A well-known Irish town and often the subject of mockery, Clonmel is far from a write-off, writes Rachel O’Neill
Tucked away in the heart of Tipperary, Clonmel town strikes the perfect balance of old time nostalgia and (moderate) modernity. The first port of call is to address the misguided notion that Clonmel belongs to the sweeping category of ‘culchie’. Yes, it is a long way from the epicentre of Dublin, but the locals will be sure to assert that they are definite townies.
The beauty of Clonmel is that it has retained its rich culture despite the influx of commerce to the area. A fine example is to be found in the local cinema, the Omniplex. You only have to set foot in the door to be met with a preserved portion of the town’s original boundary wall.
Family-run pubs are a prominent feature of the social scene, and local artists play gigs across a variety of venues each week. A traditional set played by the Ryan’s in Baker’s Bar every Monday evening comes highly recommended. The bar, which opened last year, has a rustic, rough and ready feel with bare stone walls and a very intimate atmosphere. The Ryan family is the epitome of the Irish session; every member plays an instrument and seem to have a pint of Guinness permanently set in front of them. Punters are invited to join in with a sing-along, with young and old alike united in the pursuit of the night’s perfect anthem before last orders.
For those in search of a more mainstream scene you only have to cross the road to O’Keefe’s. This is not a nightclub by any stretch of the imagination, but with three bars and late opening, you’re guaranteed to meet a diverse mix of people and an eventful night is sure to be had.
There is only one address on the cards for long lazy afternoons in Clonmel – Niamh’s Delicatessen. With hearty soups, paninis and yummy cakes including mars bar squares, as well as free tea and coffee refills and friendly staff, you’re invited to luxuriate in the cosy surroundings for as long as the chats require.