In July 2010 Cahir hosted a major triathlon event and enhanced it with a three-day festival. Follow the links above to see what happened.
In Cahir itself, and within a thirty minute drive, there is a wealth of things to see. Including...
One of the largest monastic ruins in Ireland and one of the country's best kept secrets. Athassel sits alongside the river Suir about 2km south of Golden. Built by William Fitz-Aldhelm de Burgho (who founded the Burke family in Ireland) under orders from King Henry the second. The building of the Abbey was part of the king's plan to rule Ireland with kindness and the cloth rather than the sword.
Built between the late 1100's and 1500 it was the most impressive achievement of the Augustinians and covers nearly four acres.
Leave Cahir heading north on the R639 (formerly the N8) road to Newinn where you turn left to Golden. On reaching Golden turn left through the village (T junction) pass over the river Suir and immediately turn left again (there is a sign here to the Abbey but it is small and easily missed). About 2km down this narrow road the Abbey appears on your left.
The only parking spot is at the top of a farm-track on the left just past the Abbey. There is just enough space here for two cars without blocking the lane. Walk back along the road to a stone stile beside a gate to enter the site. You enter the Abbey area over a stone bridge which originally spanned a channel cut around the Abbey complex from the river. This is now marshy but has a lot of wild lillies in it. Over the bridge is a gatehouse and then a wide area over to the main complex.
At the time of writing, a plan has just been announced to make Athassel more accessible, with parking for more vehicles.
There is a panoramic photograph of part of the complex on the 'Food & Drink/Evening Eating' page here.
From 1811 to 1922 the British army maintained a very large barracks at Kilcommon just outside Cahir. It was the main cavalry barracks in Tipperary and the HQ for the 'South Irish Horse'. Virtually a small town with around 1000 residents it brought economic and social benefits to the town and a good relationship existed between the military and the local people. Unfortunately it was destroyed during the Civil War that followed independence, but the gates, the wall and the soldier's social club remain.
The baracks provided stabling for 263 horses and one of these, Crimean Bob, had a particulary fine career. The text on the plaque, a replica of the one at the baracks, tells his story. The plaque is mounted in the wall below the library.
Edward Keating Hyland was born in Cahir in 1780. He lost his sight early in life and became an expert player of the Uileann Pipes. He composed the famous 'Foxchase' music for the pipes and played for King George the fourth during his visit to Dublin in 1821. The King was so impressed that he ordered a set of the finest Uileann Pipes to be presented to Edward.
Situated about 3.5km north of Cahir this man-made hill is all that remains of a Motte and Bailey Castle that is said to have been the coronation place of the high Kings on Munster. An illustration of how it might have looked in its prime appears in the Cahir Castle Guide Book. The short but steep climb to the top rewards the energetic with a fine panoramic view of the mountains and part of Tipperary's famous Golden Vale.
Located in Abbey Street, it was completed in 1834 as the Meeting House of the Society of Friends (Quaker). Many Quakers lived in the distinctive Georgian houses of nearby Upper Abbey Street. In 1881, it was leased to the fledgling Cahir Presbyterian congregation, who purchased the freehold in 1897.
The present church of St Mary was commenced in 1833. It was built by John Mullaney, of Cahir, to the design of architect John B. Keane of Dublin and was completed in 1839-42. The interior was refitted in 1888-89. The church contains some good stained glass and a pipe organ built by the famous Willis firm, which was installed in 1866. Much of the character of the interior was removed in renovations of 1968-70, in the aftermath of Vatican II, but most of the exterior features survive intact. Open daily.
Located in Church Street, the Anglican parish church of Cahir, it was built in 1817-18 to the design of John Nash. It is one of a trio of buildings created by the Royal Architect for the Cahir Estate. St Paul’s is one of two known Nash designed churches to have survived, and the only one with most of its original interior. It adjoins The Sensory Garden, an urban oasis designed to stimulate the senses through natural means.
Old Church Street. This was originally built as one of the satellite churches of Cahir Abbey during the medieval period. The old parish church is a multi-period building, constructed mainly of local limestone and consisting of a nave and chancel joined by a now partly built-up arch. There is a double bellcote (an open frame for hanging bells) at the west end and certain features of the chancel would suggest a fifteenth century date, although there remains the possibility that it occupies the site of an earlier structure. It became the Anglican parish church at the Reformation and remained so until 1820, when complaints concerning its unsuitable size, location and design lead to the opening of St Paul’s Church in Church Street in that year.
The Priory of St Mary, known as ‘Cahir Abbey’, was a house of Augustinian Canons Regular, founded in the last decade of the twelfth century. At the dissolution of the monasteries (1540), it was found to have been the parish church since time immemorial. It is located off Upper Abbey Street near the railway bridge over the river, and is in the care of The Office of Public Works. The chancel survives, as well as several towers and outbuildings.
Located in Church Street, this was originally built in 1818 as the schoolhouse for the Anglican parish (although open to children of all denominations). This is one of a trio of Nash-designed buildings in Cahir. Richard Butler, Earl of Glengall, had it built with funding from The Erasmus Smith Trust. In the second half of the nineteenth century, it became a National School for Cahir, which it remained until 1963. Following decades of varied use, it was completely renovated and serves as the Cahir Area Office for South Tipperary County Council.
This fine stone building is located in Church Street. It was built in two stages in the nineteenth century by the Butler family. Over the years it has had many uses including a linen spinning factory and a grain store. In 1985 it was completely destroyed by fire. In the late 1990’s it was carefully restored. In 2000 it was reopened as a regional craft centre, one of four in Ireland. The Craft Granary showcases and sells the work of craftspeople from the surrounding region. Crafts including pottery, textiles, woodturned pieces, hand-blown glassware and jewellery are on sale. The work of several local photographers are featured. A Gallery on the first floor is free of entry charge. You are invited to come in and browse.
This was erected by subscription by the people of Cahir and district. The memorial takes the form of a simple limestone cross, to the memory of 88 local officers and men who fell in the Great War (1914-18). It was unveiled on November 20th, 1930, at its current Castle Street location, a rare event in Southern Ireland of this period. In 1996, the monument was cleaned and rededicated to include all men and women of the town and district who have died in armed conflicts at home and abroad.
This was erected in 1876 in the heart of The Square by Lady Margaret Butler-Charteris, the only surviving child of Richard, 2nd Earl of Glengall to the memory of her husband, Lt. Col. The Hon. Richard Charteris. The fountain radically improved the supply of water to the people of the town. A high-pressure supply was piped several miles at enormous cost from the Galty Mountains, using a gravity feed of progressively narrower diameter. In 1926-28, the Estate extended a water supply to those houses of the town wishing to obtain a private supply and retained private ownership of the town supply until the sale of the Estate in 1962.
Located in Church Street, the sensory and mobility garden was opened in June 2005 as a joint initiative between South Tipperary County Council and the Vocational Educational Committee. It was specially created to be accessible and enjoyable to all, but particularly for people with disabilities. The garden contains many varied features, such as scented plants, sculptures, water features, Braille signs, pathways of different textures and much to stimulate the senses. It provides a haven of peace and a place to unwind and is also a mobility practice area.
This scenic mountain drive, signposted from Cahir on the R668, goes to Lismore and Cappoquin through the village of Clogheen. It is covered with Rhododendron shrubs in season (usually mid-May to mid-June depending on the weather), with mountain sheep grazing by the roadside all year round. This peaceful drive rises to 610m (2000ft) above sea level, with several lay-by and picnic areas to view the surrounding countryside. The highest peak, Knockmealdown, rises to 794m (2605ft). See banner photo on Services/Shopping page.
Located 15kms south-west of Cahir, off the R639 and well signposted. These limestone caverns, containing spectacular rock formations and prehistoric fossils, were discovered by accident in 1833 by men quarrying for stone. They were named the Mitchelstown Caves as they were on the Mitchelstown Castle Estate, but are located in South Tipperary, close to the village of Burncourt. Within the caves, the temperature is constant at 12° Celsius all year. The caverns extend for over 3km from the entrance to the innermost cavern but public access is just to the first 1km. Musical concerts have taken place in the largest of the caverns that is in the public area. However, as big as this cavern is, one of the caverns not in the public area is 3 to 4 times larger. We think that these are the best caves in Ireland, access is easy (about three flights of steps) and the walking is flat and dry. Open all year.
This ornamental chalet-like thatched building is located in the Kilcommon Demesne, a walled park of some 800 acres at the heart of the Butler of Cahir estate. ‘The Cottage’, as it was originally known, was built c.1810 to the design of John Nash, Royal Architect, for Richard Butler, Baron of Cahir (from 1816 1st Earl of Glengall). The cottage is located 2km (1.25 miles) from the centre of Cahir. It can be reached by car along the R670 Ardfinnan Road. It can also be reached on foot, from the Castle car park, along the ‘Swiss Cottage Walk’ (also known as the ‘Coronation Walk’), a 2km (1.25 mile) trail by the river and the golf course (see map on page 15). A fully restored National Monument, it has been open to the public since 1989.
Additional information and photos
One of the largest and best preserved medieval castles in Ireland, Cahir Castle is situated on a rocky island in the middle of the River Suir. It represents the pinnacle of medieval skill, and contains one of the very few working portcullises (drop gates) on the island of Ireland. Owned by the Butler family from 1375 to 1961, the present structure dates largely to the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. A National Monument, it has been open to the public since 1971.
The appearance and good condition of the castle has led to its being used as a film set from time to time. It has featured in two major films, 'Tristan and Isolde' (with Richard Burton) and 'Excalibur', which features early screen appearances from Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, and Gabriel Byrne. Helen Mirren was one of the stars and John Boorman was the director. Several of John Boorman's children also appeared, including Charley Boorman who is now more famous for his mortorcycling exploits with Ewan McGregor. The sound of the castle's portcullis was used in the film 'Braveheart'. More recently the castle was filmed for the popular Irish TV production 'The Tudors'. Additional information and photos
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