Main Guard (Clonmel)

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The Main Guard
Digital Eye–2012–Main Guard.jpg
Main Guard (Clonmel) is located in Ireland
Main Guard (Clonmel)
General information
Type courthouse
Architectural style Palladian
Address 57 Gladstone Street
Town or city Clonmel
Country Ireland
Coordinates 52°21′11″N 7°42′05″W / 52.353149°N 7.701415°W / 52.353149; -7.701415Coordinates: 52°21′11″N 7°42′05″W / 52.353149°N 7.701415°W / 52.353149; -7.701415
Elevation 24 m (79 ft)
Construction started 1674
Owner Office of Public Works
Technical details
Material sandstone, limestone, steel, lead, timber, slate
Floor count 2
Official name Clonmel Mainguard Courthouse
Reference no. 667[1]

The Main Guard is a National Monument and former courthouse located in Clonmel, Ireland.[2][3][4]


The Main Guard is located in the centre of Clonmel, north of the River Suir.[5]


It was here that the "main guard" of the troops for Clonmel were once stationed. During the Siege of Clonmel (1650), the old Manor Court was destroyed, and after the restoration of His Grace The 1st Duke of Ormonde's (1610–88) palatinate rights in 1662, he ordered the building of a new courthouse. It was completed in 1674: a courthouse for the Palatinate of County Tipperary. Also in the courthouse were private apartments, a dining room and drawing room. These were used to entertain King James II in Clonmel in 1689. The building was also used as a "tholsel", for gathering tolls. Some of the design was copied from works of Sir Christopher Wren.[6]

In 1715, the Palatinate jurisdiction was extinguished. After that, the Clonmel Assizes was held in the building, and it was there that Father Nicholas Sheehy, the anti-Penal Laws agitator, was tried in 1766. He was hanged, drawn and quartered.

In about 1810, the ground floor, a loggia of open arches, was converted into shops, a basement excavated and additional floors inserted. In the 1990s the Office of Public Works began to restore its original form and the open arcade of sandstone columns is once again a feature of the streetscape.[7][8][9][10]


The Main Guard at night, 2015

The Main Guard is a formerly detached five-bay two-storey courthouse and market house, with arcaded ground floor. It incorporates classical elements, such as the pediment.

The columns were recycled from the ruins of Inislounaght Abbey.[11] This resulted in a Heritage Award for Best Practice in Conservation in Tipperary.[12] PUNCH commenced restoration works in 2004.[13][14][15]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The Main Guard (Clonmel, Ireland): Top Tips Before You Go - TripAdvisor". 
  3. ^ Quinlan, Margaret (23 July 1990). "The Main Guard, Clonmel". University College Dublin – via Google Books. 
  4. ^ Burke, William P. (1 July 2010). "History of Clonmel". Read Books – via Google Books. 
  5. ^ "Place and Time - Vincent Hannon at the Main Guard Clonmel, Co. Tipperary". 26 May 2017. 
  6. ^ Gerrard, David (23 July 2017). "The Hidden Places of Ireland". Travel Publishing Ltd – via Google Books. 
  7. ^ "Heritage Ireland: The Main Guard". 
  8. ^ "The Main Guard Clonmel". CLONMEL. 
  9. ^ Butler, David J. (23 July 2017). "South Tipperary, 1570-1841: Religion, Land and Rivalry". Four Courts – via Google Books. 
  10. ^ O'Donnell, Seán (23 July 1998). "Clonmel, 1840-1900: Anatomy of an Irish Town". Geography Publications – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ "Additional Images: Buildings of Ireland: National Inventory of Architectural Heritage". 
  12. ^ "The Main Guard - Historic houses and castles - Clonmel #irlnd". 
  13. ^ "Main Guard, Clonmel, Tipperary - Punch consulting". 
  14. ^ Tibus, Website design and development by. "The Main Guard - Attractions - Historic Houses and Castles - All Ireland - Republic Of Ireland - Tipperary - Clonmel - Discover Ireland". 
  15. ^ "The Main Guard".