Cloughjordan village centre
One of three signs around the village showing its name.
Cloughjordan, officially Cloghjordan ( klok-JOR-d?n, Irish: Cloch Shiurdáin, meaning "Siurdán's stone"), is a town in County Tipperary in Ireland. It is in the barony of Ormond Lower, and it is also a parish in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe.
The town is situated in the north-western part of Tipperary close to the Offaly border. It is almost equidistant from Nenagh, Roscrea and Birr and is close to Ireland's largest river, the Shannon, and Lough Derg.
Poet and patriot Thomas MacDonagh, a native of Cloughjordan, described it as a place "in calm of middle country".
Unusually for a town of its size (the 2002 Census Records places the population at 431), it has three churches - Roman Catholic (SS Michael and John's, built in 1898), Church of Ireland (St Kieran's, 1837) and Methodist (1875).
Cloughjordan is in the Dáil constituency of Offaly which incorporates 24 electoral divisions that were previously in the Tipperary North Dáil constituency.
Developed at the intersection of travel routes between Nenagh, Birr, Borrisokane and Moneygall, the village of Cloughjordan began as an inhabited settlement during the Norman lordship of Ireland of the 13th and 14th centuries when the De Marisco family were allotted land in Ormond under the overlordship of the Butlers by King Henry II. One unit of the De Mariscos (Morris or Morrissey in modern terms) moved into this area, took over the territory and built a stone castle and manor house guarded by a moat surrounding the dwelling.
There is a story which relates that the first De Marisco, who resided here, was a Norman knight who had travelled to the Holy Land to take part in a Crusade against the Saracen invaders. He is said to have brought back a stone from the River Jordan which he built in over the doorway of this castle and it was from that stone that the village got its name - the Stone of Jordan - Clogh Shiúrdáin - Cloughjordan.
Cloughjordan was further developed in the late 17th century by Cromwellian grantees when Colonel John Harrison, an officer in Cromwell's army, was granted an estate of 1,484 acres (6.01 km2) of land around Cloughjordan in payment for his military services. Harrison built a house, now known as Cloughjordan House, at the site of the original Norman Castle of De Marisco and incorporated the old castle into the new building, in which one wall of the castle, about seven and a half feet thick, is still in existence to this day.
Cloughjordan was then remodelled in the late 18th century to include a square in front of the Church of Ireland on the east-west main street.
In 1909 Cloughjordan was one of the first villages in Ireland, after Carlow and Birr, to provide its own rural electrification scheme. The ESB took over the supplying of electricity to the town in 1948.
Cloughjordan railway station opened on 5 October 1863. It is on the Limerick-Ballybrophy railway line, at Ballybrophy it joins the main Dublin-Cork railway line, rail services are provided by Iarnród Éireann.
A January 2012 national newspaper article suggested that Iarnród Éireann was expected to seek permission from the National Transport Authority to close the line however an enhanced timetable was in force on a trial basis during 2012. The service was again reduced from February 2013. The station is very likely to close down in 2018 with the closure of the Limerick to Ballybrophy line as the demand for the service is very low and the line is unviable. The rail service will be replaced with a bus service
Ken Daly Bus Hire operates limited minibus services between Cloughjordan and Birr, Nenagh and Roscrea. Each return service operates once every week.
Historically, Cloughjordan National School opened in 1876. Its first teachers were Joseph and Mary Louise MacDonagh, parents of Thomas MacDonagh, succeeded by Denis Costello, father of Michael Joe Costello.
Nowadays, Cloughjordan children have crèche and primary schooling but as yet no secondary school in the town.
First Steps childcare centre opened in 2010 offering crèche and preschool facilities in the former Macra na Feirme hall on Lower Main Street.
Kilruane has a Montessori pre-school.
There are two primary schools in Cloughjordan: Number One School is located on Templemore Road, east of the town centre and Number Two School is located on Lower Main Street, west of the town centre.
There is no secondary education provision in the town: local students travel to schools in neighbouring Nenagh, Borrisokane and Birr or further afield.
The eco-village has a working group known as the Village Education Research and Training (VERT), which is committed to running courses based in the eco-village encouraging best practice in sustainable living.
Also with a base in the eco-village is Cultivate, an organisation committed to sustainable living and learning.
- Patrick Bergin, actor, resides in Cloughjordan.
- Dinny Cahill, former hurling player and manager born 1952 in Cloughjordan
- Fergus Costello, a liturgical artist and church designer who is an authority on Church art in Ireland and a stand-up comedian, is based in Cloughjordan.
- Michael Joseph Costello, Army General, born 1904 in Cloughjordan.
- Len Gaynor, former hurling player and manager born 1944 in Cloughjordan.
- John MacDonagh, film director and playwright, brother of Joseph and Thomas MacDonagh (see below).
- Joseph MacDonagh, Sinn Féin politician, brother of John (see above) and Thomas (see below). Died whilst on hunger strike in 1922.
- Thomas MacDonagh, poet and patriot, born in Cloughjordan, was one of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation of the Republic. He was executed in 1916 by firing squad. The local heritage centre and Gaelic Athletic Association park bear his name and a statue of him stands at the top of Main Street.
- Tom Moloughney, former hurler, born 1940 in Cloughjordan.
- Éamonn O'Shea, former hurler and coach, born 1958 in Cloughjordan. He is the current Tipperary Senior Hurling manager.
- Charlie Swan, multiple National Hunt Champion jockey.
- John Talbot, Canadian Reformer and schoolmaster, born 1797 in Cloughjordan.
Buildings of note
There are several buildings of architectural interest in and around Cloughjordan.
- Cloughjordan House, Step Road. Oxpark (c. 1675) 17th-century house built on to existing tower house, further extended in the 18th century. A business consisting of a cookery school, wedding venue, event destination and B & B accommodation operates from here.
- Mullenkeagh House, Borrisokane Rd. Detached two-storey house, renovated early 19th century in Georgian style but still contains many of its original features. (originally c. 1700, remodelled c. 1800)
- Former Steward's house, Step Rd/Moneygall Rd. (c. 1770)
- Milestone, Main St/Moneygall Rd. (c. 1780)
- Bridge at Modreeny, Modreeny Estate (c. 1790) Cast iron parapets between cut limestone piers surmounted at one end by eagles, at the other by urns.
- Houses, formerly The Barracks (also known as the Militia Houses), The Square (c. 1800) Built as a three storey barracks and later converted to housing. Original outbuildings to rear. The Meadow (or Square) was planned as an adjoining parade ground.
- Former Mill, Step Rd. (c. 1800)
- Distillery Cottage, Borrisokane Rd. Mullenkeagh. Single storey cottage built for the manager of the adjacent though now ruined, distillery. (c. 1820)
- St Kieran's Church of Ireland church, The Square (1837) Designed by James and George Richard Pain for the Board of First Fruits. A cut stone spire surmounts the centrally placed entrance on to the Meadow (or Square).
- The Old Presbytery, Borrisokane Rd. (c. 1830)
- Former Hotel, Main St. (c. 1855)
- Cloughjordan railway station, Townfields Townland (1863) Cluster of structures, the classically influenced station building, station masters house and road bridge over the tracks.
- Cloughjordan Methodist Church, Main St. (1875) Modest church building with polychromic tiling.
- SS Michael and John's Roman Catholic Church, Moneygall Rd. (c. 1898) See stained glass windows from the studio of Harry Clarke, behind the altar, and Evie Hone, to the side of the altar. This replaced the now ruined church in the nearby townland of Coolnamunna.
- Modreeny House, Eminiska (c. 1920) Home built c 1920 in Arts and Crafts style to replace previous 18th-century house.
- Former Bank, Step Rd. (c. 1925)
- Various houses and former shops, Main St. (c. 1820-1900)
- Various homes in the eco-village, examples of modern residential architecture. (2009-2014) Twenty nine of the eco-village homes were open to the public as part of the Near zero-energy buildings open doors Ireland event held in November 2013. Other NZEB Open Doors events took place in Belgium, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, France, Malta, Slovenia, Poland under the NZEB 2021 program promoted by the European Union.
- The Community amphitheatre, was opened by Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland in April 2017.
- Three areas nearby have been selected as possible locations for a Break Pressure Tank which is required for the proposed pipeline to supply drinking water from Lough Derg to Dublin.
- The Thomas MacDonagh Heritage Centre was opened on 3 May 2013. The centre houses the town library and exhibition space.
- The Village is a project with the aim of creating an "eco-village" community with commitments to ecological, social and economic sustainability. This new community, being developed on 67 acres (270,000 m2) of farmland, merges with the existing village of Cloughjordan through a new street opposite the Church of Ireland. Irish Times, 7 June 2006: "Green Town Breaks Ground" The first residents moved into their homes in the eco-village in Dec 2009.
- The Cloughjordan Cineclub was officially launched on 25 August 2005 - some forty-four years since a film had last been screened in Cloughjordan.
- Cloughjordan Community Farm was established in 2008 with members drawn from the surrounding area. The farm aims to supply member's families with much of their food using organic and biodynamic principles.
- A 500m2 array of solar panels for solar water heating, the largest in Ireland, was launched in the eco-village during May 2011. The solar panels will, once commissioned, provide additional hot water for the community heating system which is presently powered by a wood chip boiler. The boiler serves homes and businesses in the eco-village.
- A street market takes place at the meadow every second Saturday.
- A Grow-it-yourself group set up in Cloughjordan in 2011 to inspire and assist local people to grow their own food.
- Knockanacree woods, north of the town are a part of the scattered Borrisokane Forest. Coillte manages the forest and supports a local community initiative to improve paths and recreation facilities within Knockanacree woods.
- Cloughjordan is on the route of the Ormond Way part of the Beara-Breifne Way, a long distance walking and cycling trail between the Beara Peninsula in County Cork and Blacklion in County Cavan.
Cloughjordan Festival is an annual celebration of art, sport, music and food held each summer in various venues around the village.
Cloughtoberfest, a celebration of both Gypsy Jazz and Irish craft brewing took place each October from 2011 to 2015.
A Thomas MacDonagh Week-end was held in May 2014, one year after the opening of the Thomas MacDonagh Heritage Centre. It is hoped that this celebration of Cloughjordan's connection with MacDonagh will become an annual event.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014 Cloughjordan won the National Green Community Award.