Clonmel on a cloudless day
Posted by Neil Hand on the 24th of July 2014 at 10:28:39
A few weeks ago, I was travelling between Waterford and Cork Cities in the South/South West of Ireland and decided to take a slight detour to take in the town of Clonmel, County Tipperary. To say I was glad I did so would be an understatement. This is quite possibly my favourite town in the whole country. I hadn’t been there for several years, but knew instantly why I found it so special.
The rolling hills, lush green grass and vibrant colours on display in the Tipperary countryside really put a smile on my face as we arrived into Clonmel, passing the home of the world-famous Bulmers Irish Cider. It did help that it was a cloudless, scorching summer day, which generally makes me feel better about most things. There’s not many places on the planet I’d prefer to be than Tipperary on a warm, sunny afternoon. Not even my hay fever could dampen the spring in my step.
Something that struck me about Clonmel as we entered the town was the colour. Not only was it evident in the paint on the buildings themselves, but flowers seemed to bloom from every corner. In all honesty, even the weeds that grew between the cracks in walls that have stood for hundreds of years were picturesque; shades of pink and brilliant whites.
The town itself is also incredibly clean. It is quite evident that the locals take a lot of pride in the appearance of Clonmel, with barely a speck of litter on display. We found free parking within 100 yards of the River Suir, beside the Greyhound Track, put on a bit of suncream (safety first!), and started to ramble towards the centre of the town.
The River Suir being so close at hand, we started our stroll by heading toward it. We crossed the Suir slowly over the Old Waterford Road Bridge, taking in the calming view upstream as it flowed gently into town. Living and working in Dublin, this scene was like something from a different planet, in terms of contrast. That’s one of my favourite things about getting out of a City like Dublin and exploring other parts of the country. The pace of life in certain places is much slower, much more relaxed and calming. When you have time off work and aren’t in any kind of hurry to get anywhere, it’s borderline luxurious to be able to stroll around carefree and just drink in the scenery around you.
We continued our stroll through Denis Burke Park, a pretty, green, leafy piece of land which hugs the south bank of the Suir for roughly 200 metres. Shortly after exiting the park, we found ourselves near the Old Bridge, which crosses the river twice and offers stunning views both upstream and downstream. You can read a bit more about fabulous walks in the area here.
Once you’ve crossed the Old Bridge, you’re essentially in the town-centre, which is deceptively large and is built around O’Connell Street, the main artery in the town. Clonmel was once a walled town, gated at the North, East and West. Walking West along O’Connell Street, we came upon the West Gate, which would have previously contained the town. It’s a beautiful construction and a reminder of the rich history of the town.
Our rambles took us all over the town, down quiet lanes and bustling high-streets. We paused for half an hour and enjoyed a delicious lunch in Niamh’s, which serves a variety of food from light snacks to hearty meals.
Time was beginning to catch up with us, as it always does, so we headed back to the car and left Clonmel behind us. Not especially easily, mind you, as my navigation skills are often found wanting, but after a couple of u-turns and stops for directions, we were on our way to Cork. I can’t recommend Clonmel highly enough. If you find yourself in that fabulous part of Ireland, make sure it’s top of your list.
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