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