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Nenagh ( ; Aonach Urmhumhan in Irish) is the county town of North Tipperary, Irelandmarker. It is the administrative capital of North Tipperary. It has a population in 2006 of 7,415.

Nenagh was originally a market town, and its name in Irish, Aonach Urmhumhan means "The Fair of Ormond", a reference to the Ormond (East Munster) Fair, of which it was the site. Nenagh is today a busy commercial town and is governed by Nenagh Town Council. The town's historic attractions include Nenagh Castle, the Heritage Centre, and the ruined Franciscan abbey.


Nenagh is located in the Barony of Ormond which was the traditional territory of the O'Kennedy's in pre-Norman times. This land was included in the grant made by King John to Theobald, eldest son of Hervey Walter of Lancashire, Englandmarker. Theobald was subsequently appointed Chief Butler of Ireland.

Nenagh Castle was built c1216 and was the main castle of the Butler family before they moved to Gowran, County Kilkennymarker in the later 14th century, and later still to the castle in Kilkenny city. The castle remained in Butler hands for over 500 years. The town was one of the ancient manors of the Butlers who received the grant of a fair from Henry VIII. The Butlers also founded the medieval priory of St John, just outside the town at Tyone. A small settlement grew up around the castle, but it never seems to have been of any great importance other than as a local market throughout the medieval period. An important Franciscan friary was founded in the town in 1252 in the reign of Henry III which became the head of the Irish custody of West Ireland and was one of the richest religious houses in Ireland. The Abbey was in use for six hundred years, Fr. Patrick Harty, who died in 1817, being its last inhabitant.

The town seems to have been refounded in the 16th century. In 1550 the town and friary were burned by O'Carroll. In 1641 the town was captured by Owen Roe O'Neill, but shortly afterwards it was recaptured by Lord Inchiquin. It surrendered to Ireton in 1651 during the Cromwellian period and was burned by Sarsfield in 1688 during the Williamite Wars. Apart from the Castle and Friary most of the town's buildings date from the mid-1700s onwards when its sale out of Butler ownership led to the large-scale grant of leases and the subsequent growth of industries and buildings. The town's growth and development was accelerated in 1838 when the geographical county of Tipperary was divided into two ridings and Nenagh became the administrative capital of the North Riding. In this period Daniel O'Connell held one of his Monster meetings for Repeal of the Act of Union at Grange outside of Nenagh.

In the nineteenth century Nenagh was primarily a market town providing services to the agricultural hinterland. Industries included brewing, corn processing, coach building and iron works with the addition of cottage industries such as tailoring, dressmaking, millinery, shoemaking, carpentry, wood-turning, wheelwrighting, harnessmaking, printing, and monumental sculpting. The Nenagh Co-operative Creamery was established in 1914 providing employment in milk processing and butter-making.


Nenagh, the largest town in North Tipperary lies to the west of the Nenagh River, which empties into Lough Dergmarker at Dromineermarker, 9 km to the north-west, a popular centre for sailing and other water sports. The Silverminesmarker mountains lie to the south of the town, with the highest peak being Keeper Hillmarker (Sliabh Ciamalta in Irish) at 694m. The Silvermines Mountains have witnessed mining for silver and base metals on and off over seven hundred years. Traces of 19th century mine workings remain.


Nenagh has a mild climate, with the average daily maximum in July of 19°C and the average daily minimum in January of 3°C.

Major Buildings

Nenagh Castle

Nenagh Castle
This fine Norman Keep was built c1200 by Theobald Fitzwalter, the first Butler, and completed by his son also Theobald c1220.

The Butlers later became Earls of Ormonde and Nenagh remained their principal seat until 1391 when the seat was moved to Kilkenny Castlemarker where it remains to this day. The circular keep is over thirty metres high, and has a base of sixteen metres and is one of the finest of itskind in Ireland.The crown of mock crenellations and ring of clerestory windows were added at the instigation of Rev. William Flannery in 1861. The intention was that the keep would become the Bell tower of a Pugin-designed cathedral which was never built.
Though not true to historic character these additions have ensured the iconic status of the keep which ensures that it features on the logos of many local clubs and businesses including Nenagh Town Council. A project is currently under way to develop the castle and its surrounds. This project will position the castle as the main tourist attraction in the area.

Other Historic Buildings

The old gaol, with its beautiful octagonal governor's residence, has been happily reduced to the status of an historic monument. Only one Gaol block remains intact. The Governor's Residence and Gaol Gatehouse currently house Nenagh & District Heritage Centre.

The town also contains the ruins of a Franciscan Friary and the medieval priory of St John on the outskirts of the town at Tyone.

Religious Buildings

St Mary's of the Rosary Catholic Church is a neo-gothic church and was built in 1895 to a design by architect Walter G Doolin.
It was constructed by John Sisk using Lahorna stone and Portroe slate with the Portland stone of the arches being the only imported material.

The adjacent St Marys Church of Ireland Church was built in 1862 to a design by the architect Joseph Welland. It is striking in its simplicity in contrast to its larger and more ornate neighbour.

Civic Buildings

Nenagh Courthouse
Nenagh Courthouse was built in 1843 to the design of Architect John B Keane. The design was similar to his previous courthouse in Tullamoremarker which in turn followed William Morrison's designs for Carlowmarker and Traleemarker. The courthouse has recently been refurbished following the moving of the County Council offices to the new Civic Offices. The grounds of the refurbished courthouse nearby have recently become the site of bronze sculptures of three Olympic gold medallists with Nenagh links.

The Town Hall in Banba Square
Nenagh Town Hall is a distinctive building, which until 2005 housed the offices of Nenagh Town Council and up until the 1980s Nenagh Public Library, was built in 1895 and designed by the then Town Engineer Robert Gill (grandfather of Tomás Mac Giolla).

New Civic Offices have recently opened on the Limerickmarker Road housing both North Tipperary County Council and Nenagh Town Council. Designed by Ahrends Burton & Koralek, they have won international recognition for their striking modern design.



Nenagh is situated on the R445 Regional Road, which links it to the N7 National Primary Route (which bypasses the town to the south) between Limerickmarker and Dublinmarker, as well as the N52 National Secondary Route to Birrmarker (and through the Midlands to Dundalkmarker).


Nenagh has a station on the railway line between Limerick and Ballybrophymarker. Passengers can connect at Ballybrophy to trains heading northeast to Dublinmarker or southwest to Corkmarker or Traleemarker. Nenagh railway station opened on 5 October 1863.

The railway line is lightly used. Lack of upkeep means that the line is restricted to a maximum speed of 40 km/h and the existing trains are poorly timetabled for commuters. A committee (the Nenagh Rail Steering Committee) working in conjunction with Irish Railway News, had a meeting with the national railway company Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) on 1 September 2005 to present the results of a traffic study funded by Nenagh Town Council and North Tipperary County Council, and to seek a morning and evening service between Nenagh and Limerick which would increase commuter traffic. IÉ agreed to delay an afternoon service from the December 2005 timetable and to work towards an early service when equipment permitted from 2007.

While the twice-a-day service on the Ballybrophy/Limerick line is poor, Nenagh is only 37 km from Thurles, which is on the main Dublin/Cork line, and which has around 18 trains daily in each direction, including non-stop services to and from Dublin.



Nenagh Éire Óg Colours
Éire Óg Nenagh is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club and has had a deal of success in County Championships in both football and hurling, last winning the County Championship in 1995. The club has been strongly represented on All-Ireland winning Tipperary hurling teams with players such as Mick Burns, Michael Cleary, John Heffernan, Conor O'Donovan and Hugh Maloney.


After years of being one of the stronger junior Rugby clubs in Munster winning many trophies in the late nineties and early part of the new century Rugby Union club Nenagh Ormond RFC became the first Tipperary club to gain senior status by being promoted promoted to the third division of the Rugby AIB League in 2005. Since going senior the club has competed admirably in the AIL. The club has produced three full Irish International players: Tony Courtney in the 1920s and more recently Trevor Hogan and Donnacha Ryan.


Statue of Olympic gold medalists Hayes, McGrath and Tisdall in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ireland
The local athletic club Nenagh Olympic were named after three men (Johnny Hayes, Matt McGrath and Bob Tisdall) with Nenagh connections who won Olympic Gold Medals and the badge of the club is three interlocking Olympic Rings in green, white and orange. A statue of the three has been erected in Banba Square in the grounds of the Courthouse. The club has produced many fine athletes including recently Gary Ryan who also represented Ireland at the Olympics. The club also possesses Ireland's first and to date only international standard indoor athletics track at Tyone. Many championships are held there including munster championships and even all Ireland championships


Home to Nenagh A.F.C.(1951) and Nenagh Celtic F.C.(1981).Nenagh A.F.C.'s home grounds are Brickfields and Islandbawn. Nenagh Celtic's home ground is the VEC grounds.Nenagh Celtic over the last decade have dominated the North Tipp soccer scene, winning numerous titles.


Nenagh Golf Club located at Beechwood on the "Old Birr Road" was affiliated to the Golfing Union of Ireland in 1929. The original 9 hole course was designed by Alister McKenzie, who along with Bobby Jones designed the legendary Augusta Nationalmarker. The course was expanded to 18 holes by Eddie Hackett in 1973. The course was expanded to 150 acres during the 1980s and 1990s and redevelopment to a new design by Patrick Merrigan was completed in 2001.

Other Sports

The Nenagh Triathlon Club was formed in 2007 to cater for the growing number of triathlon enthusiasts in the town.

Swimming is catered for by Nenagh Neptune Swimming club which is based at the town's 25m swimming pool.

Riverdale Pitch And Putt Club on the "Old Birr Road" is a registered Member of the pitch and putt union of Ireland.

Notable People

See also

External links


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