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Irish: Tiobraid Árann
County Tipperary
Tipperary Main Street.jpg
Tipperary Main Street
Grid reference: R889358
Location: 52°28’26"N, 8°9’43"W
Population: 4,415  (2006)
Local Government
Tipperary South

Tipperary is a town in County Tipperary, and which gives its name to that county. Its population was recorded in the 2006 census as 4,415. The town is within the Barony of Clanwilliam.

The town is home to Tipperary Racecourse, which is located at Limerick Junction. It has a large agricultural catchment area in west Tipperary and east County Limerick and was historically a significant market town. Today, it still boasts large butter making and milk processing industries.

The town is often believed to be the county seat, but this honour belongs instead to Clonmel.


The name of the town is from the Irish language, in which "Tiobraid Árann" means "The Well of the Arra"—a reference to the river which flows through the town. The well or source of the river itself is located in the townland of Glenbane which is in the parish of Lattin and Cullen. Little is known of the location or historical significance of the well which named the town.


The town is a mediæval foundation and became a population centre in the early 13th century. Its ancient fortifications have disappeared but its central area is characterized by a wide streets radiating from the principal thoroughfare of Main Street.

There are two historical monuments in the Main Street, namely the bronze statue of Charles Kickham (poet and patriot) and the Maid of Erin statue erected to commemorate the Irish rebels, Allen, Larkin and O'Brien, who are collectively known as the Manchester Martyrs.

The Maid of Erin is a freestanding monument to the 'Manchester Martyrs'. Erected in 1907, it was relocated to a corner site on the main street from the centre of the main street in 2003. It is composed of carved limestone and the female figure stands on a base depicting the portraits and names of the three executed men. She is now situated on stone flagged pavement behind wrought-iron railings. It is a naturalistic and evocative piece of work, made all the more striking by the lifelike portraits of the men commemorated.[1]

The first engagement of the Irish War of Independence took place at nearby Solloghead Beg Quarry on 21 January 1919 when Dan Breen and Seán Treacy led a group of volunteers in an attack on members of the Royal Irish Constabulary who were transporting gelignite.

The town was the site of a large military barracks of the British Army in the 50 years before Irish Independence and served as a military hospital during First World War.[2] During the War of Independence, it played a pivotal role as a base from which the Black and Tans went on local sorties in their campaign in the town and district.

On 30 September 2005, Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, in a gesture of reconciliation, unveiled the newly refurbished Memorial Arch of the barracks in the presence of several ambassadors and foreign emissaries, military attachés and town dignitaries; a detachment of the Local Defence Force, the Number 1 Irish Army Band and various ex-service organisations paraded. In a rare appearance, the Royal Munster Fusiliers banner was carried to mark the occasion. The Arch is the only remaining porch of what was the officers mess and has panels mounted bearing the names of fallen members of the Irish Defence Forces (on United Nations service), and American, Australian, and United Kingdom armed services.

New Tipperary

In 1888–9, tenants of the local landlord, Arthur Smith Barry, withheld their rents in solidarity with his tenants in Co Cork. They were evicted and, under the direction of a local priest, David Humphreys,[3][4] and William O'Brien, decided to build a new town on land outside his control. The area now known Dillon Street and Emmet Street in Tipperary town was the centre of this development and was built by local labour but with funds raised in Australia and the United States.

The high point was 12 April 1890, when a row of shops called the William O'Brien Arcade was opened, providing shops for some of the business people who had been evicted from the centre of the town. Eventually, compromise was reached and the tenants returned to the 'Old Tipperary'.[5]

Panoramic view of Tipperary and surroundings

In song

Welcoming signs on roads entering the town quip "You've come a long way..." in reference to the popular musica hall song "It's a Long Way to Tipperary".

The song is not a local one but written for the London music hall by Harry Williams and Jack Judge (whose grandparents came from Tipperary), about the bewilderment of an Irish placed amongst the bright lights of London. The song's rousing chorus, "It's a Long way to Tipperary, It's a long way to go…" made it a popular morale-boosting song among the British army and it became a marching song.

(As the crow flies it is 347 miles from the London Palladium to Tipperary, and 486 miles from the front at Ypres.)

The United States Army, also at this time, included a song by John Alden Carpenter called "The Home Road" in its official 1918 song book which includes the lyric, "For the long, long road to Tipperary is the road that leads me home."[6]

Another song for the town is "Tipperary so far away" which commemorates the rebel Seán Treacy. In an address to the people of Ballyporeen on 3 June 1984, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, quoted a line from this song—" And I'll never more roam, from my own native home, in Tipperary so far away".

Plenty of other songs have a Tipperary theme such as "Tipperary On My Mind", "Slievenamon", "Goodbye Mick", "Galtee Mountain Boy", "Katy Daly" (actually an American song), and "Forty Shades of Green", written by Johnny Cash.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Tipperary)


  1. Buildings of Ireland – Maid of Erin statue
  2. O'Shea, Walter S. (1998). "A Short History Of Tipperary Military Barracks". http://tipperarybarracks.webs.com/. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  3. Denis G. Marnane, "Fr David Humphreys and New Tipperary", Tipperary: History and Society, ISBN 0906602033, 1985, 367-378
  4. Tipperary Historic Town Trail is launched, The Nationalist, 13 October 2010
  5. Things To See
  6. US Army Song Book, 1918, issued by the War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities and compiled with the assistance of the National Committee on Army and Navy Camp Music, for free distribution to all Officers and Men in the Army, p. 13
  • David J. Butler (2006). South Tipperary 1570–1841: Religion, Land and Rivalry.
  • Denis G. Marnane (1985). A History of West Tipperary from 1660: Land and Violence.
  • William Nolan & Thomas G. McGrath (1985). Tipperary History & Society.
  • Martin O'Dwyer (2001). Tipperary's Sons & Daughters - Biographies of Tipperary Persons Involved in the National Struggle.
  • Walter S. O'Shea (1998). A Short History of Tipperary Military Barracks (Infantry) 1874–1922