated one third of St Mary’s Church to create a Famine Museum to commemorate the many Irish people who lost their lives through disease and starvation during the Great Famine in Ireland of 1845-1849.
The Famine and War museums are designed to be as informative and interesting as possible.

The Museum Site Features:

The church is the burial place of Lady Elizabeth Matthew, Viscountess of Thurles  and Progenitor to the present heir to the British Throne.

ladyesmall1

The museums features a beautifully designed stone doorway inlayed into the original entrance.

door

The oldest visible monument in the graveyard is the Archer tomb which was erected to the memory of Edmond Archer, ‘Burgess of Thurles’ and Lord of Rathfernagh, Galboola, Corbally and Kyllienane. There is a tradition that Archer was killed at Raheenrue near Drish bridge by the forces of Elizabeth. The tomb is alter-shaped with the following carvings; the figures of the Apostles, the Archer and Butler (or de la Poer) crests, a representation of the Crucifixion and on the upper slab, the figures of a Norman knight and his lady feet resting on dogs – figures representing Archer and his wife – and not, as is locally believed, Adam and Eve.

facextc

Locally referred to as Daniel O’Connell’s Sugar Bowl. This bowl was used by “The Liberator” (Born Aug 6th.1775 Co.Kerry -Died May 15th 1847 Genoa, Italy) at a banquet given in his honour by Nicholas V.Maher M.P. in 1829 at his home (Now home to Thurles Golf Club). It was presented, as a souvenir of this historic event, to the Maher’s housekeeper. The housekeeper, Thurles woman, Mrs Anto Tobin (nee Butler), was, herself, a devoted supporter of O’Connell. This bowl presently holds ‘pride of place’ in St.Mary’s Famine Museum, Thurles, having been presented to the museum by a relative, Miss Alice Smith, Stradavher, Thurles, Co Tipperary, with the wish that it be enjoyed by lovers of local Thurles history.

daniel-oconnell-sugar-bowl

60 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Eoin Morgan

    Hi George
    My name is Eoin Morgan originally from Thurles. Recently I was sent a copy of your article The Sacking of Thurles by Peter Lanigan and was most interested in the reference to Denis Morgan who was my Grand father.
    I understand that you are interested in all historical events associated with Thurles and I just want to bring the following to your attention just in case you may not know about it
    Evidence of conditions in Ireland were put to the American Commission on Ireland in 1921. I have a copy of the eyewitness evidence given by my grandfather to the commission and would be glad to share it with you if you are interested. Let me have your postal address and I will send it to you.
    Regards
    Eoin Morgan

  2. Catherine FitzMaurice

    Are there still tablets in the porch of St Marys to the Harding family? Family records suggest that the tablets were moved from Galbally church to St Mary’s Tipp when Galbally was closed. Also do you know if there are any headstones at the old Duntryleague graveyard near Galbally and can anything be identified on them or are they too old?
    Thanks

  3. admin Post author

    Hi Catherine,
    Thank you for your enquiry.
    May I suggest that you address this question to info@tipperarytown.ie
    We are a different St Mary’s Church situated in Thurles, Co Tipperary. The St Mary’s you possibly seek is in Tipperary Town & Galbally church is some 60km from Thurles bordering on Co Limerick. St Mary’s Tipperary Town is just 16 minutes or 15.5km from Galbally.
    Trust this information assists you in your enquiry.

  4. linzy woods

    Hello our names are Logan Vowell, Linzy Woods, and Justice Tautfest. We are freshman at Canton High school in Canton Oklahoma. We are competing in the national history day Wrights and responsibilities project. We are doing a group website over the Irish Potato Famine and we need information in order to do so. We found your museum and realized we could contact you for some information, so if you have any information that could help us you can contact us at Linzy_woods@Hotmail.com, message Linzy Woods or Logan Vowell on Facebook, call Linzy Woods at (580) 886-5689, or you could just send the information to Linzy Woods at P.O Box 131 long dale Oklahoma 73755.
    Thank you for your time
    Sincerely,
    Linzy Woods

  5. admin Post author

    Hello,
    Thank you for your interest.
    Please find general explanatory information attached forwarded by Email on the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849).
    Should you require further information please contact me with precise questions on the information you require.
    Hope all goes well with your proposed school project, into the future.
    Best regards, George Willoughby

  6. Frank DuBrule

    I visited Thurles in 2004, primarily to do research at the library there. My great grandfather several generations ago was born in Tollo in 1670 but researchers say he was born in Thurles. When I was staying at a B&B in Tipperary I mentioned to the owner that the records show he was born in Tollo and she said, “that would be Thurles”. Can you tell me why Tollo and Thurles would be interchangeable.
    Also, in the Hearth Money Tax Rolls of 1665-1666 it records that the Lady Viscountess of Thurles had 4 hearths and Thomas Williams had 1 hearth. However in the Rolls of 1666-1667 Lady Thurles had 15 hearths and Thomas Williams had 4 hearths. Do you have any idea of any historical event about that time that caused such a change in their respective financial conditions. I believe Thomas Williams, a protestant, was my grandfather several generations ago because he is the only Williams listed then. He lived outside the gates of the city in 1666-1667. Where did Lady Thurles live during 1665-1667?
    I hope you can answer these questions for me as I have been researching this for over 50 years off and on and it was the main purpose of my visit to Thurles, which is a lovely city, by the way. I realize these may be difficult questions and I deeply appreciate any information you can provide. Thank you very much.

  7. admin Post author

    Hi Frank,
    Let me deal with Hearth Tax Rolls first: Same was a tax on Fireplaces levied on each hearth in each family unit. Since Lady Elizabeth was a landlord here in Thurles she would have held many rented houses and depending on whether same had occupants or vacant tenancy, same would depend on how many hearths or fireplaces she was obliged to pay for in this tax. In the 17th century in the reign of William III a window tax was introduced on houses of over 6 windows. Same resulting in many windows being closed and blocked off. Similarly was the case with hearths or fireplaces.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________
    “4-9-1750.
    This is to advertise the Publick, that John Williams, son of Hercules
    Williams, and brother to Thomas Williams, who now keeps the King’s Head in
    Tipperary Town, now keeps the Garter Inn in the town of Clogheen, in the
    County of Tipperary, lately held by Lawford Mills, and promises to give all
    Gentlemen and others who are so kind as to favour him with their Company,
    Content and Satisfaction, and prays them to make a trial of the same.”
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Tollo: Date Ref 1231 Norman Times.
    “Lease to Walter Ap Howell, gont, servant to the (ict>giish.)
    king; of tho site of the abbey of Wony, county Limerick, lands of Wony, Caslano boonagho, Killonevnoke, Knocknegurtyn, Ragraige, Anaghe, Kuppeynowke, Kappeeullyii, and Lismollan, County Limerick; Cloankitt, county Kerry; the rectory of Wony, which extends to tho towns of Wony, Anaghe, Keppeynowke, Kappecullyn, Lysmolan, and Olonokitte; the rectory of Carkyn-lishe, extending to Carkynlishe, Brittas and Castelorkyn; the rectory of Killy voily; tho rectory of Ruiordan; tho rectory of Cayrreliy ; tho rectory of Thurles, extending to Thurles, Archeres-ton, Brittas, Killeuan, Galwolle, Cassosston, and to certain places in Eliogortie; the rectory of Raheille, extending to Eaheille, Syan, and Aenytt; the rectory of Wony Ikirryn, extending to Wony Ikyrryn/Twowynne, Mouetample, Moyne, Bally[erke], and Garrynele; the rectory of Twoballyissyn, extending to Twobally-issin, Tollo, Ballenetample, Ballynehianes, Ballyneknockan, and Clanclonoiske; the rectory of Enagh in Ormond, extending to Enaghe, Braclir, and Tullaghedde; the rectory of Cnoyaghe m Ormond ; the rectory of Arcloo, extending to Arcloo, Kilneyerge, and Kilranellagho; and the rectory of Tullaghe, extending to Tollo, Tankardiston, Rathville, Ramore, and Raglass. To hold for twenty-one years, at a rent of £57 2s.”

    Rectory of Twoballyissyn could be ABINGTON, a parish, partly in the barony of OWNEY-ARRA, county of South Tipperary.
    I have never heard of Thurles referred to as Tollo and it is more likely to be now pronounced as “Tullow”

    I will investigate this matter more later, but perhaps to hold more info than contained in your info above.

  8. Frank DuBrule

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENTS! MY GRNDFTR ABOUT 8 GENERATIONS AGO WAS THOMAS LAHY, A CATHOLIC WHO LIVED IN ARCHERSTOWN NEAR THURLES AND IN 1665 AND 1667 HE PAID 2 SHILLINGS TAX BECAUSE HE HAD ONE HEARTH. HE MARRIED CATHERINE WILLIAMS, A PROTESTANT B. 1645, AND I SUSPECT SHE WAS THE CHILD OF THOMAS WILLIAMS SINCE HE IS THE ONLY WILLIAMS SHOWN LIVING IN OR NEAR THURLES OUTSIDE THE CITY GATES. THE STRANGE THING IS THAT IN 1665 THOMAS WILLIAMS HAD ONE HEARTH AND PAID 2 SHILLINGS BUT IN 1666 HE HAD FOUR HEARTHS AND PAID 8 SHILLINGS.
    COINCIDENTALLY, IN 1665, LADY THURLES HAD THE ONLY PROPERTY IN THURLES WITH 4 HEARTHS PAYING 8 SHILLINGS BUT IN 1666 SHE HAS 15 AND PAID 30 SHILLINGS. IS IT POSSIBLE THOMAS WILLIAMS MOVED INTO A PROPERTY VACATED BY LADY THURLES?? DID SHE LIVE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE GATES?? THANK YOU AGAIN

  9. admin Post author

    Visit http://www.hiddentipperary.com/cemeteries-graveyards/grave-inscriptions-in-st-marys-churchyard/
    See inscription [Ctrl + F - type Lahy at page bottom left]
    Irish people often remember past ancesters by naming new born children with the same Christian Name. Thurles is a town not a city and is unlikely to have had gates, rather just an arched entrance which was guarded by soldiers who collected taxes http://www.hiddentipperary.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/bridge-castle-.jpg It is unlikely that in 1666 that he purchased property from Lady Thurles. More likely he owned 4 properties, 3 of which were rented and Hearth Tax on the first occasion was being paid by tenants. Lady Thurles lived in the castle at the rear of the image shown and behind the Market house or Shambles (A place where fresh meat is sold and removed in 1901) latter the building with the arched entrance in the Market Square.
    See also http://www.thurles.info/2008/11/24/thurles-ancestral-home-of-prince-charles-and-lady-diana/

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