Clonmel or Cluain Meala in Irish, translating as ‘honey meadow’ is the largest town in County Tipperary. The town is noted in Irish history for its resistance to the Cromwellian army following the sacking of Drogheda and Wexford. Cromwell laid siege to Clonmel in May of 1650 and the walls were eventually breached, but Hugh Dubh O’Neill, the commander of the town’s garrison, inflicted heavy losses on the New Model Army when they tried to storm the breach.
One of the former entry points into the town is the West Gate ( pictured). This is a 19th-century reconstruction of an older structure. There were originally three gates in the walled town, North, East and West – with the South being protected by the river Suir and the Comeragh Mountains. The West Gate is now an open arched entrance onto O’Connell Street, the main street of the town.
In 1815, Charles (Carlo) Bianconi established his pioneering horse-drawn carriage business in Clonmel with routes gradually spreading across the country alongside inns to feed and house the passengers. The fares were set at a penny farthing a mile, a sum that was affordable to a good majority of the population.
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