Nenagh Castle

Image Credit: Irish Fireside

Visiting Nenagh Castle

The Castle is open for visitors from April to October with some limited Winter hours. The building and has stone spiral stairs to the top.  There are 101 steps in all to the top.  Access to the tower is through a passageway within the base of the wall.  This has low head room and visitors will need to stoop to avoid hitting the stone above.n All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4.30pm (last admission at 3.45pm)

Winter Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Free admission and free guided tours in English (length of tour: 30 – 40 minutes). Entrance to the Castle is located on O’Rahilly Street, and it can be reached via Banba Square

Contact details: Nenagh Heritage Centre – +353 (0) 67 33 850 e-mail:

Nenagh Castle

This fine Norman Keep was built c1200 by Theobald Walter, 1st Baron Butler and completed by his son Theobald le Botiller c1220. The crown of mock crenellations and ring of clerestory windows were added at the instigation of Bishop Michael Flannery in 1861.

The circular keep is over thirty metres high, and has a base of sixteen metres and is one of the finest of its kind in Ireland.

The intention was that the keep would become the Bell tower of a Pugin-designed cathedral which was never built. Though not true to historic character these additions have ensured the iconic status of the keep.

The Butlers who descended from the 1st Baronlater became Earls of Ormond. Nenagh remained their principal seat until 1391 when it was moved to Kilkenny Castle.

In the rebellion of 1641 Neagh Castle was garrisoned by Sir George Hamilton for the twelfth Earl (later the twelfth Duke). It was taken by Phelim O’Neill in 1648 during Owen Roe’s journey south via the silvermines but was re-taken by Inchiquin in the same year and Sir George was back again as Governor to face Ireton and Abbott in 1650. After a short siege he surrendered on articles and was allowed to march out— not being hung out of the top window as asserted by many writers following an error apparently first made by a writer in the “Dublin Penny Journal” in 1833. Colonel Daniel Abbott then became Governor for the Cromwellians and withstood attacks on the Castle both by Colonel Grace from Birr and a Captain Loghlen O’Meara of a local family who defeated his forces in an engagement close by and forced them to take shelter in the Castle. After the Restoration, Sir William Flower came along in 1660 on behalf of the Marchioness of Ormond who had the ownership of the Manor on her marriage settlements.

— Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (1925).

The last Marquess (James Butler) died in 1997. Without a male heir the marquessate became extinct, while the earldom is dormant.

Nenagh Heritage Centre

Heritage Center Nenagh

The Nenagh Heritage Centre is located in two stone Georgian buildings, built in 1840-1842 as the Governor’s House and Gatehouse of an extensive Gaol complex for North Tipperary, which held thousands of prisoner’s until its closure in 1887. Condemned cells in the Gatehouse held persons who were sentenced to death by hanging. Between 1842 and 1858, seventeen Tipperary men were executed here.

Shortly after the prison closed in 1887, it was taken over by the local Tipperary branch of the Sisters of Mercy for educational purposes. The Heritage Centre has been open to visitors to County Tipperary since 1984.

The Nenagh Heritage Centre and Museum, set in a 19th Century gaol in Nenagh County Tipperary, recreates and unlocks history.Nenagh Heritage Centre is located just a short walk from Nenagh town centre in County Tipperary.

There are numerous exhibitions at the Nenagh Heritage centre including: a model of the North Tipperary Gaol, a recreated schoolroom from 1913 Ireland, a recreation of the original kitchen from the North Tipperary Gaol, dating from the mid 1800′s and an Irish Dairy, which shows the stages of butter-making and the various utensils used in Irish farming life.

The Heritage Centre Gallery houses rotating art, craft, photography and information exhibitions from the Tipperary area. In the Gatehouse, you can read the story of the Tipperary born Cormack brother’s, see the condemned prisoners’ cells and the execution area.

Tel: +353 (0) 67 33850 Email:

North Tipperary Genealogy Centre

The North Tipperary Genealogy Centre located in the Governor’s House of the old Gaol in Nenagh. It is run under the auspices of the North Tipperary County Council.The Genealogy Centre provides a family history research service for people tracing their Irish ancestors who originated in North Tipperary. Nora O’Meara, Professional Genealogist has been managing the service since its inception over 25 years ago.

Over the years thousands of people have engaged the Genealogy Centre to undertake family history research for their North Tipperary roots. There is a similar Genealogy Centre in almost every County in Ireland. One of the unique attributes of the Local County Genealogy Centres is the local knowledge of the professional Genealogist who manage these Centres and the contacts they have established over the years in the local parishes who help identify the old homestead or living relatives of the clients.

Emigration has been a dominating feature of Irish life for almost four centuries, and has left us an unmistakable legacy. It is estimated that 8 million left Ireland between 1800 and 1921 to settle mainly in Britain, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. The Irish Diaspora is to be found in every corner of the world. Their desire to find out where they come from and to re-connect with the land of their ancestors has led to an explosion in the area of genealogical research. Many Irish people at home also have a desire to find out more about their ancestors. People want to know where they came from. Who they are related to and where their ancestors lived. What the social, political, economic and cultural conditions of that era were like.

The Centre has computerized all the main genealogical sources pertaining to North Tipp – these include church baptismal and marriage records all denominations, civil births, deaths and marriages, the Tithe Applotment Books (1830s), the Griffith’s/Primary Valuations Lists (1850s), the 1901 Census Records, all Gravestone Inscriptions for North Tipperary (exclusive to the centre) Several other important sources like the 1650 civil survey, 1660 Hearth Money rolls and the 1840s Poor Law Rate Books, Street Directories, and the Nenagh Guardian births, deaths and marriages from 1838 to 1864 have also been computerized.

[credit: Discover Ireland]

Contact Nora O’Meara, M.A. Genealogist, The North Tipperary Genealogy Centre, The Governor’s House, Kickham St., Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland
Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Phone: +353 (0) 67 33850 E-mail:

Nenagh Town Park

[Images and Content Irish Landscape Institute]

Nenagh Town Park is located on a bend in the Nenagh River, with a dry riverbed bounding the south of the site along the rail-line, which takes overflow water during flood events. The Park is accessed by a bridge over the Nenagh River, which endows the park with a magical sense of arrival on an island. Nenagh Town Council decided to upgrade the existing municipal swimming pool and gym, and provide for an urban park on the site where the pool was located. Located along the main approach road to Nenagh, the wooded island site has an enchanting wildness, imbued by a sense of adventure.

The sense of mystery and discovery informed our design, laying ‘tracks’ where park users can pick up speed and traverse the landscape at meadow, water-course and tree-top height, but with plenty of ‘stations’ to pause at for social engagement, performance, play and exercise.

As a rail engineer would design a track, the sequence of movement through the urban park has been choreographed to allow interesting vistas, panoramas and events to unfold. ‘Stations’ are located along the ‘Rail-Line’ pathways, social spaces designed for specific situations; sun-lawns and squares to act as gathering areas or host events; a sun-lawn with views across the landscape; a natural playground; wildflower meadows and fruiting hedges for foraging; fishing piers for anglers; a skate-park for teenagers and perimeter trim trails and out-door fitness equipment.

Large sculptural pieces of wooden play equipment such as a cable-way, a stainless steel slide and a wooden train have been located along the pathways to encourage everyone using the park to play. An existing mound on the site was re-profiled as a ‘Motte & Bailey’, where children and adults can walk up a series of gentle grassed south-facing slopes to a Corten Fort to enjoy the wonderful views south over the landscape and west to the C13th Castle in Nenagh.

St. Mary’s of the Rosary Church

St Mary Church Nenagh from the outside

This church, designed by Walter Doolin, 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 doorway. The interior of the nave revives the quatrefoil columns found in some thirteenth-century Irish and English west country Gothic parish churches. A series of fine mosaics executed by Oppenheim in 1911 culminate in the chancel of the church.

It was constructed by John Sisk using Lahorna stone and Portroe slate with the Portland stone on its columns and pointed arches being the only imported material.

Phone: (067) 312 72 Email:


[images: Nenagh Parish content: Buildings of Ireland]

The Franciscan Friary

The Franciscan friary was founded here by the Bishop of Killaloe, Donagh O’Kennedy, in 1250AD. In later times, it became the head-house of the Irish custody within the Province and a provincial synod was held there in 1344. The friary was destroyed during the reign of Elizabeth I when the O’Carrolls burned the town of Nenagh, including the still-Conventual friary, in 1548. It was then rebuilt and subsequently suppressed during Cromwell’s Ireland campaign when the friars were expelled by the Cromwellians, but soon returned. The friars seem to have lived on until about 1587, after which no effort was made to set up a residence until 1632, when the Observants came. A community was still in residence in the early eighteenth century, but had broken up by 1766. There were still friars working as parish clergy in the area and Fr. Patrick Harty died there in 1817 as a quasi-curate. He was the last Franciscan of Nenagh.  The church is well kept and maintained today and is well worth a visit when in Nenagh.

[Images and Content: The Standing Stone and Franciscans]

Nenagh Courthouse

Courthouses were built by the Grand Juries in many towns and cities throughout Ireland during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This courthouse, reputedly designed by John B. Keane, is part of a complex of judicial buildings built in the early 1840s. It occupies an important site in the townscape and its monumental size and architectural quality makes it one of the most impressive public buildings in the town.

The local athletic club Nenagh Olympic was named after three men (Johnny Hayes, Matt McGrath and Bob Tisdall) with Nenagh connections who won Olympic Gold Medals. A statue of the three has been erected on the grounds of the Courthouse.

[Image: Wikipedia, Content: Buildings of Ireland]

Nenagh Arts Centre

Nenagh Art Center

The building was constructed in 1895 as a 3-bay building with fine round-headed doors and windows it was designed by the then Town Engineer Robert Gill (grandfather of Tomás Mac Giolla TD and former Lord Mayor of Dublin)  It housed Nenagh public library until the early 1980’s and was the home of Nenagh Town Council until 2005. The building was refurbished to include a 216 seater theatre and studios spaces available for local community groups. It was re-opened as Nenagh Arts Centre in 2010. The Nenagh Arts Centre presents an engaging and diverse programme of events across all arts forms throughout the year.


Email: Phone: 067 34400

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