History of Tipperary Town

Tipperary town is a small 19th century market town, begun as an Anglo-Norman settlement (you can still see the motte and bailey built by the Normans). The town grew around a castle built by King John near the end of the 12th Century. It is located in the heart of the Golden Vale, a rich, lush agricultural area that is perfect for dairy farming - a "land flowing with milk and honey"! (Exodus 3:17) Irish readers might be familiar with Golden Vale cheese. The name of the town and county derives from the Irish 'Tiobrad Arann' meaning the 'Well of Ara'. This ancient sacred well is now closed but it was located just off Main Street. I had wondered if it had anything to do with Churchwell, where we meet, but I don't think so. There is a little fountain there but it is of more recent origin (see picture near the end of our home page). It was built by Stafford O'Brien in 1833. 'Ara' is the name of the attractive river that runs through the town. Although it is a relatively small town (population about 5000), it may well be the most famous town in Ireland. I remember stumbling on Radio Moscow as a teenager and hearing the Soviet Red army singing "It's a long way to Tipperary". Another reference to Tipperary town is the Johnny Cash song "Forty Shades of Green" where he mentions missing the "girl from Tipperary town". Many think that this is an old ballad but it's not. It was written by Johnny Cash - who incidently has recorded a lot of gospel songs. The town has changed and improved a lot in recent years. There is a sports centre with a 25 metre public swimming pool and the Excel Heritage Centre which includes a cinema, theatre, tourist information centre, cafe etc. Another famous town, Cashel (where the Rock of Cashel is located), is just a few miles way. Just south of the town is the beautiful Glen of Aherlow and the Galtee mountains, the highest inland range in Ireland. Other popular attractions are the nearby Cahir castle (where part of Excaliber was filmed) and Mitchelstown caves. Further afield in North Tipperary are the villages of Killoscully and Ballinahinch where the Irish TV comedy series Killinaskully is filmed.

Tipperary Christian Fellowship

Tipperary Christian Fellowship has its origins in the late 70's. At that time, many people around the country started reading the Bible and forming little fellowships based on the New Testament pattern. They didn't want to be identified with the 'cults' (they agreed with the historical creeds on the Trinity etc) but at the same time, they felt that the mainline denominations had drifted away from the simple gospel and the pattern of church life shown in the New Testament. Of course, this movement soon saw that they had much in common with Christian groups in other places and many of these groups now have contacts with 'evangelical' churches in Ireland and across the world. There is a useful and informative book for anyone interested in the Irish evangelical scene. It is called Evangelicals in Ireland by Robert Dunlop (The Columba Press). Not everyone likes the term 'evangelical' because of the baggage that sometimes goes with it but it's hard to avoid. Initially, the Tipperary Christians went into a group in Limerick (26 miles away) but soon started meeting in the town itself. Through the years we have had help from various others in Limerick and Clonmel and some Christians who have settled in the regions have come along. Then, of course, people leave us as well to move on to other places. At present, we get around 15-20 meeting on a Sunday morning - including children - so it's more like a house group or a Bible Study than a normal church. It's smaller than we'd like but nowadays a lot of bigger churches find it necessary to divide into smaller groups so that people can get to know each other. There are a number of other fellowships meeting around the county. We sometimes pop along to events that they run or perhaps visit the Limerick churches for fellowship.

Do feel free to drop in and visit sometime. If you have any questions, email us at paul@tippfellowship.org.