Where Tipperary goes, Ireland follows.

‘Where Tipperary goes, Ireland follows’ were the words of Thomas Osborne Davis.
Davis was a revolutionary Irish writer who was the chief organiser and poet of the Young Ireland movement.  (http://ballingarry.net/warhouse/guide.html)

Visiting the War House before anyone else has a little advantage, and that’s getting a few photo’s without having to wait for others to move out of the way. We were met at the main gate by the very gracious John Webster, who has a great sense of pride in his community role of raising the flag every day at this location. COMMONS 044

He welcomed both of us in and we were allowed the run of the place. The first thing that I remembered was the little gate into the house itself and as I walked through I looked behind me to the landscape. Even though the site is on high ground and I know the views to be spectacular, the day was wet and visibility was limited but that helped, as I could focus on what it must have been like. I remembered the account of Thomas Walsh, he was forced to cross from one side of the front gate to the other and as he crossed between the gate piers he was shot dead by the police. I walked through those gates and looked behind me at the boundary wall that people took shelter behind and I could almost hear the shouting and gunfire, but I know that’s my own imagination and John went on to ask me ‘Do you mind ghosts Fiona?’ I replied that I usually get on OK with them as I don’t put in or out and I try my best not to disturb them.

By all accounts the Young Irelanders were an educated lot of influential men, I’ve been reading through the Ballingarry web-site http://www.ballingarry.net/famine-warhouse-1848-historical-documents-articles/  and I’m so impressed with the amount of local information that the people of Ballingarry have included. It is a mark of the love of their history that such work is on-going. I’m discovering even more of my own heritage because of the dedication of these people.

As you walk in the front door the drawing room is to the left and the kitchen to the right, straight ahead is the back door and stairs that lead to four bedrooms. The widow McCormack had five children, all of them were held hostage by Sub-Inspector ‘Trant’ and his 46 policemen after they took refuge in the farmhouse. They barricaded themselves in, pointing their guns from the windows. The house was surrounded by the rebels and a stand-off ensued. Mrs. Margaret McCormack, the owner of the house and mother of the children, demanded to be let into her house, but the police refused and wouldn’t release her children.

Upstairs window

We wandered through the house on bare floor boards, I sat in the kitchen for a while, alone as Joe went off with his camera, I got a whiff of soot so I went over for a closer look and stick my head up the chimney.
Kitchen in the War-House

Real or imagined I can hear the conversations, I can feel the family. I can sense the fear this Widow had while her children were locked up with armed gunmen. I left the room quickly and called out ‘Where are ya Joe’ and trundled up the stairs to see what he was up to.
We stayed a while longer and read through all the history information that was there, read about the Young Irelanders and where they ended up … it’s a fascinating read that I highly recommend and you’ll find it on the link I shared above.
As we walked out the back door I looked again at this little farm house that would have fallen to the grounds if it wasn’t for the dedication of the people in the area.
What happened here is going down in history, and we’re here today doing our bit to help that history stay alive.

On our way to the village (Commons) it rained some more so the event was moved into a marquee. Tables and chairs were hauled from one end of the village to another as the ‘Young Irelanders’ got themselves ready and Séamus played the role of Thomas Francis Meagher who turned up, on horseback.

Great shot here of Seamus playing the role of 'Thomas Meagher' in the re-enactment.

Great shot here of Seamus playing the role of ‘Thomas Meagher’ in the re-enactment.

Young Irelanders re-enactment in the Commons. County Tipperary

It is amazing to see these local men and women throw themselves into keeping alive our histories. The day was a credit to everyone involved and from my own perspective I learned loads more – I hope I can encourage you all to go out and about and find for yourselves what’s in your area … write a blog, create a facebook page or just make up an album and send it in to us and we’ll share it for you.
Our history is around us and it’s there to inspire us, all we need to do is listen to the conversation.

We’ll be posting more images and ‘history bits’ on the facebook page for anyone who’s interested in learning more either on the facebook page or on Joe’s own photography page, https://www.facebook.com/JoeOrmondePhotography?fref=ts

18 thoughts on “Where Tipperary goes, Ireland follows.

  1. Brilliant post guys, enjoyed reading your very evocative descriptions of the history you felt Fiona. Well done, great photo’s too. Must visit the location some day!

    • Thanks Michael. The area is well worth a visit and in particular the War House. Let me know if you do decide to visit and perhaps I can return the favour and bring you around our neck of the woods.

  2. Really good Fiona i thoroughly enjoyed it, I think we all have to find our roots, a few weeks ago i felt the need to look up Athy in County Kildare, where all of my dad’s family came from, it felt good to learn and read about it, It a shame that I didnt get to Visit Athy again, , but they say the Divine works in mysterious ways, and I felt that i have been put on the right path, we were meant to meet online, and I was meant to get Felicity’s book.
    Thanks for a great read


    • Thanks Janet, There’s hardly a corner in Ireland that wasn’t effected by the events that took place in the War House. As a lot of the Young Irelanders went on hold important political positions around the world.

  3. Very interesting. Haven’t started research yet but my family, The Ryans, are from Tipperary. Thanks……….

    • Hi Karen, If you have Ryans from Tipperary then the link I shared for Ballingarry would be a great place to start. Best of luck with your search and if you get stuck come back and we’ll try to help.

    • MaryAnne, I’m delighted you popped in and introduced yourself here.
      And well done on one of the best and most informative local web sites, it is an amazing resource that you’ve put together and a great example of how it can be done. Myself and Joe had a great time and everyone we met was just so friendly and helpful. Thanks again MaryAnne.

  4. Although I have never visited Tipperary, I enjoy reading the artcles and seeing the photos (Joe) of the area. Little by little, I have been reading about the struggle for independence in Ireland, and I am continually saddened by the series of events which took place and by the bravery of Ireland’s people. Thank you, Fiona, for bringing these stories to The Irish Way, so that people like myself can learn about and appreciate what our forebears sacrificed for the Cause!

    • Ellen thank you for your encouragement but I have to share any credit with the people who are doing it. We find out about these events and we pop along but it’s the people there who are dedicated to making sure the history stays alive. It is great feedback to hear that you are enjoying what we share and I will pass it on to the people who made it possible.
      Thanks again Ellen, you’re company is very much appreciated 🙂

      • Of course, you give credit to those who do the work, but I appreciate the fact that you “do the work” to get all of this out to your followers on The Irish Way! Those of us across the “Big Pond” are grateful to you for passing along to us all of this interesting information about our roots! Keep us happy by continuing the great work that you and Joe accomplish from one day to another! 🙂

    • Bill 😀
      I know you to be a bit of a history lover too so … thanks man.
      It’s fantastic to see ordinary regular people making such an effort and it wipes out the general notion that ‘Irish people don’t care’ – a notion that that has somehow got into us.

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