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Cluain Meala
The Quays, Clonmel.
Location of Clonmel
centerMap highlighting Clonmel
Irish grid reference
Province: Munster
County: Tipperary
Dáil Éireann: Tipperary South
Dialling code: 052 61, +000 353 (0)52 61
Population (2006) 15,482

Clonmel (from the Irish: Cluain Meala meaning "honey meadow") in County Tipperary is the county seat of South Tipperary County Council. The town lies mainly on the northern bank of the River Suir with a smaller section south of the river. It lies in a valley, surrounded by mountains and hills. The Comeragh Mountains are to the south, while northeast of the town is Slievenamon. The town is noted in Irish history for its resistance to the Cromwellian army which sacked both Drogheda and Wexford.


Corporation regalia

Under a charter granted by James I of England, Clonmel became a Free Borough on 5 July 1608, and the Mayor and officers of the town were granted power to "name, elect and constitute one Swordbearer and three Sergeants-at-Mace". The present sword and two silver maces date only from Cromwellian times. The sword, of Toledo manufacture, was donated by Sir Thomas Stanley in 1656 and displays the Arms and motto of the town. The larger mace is stamped 1663.[1]


Old St. Mary's Church

Clonmel grew significantly in medieval times, and many remainders of this period can be found in the town. A small section of the town walls remain in place near Old St. Mary's Church . This building is one of the main architectural features of the town. It was originally built in the 13th century or earlier but has been reconstructed or renovated on numerous occasions. The church was fortified early in its history, the town being strategically important, initially for the Earls of Ormonde, and later the Earl of Kildare. Some fortified parts of the church were destroyed or damaged during the Cromwellian occupation.One of the former entry points into the town is now the site of the 'West Gate', a 19th century reconstruction of an older structure. There were originally three gates in the walled town, North, East and West - with the South being protected by the river Suir and the Comeragh Mountains. The 'West Gate' is now an open arched entrance on to O'Connell street, the main street of the town.

Oliver Cromwell, who is infamous in Ireland, laid siege to Clonmel in May 1650 during his campaign in Ireland. The walls were eventually breached, but Hugh Dubh O'Neill, the commander of the town's garrison, inflicted heavy losses on Cromwell's troops when they tried to storm the breach. However, the garrison in Clonmel surrendered the following day, as O'Neill's men were out of gun powder. The story is told that Cromwell discovered this when a silver bullet was discharged from the townspeople at his troops outside the walls.[2]

Young Irelanders stand trial before Justice Blackburne at Clonmel, 1848

Following the failed attempt at rebellion near Ballingarry in 1848, the captured leaders of the Young Irelanders were brought to Clonmel for trial.[3] The event was followed with great interest internationally and for its duration brought journalists from around the country and Britain to the overcrowded courthouse. Standing in the dock in the image opposite are Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence MacManus and Patrick O'Donoghue. Their co-defendant, William Smith O'Brien was also sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, the last occasions such a sentence was handed down in Ireland. When delivering the guilty verdict, the foreman of the Grand Jury, R.M. Southcote Mansergh, great grandfather of the academic Nicholas Mansergh stated:

We earnestly recommend the prisoner to the merciful consideration of the Government, being unanimously of opinion that for many reasons his life should be spared.[4]

The sentences of O'Brien and other members of the Irish Confederation were eventually commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land. A conspiracy to rescue the prisoners on 8 November led by John O'Leary and Philip Gray was betrayed, and resulted in the arrest at 'The Wilderness' of seventeen armed rebels led by Gray.[5]


2009 Local Elections
Party Seats Change
Fianna Fáil 2 -1
Fine Gael 2 =
Labour Party 2 =
Worker Unemployed Action Group South Tipperary 5 +1
Independent 1 1

Clonmel Town has 12 elected representatives (councillors) who sit on Clonmel Borough Council. The council elections take place every 5 years. Clonmel is one of five Borough Councils in Ireland; the others are Drogheda, Kilkenny, Sligo and Wexford. Unlike Sligo and Drogheda, Clonmel does not use a ward system. A mayor is elected by the councillors every year, and the present mayor is Denis (Dinny) Dunne , a member of the Fine Gael party. A voting pact exists which rotate the mayor post between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour and Independent Niall J Dennehy.

Clonmel belongs to the Tipperary South constituency which sends three representatives to the Dáil (Irish Parliament). The three TDs who won seats in the Dáil following the 2007 General Election were Tom Hayes ( Fine Gael) who has served in the post since 2001 and a newly-elected Fianna Fáil duo of Mattie McGrath and Martin Mansergh.



Museums, Art and Theatre

Tipperary County Museum tells the history of County Tipperary from the Stone Age to the present. It is also host to many special exhibitions each year. It is the first custom built county museum in Ireland.[6]

The Main Guard was a civic building until 1810 when it was converted to shops. During recent restoration, some of its sandstone columns were found to have been 'reclaimed' from the now demolished abbey of Inislounaght at Marlfield. It has been used in the past as an office to collect tolls, duties and customs dues, a place for civic gatherings and as a court. It now houses an exhibition showing the historic development of Clonmel, including a model of the town as it appeared in the 13th century. The South Tipperary Arts Centre [1] opened in 1996. The centres program mixtures arts and cultural events. It hosts 12 exhibitions per year and presents a classical music season in Spring and Autumn. It holds a number of adult and child based art and music course during the course of the year. It is also home to several groups who meet there in an informal setting, including a local writer's guild. The White Memorial Theatre building is a former a Weslyan/Methodist Chapel. The building was purchased in 1975 by St. Mary's Choral Society[2], who put on an average of 2 shows a year in the building. The building also host shows by the Stage Craft Youth Theatre [3] group and special event during the year.

For nine days from the first week-end of July, the town hosts the annual Clonmel Junction Festival. |It consists of a mix of street theatre, rock, traditional and world music. Several international acts visit the Festival each year. In the last few years young local bands have also had an opportunity to showcase their talents. Children from local schools and community groups are encouraged to participate with support from local artists.


Banna Chluain Meala (literally translating as 'Clonmel band') was founded in 1971. Originally a brass band, Banna Chluain Meala later developed as a brass and reed band, which included concert, marching and fieldshow performances. The band also has a colour guard section which enhances marching and fieldshow performances. The total complement of the band has ranged from 100 to 150 members throughout the years. The band has travelled widely abroad to the United Kingdom, Holland and France and represented Ireland at an International Festival in Cheb in the Czech Republic in 2004 to celebrate the new entrants to the European Union. Banna Chluain Meala is one of Ireland's most honoured bands. They hold concert band championship titles on national and international levels. As a marching band they have had unparalleled success nationally, being crowned IMBA Irish champions in the highest division in 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007 and most recently in 2009. They have also had success abroad, most notably as Open Class champions at the British Youth Band Championships at Wembley in 1994.

Clonmel has hosted the Irish traditional music festival, the Fleadh Cheoil, on five occasions from 1992-94 inclusive, and again in 2003 and 2004.

One of the better known songs concerning Clonmel is The Gaol of Clúain Meala written by a Cork man, Jeremiah Joseph Callanan at the turn of the 19th century.[7] It was revived by the celebrated balladeer Luke Kelly in the 1960s.


Association Football

Clonmel is home to Clonmel Town FC who play in the Munster Senior League


Clonmel's cricket club plays teams in the Munster Cricket Union Senior 2 and Senior 3 leagues. The cricket club currently fields 1 adult teams and 2 youth teams. All play their home games in the Presentation Convent Field. Clonmel's cricket Club was originally started by a group of friends who originally played the game socially, however the club has been playing competitive cricket for the last 20 years.


Clonmel is noted in greyhound circles for being the home of the annual National Hare Coursing Meeting in early February. Included in this event is the prestigious Ladies’ International Open Meeting and the coursing derby. At this time each year, Clonmel's population is swollen by a large influx of sports people from Ireland, the UK, and from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the Middle East.

Rowing and boat building

Clonmel has two clubs associated with recreational activity on the river Suir, both of which are based in Irishtown.

Clonmel Rowing Club (CRC)

Clonmel Rowing Club (CRC), was founded in 1869 and is one of the oldest sporting clubs in the town. It is located on Moor's Island, on the Suir, about 500 meters west of the town centre. The club colours are Royal Blue and White. Sporting success in the early 1900s culminated in the winning of the Senior Men's 'eight' championships in 1920. The club is affectionately known locally as "The Island". In winter, training takes place on a 4-mile stretch of the river to the west of the town, from the clubhouse to Knocklofty bridge. In the summer months this stretch is reduced to 2 miles as far as Sandybanks, near Marlfield village.

Flooding has become a perennial problem, especially noticeable in recent years. The flow becomes so fast that rowing in January is not possible on this part of the Suir. Within a 25-mile radius there are two locations where the club can still train satisfactorily, Cappoquin and Fiddown.

CRC has a newly constructed, purpose built boat house since 1979, with boat storage on the ground floor. Upstairs are two squash courts, a function hall and dressing rooms. Currently one squash court is being used as the gym.

In the new millennium, the club's veterans are still competing strongly. Women's rowing in Clonmel has developed culminating in Junior Women's 'double scull' and Junior women's 'eight' championship wins in 2003 and 2005.

Workmen's Boat Club

The Workmen's Boat Club was established in 1883. The property was leased from the Bagwell estate until 1999, when it was finally purchased by the club. One of the major undertakings of the club in recent years has been the restoration of the historic racing craft Cruiskeen, which was built in the 1840s by GAA founder member Maurice Davin.[8] The project, outsourced to 'Conservation | Letterfrack', took several years of meticulous cleaning, treatment and repair and the 38 ft./11.6m timber boat is now on permanent display in the County Museum, Clonmel.[9]

GAA Clubs

Clonmel is home to several Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) clubs such as Clonmel Commercials Gaelic Football Club (football|). Affiliated to the GAA in 1934, Commercials have enjoyed frequent success in all grades of football since. It has won South and County titles in all grades including 21 senior divisional titles and 14 senior county titles.St. Mary's Hurling Club is the main hurling club in the town (hurling and camogie). Clonmel Óg the most recently established GAA club in the town was set up in the mid 80's (hurling and football).[10] Moyle Rovers GAA club is just outside the town.



TippFm's main offices are located in Clonmel. It has a potential audience of 121,000 (Adults 15+), and 62%[11] of all adults in Tipperary tune in weekly. It broadcasts on 95.3fm, 97.1fm, 97.6 and 103.9.

Print media

The Nationalist is a Clonmel based newspaper that covers both Clonmel town and South Tipperary. South Tipp Today is a newspaper that is supported by advertising revenue and delivered free to residents in the town and the surrounding area, with a circulation of 20,500.[12]. Both newspapers appear weekly.

The Sporting Press is published and printed in Clonmel, it covers news related to the greyhound community in Ireland. It has a circulation of 7,500[13].


Clonmel is home to one third-level college, Tipperary Institute (formerly TRBDI), which was established in 1998. It is a dual campus institute, with its sister campus in Thurles. The campus is located along the Clonmel Inner Relief Road, but it is proposed that it will move to a new location in the near future.

Primary and secondary education in the town is organised similarly to the rest of Ireland. The English-language secondary educational establishments of the town are Presentation Convent and Loreto Convent, CBS High School, and Coláiste Chluian Meala, which is the only co-ed English-language school in the town. Clonmel has two places of education that teach through the medium of Irish. Gaelscoil Chluian Meala provides primary level education and has around 200[14] students. Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn (est. 2004) provides second level education and has 96[15] students as of 2009.

See also

Transport and commerce

Clonmel is located on the N24, the national primary roadway that links the cities of Limerick and Waterford. The N24 westbound connects Clonmel to junction 10 of the Cork to Dublin M8 motorway, while eastbound it links the town with Kilkenny via the N76. Clonmel railway station opened 1 May 1852.[16] Today, there are four trains daily to Waterford and four to Limerick Junction which has main-line connections to Dublin. The River Suir had been made navigable to Clonmel from 1760 when completion of the River Suir Navigation in the 19th century allowed large vessels to reach the town's quays. Charles Bianconi, onetime mayor of Clonmel, ran his pioneering public transport system of horse-drawn carriages from Clonmel. In recent times Clonmel has become the home to many large multi-national companies, particularly in the medical area. The two biggest medical companies in the town are Abbott and Boston Scientific, both of which manufacture implantable devices. Bulmers cider, also known as Magners outside of Ireland, is brewed in a complex two kilometres east of the town, and the extensive orchards serving the brewery can be seen from the road when approaching Clonmel from that direction.


Climate Table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average daily maximum temperature (°C) 8 8 10 13 16 18 20 20 18 14 10 8 14
Average daily minimum temperature (°C) 3 3 4 5 7 10 12 12 10 7 5 4 7
Mean total rainfall (cm) 5.34 4.29 3.84 3.98 3.40 3.72 3.38 4.22 4.33 6.35 5.07 5.03 52.95
Source: MSN Weather

The River Suir floods the local area after very heavy rainfalls falling in the up river catchment of 2,173km2,. The Office of Public Works (OPW) completed and installed an Flood Forecasting System which has been used for the flood event of January 2008 and January 2009. The flooding of January 2009 being a 1 in 5 year event. The flood of 2004 was the greatest since the 1940s. Phase 1 of the Clonmel Flood defence( 1-100 year) which stated in 2007 is schedule for completion by late 2009 and phase two and three as one contract by 2011/2012. The flood defence consists of demountable barriers, walls and earth banks. At present flooding accurs at the Gashouse Bridge (Old Waterford Rd), Coleville Road (Co Waterford), Davis Rd (Waterford Road), Quay's and the Old Bridge. Clonmel is not tidal. The tide turns above the Miloko chocolate crumb factory in Carrick-on-Suir. The flood waters spill onto the land above Miloko on the County Waterford side of the river.


See also

People associated with Clonmel

See also

Villages and townlands near Clonmel

Sister towns

Clonmel is twinned with several places:

Clonmel in literature

Vertue rewarded, or The Irish princess, (1693), one of the earliest romance novels written in the English language, tells the story of 'Merinda' from High Street, Clonmel and a Williamite officer stationed in the town during the Jacobite war.[20]


  1. ^ Burke, William P. (1907). History of Clonmel. N. Harvey & co. for the Clonmel Library Committee. pp. 235–237. 
  2. ^ Curry, William (1853). The Dublin University Magazine. v. 42. William Curry, Jun., and Co.,. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  3. ^ McConville, Seán (2003). Irish political prisoners, 1848-1922: theatres of war. Routledge. pp. 42. ISBN 9780415219914. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  4. ^ Mansergh, Nicholas (1997). Diana Mansergh. ed. Nationalism and independence: selected Irish papers Irish History Series. Cork University Press. ISBN 9781859181065. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  5. ^ O'Donnell, Sean : Clonmel - 1840-1900 Anatomy of an Irish Town 1999 ISBN 9780906602515 p153
  6. ^ "South Tipperary Co Museum". South Tipperary Heritage - S.Tipp. County Council. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Lyrics and info. on The Gaol of Clúain Meala
  8. ^ "Seascapes News Summary - 26th November 2007". RTÉ. 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  9. ^ Marine Committee of the Heritage Council; Sven Habermann et al (2007). Eleanor Flegg. ed. The Future of Maritime and Inland Waterways Collections. The Heritage Council. ISBN 1901137996. 
  10. ^ "Clonmel Og". Clonmel Og. 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2010. 
  11. ^ Local
  12. ^
  13. ^ Greyhound
  14. ^ Primary
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Clonmel station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 7 September 2007. 
  17. ^ Sources: CSO and HistPop. It should be noted that allowance has not been made for periodic changes to borough boundaries.
  18. ^ The Spear and the Spindle p48
  19. ^ U.S. Embassy Dublin. "sister cities". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 6 August 2009. 
  20. ^ McDermott, Hubert (1986). "* Vertue Rewarded: The First Anglo-Irish Novel". Studies: an Irish Quarterly Review, (Irish Province of the Society of Jesus) 75 (298 (Summer 1986)): 177–185 (9 pages). Retrieved 28 June 2009. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CLONMEL, a municipal borough and the county town of Co. Tipperary, Ireland, in - the east parliamentary division, 112 m. S.W. from Dublin on a branch from Thurles of the Great Southern & Western railway, which makes a junction here with the Waterford and Limerick line of the same company. Pop. (190') 10,167. Clonmel is built on both sides of the Suir, and also occupies Moore and Long Islands, which are connected with the mainland by three bridges. The principal buildings are the parish church, two Roman Catholic churches, a Franciscan friary, two convents, an endowed school dating from 1685, and the various county buildings. The beauty of the environs, and: especially of the river, deserves mention; and their charm is enhanced by the neighbouring Galtee, Knockmealdown and other mountains, among which Slievenaman (2364 ft.) is conspicuous. A woollen manufacture was established in 1667, and was extensively carried on until the close of the 18th century.

town contains breweries, flour-mills and tanneries, and has a considerable export trade in grain, cattle, butter and provisions. It stands at the head of navigation for barges on the Suir. It was the centre of a system, established by Charles Bianconi (1786187S) in 1815 and subsequently, for the conveyance of travellers on light cars, extending over a great part of Leinster, Munster and Connaught. It is governed by a mayor and corporation, which, though retained under the Local Government (Ireland) Act of 1898, has practically the status of an urban district council. By the same act a part of the town formerly situated in county Waterford was added to county Tipperary. It was a parliamentary borough, returning one member, until 1885; having returned two members to the Irish parliament until the union.

The name, Cluain mealla, signifies the Vale of Honey. In 1269 the place was chosen as the seat of a Franciscan friary by Otho de Grandison, the first English possessor of the district; and it frequently comes into notice in the following centuries. In 1641 it declared for the Roman Catholic party, and in 1650 it was gallantly defended by Hugh O'Neill against the English under Cromwell. Compelled at last to capitulate, it was completely dismantled, and was never again fortified. Remains of the wall are seen in the churchyard, and the West Gate still stands in the main street.

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