Coleville Road, Clonmel,
Co. Tipperary

The Butler Trail

A Tour of Tipperary’s Medieval Towns

The Butlers in Carrick-on Suir

This beautiful and historic town is where the Butler Family grew to power. The Butlers first settled here in the 13th century. Thomas ‘Black Tom’ Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond (1532-1614) was the most colourful and influential family member who lived here.

Black Tom built a fine manor house as part of Ormond Castle in the 1560s in expectation of a visit from his cousin Elizabeth 1, daughter of Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn. Unfortunately Elizabeth never visited at all. Find out more about their-much- talked-about relationship on a tour of Ormond Castle, Ireland’s only surviving unfortified Tudor Manor House which contains beautiful details including decorative plasterwork portraits of Elizabeth I. Admission to Ormond Castle and local Heritage Centre is free.

Must See

Must Do


  • Farmers’ Market (Fridays)
  • Heritage Centre and Friary (Art Gallery)
  • Clancy Festival (June)

The Butlers in Clonmel

Nestled in the valley of the River Suir, Clonmel is a thriving and bustling town. Once the
administrative centre of the Butlers, Clonmel today is the county town of South Tipperary. James Butler, the 12th Earl and 1st Duke of Ormond (1610-88), was a grandnephew of Black Tom. James was arguably the Butlers’ most important family member, being the most influential Butler in Ireland’s history.

James built the Main Guard in Clonmel in 1675 and King James II visited in 1689. Visit the Main Guard to learn more about James’ influence on Clonmel, his role in the English Court and his lasting legacy in Ireland.

Must See

  • Main Guard
  • Town Walls
  • Old Saint Mary’s Church

Must Do

  • Shop in the Town Centre
  • Horse and Greyhound Racing
  • Nearby mountain walks and drives

Points of Interest

  • Farmers’ Market (Saturday)
  • Junction Festival (July)
  • Festival Cluain Meala (August)

The Butlers in Cahir

Cahir, a romantic and charming small town, grew up around Cahir Castle which was originally a fort built on a rock in the River Suir. The town became a stronghold of the Butler family. The Manor of Cahir was granted to James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond in 1375, and afterwards to his son, James Gallda,ancestor of the Cahir Butlers.

Cahir Castle is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. It was famously besieged by the Earl of Essex in 1599. A cannonball can still be seen in one of the walls. It remained under the ownership of the Butlers until 1961. A visit is a must. The castle has featured in many films and TV programmes,including Excalibur and The Tudors television series. Under Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall (1775-1819), and his wife, Cahir became a fashionable place for gentry. In the early 1800s he built the delightful Swiss Cottage, a cottage orné designed by John Nash and the finest eco building of its time. Cahir House, now a hotel, was the town house of the Butlers from the 1770s.

Must See

Must Do

  • Swiss Cottage River Walk
  • Fishing on the Suir
  • Heritage Trail

Points of Interest

  • Farmers’ Market (Saturday morning)
  • Exhibitions/Workshops at the Craft Granary
  • Town Centre

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