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Irish: Carraig na Siúire
County Tipperary, County Waterford
The old bridge, Carrick on Suir, Co. Tipperary - - 206939.jpg
The old bridge, Carrick on Suir
Grid reference: S398218
Location: 52°20’47"N, 7°24’43"W
Population: 5,856  (2006)
Local Government
Council: Tipperary
Tipperary South

Carrick-on-Suir is a town chiefly in County Tipperary. As it lies on both banks of the River Suir the southern part of the town lies in County Waterford. The town's name is from the Irish language meaning "Rock of the Suir". The CSO 2006 Census gives the population as 5,906 (including suburbs or environs) and shows that it has grown by 5.7% since 2002. It is in the historical barony of Iffa and Offa East.


Carrick-on-Suir is situated in the south-eastern corner of the South Riding of Tipperary, 13 miles east of Clonmel and 17 miles north-west of Waterford. Most of the town lies north of the river in the townland of Carrig Mór (Big Rock), with the remainder of the town on the opposite bank in the townland of Carrig Beg (Small Rock). The town is connected to Limerick and Waterford by the N24 road and a rail link. Carrick-on-Suir railway station opened on 15 April 1853.[1] Two trains a day operate to Waterford and two trains a day operate to Limerick Junction via Clonmel, Cahir and Tipperary. There is no train service on Sundays. Several buses also run on this route. There is a recently refurbished riverside walk to Clonmel along a former canal tow-path. This has recently been upgraded and replanted.


Influence of the Butler family

Carrick-on-Suir (originally called Carrig Mac Griffin) was formed on an island settlement upstream of Waterford. The town remained as an island until the 18th century, when small rivers were diverted to form dry land north and west of the town. The earliest known records of a settlement are dated to 1247, when a charter of 3 fairs per year was awarded to Matthew Fitzgriffin, Lord of the manor of Carrick who was a member of the Cambro-Norman nobility.

By the early 14th century, Carrick Mac Griffin had become home to a prosperous Hiberno-Norman family - the Butlers. The first significant leader of the Butler clan, Edmond Butler (a.k.a. Edmund le Bottilier) was created Earl of Carrick in 1315. However, his son James did not inherit the title. Instead, seven years after the death of his father, he was created Earl of Ormond in his own right. In 1447, Edmund MacRichard Butler founded the first bridge over the estuary at Carrick-on-Suir. Other notable members of the Butler clan were Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond (a.k.a. Black Tom) who built the Tudor Manor House extension to Ormonde Castle and James the 12th Earl and 1st Duke of Ormond, who founded the town's woollen industry in 1670.

Edmond le Bottiler erected two large, heavily garrisoned castle keeps named the Plantagenet Castle on the north bank of the Suir, just east of what is now Main St. In the 15th century, a four towered castle was erected on the same site, two of which are now incorporated into the Elizabethan Manor House built by Black Tom Butler, c. 1560. The Manor House still stands today, having been extensively refurbished by the State in the 1990s and is open to the public. The town was also the inspiration for the 16th-century song, Cailín ó chois na Siúire mé, which is attested to in 1595 and mentioned in Shakespeare's Henry V AS Caleno custure me.

In 1649, the town was taken by English Parliamentarians during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. They captured Carrick by stealth after discovering an undefended gate as part of operations during the Siege of Waterford. Irish troops from Ulster under a Major Geoghegan tried to re-take Carrick but were eventually beaten off with the loss of over 500 killed.

In 1670 the Butlers set up a woollen industry in the town. By 1799, the town enjoyed some prosperity from the woollen industry, fishing, basketweaving and other river related businesses - the population reached around 11,000 by this point. Over the next 120 years however, the town suffered from high taxes and levies imposed by the British on the woollen industry, leading to high unemployment, poverty and emigration. The Great Famine also contributed greatly to the depopulation of the town.

20th century

With the coming of Independence and the Civil War, Carrick was initially occupied by the Anti-Treaty IRA until the town fell to the Free State army in 1922. By this stage, industrialisation had reached Carrick with the establishment of cotton factories and a local creamery. Most significant however for the economic development of the town was the arrival of the tanning industry in the 1930s, providing regular, dependable employment in the town for the first time. The local town council also embarked on building social housing projects in an effort to deal with appalling living conditions in the town for those economically disadvantaged. Despite these developments, economic opportunities were limited and poverty widespread - the town saw widespread emigration to Dublin, Britain and further afield especially during the long recessions of the 1940s and 1950s.

The closure of the Pollack & Plunder tannery in 1985 caused immense hardship in the town, as a significant proportion of the population (Carrick's population was roughly 4,000 by this point) were employed there or were dependent on someone who was. Carrick suffered a prolonged recession throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, again leading the population to drop due to emigration - a fate suffered by other small, rural Irish towns during the period. By the late-1990s, the economy of the town was on the upswing - unemployment had dropped, the SRAM bicycle component factory had opened as had numerous small businesses, and the population began to increase again for the first time in two centuries.

Carrick's local infrastructure (in particular health and transport) still remains relatively undeveloped, due to its location on the border of three counties (and subsequent lack of political muscle both at county and national level), and the nearby larger towns of Clonmel and Waterford. As of 2006, no large manufacturing operation remains in the town - the SRAM plant closed in 2006, but Carrick continues to prosper economically. The population continues to increase, and the town expands with ongoing significant house building projects. The future of Carrick is likely to be that of a commuter town, servicing those working in Waterford and Clonmel - a role it has been performing for decades.

Features and amenities

There are two theatres in Carrick-on-Suir, the Brewery Lane theatre and the Operatic Society. While the Operatic society tends to focus on musicals, operas and pantomimes, Brewery Lane usually does dramas which can be serious, or often black comedy. Many of these are Irish.

The Old Bridge, built in 1447.

River Suir

The river is tidal through the town and the tide turns above Glanbia upstream of Carrick-on-Suir. Flood waters spill onto the land above Glanbia on the County Waterford side of the river. Carrick has a 1-in-50-year flood defence system with quay walls ranging in height from 1.2m to 1.5m. Currently the walls give protection from flooding caused by high tides. Carrick is less than 10 m above sea level and could be affected by global warming in the future. Flooding still occurs along the Glen/Mill River and Markievicz Tce.


In 1447 a stone bridge was built, now known as the "Old Bridge". A new, more modern bridge (later named after John Dillon) was built in the early 20th century. The central part of the Old Bridge (and likewise the Dillon bridge) was destroyed by retreating IRA forces in 1922 in an attempt to slow the advance of the Free State army, but both were rebuilt by 1927. On the main street is Splash And Chat, a bizarre combination or a laundromat and an internet cafe, which is run by a short, grumpy man. The shop sells coffee to many local traders.

Carrick's Town Clock was erected in 1784. A public park was created in the Fair Green in the 1860s. The town fair continues to this day, having been moved from the Fair Green in the 1920s to a new site just west of the Fair Green.


There are three Catholic churches. The largest church in Carrick Mór is St Nicholas' churchwhich was built in 1879, replacing an earlier church of the same name built in 1804. In Carrick Beg are the small St Molleran's parish church (parts of which date back to the 13th century) and the larger Franciscan friary. The Franciscan order's presence in Carrick dates back to 1336 with the granting of land for a friary by the 1st Earl of Ormond. However, the suppression of monasteries by Henry VIII led to the closure of the friary. Just prior to the invasion of Ireland by Cromwell, the friars had returned for an 11-year period, before being shut down again and the friars having to go underground to avoid persecution. It was not until 1820 and the onset of Catholic Emancipation that the friars were able to fully return and a new chapel was built. The friars served the local community until the lack of vocations to the order led to the order finally leaving Carrick-Beg in 2006.

The Church of Ireland community was relatively substantial until independence community's church on Main Street was abandoned until the late 1980s, when the church building and grounds were renovated and now serve as a heritage centre.


  • There are three Gaelic Athletic Association clubs.
    • Carrick Davins (named after the first GAA president Maurice Davin) who play in the Tipperary GAA area
    • Carrick Swans who play in the Tipperary GAA area
    • St Molleran's who play in the Waterford GAA area.

The 1904 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final was played in Carrick-on-Suir. The match was held on Maurice Davin's land on 24 June 1906 between Cork and Kilkenny. Kilkenny won by a single point, 1-9 to 1-8.

  • Association football
    • Carrick United AFC, is a junior football team that plays in the Waterford & District League. The club has enjoyed considerable success in the Waterford & District League, Munster Senior and Junior Cups and also in the FAI Junior Cup.
  • Tennis
    • Castleview Lawn Tennis Club, with four artificial grass courts.
  • Handball and Racquetball
    • Carrick-on Suir Handball and Racquetball Club, Davin Park Indoor courts, Clonmel Road.
  • Boxing
    • Carrick-on-Suir Boxing Club
    • St Nicholas Boxing Club

Clubs and Societies

  • The Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society (formed in 1943) is a well-known and national award–winning musical and amateur operatic society. The Musical Society recently bought and refurbished the Strand Theatre on Main Street for use by the Society. The Brewery Lane Drama Society (formed in 1955) performs several major productions a year at their 75-person capacity theatre, which was formerly a malt house owned by Smithwicks.
  • The Irish Traction Group is based in Carrick-on-Suir, where restoration work is carried out on vintage diesel locomotives.[2]
  • Carrick-on-Suir also has a Republican Flute Band which plays at many Irish Republican and Sinn Féin events.[3]

Notable people

Notable people from the town include:

  • Dorothea Herbert (1770–1829), writer
  • Clancy Brothers, influential folk music group
    • Paddy Clancy, singer, harmonicist
    • Tom Clancy, singer, actor
    • Bobby Clancy, singer and banjo, guitar, harmonica, and bodhrán player
    • Liam Clancy, singer, guitarist, concertina player
  • Maurice Davin, first President of the Gaelic Athletic Association, 1884–1887
  • Michael Anthony Fleming, Roman Catholic bishop of St John's, Newfoundland, Canada
  • Daryl Kavanagh, footballer for St Patricks Athletic
  • Sean Kelly, world class road cyclist
  • Tom Kiely, Olympic decathlon gold medalist at the 1904 Summer Olympics, from Ballyneal, just outside the town.
  • John Lonergan, recipient of the United States Government's Medal of Honor
  • Mick Roche, former Tipperary hurler


  1. "Carrick on Suir station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  2. "Operating Base". Irish Traction Group. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Carrick-on-Suir)