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

Advertisements

Why Nenagh – National Heritage Week

National Heritage WeekClick Image for Full Brochure

I have a special Why Nenagh post to celebrate National Heritage Week. This will take place between August 17th to August 25th, 2013. As part of the national celebrations there are a number of events to take place in Nenagh town, so why not click on the brochure above to view the very busy schedule that will take place in Nenagh town and why it could be a very good idea to travel to Nenagh town as a visitor, tourist or just site-seeing in one of Ireland’s original heritage towns.

TIME TRAVELLING IN NENAGH?

Medeval FairVisit Nenagh Castle on Saturday 24th August and you will be in for a surprise.  You may think you have travelled back in time to when the castle was built for in the grounds surrounding it will be a Mediaeval Fair.  Stalls and booths will be displaying crafts and weaponry of the time, and there will be an opportunity to witness first hand real 13th Century combat!

Paddy ColePaddy Cole in Action

In contrast in the adjacent church grounds at the same time there is the Peoples’ Picnic where the Nenagh Mint Jazz Band, Ebony, and special guest Paddy Cole will be performing and entertainment for younger visitors will be provided in the form of Bouncy Castles and face painting.

Nenagh CastleNenagh Castle in all its Beauty

So whether you prefer a real castle or a bouncy one, come along to Nenagh between 11.00 and 5.00 on Saturday 24th August and you will be in for a rare treat.

Admission is free, mediaeval dress optional!

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 – Famous Connections

Welcome to this week’s version of Why Nenagh, our look at different reasons to come to Nenagh and the North Tipperary area. Last week I looked at different famous film and television characters who have connections to the Nenagh and North Tipperary area. This week I am going to look at some other people who have connections to Nenagh.

Shane MacGowanShane MacGowan

First up is one of the greatest contemporary song-writers of the 1980s right through to the 90’s and noughties. Shane MacGowan and his music is world famous with some of his more famous tracks including Fairytale of New York, A Rainy Night in Soho, Summer in Siam and The Sunnyside of the Street. Shane was born in London, but spent his youth in his mother’s family home in Carney, which is just outside of Nenagh. He regularly visits Nenagh each year, as he has a dwelling just outside of the town, so you are very likely to bump into an Irish musical legend  at anytime down in old Nenagh town.

NPG D9303; John Toler, 1st Earl of Norbury after Unknown artistJohn Toler (1st Earl of Norbury)

Well you have your good characters and bad characters that are connected to any town or parish and Nenagh is no different, so lets have a look at John Toler, the ‘Hanging Judge’. John Toler, the 1st Earl of Norbury, was born on the 3rd December in 1745 in Beechwood, Nenagh. He went onto become one of the most hated figures in power in Ireland during the late seventeen hundreds and the early eighteen hundreds. He was appointed Chief Justice of Ireland in 1800 and his most famous trial was that of Irish nationalist leader and patriot Robert Emmet. Norbury interrupted and abused Emmet throughout the trial before sentencing him to death. Throughout the 27 years he held the post of Chief Justice he was known to joke even when the life of a human being was hanging in the balance; this resulted in Norbury becoming known as ‘The Hanging Judge’. Throughout his life Norbury had a strong belief in the Protestant ascendancy and he had a number of run-ins with the Irish Catholic Leadership, including Daniel O’Connell on several occasions, and also the British establishment after the Napoleonic Wars, when they there was a new aim of establishing a better relationship with the Catholic majority. Norbury died at 85 years in 1831 and was buried at St. Mary’s Church, Mary Street, Dublin.

J. D. BernalJ. D. Bernal

John Desmond Bernal, who was born at Brookwatson Nenagh on May 10th 1901, was one of the foremost scientists of the twentieth century. He was a controversial figure because of his communist beliefs and connections, but the work he produced throughout his lifetime as a scientist is hugely impressive. He is considered a pioneer of X-ray crystallography in molecular biology. In 1924 he determined the structure of graphite and he also did work on the crystal structure of bronze. His strength was in analysis as much as experimental method, and his mathematical and practical treatment of determining crystal structure was widely studied. Later on, he worked for the British War Ministry during World War II, where his main contribution to the Normandy Landings was the detailed mapping of the beaches. After assisting in the preparations for D-Day with work on the structure of the proposed landing sites as well as the bocage countryside beyond, Bernal landed at Normandy on the afternoon of D-Day +1 in the uniform of an instructor-Lieutenant RN to record the effectiveness of the plans. During his lifetime, Bernal was awarded the Royal Medal (1945), Guthrie Lecture (1947), the Stalin Peace Prize (1953), Grotius Gold Medal (1959), the Bakerian Lecture (1962) and he was a Fellow of the Royal Society. John Desmond Bernal died on the 15th September 1971, aged 70 years, and is buried in Battersea Cemetery, Morden, in a grave that is unmarked.

Sonny O'NeillSonny O’Neill’s Headstone

Denis ‘Sonny’ O’Neill wasn’t born in Nenagh town or outside it, but he lived most of his life in a town that became a protector and an adopted home for an individual who actually changed Irish history. So who was Sonny O’Neill? Well, he’s none other than the person who shot the Irish patriot and Leader Michael Collins. The story goes that the anti-treaty forces had set up an ambush at Béal na Bláth on August 22nd 1922 to assassinate Collins. The ambush squad consisted of Tom Hales, Jim Hurley, Dan Holland, Tom Kelleher, Sonny O’Neill, Paddy Walsh, John O’Callaghan, Sonny Donovan, Bill Desmond and Dan Corcoran. Seemingly the squad had decided to disperse and were clearing the road as well as diffusing a roadside bomb, when the convey of vehicles that included Michael Collins came upon them. A gun battle ensued and as the anti-treaty forces retreated, a shot rang out from O’Neill’s weapon that entered Collins forehead and blasted a hole at the back of his head. Michael Collins was dead and Sonny was soon on the run. He eventually made it to North Tipperary and before long he took lodgings in Queens/Mitchell Street in Nenagh town, where he remained for the remainder of his life. His secret was kept safe by those that knew who he was in the town and he was even one of the founding fathers of the Fianna Fail party in North Tipperary. Sonny O’Neill is buried in Tyone Cemetery, Nenagh.

Donal RyanDonal Ryan (Author: The Spinning Heart)

Donal Ryan’s debut novel The Spinning Heart was nominated on the Man-Booker Prize Long-List for 2013. An amazing achievement for a debut novelist, he has being quoted to have said he received approximately 50 rejections from publishers, before he eventually found a publisher who were willing to back him. Ryan’s publisher Transworld Book (Doubleday) tweeted that it was “thrilled” that his “stunning debut” had been longlisted. Donal is a born and bred Nenagh man.

JFK

Not a bad collection that we have linked to the town. Of course there is an actual connection to President John F. Kennedy also. You see back in the Norman times, before they decided they wanted to build the Nenagh castle and plant their own knights here, the land around Nenagh was O’Kennedy country and remained so for several centuries after the Norman conquest. So you see, although John F. Kennedy’s family roots may have been linked to Wexford, his ancient clan’s roots are here in Nenagh and North Tipperary. In fact the ancient treaty that was presented to President Kennedy on a visit to Ireland in 1962 and is now housed in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Massachusetts was signed between the invading Normans and the Kennedy’s in Nenagh Castle. More next week when I will have a look at festivals that are connected to the area.

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why Nenagh – Film & Television Connections

Mystery PersonThere are many talented people associated with Nenagh town and it’s environs and none moreso than in the area of film and television. In fact, there are people living are connected to the vicinity of North Tipperary itself that would surprise you. This week I’m going to take a look at some of these world famous names, because you’d never know who’d you meet along any of Nenagh’s historic streets.

Rex IngramSo why not start with the big man himself. Reginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock, later to become known as Rex Ingram, was born in Rathmines in Dublin. As a young man his family moved to North Tipperary, whereby his father was employed as a verger in the Borrisokane Church of Ireland and also the Nenagh Church of Ireland. He lived for approximately eighteen months in Nenagh and it was here where he viewed his first moving picture. That was in 1901 at a traveling circus. The experience obviously stuck with him, because as we all know, Rex went on to become one of the great pioneers of Hollywood in the silent era. A plaque in his honour was erected in the town at the house where he lived amongst us by the Nenagh Silent Film Festival Committee in February 2013. He died on July 21st 1950, which was 63 years ago this very week.

MartinSheenYou see, there’s more than one president connected to North Tipperary (see President Barack Obama of Moneygall, which is on the border of County Tipperary and County Offaly and is just 12 miles from Nenagh town) and also (President Ronald Reagan of Ballyporeen, County Tipperary). The world renowned Hollywood actor and star of The West Wing, Martin Sheen, has very strong connections to North Tipperary. His family roots are from the Borrisokane area, which is just ten miles from Nenagh town, and it was from here where his mother emigrated to the United States. Martin is a proud son of North Tipperary and is a regular visitor to the area.

Patrick BerginHere’s another famous Hollywood actor who lives within our midst here in North Tipperary. Patrick Bergin lives in a castle that is situated near Cloughjordan and this town-land is just a ten minute drive from Nenagh town. Patrick has plenty of form as an actor including Sleeping with the Enemy, in which he wouldn’t leave poor Julia Roberts alone, and of course Robin Hood along with a number of very impressive titles. He is regularly seen in Nenagh town and other North Tipperary parishes.

Charlie Sheen

And then there’s Charlie! Charlie Sheen, son of aforementioned Martin Sheen has, through his father and then of course his grand-mother, strong connections to the North Tipperary locality. Martin is very well known as a major Hollywood actor and American television star. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’ll never know who you might meet around about Nenagh-way.

Emilio EstevezNow I couldn’t leave it at that about the Sheen clan. There’s also Martin‘s other son Emilio. He may have taken the name his father was christened with, but like his brother and of course his father, there is still North Tipperary blood running through his veins. Another major Hollywood connection for North Tipperary. Emilio has a wonderful career in his own right with some wonderful productions behind him like Young Guns, St Elmo’s Fire and The Breakfast Club to name just a few. He also has a career as a director, screenwriter and a producer.

Johnny DeppNow Johnny Depp hasn’t being able to find roots to North Tipperary as of yet, that I know of, but he was reported to be in the Toomevara (village 5 miles from Nenagh town) graveyard searching for his roots a couple of years back. But Johnny is no stranger to Nenagh town and the North Tipperary countryside. He’s a very close friend of Shane MacGowan, who is from and lives a few miles from Nenagh and he’s a regular visitor to the area. We’ll just have to dig a little deeper and I’m sure before long we’ll find his true Irish roots in the heartland of North Tipperary. (More on Shane McGowan next week)

George ClooneyThere are quite a number of other connections to the world of film and television and this is something we are very proud about. To name just a few more, there’s George Clooney who has been reported to have visited North Tipperary in the recent past in search of his own roots. Then there’s Brigie de Courcy (Executive Producer of Fair City and formally Producer on Eastenders), who is married to Nenagh man Kevin McGee (Award-Winning Playwright, Director, Producer, Irish television script-writer). And there is Kevin’s brother Noel, who is also an Irish television script-writer. There are countless others and if you want to remind me of them please leave a comment in the Comment box below. Next week I’ll take a look at some famous names throughout history who have called Nenagh town their home.

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee