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

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Why Nenagh – Nenagh Castle

Nenagh CastleNenagh Castle

Did you know that Nenagh Castle had five large towers at one stage, which, back then, were thought to be the largest towers in Ireland and Britain? Or then there is the story of a local stern puritan, Solomon Newsome, who decided he wanted to blow up the castle remains because he reckoned the sparrows and other birds that were living on the ivy which was growing on the walls of the ruins were conspiring daily to steal his growing barley crop? Well, this week I’m going to take a look at Nenagh town’s most prominent building – Nenagh’s Legendary Castle, or the Nenagh Keep – so please join me on this historical trail; Another wonderful reason to visit Nenagh town and North Tipperary.

Butler Arms

First up, Nenagh Castle was built between 1200 and 1220 and this fortress was the main seat of the Butler family until the 14th century. Theobald FitzWalter le Boteler, 1st Baron Butler, was granted the land of the Barony of Ormond Lower by King John of England. The Butler’s were eventually driven out in 1391 to Gowran in Kilkenny, in no small part to pressure from the native O’Kennedy clan and their allies. The Butler’s, however, would later acquire Kilkenny Castle, which would remain their seat of power for the following 500 years.

Above: Butler Coat of Arms

O'Kennedy - Butler TreatyThe Original O’Kennedy Clan – Butler Treaty from 1336

In 1336, when the Butler’s were still in resident in Nenagh Castle, a peace treaty was signed between the O’Kennedy’s and James Butler, 1st Earl of Ormond; Included in the treaty were terms of peace and grants of lands for the O’Kennedy clan. Six hundred and twenty seven years later, this original treaty was presented as a gift to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, while he was on a state visit to Ireland. It can now be seen in the J. F. K. Library in Massachusetts. The terms of the treaty were eventually broke in 1347/8, when the O’Kennedy’s, O’Carroll’s and the O’Brien’s attacked the Castle. In the process the town of Nenagh was burned, but the attack on the Castle was unsuccessful.

Tomb of Richard ButlerDuring the sixteenth century, the first of a number of events occurred which would have historical consequences in relation to Nenagh Castle and Nenagh town. In 1533, the Castle was returned to the Butler’s from the hands of the Mac Ibrien family (the O’Brien clan) under Piers Butler, Earl of Ossory. Then in 1550 the town of Nenagh and the local Friary was burned again; this time by the O’Carroll clan, who must have been peed off about something or another. Onwards to 1641, and the town of Nenagh and it’s Castle was captured by Owen Roe O’Neill and his Irish forces, but this was short-lived, as Murrough O’Brien, 1st Earl of Inchiquin, retook the town. Then, in 1651 Cromwell’s troops paid Nenagh a visit and battered Nenagh Castle from high grounds to the East; the garrison eventually surrendered to Henry Ireton, who was Cromwell’s Parliamentary Deputy. In the aftermath, Ireton is said to have had the Castle’s Governor hung from the topmost window of the keep that is now known as Nenagh Castle. At the end of the Cromwellian Wars, the Castle was granted to Daniel Abbot, along with extensive lands, in lieu of payment form Cromwell, although the Castle was then returned again to the Butlers after the Restoration in 1660. (Image shows the tomb of Richard Butler, son of Piers Butler, resting in St Canice’s, Kilkenny.)

Nenagh Castle RuinsBut that’s not the end of the troubled times for Nenagh Castle! Following this, there are a couple of reports from different sources. One of them claims that during the Jacobite War, which is said to have initially began in 1688, Anthony O’Carroll took the Castle from James Butler, the 2nd Duke of Ormond, who was supporting William of Orange, but the fortress was retaken yet again in 1690 by General Ginkel, who was later to become the 1st Earl of Athlone. Another report states that during the Williamite Wars, Patrick Sarsfield came this way too and also burned Nenagh castle. What I can gather is that O’Carroll was fighting with Sarsfield and it’s a simple case that what one report is stating is the Jacobite Wars, the other is stating the Williamite Wars. But if that wasn’t enough for poor old Nenagh Castle, following the Williamite Wars, Nenagh Castle was dismantled so that it would not be used again in further conflicts, with William of Orange ordering its destruction so that it would be “rendered indefensible in ill hands“. (Image shows the ruined Nenagh Castle as it once was.)

Nenagh Castle Plan LayoutAnd that brings us to 1750, when a certain Solomon Newsome (he from the O’Newsomes over yonder) decided it would be a good idea to blow up the rest of the Castle because flocks of birds that were nesting in it’s remnants were destroying his barley crop nearby. (had they no scarecrows back then?) Seemingly this genius decided to undermine the Castle by digging a great hole underneath it in the hope that it would fall, but this didn’t work, so instead Newsome came up with an idea of using a barrel of gunpowder. It exploded alright, but all it did was make a great hole in the tower’s side, and so the tower, or the great Keep of the Nenagh Castle remained standing. (Image shows the layoutplans for Nenagh Castle)

Nenagh Castle 1And onto 1860, when Bishop Flannery initiated plans to build a Cathedral in Nenagh town. To do this, a lot of funds were needed and so a number of priests were sent to North America on a fund-raising mission. In the meantime, Bishop Flannery bought the Castle ruins and the surrounding lands, and he then set about restoring the Castle Keep so it could be incorporated in the new Cathedral he was building. Everything was going well until War again intervened; This time the American Civil War and so with funding drying up from the United States, Bishop Flannery’s plans came to an abrupt end. Even still, his endeavours had been a blessing to Nenagh Castle and it’s appearance. Bishop Flannery’s plans saw the uneven top of the tower was raised and dressed with a new parapet wall. There was also an area of land nearby that was known as ‘The Stony Field’ which was cleared up around this time with the building of the Town Hall and the local Court House, but I’ll come to that another day. (Old Photo of Nenagh Castle probably taken during the late 1800’s – the new crown is clearly visible as been newly laid.)

Nenagh Castle

But all of this history brings us right up to today. In recent times Nenagh Castle has been renovated and after being reopened by President Michal D. Higgins in 2012, it is now a museum that is open to the public, whereby you can walk right to the top for a completely unique panoramic view of the town and countryside. When you visit Nenagh town, this is most definitely a major tourist attraction that you do not want to miss. It is filled with history with a mountain of connections to Kings and Kingdoms, Rebels and Rebellions, Tyrants and Arsonists, Irish Clans and Celtic Leaders, and also an American President, and that’s just the start. It’s bloodied history is well behind it now, so come along and share in the experience of Nenagh Castle – another reason to visit Nenagh town! (Image shows Nenagh Castle under a stormy Tipperary Sky, but this Fine Keep has endured a lot more stormier times than just a drop of rain in its time.)

And finally to finish off this week’s post, here are a number of other images taken from Nenagh Castle. If anyone wants to add anything to this post, please leave a comment or contact us at nenaghsilentfilmfestival.wordpress.com, or even if there’s someone out there who might have spotted any inaccuracies in this post – I’m happy to be corrected. As things stand the information here has been gathered from a number of sources including: Hidden Tipperary, eBook Ireland, Tudor Place, JFK LibraryWikipedia and Irish Fireside. See y’all next week so.

Nenagh Castle

Castle Interior 2Castle Interior 2

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Interior Views of the Newly Renovated Nenagh Castle

Interior of Nenagh Castle

Below is a High Definition Scanned Image of Nenagh Castle. Click on Image for more details

Nenagh Castle HD

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why Nenagh – Church Architecture

Old Church of IrelandOld Church of Ireland

Welcome back to my weekly post: Why Nenagh! This week is going to be a predominantly a picture Posting, because quite simply I think these pictures can tell their own story. I’m looking at the two main churches of Nenagh town, because I reckon the buildings themselves are fantastic and to be able to visit them and to take in their surroundings is another reason to visit Nenagh town. First up is the old Church of Ireland. It is situated at the end of Kenyon/Barrack Street, with the square tower dominating that area of the town. According to the Ormond Historical Society, there are records of a church on this site going back to 1615. This square tower was added to an existing building in 1760 and a new church was added in 1809. This remained the Church of Ireland place of worship until a brand new building was erected in 1860 on a new site at what is now known as Church Road. (Since we have already discussed about Nenagh being a town where the streets have more names, does anyone know of another name for this road?)

Old Pic of Nenagh COI Exterior of Nenagh COI Interior towards altar of Nenagh COI Interior towards rear of Nenagh COI Interior commenorations in Nenagh COI

The existing Church of Ireland rests nicely along Church Road, with the Nenagh Castle and the Roman Catholic Church situated alongside.

And so to St Mary of the Rosary Church in Nenagh town. Although there exists a second Roman Catholic Church in the town that is situated behind the hospital, there really is no comparison with regards their standard of architecture. St Mary’s was built in 1895 and the architect was Walter G Doolin.

Old Church Interior13 Old Church Exterior1Old Church Interior12  Church Interior10 Church Interior5 Church Interior7 Church Interior8 Church Interior9 Church Interior3 Church Interior2 Church Interior2 Church Exterior 1 Church Interior1 Design3 Design2 Design1  Church DoorwayChurch Tower2Church Tower

It was constructed by John Sisk and he used Lahorna stone and Portroe slate with the Portland stone of the arches being the only imported material that was used. Some examples of the designs that are found around the buildings itself can be seen in the some of the images that appear here. According to the Buildings of Ireland website, this church is a ‘detached cruciform-plan‘ church and it comprises of a gabled entrance front with corner turret and flanked by five-stage tower with spire to the south. The Buildings of Ireland report goes on to say that: ‘this church is an excellent example of large scale Gothic Revival architecture of the late-nineteenth century in Ireland. The exterior is notable for the finely-carved ashlar dressings, gargoyles and elaborate west-front doorway. The interior of the nave revives the quatrefoil columns found in some thirteenth-century Irish and English west country Gothic parish churches and its columns and pointed arches are of Portland stone. A series of fine mosaics executed by Oppenheim in 1911 culminate in the chancel of the church.”

ArdcroneyCOIArdcroney Church of Ireland

I couldn’t finish this post, without commenting on the fact that back in the 1990’s the Ardcroney Church of Ireland was taken apart brick by brick and rebuilt in Bunratty Folk Park – since seemingly this was done by numbering the bricks, I suppose this would have been some sort of a very intricate jig-saw puzzle. Anyways, if you do travel to Bunratty in the County of Clare, which is well worth a visit at any time of the year and it is about 45 minutes drive from Nenagh town, don’t forget when you view the small Church of Ireland, that it is an architectural delight from North Tipperary! Till next week so, when I will be looking at some of the fine draperies in Nenagh town.

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

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