Collage of the main scenes of Clonmen
Clonmel derives its name from Cluain Meala meaning the meadow of honey. Today it is a thriving town on the river Suir. Surrounded by the Commeragh and Knockmealdown mountains it is an excellent centre for climbing and exploring.
In the 14th C it was walled and fortified and was the home of the powerful Butler Anglo-Norman family. In 1516 it was besieged and taken by the Earl of Kildare and in 1650 it was attacked by Oliver Cromwell, who found great resistance.
Charles Bianconi became Mayor of Clonmel and gave Ireland it's first transport system. In 1843 he had a hundred vehicles in use.
A portion of the old town wall which encloses St.Mary's church is well preserved. The church itself was built on the site of a 14th C church. It has a striking octaganal tower.
The West Gate was rebuilt in 1831, and number 19 Main street was once a Bishop's palace. In it's rafters in 1880 were discovered letters signed by Oliver Cromwell.
The Main Guard was said to have been built to a design by Cristopher Wren. On the front wall are the arms of Clonmel and those of the Palatinate of Ormond founded in the 14th C.
The Franciscan church is a 19th C restoration on the site of a 13th C foundation. Inside are the remains of the Butler's of Cahir.
Collage of the Sights of Clonmel Town.
The White Memorial Theatre:
The White Memorial Theatre was formally a Weslyn / Methodist Chapel. It was designed and built in 1843 by William Tinsley at a cost of £600, half of which was raised locally. It is in the Greek Revival Style and the facade is framed with corner pilasters supporting a plain pediment. The corners and the apex are crowned with palmettes. This decorative work can also be seen on the porch at Knocklofty House and on the County Museum. The Theatre now commemorates James White, founder of St.Mary's Choral Society.
||The image left is a detail (palmette) from the apex of the facade of the White Memorial Theatre, the oval insets play on the detail. The White Memorial Theatre is in the Clonmel Town sights collage above, it is top left, and second image to the right.
Town Wall & Towers:
The Town Walls were built in the 14th C by the High Sheriff and the First Lord of the Manor of Clonmel, Otho de Grandison. They enclosed a square area approximately 320 metres N-S by 412 metres E-W, bounded on the South by the river Suir. The first wall building grant was sanctioned in 1298 and again in 1316, 1335 and 1364. These walls proved valuable when Oliver Cromwell and his forces laid siege to the town in 1650, where he met stiff opposition and suffered the loss of about 2,000 men. The section of the Town Wall remaining is by Old St. Mary's Church. It was restored and renovated in 1980 by the Corporation, and was railed off from the consecrated ground of the Church Yard in 1987 to provide a walkway for the public.
The Allen, Larkin and O'Brien Monument.
The monument was "Erected by the Nationalists of Clonmel" in memory of Allen, Larkin and O'Brien Hanged at Manchester.
The West Gate:
The West Gate was built by a merchant called Joyce in 1831 on the original site. It formed part of the defences of the medieval town. The Irish lived outside the town, were allowed to trade and work inside the walls, but had to leave the town by evening.
In medieval times the quays stretched the river bank beyond the South walls of the town. These walls were levelled to allow the quays to be extended around 1765. During the latter part of the 18th C and early 19th C Clonmel developed into one of the most important commercial and industrial inland towns in Ireland. Most of the grain in Tipperary and a large amount from Munster were transported by barge from Clonmel which proved to be an efficient and quick means of transport. The river Suir navigation company formed between 1836 to 1841 and the deepening of the river between Clonmel and Carrick meant that larger vessels (up to 200 tons) could dock at Clonmel. After a long struggle with rail transport in 1920 the barges ceased to sail and the towpath became public walkways. During the town drainage scheme in 1992, the quays were rebuilt and the original towpaths lost. However the bollards for tying the barges remain. In 1832 there were 23 mills, mostly owned by the Quakers. Murphy's Stout was brewed in the town from 1798 to 1924 the building was then used as a shoe factory until recent times.
Under the bridge where the River & Park view image was taken, in the Clonmel Town Sights Collage above, is a plaque set into the side of the bridge where one can read pausing a minute from a beautiful river side / quay walk,
"Retrospect" by Charles J.Boland February 1892:
"DO THE FEEBLE STILL VENTURE TO TODDLE
TO THE QUAY AND SIT DOWN ON A BALK
AND SUN THEIR OLD SELVES IN THE EVEN
WITH THE CROWS CAWING LOUD IN THE TREES
THAT'S THE SPOT. I THINK. OUTSIDE OF HEAVEN
WHERE A HEART WEARIED OUT WOULD FIND EASE."
The Court House.
The Court House was built to the design of Sir Richard Morrison (1800c) and is similar to the centre part of Leinster House in Dublin.
Old St. Mary's Church.
Above the beautiful stain glass alter window of Old St. Mary's Church.
Old St. Mary's Church is believed to have been built by William de Burgo in 1204c, the first reference to it is in a letter dated August 1228. In the 14th C the town was almost continuously under siege by the Irish. James Earl of Ormonde exclaimed in 1385 that "the citizens of the town had been unable to attend divine service in their parish church in a accustomed manner due to the poor state of repair of the building.
A fortified church was built on the site in the late 14th - early 15th C. Alterations were made in the 14th, 15th and 16th C. The main features which survive are the base of the bell tower 27 feet square and the East Tower House; square building with battlements and lancets. It was destroyed in 1650 during the Cromwellian occupation. The East window dates from the 1500s and is almost identical to a window in the Dominican Church in Cashel and the West window is a smaller version of the chancel window in Holycross Abbey. In 1805 major renovations took place and the octagonal bell tower was built to its present height of 84 feet on the base of the old tower. In 1857 a new roof was built at a height of 56 feet 6 inches and the foundation of the arches were strengthened.
The Town Hall rebuilt in 1881 under Alderman Edward Cantwell Mayor stands on the original site of a private mansion called Hamerton Hall owned by a timber merchant called Richard Hamerton. It now contains Municipal Offices and Council Chambers of the Corporation. Outside stands a statue to the memory of the men involved in the 1798 rebellion. It was sculpted by James K. Bracken of Templemore, one of the founding members of the G.A.A.
The Gaol Gate / Entrance.
This Jail was built in the late 1700s and had six dungeons. Father Nicholas Sheehy was imprisoned here and after his execution his head was displayed on the gates of the Jail as a warning to others. Father Nicholas Sheehy is buried in Clogheen.
The Butter Market:
||Here a plaque, with the coat of arms
of Clonmel richly decorated and set into
the front of the Butter Market building,
established it seems in 1817.
||Anne Street was built in 1820.
A Mr Charles Riall (1774 - (1855)
engaged the builders Thomas and John
Tinsley to carry out the work. The street
was probably named after Riall's wife Anne.
One can see Old St.Mary's Church in the
River Suir Clonmel.
View of the River Suir from Clonmel at twilight.
The Poppy Field Clonmel.
This is a spectacular annual sight and is much loved by photographers. If you are lucky you might see newly weds being photographed in this field.
It is at it's best during the months of July and August.
St. Marys Irishtown Clonmel.
||St. Marys Irishtown Clonmel.
This is the present Parish Church of the Assumption. It is a classical building of 1837 to 1850. Its steeple and portico were built 1875 to 1890. It has a stucco ceiling and an expensive altar designed by the English Architect George Goldie. A monument (1615) of John Fitz-Geoffrey White, first Mayor of Clonmel may be seen inside.