Tipperary Attractions & Activities
Stay at one of our self catering holiday homes in Tipperary and choose from a great range of attractions and activities.
Churches, Abbeys and Monasteries
Holy Trinity Church
The village of Fethard, found about 18km southeast of Cashel, is home to the impressive, multi-period Holy Trinity Church, a house of worship for the Church of Ireland.
The structure, which dates from the 15th century, is a wonderful example of a medieval parish church. It features a four-bay nave and four-stage bell tower. There are also remains of the original aisle, chancel, chapel and domestic building.
The church is open for worship every Sunday morning, otherwise visitors can obtain a key from the nearby shop.
Roscrea Castle, Church, High Cross and Round Tower
Visitors will find several interesting sites in Roscrea, County Tipperary. It’s thought that King John built the castle in 1213, though some believe it was erected in the mid-13th century. The castle stands on the grounds of Damer House, an early 18th century building that exemplifies pre-Palladian architecture.
Nearby, guests can also visit St Cronan’s Church and round tower, which sit along the road. Of the 12th-century Romanesque church, only the west façade remains, and opposite it stands the round tower. St Cronan’s cross is now housed in the Black Mills Centre.
Another notable site in town is the Franciscan friary that was founded in the 15th century. The east and north walls of the chancel, the bell tower and parts of the northern nave arcade remain.
Augustinian Abbey Lorrha
In the village of Lorrha, County Tipperary, visitors can find the remains of a 12th-century abbey that was founded by the Order of Canons Regular. Though the building was burnt twice in the 13th century, it was rebuilt both times.
Among the remains visitors can view the beautiful doorway that was added in 1280 during the reign of Edward I.
Hore Abbey, found just outside of Cashel in County Tipperary, was originally a Benedictine monastery. In 1272, the archbishop of Cashel expelled the monks and Cistercians arrived from Mellifont Abbey.
Hore consisted of a cruciform Gothic church, tower, square cloister and living quarters.
Today, the church and sections of the east range remain. There are also fragments of the cloister arcade, which is of interest due to its unique positioning north of the abbey.
The remains of Athassel Abbey can be found in Golden, a village about 7km from Cashel, County Tipperary. The abbey was built for the Augustinians by William Fitz-Aldhelm de Burgho in the 12th century. It was one of Ireland’s most extensive monasteries, stretching out over beautiful 4 acres of land along the banks of the River Suir.
Holy Cross Abbey
Found near Thurles, County Tipperary, Holy Cross Abbey is one of Ireland’s National Monuments. In 1168, Donal Mor O’Brien founded the monastery for the Benedictine Order, but later transferred it to the Cistercians. It was colonised by monks from Monasteranenagh in County Limerick.
Under the patronage of James Butler, the fourth Earl of Ormonde, much of the abbey was rebuilt in the 15th century, but after suppression, it was eventually left in ruins.
In the late-1900s, there was a movement to restore the abbey church and use it once more as a house of worship. Today, Mass and other holy events are celebrated there regularly.
St Cronans High Cross at Black Mills
Housed at the Black Mills in Roscrea, County Tipperary, St Cronan’s High Cross is a fascinating relic that once sat in a nearby graveyard. It was restored and moved to the mills centre in 2004.
The cross stands about 3m tall and comprises fragments from two 12th-century crosses that are mounted together. It features different religious scenes, including that of the crucifixion of Jesus and the Fall of Man.
Across the road, visitors can also view St Cronan’s Church and the cross’ previous location, where a replica now stands.
St Patricks Well, Clonmel
Visitors to County Tipperary won’t want to miss St Patrick’s Well, which is located just outside the town of Clonmel, near Marfield Village.
The picturesque site is a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists alike. It features one of Ireland’s largest holy wells, which flows into a pool with an interesting early-Christian, Celtic-style cross at its centre.
The area also has a small church that dates from the 17th century and houses the altar tomb of the White family.
Found on land that used to be an island in a bog, Monaincha Church dates back to the 12th century. It is found just 2.5km from Roscrea in County Tipperary and comprises navel and chancel. The church has a finely decorated 12th-century west doorway and chancel arch constructed in a warm sandstone. Outside the church are fragments of a 12th-century high cross.
Rock of Cashel
One of Ireland’s most visited sites, the Rock of Cashel is a spectacular collection of medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale. The ruins include a 12th-century round tower, high cross, Romanesque chapel, 13th-century Gothic cathedral, 15th-century castle and the Hall of the Vicars. It is believed to be the place where St Patrick converted the King of Munster in the 5th century.
The Rock of Cashel, also known as St Patrick’s Rock, is located just 500 metres from the centre of Cashel Town, County Tipperary. The site includes an audio-visual show and exhibitions.
Old St. Mary’s Church, Clonmel
Situated in the town of Clonmel, County Tipperary, Old St. Mary’s Church is believed to have been built by William de Burgo in 1204.
In the late-14th to early-15th century, a fortified church was constructed on the site. The base of the bell tower and the east tower house survive from that house of worship, which was largely destroyed in 1650 during the Cromwellian occupation.
In 1805, the structure underwent major renovations and the 25m-high octagonal bell tower was built on the base of the original tower.
Old St Mary’s is still use by the Church of Ireland.
Historic Houses and Castles
Through turbulent centuries, Leap Castle kept watch for the lords of Ely O’Carroll and still stands fortress-like on its perch overlooking a vast stretch of the countryside. From here the O’Carrolls set out for victory and defeat, here they brought their brides and captives, within lurks Ireland’s most intriguing elemental presence – unique in that it is reputed to give off a ghastly ghostly odour.
Leap Castle, Ireland’s most haunted castle is open to visitors on request.
This delightful “”cottage orné””, or ornamental cottage, was built in the early 1800s by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall.
Based on a design by the famous Regency architect, John Nash, and inspired by nature, the cottage’s unusual and rustic features include a distinctive thatched roof while its external woodwork resembles branched trees. The nature theme is continued throughout the former guest cottage’s internal furnishings and wallpaper.
Its interior contains a graceful spiral staircase and some elegantly decorated rooms. The wallpaper in the salon, manufactured by the Dufour factory, is one of the first commercially produced Parisian wallpapers. Swiss Cottage is situated on an elevated site with access by stone steps.
There is something rather attractive about round tower houses, but sadly only a relatively small number were built, mostly in Munster. Perhaps the finest to survive is the impressive early 16th century tower of the Purcells at Ballynahow. It stands five storeys high with two internal vaults, each covering two storeys; the top storey was for merly covered by a conical timber roof carried on squinch arches. Both the lower floors were dimly lit round chambers that were probably used for storage, though their size was relatively small because of the wall’s thickness at this level. The three storeys above were larger and approximated to a rectangular shape, with ogival and segmental headed windows.
A key visitor attraction in North Tipperary, Redwood Castle is a striking example of a Gaelic tower house. It was home to the Ó Cinnéide (O’Kennedy) lords of Ormond and later on to the Mac Aodhagáin (MacEgan) sept, Ireland’s most famous family of hereditary brehon lawyers. The Castle, which is open to visitors from mid June to mid August was probably erected as a Norman stronghold about 1210. Between 1350 and 1640 it was occupied by the MacEgans, a famous Brehon family who kept a renowned school of law and letters. It was during this time that the famous “”Leabhair Breac”” and parts of the Annals of the four Masters were written here. The Castle is situated on a hillock near the Shannon and has been restored by a member of the Egan Clan. The Castle is situated two miles off the Ballincor Crossroads on the Birr/Portumna road.
The castle is the largest surviving tower house in the region and visitors can enjoy being guided around its many interesting chambers, passageways and staircases. Restored by members of the Egan family in the 1970s, the castle stands as a reminder of the sept’s ancient roots and powerful influence.
Ormonde Castle is the best example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland.
Built in the 16th Century, this manor house fronts a larger complex dating from the 14th century. Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormonde added the ‘new’ north range, which became known as the Manor House, to the existing buildings.
It boasts a typical manor house layout which includes a magnificent long gallery. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Tudor house is the decorative plasterwork which provides some of the finest early examples of the craft in Ireland, including plasterwork portraits in the ‘state rooms’.
An imposing 13th-15th Century structure, Cahir Castle was skilfully designed by Conor O’Brien to be a state-of-the-art defensive castle. Appearing to grow from the actual rock on which it stands, the castle has been the scene of sieges and bombardments for centuries.
The powerful Anglo-Norman family, the Butlers, came into the possession of the castle in 1375. The castle was captured three times in its history: it fell to Devereux, Earl of Essex, in 1599 after it had been battered for three days with artillery; it surrendered without a fight to Inchiquin in 1647; and again to Cromwell in 1650.
Over the centuries the Butlers considerably rebuilt and extended their stronghold. However, by 1599, the castle had reached its present appearance, with the only subsequent alterations taking place in the 1840s.
In 1961, the last Lord Cahir died and the castle reverted to the State. The castle retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure. Today, the castle also features an excellent audio-visual show which informs visitors about its eventful history.
The stone castle consists of a gate tower, curtain walls and two corner towers dating from the 1280’s. The castle rooms are furnished and some house exhibitions. Built in the early 18th century in the Qunne Anne style, Damer House is an example of pre-Palladian architecture. Its rooms house temporary exhibitions. One of the rooms is furnished in period style. It also has a restored mill displaying original St Cronan’s high cross and pillar stone.
The Main Guard
The Main Guard served as the courthouse for the Palatinate, or administrative area, of County Tipperary. In 1715, the Palatinate jurisdiction was extinguished.
The ground floor, consisting of a loggia (or gallery) of open arches, was converted into shops and had additional floors added around 1810. The Main Guard, with its distinctive clock tower, has been recently restored to its original form.
Almost ten years of painstaking restoration, which included incorporating stone from nearby Cistercian ruins, resulted in a Heritage Award for Best Practice in Conservation in the Tipperary 2004 RIAI Awards.
Famine Warhouse 1848
The Exhibits at the Famine Warhouse, in Ballingarry County Tipperary, 1848 tell the story of the Young Irelanders.
Most now agree, that had there not been the Young Ireland movement, we would not have had the Fenians of 1867 and the 1916 Rising, hence the national historical importance of the 1848 Warhouse.
At the 150th anniversary Commemoration Cermony, in 1998, The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD, described the house as ‘an important historic monument and part of our national heritage’.
The farm house which belonged to the McCormack family has always been known locally as the Warhouse. The Warhouse was placed on the register of historic monuments in April 1989 in order to give legal recognition to the historical significance of the building.
The house exhibits the history of the Famine and mass emigration, the rebellion, high treason trials and the penal exile of the Young Ireland leaders to Australia and their escapes to the United States Of America.
The exhibition places the Famine Rebellion in the context of 1848 as Europe’s year of revolutions in France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Hungary. there is access to the ground floor for visitors with disabilities.
Thurles Famine and War Museum
The Protestant Church of St Mary’s in Thurles is the site of the official Pre-Reformation Church of Thurles County Tipperary. The original structure was built by the Normans, in the 12th century, to provide them with a separate and more exclusive place of worship.
The church is the burial place of Lady Elizabeth Matthew, Viscountess of Thurles and Progenitor to the present heir to the British Throne.
In 1995 the Thurles Church of Ireland community kindly donated one third of this building to create a Famine Museum to commemorate the many people who lost their lives through disease and starvation during the Great Famine in Ireland of 1845-1850. The Museum holds the largest collection of Famine memorabilia in Ireland including the only known minutes of a Great Famine food committee and a display of early 18th Century period clothing. More recently this museum has been extended to include an exhibition of war memorabilia which includes the famous and rare Armstrong Collection.
The museums features a beautifully designed stone doorway inlaid into the original entrance.
Knockgraffon Motte was an Anglo-Norman settlement in the 12th and 13th centuries, 6km north of the present day town of Cahir.
It is a man-made earthen mound and would have included a wooden structure on the summit. The motte was built by the English of Leinster beside the River Suir when they were on a raid against Donal Mor O’Brien, King of Thomond, in 1192.
It is said that, in earlier times, this may have been the location for the coronation of the Kings of Munster before Cashel took over this role. The motte is a National Monument but it has never been investigated archaeologically. If you visit the site it is well worth climbing to the top to appreciate the surrounding view.
St Mary’s Garden of Remembrance
We also launched a small book given all the information on all the plaques in and around the town and the garden of remembrance and our web page www.thurlesmemorial.com .
St. Mary’s Garden of Remembrance was the first one of it’s kind in Ireland. People from many parts of the world have come to visit, including some VIP’s. All our visitors have expressed how glad they were they had spent time in the Garden of Remembrance .
St. Mary’s history dates back to 1292,in the memorial garden we have a memorial to all thurles men who died in the great war 1914,1918,with all their names, seventy two in all, the garden and the memorial was opened by the then Minister for Defence Mr. Michael Smith T.D. November 2000.
A year later memorial number two was unveiled to the memory of the nine Irish soldiers killed in the Niamba ambush in the Congo in November 1960.
On Easter Sunday 2003, our third memorial was unveiled in memory of all Thurles men and women who took part in the fight for Irish independence.
April 2004, saw a memorial unveiled to the late Tom Semple 1879-1943.A distinguished GAA official and legendary Thurles Sarsfields and Tipperary hurler, after whom the well known Semple stadium is named.
In May 2005 Mr Willie O Dea T.D then Minister for Defence unveiled our Fourth memorial to all Irish soldiers killed in the service of peace with the united nations over seas. The same year saw our fifth memorial unveiled in memory of all members of An Garda Siochana who lost their lives in the line of duty. In December a cedar of Lebanon was planted and a plaque erected.
June 2006 saw a special memorial wall unveiled and blessed by his grace Dr. Dermot Clifford archbishop of Cashel and Emly ,and Mr Guy Jones of the Irish Lebanese cultural foundation unveiled a special mosaic plaque from the Lebanon to the late and former prime Minister of the Lebanon,Mr Rafic Harriri .
As part of The United Nations World day of peace ceremony and Rememberance Sunday the 11th November this year, we will unveiled two plaques to the memory of the late Archbishop Michael Courtney apostolic Nuncia to Burundi, and also to the helicopter crew who died when their helicopter crashed on the sand dunes in Tramore Co Waterford they will be unveiled by his grace Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Dr. Dermot Clifford.
Museums and Attractions
Lar Na Pairce
Lar na Páirce is an interpretative centre of Gaelic Games on Slievenamon Road, Thurles.
It is the first centre of its kind in the country and it was the first attempt to tell the story of Gaelic Games in an interactive way. It was officially opened by President Mary Robinson in November 1994 to mark the 110th anniversary of the foundation of the GAA in Hayes’s Hotel, Thurles.
There are displays on Cuchulainn, landlords, hurley-making and broadcasting, as well as a hall of fame and the Sam Melbourne Collection of GAA memorabilia and artefacts.
Brú Ború Heritage Centre
Brú Ború is a national cultural centre at the foot of the Rock of Cashel. This cultural village is designed around a village green and is home to the study and celebration of native Irish music, song, dance, theatre and Celtic studies.
The centre facilities include a folk theatre, genealogy centre, restaurant and other amenities.
The Brú Ború traditional group have performed worldwide. The theatre holds frequent performances where you can experience some of Ireland’s finest traditional performers and even partake yourself in a traditional Irish seisiún.
Fine food is served in the centre’s restaurant, set in the shadow of the Rock of Cashel. The restaurant, which serves the finest fresh homecooked foods, runs in conjunction with the Centre’s summer shows and also for pre-booked events.
The Teach Ceoil (house of music) comes alive with the sound of Irish traditions. Whether its singing a song, dancing a step, playing an air or telling a story, Brú Ború visitors will experience all the excitement and joy of an Irish session.
In addition, Brú Ború has a fully computerised genealogical service for south Tipperary, an exhibition hall and a well stocked craft shop.
An additional facility is the dramatic and thought provoking underground theatre and exhibition, ‘Sounds of History’. This subterranean chamber, seven metres underground at the base of the Rock of Cashel, echoes with the sounds and story of Ireland from ancient times.
St Patrick’s Well Cross
Here can be found a tough weather beaten small celtic cross, a tiny ruined Chapel and Holy Well. The Well has long been a popular place of Pilgrimage.
The waters from the Well pour into a large circular pond at the foot of an old tree. The cross situated at the centre is of celtic style and dates back to early Christianity (5th Century).
Fairy Fort Farm
Fairy Fort Farm is comprised of a traditional-style animal farm, a fairy fort (to make wishes on), the Blue Star Hostel and self-catering cottages.
Come and enjoy farm walks through the fields and meadows, by streams and moorland. You will find many different species of wildflowers, rabbit holes, fox dens, and badger sets. Breathe the fresh country air, relax, and unwind.
In addition to a wide variety of animals there is also an ancient Fort where people can experience the energies of a distant past. There are also walks through the farm to the stream etc. We have people coming back on a regular basis, which is most heartning and encouraging. There is also a ”Bouncy Castle” are for the kids to play. There is a nicely lawned picnic area.etc
Pallas Hill Open Farm
Pallas Hill, family friendly, open farm and adventure playground, features a variety of animals to see and feed both indoors and outdoors, indoor and outdoor picnic areas, a farm museum, adventure playground and play park, art and crafts room, sand pit, playdough, and stunning views of the rolling hills of north Tipperary.