The Quays, Clonmel.
|Motto: Fidelis in Æternum (Latin)
|Dáil Éireann||Tipperary South|
|• Town||11.59 km2 (4.47 sq mi)|
|Elevation||20 m (70 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference||S199229|
|Dialing code||+00 353 (0)52|
Clonmel (Irish: Cluain Meala, meaning "honey vale") is the county town of County Tipperary in Ireland. It is the largest town in the county and was once considered the capital of Tipperary, but no more. While the borough had a population of 15,793 in 2011, another 2115 people were in the rural environs of Clonmel comprising Marlfield, Ardgeeha Upper (Cashel Rd), Boherduff (Fethard Rd) in County Tipperary and in County Waterford the area between the Dungarvan Rd and Mountain Rd. The town is noted in Irish history for its resistance to the Cromwellian army which sacked both Drogheda and Wexford. It is in the former barony of Iffa and Offa East.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Politics and government
- 4 Geography
- 5 Commerce
- 6 Media
- 7 Culture
- 8 Sport
- 9 Education
- 10 Transport
- 11 People associated with Clonmel
- 12 Sister towns
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The name Clonmel is derived from the anglicisation of the Irish name Cluain Meala meaning honey meadow or honey vale. It is not clearly known when it got this name; many suppose that it came from the fertility of the soil and the richness of the country in which it is situated.
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 14th 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.
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.
Oliver Cromwell laid siege to Clonmel in May 1650. The walls were eventually breached, but Hugh Dubh O'Neill, the commander of the town's garrison, inflicted heavy losses on the New Model Army when they tried to storm the breach. That night, O'Neill, deciding that further resistance was hopeless due to a lack of ammunition, led his soldiers and camp followers out of the town under cover of darkness. The story is told that Cromwell became suspicious of O'Neill's desperate situation when a silver bullet was discharged by the townspeople at his troops outside the walls. The following morning, 18 May 1650, mayor John White was able to surrender the town on good terms as Cromwell was still unaware of the garrison's escape just hours before. Although feeling deceived, he did not put the inhabitants 'to the sword' as occurred elsewhere.
Following the failed attempt at rebellion near Ballingarry in 1848, the captured leaders of the Young Irelanders were brought to Clonmel for trial. 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.
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.
In November 2015 the town was the location of Ireland's first marriage between two men.
Politics and government
Clonmel had a Borough Council until 2014. It was one of five Borough Councils in Ireland. It had 12 elected representatives (councillors). Pat English was the last Mayor of Clonmel Borough Council.
For local elections in 2014 the District of Cahir-Clonmel elected nine members to Tipperary County Council.
Clonmel belongs to the current Tipperary constituency which elects five TDs to Dáil Éireann (the Irish Parliament). The five TDs who won seats in the Dáil at the 2016 General Election were Mattie McGrath (Independent), Michael Lowry (also Independent), Alan Kelly (Labour Party), Jackie Cahill (Fianna Fáil) and Séamus Healy (Workers and Unemployed Action Group).
The town covers a land area of approximately 11.59km2. It lies mainly on the northern bank of the River Suir. In 1896 a smaller section south of the river was transferred from County Waterford to the county of Tipperary (South Riding) and given to the borough. The lower Suir valley is surrounded by the Comeragh Mountains to the south with Slievenamon northeast of the town.
|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 in the up-river catchment area of 2,173 km2. The Office of Public Works (OPW) completed and installed a Flood Forecasting System which has been used since 2007. The flood of 2015 had a flow of 390m3/s, 2004 had a flow of 354m3/s with the flood of 2000 having a flow of 353m3/s. The 2015 flood was the worst since that of 1946, which had seen a flow of 479m3/s. Phase 1 of the Clonmel Flood Defence (planned to cope with a 100-year flood) started in 2007. It was scheduled to be completed by late 2009. Phases two and three were completion by 2012.Property omitted from Phase 1 along the convent road were protected in 2014 and the access to the river for the workmans boat club was also raised. Flooding of October 2014 was less than a 1–5 flood with a flow of 300m3/s. As part of a media exercise by the OPW the barrier were all put up. The flood defence consists of demountable barriers, walls and earth banks. Flooding occurred at the Gashouse Bridge, Coleville Road, Davis Road, the Quays and the Old Bridge area before the flood defences. Clonmel is not tidal as the tide turns above the Miloko chocolate crumb factory in Carrick-on-Suir. Flood waters spill onto the land above Miloko on the County Waterford side of the river.
In recent times, the environs of Clonmel have become 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 Ireland, is brewed in a complex 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) east of the town, and a small orchard serving the brewery can be seen from the road when approaching Clonmel from that direction.
Tipp FM's main offices are located in Clonmel. In 2010, Tippfm had a reach of 44%, a drop of 8% from the previous year, having around 83,000 listeners listening each week. It broadcasts on FM, on 95.3, 97.1, 103.3 and 103.9. The Clonmel transmitter broadcasts on 97.1 MHz.
The Nationalist, founded in 1890, is a Clonmel-based broadsheet newspaper that appears weekly, covering both Clonmel town and South Tipperary. It has a circulation of 14,375. It was formed to represent the views of the nationalist community in Tipperary, which led to the first editor being jailed under the Coercion Act on charges that he had intimidated a cattle dealer for taking a farm from which tenants had been evicted. It is now run by Johnston Press. Also owned by Johnston Press is the tabloid freesheet, South Tipp Today. It was founded in 1995 and is delivered free to residents in the town and the surrounding area once a fortnight. It is supported by advertising revenue.
South Tipp Today, a sister paper to The Nationalist, is a free tabloid newspaper with a circulation of 20,500, delivered door-to-door in some areas, and available in local shops across South Tipperary. It is very popular, fondly referred to as the 'small paper' by its readers, and covers news, entertainment, local notes and lifestyle mainly.
The short-lived Premier People was launched in Clonmel in October 2010. It was a weekly (tabloid) freesheet with a focus on news, local notes and sports and was published on Tuesday evenings. It was delivered door-to-door in Clonmel and to all shops in South Tipperary. It was founded by Ann Commins, who co-founded South Tipp Today. Premier People ceased publishing in 2011.
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.
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 a Tholsel or 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 opened in 1996. The centre's program mixtures arts and cultural events. It hosts 12 exhibitions per year and presents a classical music season in apring 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 writers' guild.
Theatre and cinema
The White Memorial Theatre building is a former Weslyan/Methodist Chapel and was designed and built by local architect William Tinsley in 1843. The building was purchased in 1975 by St. Mary's Choral Society, who put on an average of 2 shows a year in the building. The building also host shows by the Stage Craft Youth Theatre group and special event during the year.
Clonmel has a vibrant youth arts sector. Stagecraft Youth Theatre was founded in 1998 by current Artistic Director Shane Dempsey. Stagecraft provides training for young actors in all aspects of theatre practise. Stagecraft is renowned for producing vibrant work in a fun child centred environment. Stagecraft is one of Ireland's largest youth theatre's and is affiliated to NAYD. They have recently staged works by Alex Jones, Enda Walsh, Hannah Burke, Jack Thorne and Moira Buffini.
In 2011 Shane Dempsey founded The Hub, a 45-seat studio theatre in Albert Street. The Hub is home to Stagecraft.
The IMC, with five screens and located on Kickham Street, is the town's only remaining cinema. Several other cinemas formerly operated in the town including the Ritz, which opened in 1940 and was located on the site of the present Credit Union. The first cinema in the town opened in January 1913 as the Clonmel Cinema Theatre, soon to be renamed the Clonmel Electric Picture Palace. It was located at the rear of No. 35 Gladstone Street. It was soon followed by John Magner's Theatre at the Mall, which burned to the ground in 1919, to be re-built in 1921 with an increased capacity of over a thousand seats. It was eventually named the Regal Theatre and remodelled as an 850-seat theatre, which finally closed in 2001. It was in the Regal Theatre where the tenor Frank Patterson made his stage debut. The Oisin, in O'Connell Street, was of a similar scale and was also built in 1921. It was on the site of the present day Heatons but burned to the ground in 1965. The last film to be shown there was A Patch of Blue.
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.
Clonmel is home to the International Film Festival Ireland, which focuses on independent films. Its inaugural event was during September 2009 and ran for five days. It has become an annual event, occurring every September. The 2010 event expanded to include a Youth Film Festival, that showcased locally made short films.
The Clonmel Busking festival runs for four days every August. It provides free music events during the day in Clonmel town centre, while at night a number a concerts take place in various venues throughout the town.
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, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Chicago in the United States of America 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 on twelve occasions (1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015). 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. It was revived by the celebrated balladeer Luke Kelly in the 1960s. The narrator in the Irish republican song "Galtee Mountain Boy"farewells Clonmel in the song. The song was written by Patsy Halloran from Clonmel.
Music venues in Clonmel include The Piper Inn, famous for hosting a show by Irish rock legends Thin Lizzy.
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.
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Clonmel is home to Clonmel Celtic (Current League Champions), Old Bridge, Wilderness Rovers, Redmondstown and Clonmel Town who play in the TSDL League.
Clonmel is home to Clonmel Athletic Club.
Clonmel Rugby Club plays in the Munster Junior League in the top flight, 1st Division. The rugby club was founded in 1892. In 1990 the club opened their new club House coinciding with the first ever Soviet Union rugby team visit to Ireland. In their centenary year, 1992, they hosted London Irish RFC against Shannon RFC in a memorable game played at the club grounds. Clonmel won the Munster Junior Cup for the first time in its 122-year history in 2014 and followed that up with a Munster Junior League (Division 1) title and the Munster Junior Challenge Cup in the 2015 season.
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.
Horse Racing and Coursing
Clonmel is noted in greyhound circles for being the home of the annual National Hare Coursing meeting in early February at Clonmel Racecourse located in the Powerstown area of the town. 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. 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.
Clonmel is home to several Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) clubs. Clonmel Óg the most recently established GAA club in the town was set up in 1984 and it competes in the senior division only 31 twenty seven years after being formed. Moyle Rovers GAA club is just outside the town and has been a dominant force in recent decades.
Clonmel Commercials, the current Munster Club champions, are based in the town. They reached the semi-finals of the 2015/2016 All Ireland Football Club championships, losing out to Ballyboden St. Endas, who would go on to win the championship.
- Gaelscoil Chluain Meala has around 200 students. Located at Irishtown and originally the Free School, the building was designed by two pupils of the renowned architect John Nash. It was for a number of years the offices of South Tipperary County Council.
- St Mary's Parochial School, Clonmel, also known as the Model School, traces its roots to the Incorporated Society School of 1832. It is located on the Western Road. (Church of Ireland)
- St Oliver's national school was founded in 1982. It is situated at Heywood Road.
- St.Mary's CBS is located in Irishtown directly beside the Gaelscoil.
- St.Peter and Paul's CBS.
- Sisters of Charity Girls School.
- Presentation Primary School.
- Presentation Convent, for girls, (Roman Catholic)
- Loreto Convent, for girls, (Roman Catholic)
- CBS High School, for boys, (Roman Catholic)
- Gaelcholáiste Chéitinn, co-educational. Part of the Clonmel Central Technical Institute. Established in 2004, the school teaches through the medium of Irish. It was established as an autonomous school within the Vocational Education Committee system in response to a demand for second level education through the medium of Irish.
- Coláiste Chluain Meala, co-educational. Formerly known as The Clonmel Central Technical Institute Secondary School which traces its history back to 1842. Under the control of the local Education and Training Board.
- CTI Senior College, co-educational. Part of the Clonmel Central Technical Institute and under the control of the local Education and Training Board. There is an official website listing PLC courses.
Clonmel is home to one third-level college, LIT. The Clonmel Campus of LIT offers courses in Business, Creative Multimedia, Digital Animation Production and Marketing with Languages. The Creative Multimedia & Digital Animation Production degrees are operated under the world-renowned LIT Limerick School of Art and Design. The LIT Clonmel campus is located along the Clonmel Inner Relief Road, but it is proposed that it will move to a new location within the town centre in the future.
Clonmel Youth Training Entreprises Limited was established in 1984 by voluntary and business people, who saw the need to tackle the growing issue of unemployment and the related consequences of early school leavers in Clonmel.
Today the primary objective of helping young people to become mature, confident and competent young adults, ready for the world of work, still holds true.
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 on 1 May 1852. Today there are two trains daily to Waterford via Carrick on Suir, and two to Limerick Junction via Cahir and Tipperary which has main-line connections to Dublin. There is no Sunday service.
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 the town, ran his pioneering public transport system of horse-drawn carriages from Clonmel.
People associated with Clonmel
- Anne Anderson (born 1952), Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, born in Clonmel.
- Bonaventura Baron (1610–1696), a distinguished Franciscan humanist, philosopher and writer was born in Clonmel
- Charles Bianconi (1786–1875),onetime mayor of Clonmel, ran his pioneering public transport system of horse-drawn carriages from Clonmel
- George Borrow (1803–1881), polyglot, ethnologist of the Romani people and author of Lavengro, in which he briefly writes of his time in Clonmel, lived here in 1815
- Francis Bryan (1490–1550), English courtier and diplomat during the reign of Henry VIII. died in Clonmel in 1550
- Thomas Chamney, Irish athlete who ran 800m in Beijing Olympics in 2008
- William J. Duane (1780–1865), American politician and lawyer from Pennsylvania, was born in Clonmel
- Sarah Pim Grubb (1746–1832), Quaker businesswoman, wife of John Grubb, died in Clonmel
- Vincent Hanley (1954–1987), a pioneering Irish radio DJ and television presenter, nicknamed "Fab Vinny". He worked mainly for Raidió Teilifís Éireann and was the first Irish celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness.
- Fred Murray, professional football player, playing in England for Luton Town
- Vivian Murray, businessman
- Pat O'Callaghan, was an Irish athlete and 1928 Olympic gold medalist
- Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, an Irish musician, and holds Professorship of Music at the Irish World Music Centre of the University of Limerick
- Frank Patterson (1938–2000), one of Ireland's most famous tenors, was native to the town
- Ramsay Weston Phipps (1838–1923), military historian, born in Clonmel, lived there off and on throughout his life.
- Rozanna Purcell, model and Miss Universe Ireland 2010
- Adi Roche, co-founder of Chernobyl Children's Project International and 1997 candidate for the Irish Presidency
- Andrea Roche, best known Irish model and Miss Ireland 1997
- Symon Semeonis was a 14th-century Franciscan friar who left Clonmel in 1323 on pilgrimage to the Holy Land
- Laurence Sterne (1713–68), author of 'The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman', was born in the town, though his family returned to England soon after
- Anthony Trollope (1815–1852), a noted author, worked in the town for a period
- Paul Walsh, is an Irish singer formerly of the band Royseven and a television presenter with RTÉ.
- Vinny Conway identifies home with both Clonmel and Cork.
- Dave Foley is a professional rugby union player.
Clonmel is twinned with several places:
- Clonmel Borstal
- St Joseph's Industrial School, Ferryhouse
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- Siege of Clonmel
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- Clonmel Busking Festival – official website
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- Sources: CSO and HistPop. It should be noted that allowance has not been made for periodic changes to borough boundaries.
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