Carrick on Suir Historic Town Walk
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Carrick-on-Suir Tourist Information Office, Heritage Centre, Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary, Republic of Ireland
Carrick-on-Suir is a small town with a big heart. Occupying a charming location on the River Suir, its heritage trail revolves around Ormond Castle, a stunning Elizabethan mansion built in anticipation of a royal visit. Other gems include a beautiful arched bridge dating from the 14th century.
Carrick-on-Suir is a small town with a big heart. Located in Tipperary’s Golden Vale and straddling the county lines of Kilkenny and Waterford, its narrow streets, fast-flowing river and beautiful arched bridge offer visitors a flavour of, and a base for visiting, all three.
Carrick’s heritage trail takes in ten stops over a 1.8km (40 minute) route, the highlight of which is the exquisite Ormond Castle. Developed in the 1560s by Thomas Butler, the 10th Earl of Ormond, this is one of the finest examples of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland.
Ormond Castle (the house is built into the 15th-century castle remains) is notable for its elegant gables and mullioned windows and inside, a long first-floor galley, boasts a limestone fireplace, inscribed with the year 1565. Stunning stuccowork includes a representation of Queen Elizabeth, whom it was hoped would visit Carrick-on-Suir to see her cousin, Black Tom. Alas, she never showed up.
Carrick was formed as an island settlement on the Suir. Its seven-arched bridge dates from 1447 and for centuries, it was the first bridge above the river estuary (holding it was crucial to Cromwell’s campaign in the area in 1649). The new Dillon Bridge was added in the 19th century.
Elsewhere on the heritage trail, St. Nicholas’s Church is notable for its stained glass and Kilkenny marble columns and in Carrick Beg, you’ll find the parish church of St. Molleran’s. The friary here was established on land granted by the Butler family and the Franciscans themselves, though uprooted for spells by the actions of Henry VIII and Cromwell, remained in Carrick until recently.
Today’s Carrick is a quiet market town, and a perfect base for exploring the Golden Vale or Comeragh Mountains. Both can be visited by car, foot or bike – though the latter would best please local hero Seán Kelly, one of Ireland’s greatest-ever cyclists, for whom the town square is named.