Written by Denis G. Marnane, Tipperary

Tipperary is not the largest of Munster’s six counties, but geography dictates its role as the primary point of contact between Munster, the great cities of that province, Cork, Waterford and Limerick and the rest of the island.  Close to Tipperary town is Limerick Junction where the Dublin-Cork and Limerick-Waterford railway lines intersect.  Tipperary is the sixth largest of Ireland’s thirty two counties. The shape of the county is particularly unique; Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir on its southern border look towards Waterford and the coast, Tipperary town has strong links with Limerick, while Roscrea and Nenagh reach towards the midlands.  For an inland county, water played an important role in the settlement history of Tipperary.  Many of  its settlements are connected by the Suir and its tributaries  and the north-west of the county is defined by the Shannon and Lough Derg.

The county did not assume its present outline until 1715, when the control of the Butler family was ended.  By then, the former Butler town of Clonmel had become the main town in the county.  From 1838 until 2014, Tipperary was divided into two  divisions, each with its own county council and administrative centre -  Nenagh in the north and Clonmel in the south.  This division was made because Clonmel, where courts sat, was on the southern border of the county and was neither practical nor convenient, at a time when transport was difficult.

Coat of Arms

The county coat of arms owes a great deal to the Butlers, the family who as earls and later dukes of Ormond(e) had such an impact on the county.  Elements such as the golden cups and the blue and gold colours (also the county’s GAA colours) are taken from the Butler coat of arms.

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