Kilkenny Castle: A Regal Encounter with History
- Ireland's Ancient East, Kilkenny, Things to do
- 22 March 2023
The Main Guard building in Clonmel, County Tipperary, has a rich history dating back to the seventeenth century when James Butler, Duke of Ormond, ruled over the palatinate. The Duke commissioned the construction of a new courthouse in the heart of Clonmel, which later became known as the Main Guard when it was repurposed as a barracks. The fine two-storey symmetrical building was designed with elements inspired by the renowned Sir Christopher Wren.
During the eighteenth century, the Clonmel Assizes were held in the Main Guard, with the most notable trial being that of Father Nicholas Sheehy, an anti-Penal Laws agitator who was eventually hanged, drawn, and quartered. In the early 19th century, the ground floor was converted into shops, but the building has recently undergone an award-winning restoration. The open arcade of sandstone columns has been restored to its former glory, making it a prominent feature of the streetscape once again.
Today, the Main Guard building offers visitors a fascinating exhibition and event space, showcasing the building's rich history and cultural significance. Overall, the Main Guard is a unique destination that offers a glimpse into Ireland's past while also being a significant part of the town's contemporary landscape.