Why Nenagh – Historical Trail (1)

So this week, as promised, we are going to look at some places that are well worth going to see when in and around Nenagh town. In fact there is so much to see and do, I’ve decided to divide them up. That way I can do six this week on, lets say, History, and in a few weeks time when I come back to this topic, I can concentrate on six sporting organizations, or six organizations connected to the arts, and so on. So, what six historical features in and around Nenagh are well worth visiting:

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Okay, well top of the list would of course have to be the Nenagh Castle, or what’s left of it. But don’t let that put your off. The unique Nenagh round keep was part of a castle that was built around 1200 by Theobald Walter (1st Baron Butler) and was completed by his son around 1220. Down through the centuries the castle was attacked and demolished until we have what remains today. In recent times the castle has been renovated and is now a museum with several floors, with the original staircase which will take visitors right to the top where there is a viewing platform. Well worth a visit.

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Across from the Nenagh Castle is the old Jail gatehouse and the Governor’s  House. There are loads of history connected to these two buildings, aside from the fact that they are now house the Nenagh Heritage Centre. Even the gatehouse has an unwelcome piece of history attached to it in relation to the scene of execution of the Cormack Brothers back in the 1800′s. So when you’re in Nenagh, why not drop into the Heritage Centre and learn all about Nenagh’s history.

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The Nenagh Franciscan Friary is situated in the centre of the town and it dates back to the 12th century when it may have been founded by a Butler during the reign of Henry III of England. The friary became the main Franciscan friary of the West of Ireland and it was at that time one of the richest religious houses in Ireland. The Annuals of Nenagh were written in the Nenagh Franciscan Friary.

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Just outside the town at Tyone, the Butlers founded the medieval Priory and hospital of St. John the Baptist. This has fallen into ruin, but there is a surviving east gable of the priory still standing. Local legend states that a tunnel exists between this priory and the Nenagh Franciscan Friary in the town.

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The Nenagh Court House dates from 1843 and it was built to the design of John B. Keane. A splendid building, it is still in use today after it was modernized and refurbished a few years back. it isn’t the first court house in Nenagh as there was a previous one in Sarsfield Street, which isn’t standing anymore.

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There was at one time a main workhouse in Nenagh that was situated where the Nenagh Hospital now stand today. There were a number of other workhouses in the town, but this was the main building. During the Potato Famine in Ireland, sheds and sleeping galleries were erected to accommodate an additional 260 inmates. In 1847, a 70-bed fever hospital was erected at the east of the site. There is a Famine graveyard that is situated to the rear of Nenagh hospital and this tragic spot can be visited at any time.

 Rex Ingram Plaque

Last but not least we have to mention Rex Ingram. The building where he lived is still standing and in fact a thriving business is run from the premises. A specially commissioned plaque by the Nenagh Silent Film Festival was erected on the front of the building during the inaugural Nenagh Silent Film Festival. The building is situated across from the local post office.

Apologies for the delay in posting this week. As you can see there are plenty of historical features to see in and around Nenagh town, but there is so much more besides. Next week I’ll look at famous athletes that are connected to Nenagh, but if you want to add to these posts in any way, please do post a comment below, or sign up onto Contact Us page. Also, don’t forget that July 21st in closing in on us rapidly, so if you want to be in with a chance of winning one of our jackets, get your name on the list on the Supporters & Sponsors page by signing up the Contact Us form.

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

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