Press Release
(July 18th 2003)

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Just days before the launch of his book in Turoe, Fr. Tom O'Connor's colleagues and friends on the opposite side of the world (in Borneo) presented him with a completely unexpected present: two weeks holiday, and a return air-ticket to Ireland.  Consequently, he was "the star of the show" at last Sunday's event.  Over 200 people are believed to have attended.
 
Fr. O'Connor related how certain conversations he had heard as a child prompted him to start investigating the local history of Turoe and Athenry shortly after he was ordained a priest. Thus began the 40 years of meticulous research work which has resulted in this new book titled: "TUROE & ATHENRY: ANCIENT CAPITALS OF CELTIC IRELAND". 
 
Other speakers included William Henry who spoke about the archaeology of nearby St Clerans, which for several years was the home of the legendry Hollywood film director John Huston, and of his daughter (film actress Anjelica Huston).
 
Minister Noel Treacy T.D. talked of the time when he became the Republic of Ireland's first Heritage Minister, and of a prize winning exhibition in Japan (which is understood to have featured a full-size replica of the world famous Turoe Stone). 
 
Hugh Weir provided information on some of the family names which have featured strongly in local history. These included the Trench family, who still hold the Lord Ashtown title, and whose ancestral home is Woodlawn House - which is located just a few miles away from the Turoe Stone (at the opposite side of the tiny Parish of Bullaun & New Inn).
 
Marie Heneghan (representing Teagasc) spoke of the need for good quality marketing and sales strategies in connection with the promotion of rural heritage sites, and "Rural Agri-Tourism".  
 
Music, dancing, singing, and poetry followed. Several photographs taken during the event can be seen at:
 
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A copy of the above information has been placed at the following Internet page address:
 
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WEB SITE (Front Page address):
 
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