Wandering off the beaten track is exhilarating. Discovering that quiet, hushed little secret is a rewarding experience; a treasure uncovered from a wonderful adventure that we keep with us for ever. We are all drawn to the authentic, and Tipperary embodies this. Take time to discover it for yourself with some of these hidden gems.
Built by William Fitz-Aldhelm de Burgho for the Augustinians in the 12th Century, Athassel Abbey was one of Ireland’s biggest monasteries, stretching out over four beautiful acres of land along the banks of the River Suir near the village of Golden.
Cashel Folk Village, Cashel
Cashel Folk Museum has a magnificent collection of historical memorabilia relating to the 1916 Rising, the Irish War of Independence, and the Irish Civil War. There is also a section documenting The Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852, with lifelike exhibits and an audio-visual show.
Discover the rich ecclesiastical heritage of Tipperary on this driving trail of church sites, old monasteries, graveyards, holy wells and other sacred places. These heritage sites contain a wealth of stories and history spanning 15 centuries, from the earliest years of Christianity in Ireland in the decades after St Patrick, to modern churches. The Derrynaflan Trail driving trail has a free audio guide.
Farney Castle, Holycross
The first early Norman fortification at Farney Castle is a must-see hidden gem in Ireland’s Ancient East. Built around 1185, after Richard de Clare (Strongbow) arrived in Ireland, the castle was synonymous with the Butler family name for centuries.
Lorrha Monastic Village, Lorrha
Lorrha has a rich ecclesiastical history, as shown by the ruins throughout the village. Among the notable monastic sites in the village are the Augustinian Priory, Dominican Friary and St Ruadhan’s Church. The impressive Lackeen Castle and Redwood Castle are also close by.
Mitchelstown Caves, near Cahir
Discovered in 1833, when Michael Condon accidentally came upon the vast underground network of caves whilst quarrying for limestone. On the guided tour you will follow ancient passageways and visit massive caverns in which you are surrounded by indescribable dripstone formations, stalactites, stalagmites and huge calcite pillars. You will also see one of Europe’s finest columns, the Tower of Babel, which stands some 9 metres in height. The largest cavern, known as the Concert Hall, has even hosted music events.
Millennium Cross, Portroe
Follow in the footsteps of Brian Boru, the most famous High King of Ireland, with a hike to the Millennium Cross in Portroe and be amazed by the panoramic views of Lough Derg and beyond. Don’t miss the lookout point below for a great photo opportunity!
Round Tower & Black Mills, Roscrea
This marvellous 11th-century round tower in Roscrea rises to a height of 20 metres. The Black Mills behind the tower have been renovated and turned into a museum and visitor centre.
St Patrick’s Well, Clonmel
Situated at the base of a limestone cliff, this beautiful natural well is a great location to relax and enjoy a picnic. At the bottom of a set of winding stone steps, the waters from the well flow into a big shallow pond, with an ancient stone cross on a little island in the middle. The site also has a stone statue of St Patrick.
The Famine Warhouse, Ballingarry
Ballingarry Famine Warhouse was the principal site of the Rebellion by the Young Irelanders in 1848, when rebels besieged 47 police who had barricaded themselves into the McCormack farmhouse. The exhibition on display places the Famine Rebellion in the context of 1848 as Europe’s Year of Revolutions. Experience this historic national monument today.
There are so many wonderful gardens to visit in Tipperary, such as Ballyboy Garden & Woodland – with its stunning views of the Knockmealdown and Galtee mountains – and the incredible Fancroft Mill and Gardens near Roscrea.
Fethard Horse Country Experience
If horses are your thing, make sure you add a stop at the Fethard Horse Country Experience. Just off the Butler Trail, the museum gives a beautifully vivid and modern display of the history of the land and the role horses have played, from draught horses to racing legends.