Nenagh, a county town of North Tipperary, is a civil parish in the historical barony of Ormond Lower. Apart from being the administrative centre of North Tipperary, the town is also an Ecclesiastical parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe. Situated on the banks of the Nenagh River, the town is a popular centre for sailing and other water sports. In Irish, the name of the town denotes ‘The Fair of Ormond’, which refers to the Ormond (East Munster) Fair organised at the site. Originally a market town, Nenagh has come a long way by becoming a busy commercial town today.
Prior to the Norman invasion of Ireland, the town was the traditional territory of the O’Kennedy’s. King John of England included the town in the grant made to Theobald, who was appointed ‘Chief Butler of Ireland’. Throughout the mediaeval period, the importance of the town was largely attributed to it being a local market. In 1838, the growth and development of the town was accelerated with the division of geographical county of Tipperary into two ridings.
The market town continued to provide services to the agricultural hinterland in the 19th century. However, with Nenagh becoming the administrative capital of the North Riding, brewing, corn processing, coach building, iron works and cottage industries started flourishing in the town. In 1914, Nenagh Co-operative Creamery was instituted. At present, Nenagh Town Council, a nine member administrative body, governs the town.
Nenagh Castle, constructed by the Butler clan in the 13th century, is a prominent landmark of the town. The castle contains 30 metres high circular keep and a base of 16 metres. The iconic status of the keep led to it being featured on the logos of many local clubs and businesses, including Nenagh Town Council. The ancient town also boasts Nenagh Arts Centre which was constructed in 1895. Designed by the Town Engineer Robert Gill, the building features a theatre and multi-purpose exhibition space. Nenagh Courthouse, built in 1843, is another popular attraction of the town.
This town is also home to a neo-gothic church, St. Mary’s of the Rosary Catholic Church, which was built in 1895. Designed by architect Walter G Doolin, the church was constructed using Lahorna stone and Portroe slate. Besides, the town captures hearts with its beautiful ruins of Franciscan Friary. Built in 1212, it was proclaimed as one of the richest religious houses in Ireland, for containing the Annals of Nenagh. Another place that is associated with the town is the Silvermine Mountain, whose highest peak is the Keeper Hill, having an elevation of 694 metres above sea level.
Sports enthusiasts can relish golfing at the Nenagh Golf Club, which is counted amongst the finest parkland courses in Ireland. The superb championship course sits majestically amidst the sand based hills of Beechwood, 3 miles north of Nenagh town. From the golf course, tourists can catch views of the spectacular Tipperary countryside, stretching from the Silvermines and Arra mountains across to the Lough Derg.
Situated on the R445 Regional Road, Nenagh is linked with the cities of Limerick and Dublin via the M7 bypass. The town is also connected with Birr through the N52 National Secondary Route. Besides, the Nenagh railway station is located on the Limerick to Ballybrophy line, which aids commuters in travelling to Dublin, Cork and Tralee from Nenagh.
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