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Members of the Tulla Reaching Out committee, from left, Trish Halpin, Sr Eileen Callinan, Caitlin Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh and Jane Halloran Ryan launching this year’s 2020/2021 Reflections From Home And Abroad. Missing from picture is Col. Michael Mc Mahon. Photograph by John Kelly

East Clare community’s much anticipated journal hits shelves

ANTICIPATION is building in East Clare as the fifth journal from Tulla Reaching Out hits the shelves, writes Fiona McGarry.

Reflections from Home and Abroad 2020-2021 combines local and family history, as well as some beautiful images of Tulla in the late 1950s.

Jane Halloran Ryan and her small but dedicated team, which includes Sr Eileen Callinan and Caitlín Moloney, have been busily writing, compiling, proofing and chasing up pictures to illustrate the publication. Now, they are getting a chance to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

The tradition of publishing a collection annually started in 2016 to coincide with centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising.

“That edition completely sold out,” Jane said. “We actually had enough material for the 2017 publication and we more or less kept going.

“We had just launched our 2019 publication before the pandemic came along and that’s why, this time, we’re covering 2020-2021.

“We have a fantastic committee of seven people and a core of three, who look after the journal. There really is huge interest and people are really keen to research local stories and family history linked to the area.

“Every time an edition comes out, we get people coming forward with more ideas for articles.”

This year’s collection is a rich and diverse one with lots to interest fans of local history and heritage. The items cover a broad historical range, from the early Christian era to the mid-1990s.

“Dr Cathy Swift from Mary I has a great piece on St Mochulla, and that’s very appropriate since we’ve marked the 1,400 anniversary of him founding the town,” Jane outlined.

“Mike Hogan has written a wonderful article for us on the Church of Ireland building in Kilkishen and how funds were raised to transform it into a cultural centre and we have a piece on Conor Clune [of the Scariff Martyrs] by a student at St Joseph’s Secondary School, which lots of people will be interested in.”

Jane herself has written two article for the journal: one on the burning of Kiltanon House in September of 1920, while the other is an intriguing story she unearthed while carrying out her own PhD research.

Her doctoral work on the migration of the Clune family from Clare to Connecticut from the mid-18th led her to unearth the story of Tulla woman, Mary Breen.

“Mary’s family had been attacked in the 1820s by the White Boys, a secret society,” Jane explained.

“As a young woman, she gave evidence in the trial of the men. One of them was executed while others were deported for their role in the attack. The situation left such ill-will that Mary had to emigrate.”

An article on St Mochulla’s National School’s time capsule, created in 1995 and opened in early 2020, is a reminder of a project that generated huge interest.

“People were really taken with that capsule,” Jane said.

“So many people wanted to know more about it. Can you imagine if we had created a time capsule in 2020, given all that happened, what would people think opening it 25 years later?”

In addition to the articles, Reflections carries a series of photos that are guaranteed to be of major local interest.

“We have some wonderful pictures of the County Fleadh in Tulla in 1958,” said Jane.

“Sr Eileen received those from a private donor and there are photographs of a parade that was held to coincide with the fleadh. It’s amazing to see the kind of costumes people were wearing for the parade.

“We also have a family picture of four generations of the Considines from Tulla. It’s so interesting.

“Even outside of the family connections, it’s fascinating to see the clothes they wore and the location of the photo, which is possibly at their farm house.”

While producing Reflections is very much a labour of love, there is lots of hard work involved and Jane is deeply grateful to everyone involved.

“We are very appreciative of all of the support, the donations of photos, the articles and to everyone who stocks the publication, as well as our readers,” Jane said.

“Local photographers, including Eoin O’Hagan, gave the pictures for the covers and we’re so grateful.”

Reflections from Home and Abroad is available from Bia Folláin, Tulla Pharmacy, O’Halloran’s, Supervalu and Cooney’s Home and Hardware at a cost of €15. A number of copies will also be available from Ennis bookshop.

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