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Nenagh Heritage Guide

Stroll around an historical town with a fascinating past and some mesmerising stories.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours

Overview :  Nenagh is a market town with a long and proud history; nearly every street salutes an Irish patriot in its name and other greats from ... more »

Tips:  Nenagh's weather can be changeable so make sure you bring an umbrella and rain gear. Good comfortable sturdy footwear will serve you... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Tourist Office

Formerly the Presbyterian church, the tourist office is conveniently located in the town centre across from both the Arts Centre and a stone's throw away from Nenagh Castle.

With usefull information on things to see and do in and around Nenagh, ensure you pay a visit to the office, just off from Banba square. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to... More

The impressive remains of an Anglo-norman castle built by the Butler family around 1200 including the circular keep and the twin-towered gatehouse can still be seen to this day.

The Keep has recently been reopened by President Michael D. Higgins in Summer 2012. A study of the chronology of its chequered history and the coat of arms of the leading... More

3. Arts Centre

Nenagh Arts Centre had been the Town Hall built in 1889 on the site of the old turf market. It's come along way from those turf days having been newly refurbished in 2010 with state of the art theatre offers a wide programme of entertainment events, i.e. films, plays, music and children’s theatre etc.

Banba Square
Tel: +353 067 34900
E-mail:... More

4. Maps of Area

Get your bearings with the help of the map of the area on Banba Square. There's also a map for the Sli na Slainte local walk to the left on the blue signage. There's further signage beside the nearby electronic toilet behind the Arts Centre. Kevin tells us a bit more about this historic square in the audio piece.

5. Monument

The monument in the centre of Banba Square represents Christ the King and is a memorial to those killed between the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War ending in 1923. It replaced 'Jamesy' who had been on the plinth from 1932 until 1955, a figure regarded with great affection and mirth, but seen as not representative of the... More

6. Courthouse

Having become an Assizes town in 1838 with the birth of a new county in the form of Tipperary North Riding, Nenagh courthouse was built around 1843 and was designed by John B. Keane (no, not the playwright!) forming part of a complex of judicial buildings including Nenagh Gaol and the Governor's House along with the monumental gateway into the... More

7. Sporting heroes

The sporting achievements of the town are remembered in front of Nenagh Courthouse where bronze sculptures have been erected to several Olympic champions with Nenagh connections including Bob Tisdall who won the 400m hurdles in Los Angeles in 1932, Johnny Hayes ran in the London marathon of 1908 and Matt McGrath who threw the hammer in Stockholm... More

8. Gaol and Heritage Centre

A beautifully proportioned octagonal-shaped three-storey basement building that was the former prison governor's house, which was built around 1840. The approach up to the building is accessed through a monumental gateway which faces onto St. Mary's Roman Catholic church. Today the building is used s the centre of the North Tipperary Genealogy and... More

9. St. Mary of the Rosary Roman Catholic church

A fine church designed by Walter Doolin and built in 1896. It is an excellent example of large scale Gothic Revival architecture of the late nineteenth century in Ireland. inside the church are some stained glass windows from the Harry Clarke studio.

Note the sign at the back of the church, which subtly encapsulates Irish wit - we'll let you... More

10. St. Mary's Church of Ireland

A Gothic revival church that was built around 1865 with some stained glass windows from the Harry Clarke studios. In the porch note the roll of honour of those of the parish who died in the Great Ward ('their name liveth evermore').

From here we'll be making on way down the street to the elegant streetscape of Georgian Summerhill. Straight ahead ... More

11. The Dev connection

Turning left onto Summerhill, note the street width and beautifully proportioned windows, the ornamented doorways and fanlights (no two are exactly the same) the basements for servants, the archways leading to cobbled yards and stables, the boot scraper and riding stone.

The building on the lefthand side of the street called DeValera Court was... More

12. The Battle of the Breeches

Anyone looking for a good old fashioned Irish pub will do well to find better than Powell's Bar. It may be in new hands, but the atmosphere and layout has been restored to it best.

Across the road is the Christian Brothers school and some forty paces on from here is the Military Barracks where a Private Burns of the North Tipperary Militia fired... More

13. Nenagh Guardian

No. 13 is where the Nenagh Guardian is located. The Guardian is a weekly local newspaper that circulates in North Tipperary, Ireland. The newspaper is based in Nenagh, County Tipperary but is printed by the Limerick Leader in Limerick. The title incorporates two previous local papers the Tipperary Vindicator and the Nenagh News.

Next door at No. ... More

14. Pearse Street

Formerly Castle street, Pearse street has many houses of stone with a lively pattern of pitched roof tops, shops with residences over them - characteristic of the Irish market town - many still with traditional fronts bearing family names in fine lettering on strong dignified timber or gilded behind glass.

To the left is Thomas McDonagh street,... More

15. The Lecture Hall

Note the imposing door on The Lecture Hall just before O'Rahilly Street. Built in 1869 with Rev. Chester as the driving force for the young Men's Christian and Literary Association who had been meeting previously in the Courthouse. Below O'Rahilly street is the former North Tipperary Club which became Dun Mhuire, Gaelic League headquarter in 1958 ... More

16. Franciscan Abbey

The ruins of this large Franciscan friary that was built before 1252 under the patronage of the O'Kennedy's and was the head house of the Irish province of the Franciscan order. In our audio piece, we hear from local archaeologist, Dr. Caomin O'Brien talking about the Friary and pilgrims.

Over the entrance is a 15th century carved head probably ... More

17. Kenyon Street

Kenyon street is a great street to enjoy food, be it in one of its grocers, craft butchers or from the likes of Peter Ward's famous County Choice shop. There's a great piece about how people used to eat on nearby Silver Street from 1850 in the Nenagh Guardian: -

'Two houses in Silver Street were eating houses and in those days it was the fashion ... More

18. Church Tower

18th century bell-tower which was built onto an earlier church medieval church in 1760 as stated on the date stone that is still visible high up on the east face of the bell tower. This was the site of the Protestant church until it was abandoned when the congregation moved to their new church around 1865.

Kenyon street victualler, Peter Ward,... More

19. Sonny O'Neill

Above Talbot's Shop lived a man who carried with him possibly Ireland's biggest secret for many years - one in fact he took to the grave. Our guide, Kevin Whelan, tells us the fascinating story of Mr. Sonny O'Neill and his pivotal role in modern Irish history.

20. Starr's drapery

Starr's is a shop that is sadly in decline in Ireland. Here you can get everything from flags to ponchos, shirt to slacks and best of all, a bit of banter from its staff. It's a proper old-fashioned drapery with the most eloquent proprietor in town. Hear for yourself in out audio piece: Kevin give us some background in one piece and we hear the... More

21. Sarsfield Steet/Emmet Place

It's here that our guide Kevin Whelan grew up and played - in the audio piece, he tell us about those days with his customary verve. On the corner of Emmet Place in DK Travel, Kevin tells us about one local boy made good who made it big in politics.

22. Hanly's Place

Hanly's Place is one of the older parts of town that once had rows of small cottages for the poor. Today, it isn't just a thoroughfare, but houses a busy bistro and is home to the Nenagh Players, a highly regarded troupe of amateur thespians.

23. Onto Ashe Street

We leave you with our guide, Kevin, telling us about his recollection of fair days along this stretch when he was growing up.

By walking up Hanly's Place, we came onto Ashe Road and turn right. You'll possibly recognise the Courthouse on your left and certainly the iconic Keep in front of you. With that, you'll have completed the tour and will be... More

24. Old Rialto cinema

The old Rialto cinema is where our guide, Kevin Whelan, recalls some halcyon days when people still thronged to the the cinemas on their push bikes and where the odd spot of 'courting' used to take place.