Top Things to Discover in Tipp
It’s not a long way to Tipperary – contrary to the popular song! This county in Ireland’s Ancient East is easily accessible by road from Cork, Dublin,Wexford or Waterford. If you are up north or over west, it’s still worth the journey, to see some of Ireland’s most idyllic rural scenes. Parts of Tipperary are included in The Golden Vale, which also encompasses parts of Cork and Limerick in the province of Munster. The Golden Vale is a rich seam of rolling countryside sometimes known as The Golden Vein, considered to be some of the best agricultural land in Ireland. Home to big dairy farms producing milk for some of the best dairy produce in the country.
WHAT TO SEE IN TIPPERARY
If you’re out and about in Tipperary, there’s lots to see and do. Here’s a little round up of some of the best spots in the county.
ROCK OF CASHEL
In Cashel town, this majestic heritage site looms imposingly over the Golden Vale One of the most important sacred destinations and iconic tourist attractions in Ireland. The Rock of Cashel, which towers high above the rolling countryside and can be seen for miles, was said to have been created by the Devil himself.
When in Battle with Ireland’s Patron Saint Patrick in early Christian times, in an effort to escape Patrick’s holy powers, old Satan bit a huge chunk out of the mountain now known as The Devil’s Bit near Templemore in Tipperary, and lobbed the massive lump of limestone across the county, where it landed in Cashel. There it formed the Rock of Cashel, formerly known as St. Patrick’s Rock and also called the Cashel of the Kings. It’s said that Saint Patrick during his time of bringing Christianity to the Irish, converted Aenghus the pagan King of Munster to the faith at the Rock of Cashel in the 5th Century. Cashel is also known as the seat of the High Kings of Munster and was the fortress of the legendary Brian Boru, High King of Ireland. Today visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the Rock of Cashel, taking in the buildings which now perch atop atop the majestic rock. These include a 12th Century Round Tower and 13th Century Gothic Cathedral known as Cormac’s Chapel.
We’re a bit fond of castles in Ireland! There’s one round almost every corner, or so it would seem. Cahir Castle is a fantastically preserved medieval castle in Cahir Town in Co. Tipperary. The word cahir (An Chaithair) in Irish means stone fort. In the old days, those who were into castle building often chose the most inaccessible places to set up shop, constructing a stronghold which couldn’t easily be attacked by enemies.
This usually meant finding a big rock which had access to water and could not be scaled easily. Cahir Castle is built on a rocky island in the River Suir, with its steepest side facing into the river, making it very difficult to permeate for those who were only too happy to be wreaking a bit of havoc trying to break in. Cahir Castle was once the seat of the Anglo-Norman Butler family. Today it offers an insight into how they would have lived in a fortified building with castle keep, tower and defensive walls. Informative guided tours are available.
Lough Derg, which weaves through the counties of Tipperary, Clare and Galway is one of Ireland’s relatively undiscovered waterways. This stunning lake is part of the Shannon River basin, which offers wonderful outdoor acitivities and amenities. You can get out walking, following one of the trails in the area. If you prefer being on the water, there’s sailing, rowing and fishing available.
Wildlife on Lough Derg includes many waterfowl, included the majestic White Tailed Sea Eagle which has been reintroduced to Ireland in recent years. You may see an array of wild birds as well as otters, foxes, stoats, red squirrels and pine martens in this area, which has an abundance of natural habitats for wildlife. Go exploring by bike, on foot, by car or in a boat in a magical place which puts you right back in touch with nature.
GLEN OF AHERLOW
The Glen of Aherlow is a beautiful valley which runs between the Galtee Mountains and the ridge of Slivenamuck. The Galtees are Irelands highest mountain range, with the peak of Galtymore standing at 919metres (3018ft). The Glen of Aherlow is a popular holiday spot for those who want rural idyll combined with the warmth and hospitality of the people of the glen. There are a number of attractions here, including pre-history and early Christian sites, woodlands, walks and trails in the Nature Park, with information boards on the various flora and fauna which can be found in this area rich in natural bounty.
FOOD IN TIPPERARY
Tipperary is one of Ireland’s most productive regions with the Golden Vale and much fishing, foraging and hunting for wild game in the Galtee Mountains. Add to this a rich agricultural heritage with dairy and beef herds grazing on the lush pastures, which equals great cheeses, milk and dairy products, plus prime Irish beef. A veritable feast to be had in this county! The Tipperary Producers group represents many of the artisans, farmers and producers to be found in this area. Good Food Ireland has several members in Tipperary.
Inch House is period country house on its own estate and working farm, owned and run by the Egan family. Gorgeous rooms with antique furnishings and a beautiful restaurant which showcases local produce, plus the award winning black and white puddings made here at the house to an old family recipe.
Peter Ward’s original Country Choice Shop and Café in Nenagh in County Tipperary is still winning awards and being hailed by critics as the home of great local food in this region. Don’t miss a chance to call in and meet Peter and his wife Mary, sample some delicious home cooking and baking in the café or treat yourself to some goodies from the shop and deli out front.
The Apple Farm
In Cahir, Cornelius Traas is a second generation apple farmer minding these old orchards and producing superb apple juices, ciders and vinegars on site. The farm also grows seasonal soft fruit and has a shop where you can buy the farm produce plus other locally produced goodies. The farm also has a campsite open in the summer months.
Taking advantage of all that prime grazing in The Golden Vale, the Maher family make superlative rich, Camembert style Cooleeney Cheese from the milk of their own herd. Cooleeney Cheese is the sort of cheese you can’t just have one little taste of – its sensuous creamy texture and rich milky taste is addictive. Be warned. Cooleeney Farmhouse also produces a range of other cow’s milk cheeses, plus a goat’s cheese from the milk of a local goat farm.
Hickeys Bakery and Coffee Shop
In the heart of Clonmel town lies Nuala Hickey’s family bakery and coffee shop. Just the place to refresh yourself after a day exploring in the town and county. An institution in Clonmel, Hickey’s has been feeding the locals with great bread for decades and now offers a super little coffee, refreshments and lunch stop for weary travellers.
Ponaire Roastery and Coffee Shop
If you’re into coffee, you’ll love Ponaire. Pronounced Pon-a-ray, the name means ‘bean’ in Irish. Tommy & Jennifer Ryan are well recognised and respected for Ponaire premium coffees, carefully sourced, roasted and blended in their Roastery, Production Facility, Cafe, and Barista School on Main St. Newport, Co Tipperary.
Ponaire has access to more than 90 different green (un-roasted) coffee beans from over 20 countries around the world from where they import their own raw beans to hand roast here in small batches. Pick your brew and enjoy it in casual surroundings of this lovely café. A much needed burst of tasty caffeine will spur you to your next adventure in Tipperary!
It's worth making the drive out from Nenagh to Garrykennedy to visit this picturesque little pub on the banks of Lough Derg. The village location is as typical and idyllic Irish scene as any you'll see. Larkin's, owned by Cormac and Maura Boyle, is over 300 years old and just the sort of country pub you want to find when you come to Ireland. This place is one of those rare gems.
Its traditional thatched roof, old white-washed walls and little red painted cottage sash windows sum up a time gone by, and its location on the water means peace and tranquility come as part of the deal. Match that with a full bar service with Irish craft beers and ciders, great home cooked Irish fare and some trad music and dancing on certain nights of the week. We feel a bit of a hooley coming on!
Killenure Dexture Gourmet
On the estate of 500 year old Killenure Castle, Eavaun Carmody rears a prime heritage herd of Killenure Dexter here in Dundrum Co. Tipperary, the original home of Dexter cattle in Ireland. This prime beef breed yields tender succulent meat which has been dry aged by the farm’s own butcher in the traditional way to give depth of flavour. Well worth seeking out on menus in restaurants of the area. The farm also produces Dexter charcuterie and a range of handcrafted leather and bone goods.