02. Graiguenamanagh-Tinnahinch in Context

Closeddate_range20 Nov, 2020, 9:00am - 25 Jan, 2021, 5:00pm


2.0 Graiguenamanagh-Tinnahinch in Context


The settlement of Graiguenamanagh-Tinnahinch is situated on the River Barrow in the steep sided valley between Brandon Hill in County Kilkenny and Mount Leinster in County Carlow. It is a rich cultural town located 16km from Thomastown, 33km from Kilkenny City, 40km from Carlow, 19km from New Ross and 41km from Waterford City. The settlement also occupies a bridging point at George Semple Bridge, where the River Duiske enters the River Barrow, which divides Tinnahinch from Graiguenamanagh, and which is a superb amenity for boating, fishing and recreational pursuits.

2.2.1 Graiguenamanagh

The name Graiguenamanagh (Graig na Manach) means ‘Grange (Valley or Village) of the Monks’. The town has a rich heritage dating back to the founding of Duiske Abbey in 1204. The area itself has remains of settlements dating from thousands of years earlier.

It is believed that the Abbey takes its name from the Duiske or Black Water that cascades from Brandon Hill into the River Barrow. Duiske Abbey is a fully restored Cistercian church, reputedly the longest in Ireland (approx. 70m). Duiske is the daughter house of Stanley, situated in Wiltshire. As with many other monastic sites in Ireland, the Abbey was dissolved in 1536 by Henry VIII.

The Abbey prospered with the establishment of a nearby mill and the export of wool. The trade flourished with the arrival of Flemish weavers in the 1600s. One of their descendents, Mr. Cushen, established the Cushendale Woolen Mills in the 1800s, featuring traditional colourful textiles in natural fibres.

Graiguenamanagh expanded beyond the Abbey as a market town, aided by the development of the Grand Canal and the navigation of the River Barrow, which ultimately connected the town with Dublin, New Ross, Waterford and Carlow. The production of wool was historically important to the town’s economy and sheep rearing remains a predominant agricultural activity in the hinterland.   

2.2.2 Tinnahinch

The name Tinnahinch (Tighe-na-hinse) means ‘the House of the Island or River Meadow’. Whilst Graiguenamanagh can trace its earliest origins to the Duiske Abbey, Tinnahinch is a comparatively new settlement, with the exception of the area associated with the use of the River Barrow and the main approach roads.  

Tinnahinch is home to a castle dating from 1615, and although now in ruins, it occupies a picturesque location on the banks of the River Barrow.  The castle was built by James Butler Duke of Ormonde to defend and control passage across the River Barrow at a point where a wooden bridge once existed.  He lost his castle and his lands after joining the Confederate War in 1641, and the castle was subsequently burnt and has remained in ruins since 1700. 

The George Semple Bridge, built between 1764 to 1767, forms an attractive landmark linking Tinnahinch with Graiguenamanagh.  The bridge is of additional importance in the locality for the associations with the 1798 Rebellion when some of the arches were destroyed by a Crown Force-initiated explosion to prevent access across the River Barrow from County Carlow to County Kilkenny.

2.3 Settlement Development

The settlement of Graiguenamanagh-Tinnahinch is renowned for its heritage and tourist attractions which has now evolved the settlement into an attractive tourist destination. Kilkenny LECP, a statutory document, acknowledged that the tourism industry in Graiguenamanagh-Tinnahinch has remained somewhat undeveloped. The LECP provided for the adoption of a tourism study namely ‘Graiguenamanagh/Tinnahinch Tourism and Recreational Project Concept Study’ to set out goals and objectives for the development of the tourism industry. This study sets out a number of goals and objectives for the settlement which have been provided for as objectives within this Plan to give a statutory context and ensure they are accomplished.