An anglo-norman town, it grew substantially during the medieval times. There are many structures present around the city that belong to that period. Old St. Mary’s Church with small sections of town wall has witnessed the changes in the town since medieval times. Built in the 13th century, the church has been renovated several times on various occasions.
The town has an important place in the history of the county, right from the time of earldom of Ormonde to that of Kildare. The strategically important town was guarded by walls, having three gates in north, east and west. The southern side is protected by River Suir and Comeragh Mountains. West Gate is reconstruction of an old 19th century structure and is an open arched entrance. The west gate opens toward the main street of the town, the O’Connell Street.
Beside the legendary church, the town has magnificent historical buildings that beautifully describe the architectural brilliance of the Clonmel. The town has Ireland’s first custom built county museum named as Tipperary County Museum, which showcases history of County Tipperary from the Stone Age till today. Formerly a civic building, the Main Guard was converted into shops in 1810. There are special exhibitions organized in the museum every year. It also model of Clonmel in the 13th century.
Another popular tourist attraction, the South Tipperary Arts Centre opened in the year 1996. Organizing almost 12 exhibitions each year, the centre displays works of local, national and international artists of varied fields, such as visual arts, performing arts, music and literature. The centre is often jam packed during its classical music season, organized in the months of spring and autumn.
The Clonmel Cinema Theatre, which was later on renamed as Clonmel Electric Picture Palace, was the first theatre of the town and was built in January 1913. Soon, there were many theatres constructed in the town, like the Ritz, Regal Theatre, The Omniplex and others. Transformed from a Weslyan or Methodist chapel, the White Memorial Theatre building grabs attention of passersby, who praise its fine detailing. Home to St. Mary’s Choral Society, it hosts special events, musicals and concerts, among other events.
The town also hosts an annual Clonmel Junction Festival, which starts from the first weekend of July and ends after nine days. At the festival, one gets to witness a combination of different styles, cultures, passions and talent, in the form of street theatres, rock shows, musical concert, international acts and others. The town also promotes independent films by organizing the International Film Festival Ireland. The first film festival was held in September 2009.
Situated in the barony of Iffa and Offa East, the town has many clubs and association that are hugely popular among tourists. Various activities like mountain climbing, hiking, water sports and race can be enjoyed, under the supervision of guided trainers. Surrounded with breathtaking views of rural gardens, Clonmel is a place worth visiting, while in County Tipperary.