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Nenagh Medieval Food Tour

Weave your way between medieval & modern day Nenagh savouring its rich food heritage.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.87 miles
Duration: Less than 1 hour
Family Friendly

Overview :  Nenagh has for centuries been associated with the finest and freshest of food that could be produced. Its very name is derived from... more »

Tips:  The Country Market at Nenagh is held every Friday morning from 8.00hrs to 13.30hrs in the New Institute at the bottom of Friar Street,... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Market Quarter Nenagh

(Market Cross, Mitchel Street, Pearse Street, Kenyon Street)

The Market Cross is the heart of Medieval Nenagh. The farmers and tradesmen of the region paid the Butlers for the right to enter the walled town to sell their wares to the people of Nenagh. The market stalls at Nenagh would have sold everyday food such as fish, meat and vegetables... More

2. A warm welcome

Mrs. Flynn from Flynn's Bistro is just one of the many good eateries in Nenagh centre. She helps to explain what makes Nenagh special. Eateries on Pearse street to look out for besides Flynn's are Cafe Q, Lulu's Milkshake Parlour and Nadur. Eateries to look out for on Kenyon street include Country Choice, The Farm shop, Simply Food, Nenagh Fruit... More

3. Names of Nenagh

The Butlers were a powerful Anglo-Norman family of the time. They were a French speaking family who dined on birds such as cranes and swans (much to the abhorrence of the Gaelic Chieftains) and the finest French wines from Gascony. The arrival of the Anglo Normans in 1169 witnessed the introduction of new food to the Irish diet.

4. Eve of the banquet

Cup Holders to the King
While the town grew from its vibrant fair, the castle was built to provide a defensive base for the French family that built it, the Butlers. Theobald le Botiller, or Theobald Butler, adopted this surname from the important and trusted role his family played in the royal household. As his name suggests, Theobald and his... More

5. Castle Quarter Nenagh

From the Market Cross, the wide main street known today as Pearse Street leads to the fine 13th Century Butler Castle often referred to as the 'Nenagh Round' due to its circular shape. The area around the castle would have had the communal town bread oven, the town well and possibly an open green space leading up to the front of the castle.

6. The heart of Nenagh

(Pearse Street, Kickham Street, O'Rahilly Street)

'Bread fit for a man'
In medieval Ireland cakes of bread were called 'bairgins'. A 'bairgin ferfuine' described a portion of bread fit for a man, and a smaller cake for a woman was knows as the 'bargain banfuine'. The 'bairgin iudriuc' or whole cake was kept whole for guests, before whom no cut... More

7. Country market

What a wonderful treat is to have such an institution in Nenagh. For a real taste of home-baking, visit Nenagh Country Market, which takes place in the New Institute, Friar Street each Friday Morning from 8.00am – 1.30pm. Locally produced goods include tarts, cakes, buns, quiches, breads, jams & chutneys, fruit cakes, cheese cakes, lasagnes,... More

8. Approaching the Friary

From the Castle one can walk down the narrow medieval street knows as Friar Street which leads down to the large and impressive 13th Century Franciscan Friary. Recent excavations to the south of the Friary identified the remains of the cloister and domestic buildings of the monastery.

The narrow Friar Street echoes back to the medieval times... More

9. Friary Quarter Nenagh

(Friar Street, Abbey Street and Martyr's Road)

The Franciscans of Nenagh were a mendicant order - they survived on the financial support or alms offered by the people of medieval Nenagh. In 1291 the church offered a relaxation of between 1 year and 40 days of enjoyed penance to penitents who visited the Friary on the feast of St Anthony (June... More

10. A sample of local fayre

Salivate as you hear local food champion Peter Ward describe with passion what he put on a plate for us this Summer. Country Choice has gained a national profile for selling fresh home made food, including real hams, organic vegetables, wholemeal breads, farmhouse butter and ripe cheese.

Country Choice is one of Ireland's best known food... More

11. Pork feast

Caimin tells us what was regarded as the creme de la creme of cuisine - a young piglet reared on acorns. The tastes and requirements of Nenagh's wealthy were easily met. Luxurious items such as saffron were sold to wealthy Gaelic families who used it as dye for their clothing. Wealthy townspeople purchased items such as raisins, aniseed, pepper, ... More

12. Wine imports

Theobald's One Tun Tax
Theobald Butler also received from the King of England the right to collect from the merchants of Ireland 'one tun (240 gallons) of wine from every ship importing from nine and 20 tuns of wine into Ireland'. This wine tax was knows as the 'Prisage of Wine' and helped to fund the building of Nenagh Castle.
Gaelic noblemen... More

13. Church Quarter Nenagh

(Kenyon Street, Glebe Lane)

The parish church, like the Franciscan Friary received the patronage of the O'Kennedys, the Gaelic Chieftains of North Tipperary. In the 18th Century this area had a distillery and malting house along with several inns.

Banal Bread
The French word for a medieval communal bread oven is 'Four Banal'. In medieval Nenagh... More

14. Orla the baker

The farmers market may be based in Quentin's way, but a key member of the market still sets up shop in the old market place down by Teach an Leinn at the bottom of Kenyon street. Orla is both a traditionalist and is old school as you might have guested! Her baking is well worth the detour - it is delicious.

15. Nenagh's food heritage

Peter Ward eloquently describes what makes Nenagh so special in terms of enjoying the fat of the land. As you approach the end of your tour, you'll be located on Kenyon street, home to some of the best food in Nenagh. We hope you've enjoyed the tour and will have an even better time sampling the local produce.

16. Head of the table

Caimin explains the hierarchy that took place at all medieval gatherings. The arrival of the Anglo-Normas in 1169 witnessed thhe introduction of new food to the Irish diet. The Butlers of Nenagh Castle were a French-speaking family who dined on birds such as cranes and swans to the abhorrence of the Gaelic chieftains.

In 1172, many of the Gaelic... More

17. Cattle

In such a lush and green landscape, we had to find out a bit more about the significance of cattle through the ages. In his last audio piece, Caimin tells us that these animals were very much a sign of status.

18. Farmer's market

Nenagh's farmers market occurs every Saturday between 10am and 3pm in Quentin's Way - which can be accessed via either Pearse street or Kenyon street. In our audio piece, we hear from the wonderful Doris who embodies the spirit of the market.

It's a lively, friendly, colourful and informal gathering where like-minded souls gather to catch up with... More