Situated on the banks of the River Suir, Clonmel has all the facilities that one would expect to find in a town of its size. It has always been regarded as the best shopping town in the South East of Ireland. Great strides have been taken in recent years to preserve the character of the shop fronts in the town to restore them to their former styles so favoured by visitors. The fact that Clonmel is a thriving shopping town is a reflection on the rich hinterland and good solid employment in the area.
Clonmel has a rich historical past. The earliest reference to Clonmel is c1185 when William Fitzadlem de Burgo was granted lordship of the manor. In 1319, Edward II authorised the raising of money to complete the town walls and fortifications. These walls withstood a three week siege by Cromwell in 1650. In the town there is Old St. Mary’s Church of Ireland dedicated to Our Lady of Clonmel, and built in the 13th century. At the opposite end of the main street, O’Connell Street, from the West Gate is the Main Guard built in 1675 as a Palatinate Court House.
There are many other interesting buildings including the Town Hall, Franciscan Friary and Court House as well as former churches which have been tastefully converted to other uses including the old Wesleyan Chapel which is now the White Memorial Theatre. The jail gate, of the famous “Gaol of Cluain Meala” song, still stands and has been tastefully added to so as to provide a functional building. This jail was the first and only Borstal institution in Ireland. St. Patrick’s Well, with its medieval church, ancient stone cross and bubbling springs is also worth a visit.
Clonmel is very proud also of its literary past being the birthplace of Laurence Sterne and Marguerite Power, Countess of Blessington, and the one time residence of Anthony Trollope. Other places of interest include the County Museum in Mick Delahunty Square and Marlfield Lake wild bird sanctuary.
Heritage of Clonmel
Clonmel, a medieval town, is situated on the River Suir,with the Comeragh Mountain to the south of Slievenamon to the east.The Suir has been a major influence on the town’s development, a fact reflected in the town crest showing a bridge across a river with three fish underneath. Although inhabited for about 5000 years, few traces of prehistoric Clonmel survive. The name Clonmel derives from “Cluain Meala” the “Meadow of Honey” which probably refers to the fertile soils of the area.
The town has a population of 16,000 within the borough, with an additional 5,000 in the surrounding area. Clonmel is an expanding industrial town and a thriving commercial and business centre with many fine Hotels, Pubs, and Guest Houses