26 May Tipperary, County Tipperary
Known as “Arann’s well” in Irish, Tipperary is full of many interesting features including monuments to some of its less law-abiding citizens. The statue of the Maid of Erin commemorates three men known as the Manchester Martyrs, who were executed in England in 1867 for killing a police officer while trying to rescue a prisoner. The maid is the personification of Ireland. Her statue stands in the middle of the junction of Main Street and O’Brien Street, surrounded by some good example of traditional shop fronts.
Another statue, outside the Allied Irish Bank, commemorates Charles Kickham (1828-82), a novelist, poet and revolutionary who spent four years in London’s Pentonville prison in the 1860s. he was born, and died, in the village of Mullinahone, 10 miles Northeast of Fethard, and based his novels, such as Knocknagow, published in 1879, on rural Irish life. The house where he lived, in Fethard Street, is marked with a plaque, and a Celtic Cross stands over his grave in the Catholic churchyard.
There is also a park named after Sean Tracey, leader of the group said to have fired the first shots in the struggle for Irish independence in 1918-22. Nothing, however, commemorates Tipperary’s most famous son Red Kelly (c.1820-64), who was deported to Tasmania for various crimes, and was the father of the celebrated Australian outlaw Ned Kelly (1855-80).
Tipperary is probably best known outside Ireland from the First World War marching song ‘It’s a long way to…’. The authors, Harry Williams and Jack Judge, were English and it is likely that they had never been to the town.
Tipperary is a must see on your Ireland tours.