Why North Tipperary: Paranormal Legends 2

Leap Castle

Welcome back, here’s the second part of the Nenagh Silent Film Festival’s post which looks at North Tipperary Paranormal Legends. This will conclude this post and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together:

Monahinsha AbbeyMonahinsha Abbey

Local Legends
Location: Monahinsha, Roscrea
Timeline: Unknown

Now here’s a strange one. Near Roscrea there’s a ruined church called Inishnameo, which may also be called Monahinsha. The story behind this goes that up to a couple of hundred years ago there was a fine lake at this spot with two islands in the centre of the lake. The larger of these lakes hosted a monastery which was founded by St. Hilary, while the smaller of these islands hosted a smaller chapel, but both islands also had their own legends. For the larger of the islands it was said that no female of any species could set foot on the island and survive, and legend has it that this story was tested with several female dogs and cats, while the the bushes and trees of the island was said to be filled with male birds, but no females who avoided the island as if the plague resided there. With regards the smaller of the islands, it was said that a person couldn’t die on this island no matter how sick they were and if a person on the island had an infliction, they would just waste away until they begged to face death by being taken from the island rather than suffering anymore. The lake around these islands was drained by the landowner about two hundred years ago and he barred all pilgrims from the area henceforth. No-one knows if the curse of these islands still persist to this day, so would you like to visit and find out for yourself?

Phantom CoachPhantom Coach

Night Coach
Location: Timoney Park, Roscrea
Timeline: Unknown

In Timoney Park, Roscrea, there is a legend that a phantom coach is often seen carrying the shades of the Parker-Hutchinson family towards their home, so watch out if you see a coach approaching in this area on late dark evenings, because you’d never know whats inside.

Sopwell CastleSopwell Hall

Haunted Screams
Location: Sopwell Castle
Timeline: Unknown

After Cromwell and his hordes  rampaged throughout the land, he rewarded some of his military leaders with land and castles and here at Sopwell Castle he rewarded the seat to one Thomas Sadleir. Sadleir changed the name of the premises to Sopwell Hall, which is a name that persists to this day. No matter what the name of the premises though, there is still a haunted scream which has being heard regularly within its walls. These screams are followed by the sound of a body being dragged down a staircase, which is thought to be the result of a body being dropped down the stairs. This manifestation is said to be a regular occurance as if is history is repeated again and again of a spirit which refuses to rest. The question is why and what horrible past is hidden within these historical walls?

View from the Devils Bit 2

View from the Devils Bit 2 (Photo credit: Donncha Carroll)

Devil’s Bit
Location: Templemore
Timeline: Since Ancient Times

Legend has it that the devil was being chased from Ireland by St. Patrick, but the devil came across a mountain near where Templemore is now located. For some reason or another the devil then decided to take a chunk from this mountain and hurled it in the air and the same lump of rock finished up where the Rock of Cashel is now situated, while the mountain range has forever since, is seen with a very noticeable large chunk missing out of it. Another version of this story says that after biting into the mountain his tooth fell out and formed the Rock. Of course, the legend has a few flaws, especially, well, its being around a bit longer than when St Patrick was around converting the locals, but there’s another version of this story. It has being well written of how the forming Christian church manipulated ancient legends to suit their own needs. An ancient legend states that an Irish hero was chasing a creature call the Cratnoch from the island. This creature gave birth to a number of other-worldly creatures including the Devil, but had met its match in Fionn Mac Cumhaill (whay-hay, Up our side). This thing was being chased out of Ireland until it came to the mountains near Templemore. Trying to slow down Fionn, it immediately bit a chunk out of the mountain and threw it at the Irish warrior, but this landed where the Rock now lays, while Fionn eventually caught up with the creature in Lough Derg, and supposedly defeated it there. So whatever you believe, or whether you don’t believe at all, the haunting, wonderful scene from the Devil’s Bit is very much well worth a visit.

Victorian PolicemanA Victorian Policeman

Haunting Manifestation
Location: Timoney, Roscrea.
Timeline: Since 1860

There is a story from the townland of Timoney, which is situated near Roscrea, of a local policeman back in the 1860’s named Dyer, who once swore to protect the area he patrolled ‘dead or alive’. After his death in the 1860’s, locals reported his ghost carrying out his promise. Is he still around this spot patrolling the townland from any wrong-doers, well why not visit and see for yourself?

Leap Castle

Leap Castle (Photo credit: AlisonKillilea)

A Collection of Hauntings

Location: Leap Castle.
Timeline: Since 1250

Leap CastleAnd so I’ve left the best till last. Just beyond the North Tipperary border into Offaly there lies the haunting legend of Leap Castle, which is known as the most haunted place in Ireland. Widely considered Ireland’s most haunted castle, Leap Castle in Offaly could teach Tim Burton a thing or two about the macabre. Centuries of odd accidents, strange occurrences and ill-repute can all be traced back to one family: The O’Carrolls.

The O’Carroll clan built Leap Castle around 1250 as their family stronghold and it passed from generation to generation without incident. Until there came a time when two ambitious brothers challenged each other for dominion over the castle and grounds. One brother was a priest, the other a successful military man. The two had never seen eye-to-eye.

Leap castleThe priest was giving mass in the chapel attached to the castle one evening when his brother burst through the doors and plunged his sword into his heart. Brother killing brother is an unspeakable sin, a desecration of the natural order. Since that day a relentless gloom clings to the castle. A mysterious ‘entity’ has ever since stalked the lower levels and dungeons of Leap.

During the 1900s workmen restoring the chapel discovered a hidden wall, concealing a room with a gruesome purpose. Instead of a floor, there was an eight-foot drop onto a wicked spike. The workmen removed layer after layer of human skeletons that were piled atop each other.

These are just a portion of the haunting stories linked to Leap Castle, and to this day locals dare not enter the castle grounds, but you can if you are daring enough… If a strange and ghastly smell should trespass upon your senses, run as fast as you can or you may be another ghastly page in Leap’s history. Hope you enjoyed the second part of a look at North Tipperary’s paranormal legends and I look forward to putting another one together for you next week. Boo for now!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

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Why North Tipperary: Paranormal Legends

Ghostly Scene

Greetings from the Nenagh Silent Film Festival website, Halloween and things that might go bump in the night is drawing closer, so I’m going to take a look at some of the local paranormal legends Here is the first part of two blogs which look at the haunting paranormal legends of North Tipperary. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I have had in putting it together (Ps: I’ll post the second part next week):

graveyard

graveyard (Photo credit: ElitePete)

Friendly Ghost?
Location: Ballingarry, Thurles
Timeline: 1999

Now first up is a recent story regarding two young brothers, who were aged eight and ten years old. As they were passing an old church graveyard in Ballingarry, Thurles, they noticed a man who was peering over the wall towards them. They approached the figure and they noticed that he was wearing a white shirt with dark glasses and that he had curly hair. The two boys also reported that the man looked like he had been crying and he had ignored the children when they tried to speak to him. The two brothers later related this story to their father, who then pointed out that the wall the individual was peering out over was in fact eight feet tall, but on hearing the description of the figure, the father recognised the individual as being a friend of his who had passed away four years previously.

Tipperary Sunrise

Tipperary Sunrise (Photo credit: Insight Imaging: John A Ryan Photography)

Unknown Entity
Location: Cappawhite
Timeline: 1910

During the early part of the last century, deep in the Silvermines Mountains, near the village of Cappagh White, or Cappawhite, along a road that was approaching Ironmiills Bridge, a man by the name of Thomas Fahey stated that a strange black blob landed on the handlebars of his bicycle. On reporting the incident, he went onto say that the strange object proceeded to slow the bicycle down considerably, before it eventually released the handle-bars and moved off in another direction and disappearing along another path.

English: Annagh Castle Ruined Castle in Annagh...

English: Annagh Castle Ruined Castle in Annagh townland on the shore of Lough Derg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Haunting Manifestation
Location: Annagh Castle
Timeline: 1600’s – Present

Of course there are several ghostly legends of spirits that have haunted North Tipperary for hundreds of years. One such spirit is supposedly that of Edmond Roe O’Kennedy. Back in the Sixteenth century, poor auld Edmond was murdered by his enemies, however, Edmond died on that fateful night without telling anyone where he had concealed his hidden treasure. Since his murder, it is said that Edmond’s shade has appeared to visitors at the site of Annagh Castle on the shores of beautiful Lough Derg, with blood flowing from a large slit that was left in his throat.

Black ShuckBlack Shuck

Shuck
Location: Castle Biggs, Terryglass
Timeline: Unknown

Not to be outdone, Castle Biggs, which is situated further north along the banks of Lough Derg near Terryglass, is also supposed to be haunted, but this time by a Shuck, which is a type of a demonic dog. The legend on this this one is that this abomination with cloven hooves protects a hidden hoard of treasure.  So for all you treasure hunters out there, two ancient castles, both along the shores of Lough Derg, both with long lost treasures of supposedly immense wealth, but both also protected by other-worldly beings.

Lough DergLough Derg

Phantasmal Vessel & the Lough Derg Monster
Location: Lough Derg
Timeline: Unknown

To finish off this week’s Why North Tipperary post, I’m going to stay with Lough Derg and tell you about two other ghostly happenings that have being witnessed by a number of terrified individuals. First up is a phantasmal vessel that is regularly witnessed traveling north upon the lake. It appears to travel calmly, but with a gentle, haunting singing emanating from from the mystic decks of the vessel itself.

Ghostly ShipGhostly Ship

Next up dates back to ancient Ireland, when the warrior Finn McCool fought and killed a huge monster beast that was living in the lake; legend says that two hundred men climbed out of the beasts belly once Finn sliced it open. Ancient legends aside, some locals do state that a smaller monster still lives in the lake, which is not too dis-similar to the more famous Lough Ness Monster.

Old irish GraveyardOld Irish Graveyard

And that’s all I have to say for this week, but I promise I’ll be back next week with more haunting stories to entice you to visit North Tipperary at some stage. Till then, I hope you all are getting ready for a Happy and Haunting Halloween, which is of course after all, like St Patrick’s Day, originally an Irish celebration. Watch out for the next post on paranormal legends of North Tipperary when I will look at a local legend based near Roscrea, a night coach sighted at Timoney Park, Roscrea, haunted screams hears at Sopwell Castle, the legend of the Devil’s Bit, a Manifestation – also at Timoney, near Roscrea, and a Collection of Hauntings at Leap Castle. 😀

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why North Tipperary: A Walkers Paradise 2

Puckane CottagesPuckane Cottages
Hello again and welcome back to Why North Tipperary – our weekly look at why we think it would be a good idea for you to visit North Tipperary, or for our locals to enjoy our local community even more. This past two weeks I have been looking at the many different trails around North Tipperary, and I hope you are enjoying this and that you might even give it a turn.
HurlingAncient Game of Hurling
Birchhill Loop:
The beautiful village of Upperchurch is located not far from the town of Thurles on the side of the Silvermines mountain range. This quaint village is twinned with their neighbouring parish of Drombane with regards many mutual aspects, including the Great Gaelic game of Hurling. Hillwalking is hugely important to this area and the locals strive greatly to promote the local tourism through hillwalking. The local loop begins in the town of Thurles and proceeds along the R498 road towards Nenagh. Follow this roadway until you get to a junction for the R503 (signposted Limerick) and continue along this path onto Dempsey’s pub. At this point you are just 2km from Upperchurch, but all this information can be picked up at the local tourism office, or online here. Along this loop you will encounter a crossroads with a stone nameplate, a Blessed Well, an old church and graveyard, you will walk through some dense local forestry and other local landmarks. Please enjoy!
Slievedaragh HillsSlieveardagh Hills
Loch Dhoire Bhile Loop:
The Loch Dhoire Bhile Loop is all about the development of a heritage, angling and conservation community. Nestling under the Slieveardagh Hills is an ideal location for sanctuary for a large selection of wildlife that includes birds (lapwing and fieldfare), whooper swans, ducks (teal, mallard, pintail) and wild geese. There has been constructed upon 70 acres, which was previously owned by Bord na Mona, a lake, two wetlands and a wildlife sanctuary. With regards this loop, from Thurles, take the N62 south for about 6km. Take a left at the crossroads, following signs for Littleton. You will take the R639 for a short period, before turning right in Littleton towards the village of New Birmingham. The trailhead is signposted approximately 4.5km from Littleton or 3.5km from New Birmingham.
View from the Devils BitView from the Devils Bit
Devil’s Bit Loop:
There is a legend in North Tipperary that not only did the devil took a bite out of the mountain that is now know as the Devils Bit, but the demon hurled the chunk across the countryside where it then landed at the spot which is now know as the Rock of Cashel – scientists have since shown that the same grain of rock that is found in the Devil’s Bit mountain is also found in the Rock of Cashel. Anyway, what locals will honestly tel you is that the view from the Devils Bit Mountain (478m) provides a view of the surrounding eight counties. Along this loop the walker will encounter plenty of forestry, some dizzy hillside paths and a plethora of majestic views. Coming from Templemore, follow the R501 in the direction of Nenagh and Borrisoleigh. After approximately 3km, there is a right turn signposted for Devil’s Bit. Continue to follow the signs on minor roads until you reach the trail-head. Again, you can find out all necessary information at a local tourism office, or online right here.
Slieve FelimSlieve Felim
Slieve Felim Way:
Now for those who love an ol’ long walk – a good stretch of the ol’ legs, there is the Slieve Felim Way to challenge you. this walkway stretches from Murroe in County Limerick to SIlvermines village in North Tipperary, which is a distance of approximately 44 km. Along the route there are the views from many different mountains and miles upon miles of rugged, wonderful and stunning scenery. This walkway commences with the Slieve Felim range to the south, valleys and hills run east-west in the general area. The 2,279 ft (694m)-high Keeper Hill – the highest mountain in the Shannon Region – comes into view as you move northwards through the Mauher Slieve Hills, which predominately lie to the east of the walk. The northern section is dominated by the renowned Silvermines Mountains and presents stunning views of Lough Derg and beyond. From different vantage points along the way, views of 4 counties are possible – Tipperary, Limerick , Clare, and Offaly – and you can also see sections of the lordly River Shannon as it winds its way to the sea. Although the trail is signposted in either direction, it is generally agreed that the starting point from Murroe and walking towards Silvermines offers the most rewarding experience. All information can be sourced at the Shannon Regions Trail here.
Clare GlensClare Glens
Clare Glens Loop Walks:
The scenery of the Clare Glens is regularly described by visitors as simply breath-taking. The Clare Glens is a wooded area situated along the North Tipperary – Limerick border. It consists of a wild dense forest, which is combined with the calm rushing of crystal clear waters. The Glen also consists of a picturesque sandstone gorge through which the Clare river flows, while there are a number of waterfalls that are dotted along the landscape. Directions to the trail-head begin from the village of Murroe on the R506 between Limerick City and Cappamore. Follow the signs for Clare Glens which take you north out of Murroe. Follow this road for approximately 5km to reach the trailhead at a car parking area on your left. Both loops
start and finish here. [Note: The trailhead is signposted from Murroe].
Lough DergLough Derg Scene
Lough Derg Way:
The Lough Derg Way is a spectacular linear route that stretches from Limerick City, to Killaloe/Ballina (26km) and from Killaloe/Ballina to Dromineer (43km). The route is located along the banks of the River Shannon, the old Shannon navigational canal and the eastern shores of Lough Derg. The terrain is a mix of riverbank, canalbank, forest track, open countryside, old roadway and minor road. The Lough Derg Way explores some of the fascinating heritage of the old Limerick Navigation system and showcases some of the finest scenery around Lough Derg. There are five different key trail-heads which provide information map boards and car-parking. These are situated reasonably close to necessary facilities such as shops, accommodation, restaurants and public transport. These trail-heads are situated as follows:
  1. Limerick City (Limerick City Tourism Office, Arthur’s Quay)
  2. Clonlara, County Clare (Centre of VIllage)
  3. Killaloe, County Clare & Ballina, County Tipperary (Information Maps on both sides of the river and a tourism office on the Killaloe side)
  4. Garrykennedy, County Tipperary (Village Marina)
  5. Dromineer, County Tipperary (Centre of Village)
Masked BallNenagh Silent Film Festival Masked Ball
And, sure that’s all for this week. Now I know there are a number of other walkways scattered throughout North Tipperary, but sure why don’t you come and try and find them yourself and then lose yourself in North Tipperary.  It’s always a good time to visit North Tipperary, but next February around Valentine’s Day maybe a perfect opportunity for you to take in some of the many trails of North Tipperary during the day, and some of the Second Nenagh Silent Film Festival during the evening. Till next week then!
Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why North Tipperary – A Walker’s Paradise

English: Waymarking sign, comprising an image ...

English: Waymarking sign, comprising an image of a walking man and a directional arrow in yellow, used in Ireland to denote a National Waymarked Trail. The design was copied from the symbol used to waymark the Ulster Way in Northern Ireland and has since become the standard waymarking image used for long-distance trails in the Republic of Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello and welcome to this week’s Why North Tipperary, whereby this week, and for the next two weeks we are going to look at the different walking trails around North Tipperary. I have used several sources to accumulate these including Shannon Region Trails, Irish Trails and Trip Visor, so I hope you enjoy viewing some more very good reasons to visit North Tipperary.

English: Lough Derg, West Tipperary

English: Lough Derg, West Tipperary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slí Eala (the Way of the Swan):
This walk is a National Linear Walk and it is marked out with green arrows. It begins at the beautiful lakeside village of Dromineer along the shores of Lough Derg and following the banks of the Nenagh river to Scott’s Bridge, which is situated 2.5km from the centre of Nenagh town. The length is just over six and a half miles, which can take up to three hours, however, along the way there is an abundant of wildlife including the Mute Swan, Ireland’s largest indigenous bird, which gives the walk its name.
Graves of the LeinstermenGraves of the Leinstermen
Graves of the Leinstermen:
A local tradition states that it is here at the Graves of the Leinstemen that the soldiers of Leinster and their King met their deaths at the hands of Brian Boru’s forces around the year 1000AD. The legend states that the Leinster King had requested to be buried within sight of the Leinster Kingdom and so his followers then placed his body under the ancient stading stones at this spot. This is a walking loop that is 6km in length, which starts at the Graves of the Leinstermen, and moves through the countryside, before turning into the Arra Mountains; the walk continues to the summit, which is called Tountinna, where some spectacular views of Lough Derg and the surrounding countryside are laid out in the canvas of a masterpiece. The walk descends then very quickly and steeply to the trail-head.
English: Panorama view on Tipperary and surrou...

English: Panorama view on Tipperary and surroundings, and at the horizon the Silvermines Mountains. Nederlands: Panoramafoto van Tipperary en omgeving, in de verte de Silvermines Mountains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop:
This is a wonderful walk through a section of the Silvermines Mountains, which is aptly called the Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop, since it brings the walker along the old mass paths leading to the church of Kilcommon village. It traverses a number of small minor roadways, forestry paths and it takes in the beauty of the Golden Vale countryside, as well as the lower slopes of Mauherslieve Mountain and open hillside. From this walkway there are some amazing views of County Tipperary and of County Limerick.
Knochnaroe ViewKnockanroe Wood Loop View
Knockanroe Wood Loop:
The Knockanroe Wood Loop is almost three miles in length and it takes in another section of the Silvermines Mountain range, around the village of Silvermines itself. This looped walkway itself explores the Coolyhorney area and it overlaps with the Slieve Felim Way for a short while. Historically, Silvermines village is very important to the area, where the mining of lead, sinc, copper, sulphide and barities have occurred since Roman times, while the highest point in North Tipperary is situated nearby – the top of the mast that is on top of Keeper Hill!
The Golden Vale in winter

The Golden Vale in winter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grange Crag Loop:

Both the Crag and the Grange Loops take the same initial routes from the village of Grange. The Crag route though diverges to the left following the turn after the ‘icehouse’. Walkers are then taken up through the mixed forest to the Wellington Monument folly, which is at the summit of Crag Hill. Again, there are some amazing views from some this walk’s highest points at the top of the Slieveardagh Hills of the Kilcooley estate, the central plains of Tipperary and the Golden Vale, and also the hills of the bordering counties of Laois, Cork, Limerick and others. The walk continues along a marked forest path and a winding ridge to view some of the local natural environment of ancient woodlands and flowing streams, before Crag Loop rejoins Grange Loop and circles back to the village of Grange.

Ballyhourigan Woods LoopBallyhourigan Woods Loop
Ballyhourigan Woods Loop:
Now, as previously mentioned, Keeper Hill is the highest point in North Tipperary, and of course there is also a couple of walks connected to this natural landmark. The Ballyhourigan Woods Loop is just over five and a half miles in length and it begins at the village of Toor, which is situated near the townland of Newport. This loop follows a woodland trail and forestry track in an ascent through Aherlow Nature Park and Ballinacourty Woods. The walkway traverses the southern shoulder of Slievenamuck, which offers the walker some magnificent views of the Galtee Mountains. Whilst walking through Ballyhourigan Woods, approximately 3km into the trek, there is an option to turn onto the Keeper Hill Trail which will take the walker up to the summit, however, if you continue along by the loop, you will eventually travel towards the village of Boolatin, before you eventually regain the trail-head. It is said that on a clear day that nine counties can be viewed from the top of Keeper Hill, so why not go for the long Keeper Trail and see how many you can spot!
English: Upperchurch, County Tipperary

English: Upperchurch, County Tipperary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eamonn A Chnoic Loop:

And last, but not least for this week’s Walker’s Trail, the Eamonn A Chnoic Loop, or the Ned of the Hill Loop. This loop is located around the village of Upperchurch and it gets its name from a local character of the 17th/18th century who was a local Robin Hood figure. The story goes that the English took his family’s vast land, but the young Eamonn was sent to France to enter the priesthood, however he returned to his homeland and soon got into trouble by shooting a tax collector. He then had to go on the run, but he didn’t hide and instead Ned of the Hill became one of a number of rapparees, who championed the cause of the poor by harassing the English Planters. Anyway, this walkway begins in Upperchurch village and continues through a wide range of fields and small lane-ways, while it also passes along the long forest boundaries, with the wild sounds of nature filling the air and singing through the mountain breezes. There are a number of tremendous views of the Comeraghs, Knockmealdowns, Galtees, Sleabh na mBán and the Devil’s Bit. This is one wonderful walk you won’t want to miss out on.
Photo of Lough Derg taken on 6/03/05 by Ludram...

Photo of Lough Derg taken on 6/03/05 by Ludraman with a Sony Cybershot DSC-P9. Edited mercilessly afterwards in iPhoto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well I hope you enjoyed that, and just to let you know that I’ll be back next week with the second part of my look at the many, many, picturesque nature-walks through North Tipperary. There is some amazing scenery in our midst, so why not come along and take in the sights and sounds of North Tipperary!

Click to View Map:
Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why North Tipperary – National Monuments 2

Scene of Lough DergScene of Lough Derg

Hello and welcome to the second part of my look at the National Monuments of North Tipperary. Altogether I have looked at approximately 15 monuments in total, however, there are a few more, but any of the tourism offices of North Tipperary will gladly direct you to these. For now, read on and discover a number of good reasons to visit North Tipperary.

LiathmoreLiathmore

Near Thurles and close to Twomileborris lies the townland of Leigh or Leighmore, or even more correctly Liathmore. This townland is situated six miles of Thurles and is also close to Twomileborris and within this townland is a building of renowned antiquity and even some celebrity: an early monastery which was founded by the seventh century monk Mochoemóg. Mochoemóg was a nephew of St. Ita and he was also a friend of St. Fursey. There are two churches and the footings of a Round Tower situated here. It should also be mentioned that a Sheela na Gig is set into a door of one of the churches which is facing the remains of the Round Tower.

St Ruadhan's ChurchSt Ruadhan’s Church

In Lorrha village lies St. Ruadhan’s Church, which is dated from the 15th century. According to the Irish Antiquities website it has good east and west windows and a richly decorated west doorway. Irish Antiquities then goes onto state that a little further south the Church of Ireland building occupies part of an older church. This older section has a 15th century doorway decorated with floral designs and a pelican feeding her young with drops of her blood. In the graveyard is the decorated base of a High Cross and part of the shaft on another.

Roscrea Round TowerRoscrea Round Tower

There are a number of heritage sites in Roscrea town that are well worth visiting. There is the castle some people believe was built by King John of England in 1213, although some claim it was built in the mid-13th century. In the grounds of the castle there stands a building called Damer House, which is an 18th century building that according to the Discover Ireland website ‘exemplifies pre-Palladian architecture. Very close by to Roscrea Castle is St. Cronan’s Church and Round Tower. This is a Romanesque church with only the west facade remaining. Also nearby to these two buildings is the Franciscan friary which was founded in the 15th century. So you see there are plenty of reasons to visit Roscrea town.

Monaincha ChurchMonaincha Church

Not far from Roscrea is a place-name called Monaincha, which is from the Irish ‘Mainister Inse na mBeo‘ meaning ‘Island of the Living’. Back in the 8th century there was a small island here where a monastery was founded by St. Elair, but the land around the monastery was drained on the 18th century, which has left the monastery as a mound in a boggy field. The Celi De monks moved onto the existing island around the year 80 and brought with them a much stricter way of life. There is a church here at Monaincha which is dated to the 12th century, which according to the www.megalithicireland.com website contains a finely decorated romanesque west doorway and chancel arch. It goes onto state that at the end of the 12th century the monastery became Augustinian. There are the fragments of two crosses mounted together in front of the church which has some very weathered Celtic designs on the underside of the ring and north face. The base of the cross dates to the 9th century and although it is very weathered, it still bears carved horsemen.

Terryglass CastleTerryglass Castle

In Terryglass village there stands a 13th century square castle, which is believed to be one of only four of its kind in Ireland. There are round turrets at each corner, while according to the www.geograph.ie website the NE turret was originally accessible only by outside stairs. It goes onto state that the NW turret has circular stairs which are now blocked by a steel-pipe door. A dividing wall separates the ground floor in two and the castle looks down on Lough Derg.
Nenagh Castle

Nenagh Castle

Nenagh Castle is a unique Norman Keep that was built around 1200 by Theobald Walter, who was the 1st Baron Butler, while the fortress was completed by his son Theobald le Botiller around 1220. The Butlers were eventually declared the Earls of Ormond by the Norman invaders and Nenagh Castle was their principal seat until they moved to Kilkenny Castle in 1391. The family name went onto become the Marquis of Ormond, but James Butler, the last Marquess, died in 1997. There is a crown on top of the Nenagh castle that was added in 1861 by Bishop Michael Flannery, which he had hopped would become the bell tower of a Pugin designed cathedral, however this project was never completed. The Nenagh Castle has now become a major tourist destination on the mid-west region, with the development of the interior, which is now open to the public.Interior of the Castle Crown

Interior of Nenagh Castle Crown

Well, that’s all I have for you this week, but tune back this way in seven days and view a number of new reasons on ‘Why North Tipperary’ should be your holiday destination.Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why Nenagh – Upcoming Gatherings

Hello and welcome to this week’s version of Why Nenagh – a weekly look at why Nenagh and North Tipperary is a wonderful tourism destination. This week we are going to look at what events are in the planning in the area in the near future.

TerryglassClick image for more information
Terryglass Arts Festival – August 14th ~ August 18th, 2013
First up is this community run festival celebrating arts, creativity, talent, inspiration and enjoyment. Programme includes visual arts, theatre, dance, music and craft workshops for adults and children. This family festival is growing every year and is attracting national and international artists with a busy and entertaining programme of events to suit every one. The programme of events for 2013 will be available on the website once finalized.

KilloscullyClick image for more information

Weekend of Welcomes – August 24th ~ August 25th, 2013

Next up is the Weekend of Welcomes. This is a new festival which will be held in the Killoscully/Ballinahinch locality, which is just a few short miles from Nenagh town. Events that are in the planning include music, song and dance with plenty of entertainment for all the family. This festival will be held on Saturday August 24th and Sunday August 25th. There will be Trad sessions, scenic cycle races for all the family and a traditional dance at the crossroads. So come along and if you want more information, contact Joe Fitzgerald @ 087 2021158 or Margaret Sheehy @ 087 9160877 after 7pm.

Relay for LifeClick image for more information

Relay for Life – August 24th ~ August 25th, 2013

The Relay for Life has become an annual event int he village of Toomevara. This is a 24 hour team community event in association with the Irish Cancer Society. It celebrates survivors of cancer, remembers those who have passed and gives hope to everyone affected. Relay fights back against cancer through Awareness raising, fund raising and having FUN! It involves teams of 10-12 people walking around a track for 24 hours, as cancer never sleeps and is a 24 hour illness. At least one member from each team is on the track at all times. The main elements are: The Survivors Lap, Candle of Hope and Remembrance Ceremony, the 24 Relay itself, and the Closing Ceremony. A series of fun events will also be taking part during the 24 hours. Why get involved with Relay? One in three will be diagnosed with cancer in Ireland this year, but thankfully three out of four are now surviving, thanks to advances in cancer research. Two million a year is needed for cancer research, so funds are needed! The Relay For Life events are organised entirely by communities so that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and in the hope that one day cancer will be eliminated. In 2012 we had Relayers from New York USA take part in the relay. 2013 is set to attract families of participants visiting from overseas to take part in this wonderful and moving event and also honour those they have lost through cancer. Another worthwhile reason to visit North Tipperary this August.

Nenagh CastleClick image for more information

National Heritage Week – August 17th ~ August 25th, 2013

A week of festivities which celebrate Irish and indeed the local heritage. A number of events have been organized and these can be viewed by clicking on the image above. In fact I have been reliably informed that event more events are in the planning to be held also, including a costumed themed celebration of activities which is straight from the 12th century in the shadow of Nenagh Castle. Stocks, knights, jostling and battle re-enactments. Local historian Kevin Whelan will be conducting a Historical Tour of Nenagh throughout the week, and these will be from 12 noon to 1.30pm each day from Banba Square. Nenagh Castle, the Heritage Centre and the old Nenagh Gaol will be open to the public as usual, while there will be music entertainment organized by the well-known music maestro Hughie McGrath for all visitors to enjoy, while they enjoy their visit to Nenagh town. So why, don’t you come and help us celebrate our own history here in Nenagh town.

PortroeClick image for more information

Portroe: Best Little Parish in Ireland – August 30th ~ September 1st, 2013

The plan is for this to be the largest Gathering of Portroe natives ever and complements the whole concept and spirit of ‘the Gathering’. The organizers will attract many visitors from abroad to come to Portroe for the weekend. The parish has a strong bond with its natives and those who have an association with it. This will be an event that will attract people home who want to re-associate with the parish, where they grew up and visit family and friends. The organizers will be able to provide a range of top events and entertainment for everyone who comes both from overseas and home and it will be a memorable event that we will have to renew again and again in years to come. From scenic walks, to showcasing local business, the Portroe Gathering 2013 will have something for everyone. Finally this event will generate considerable media coverage. Portroe has some of the best scenery in Ireland. It has outstanding views of Lough Derg, watersports activities, great food in Portroe and Garrykennedy and these will be displayed to visitors throughout the weekend. The organizers intend to promote the event and its aftermath thoroughly on social media as well to promote further tourism to the area.

DromineerClick image for more information

Dromineer Literacy Festival – October 3rd ~ October 6th, 2013

This festival celebrates writers and writing providing opportunities for emerging writers, readings, exhibitions and writing and poetry workshops for adults and teenagers. The festival invites participants from all members of the community of all ages for writing competitions, workshops, readings and literary related events in a weekend of activity in the beautiful lakeside village of Dromineer. Dromineer has been described as a ’boutique’ festival; small but high class, with an atmosphere that is serious but informal, professional but friendly, in an exquisite setting on the shores of Lough Derg (the decidely non-penitentional one).

CloughjordanClick image for more information

Cloughtoberfest – October 11th ~ October 12th, 2013

Back for its 3rd year, Cloughtoberfest brings you the amazing Hot Club gypsy jazz music with the finest players from Ireland and all around the world. Gypsy jazz is all about heart, so the good people of Cloughtoberfest are inviting you to enjoy it with them in the warm atmosphere of their village right in the heart of Ireland. It’s not all gypsy…Trad Manouche is their special music project, where they gather together Gypsy Jazz and Traditional Irish musicians in a series of free sessions, to explore the synergies between the styles.  Of course, all that music could make a person thirsty, so alongside the fine music you can also try out some fine beers from Ireland’s craft brewers, including a special edition festival ale! Get on board with their regular visitors from Britain, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Australia and the USA… they will even be offering travel discounts when you book your festival tickets!  Just join their mailing list to keep in touch with special offers and competitions for far-flung festival-goers. Come and immerse yourself in 2 days of concerts, music masterclasses and swing dance workshops, beer tastings and craft beer cookery, and music, music everywhere with free jam sessions all around town, all the time. It will put a swing in your step for the rest of the year 🙂

SpleodorClick image for more information

Spleodar – October 29th ~ November 01st, 2013
This original Halloween-themed festival includes a range of events and workshops including theatre, film, music, dance and visual art. Spleodar means ‘explosion’ and the Festival celebrates Halloween exploding. A riot of colour and sound with fireworks, music, songs and dancing.
NSFFClick image for more information
I’ve hoped you have enjoyed our look at some of the festivals that will be held in the coming months in the Nenagh and North Tipperary locality – a number of good reasons Why Nenagh should be your choice of tourist destination in the coming months. And don’t forget the Nenagh Silent Film Festival 2014, which is coming your way next February 13th to February 16th. Check us out again next week when I’ll look at the street names of Nenagh town where every main street hold two different names. Can be confusing, but fun!

 

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee