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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Kilkenny County > Thomastown
Thomastown (Irish: Baile Mhic Andáin) is a town in County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in the south-east of Ireland. It is situated situated at a bridging point on the River Nore 17 kilometres (11 mi) from the city of Kilkenny. It has a population of 1,837 (2006 Census) making the town the biggest in the county outside of Kilkenny. The N9 Dublin–Waterford road passes through Thomastown, the town is serviced by buses and has a railway station.

It was founded in the 13th century on an important crossing point by a Norman Thomas FitzAnthony. It was a small medieval walled town. Mills, powered by the waters of the River Nore was the principal industry in the town until the early 1960s, some of the building are now in use such as a Craft School.

Visitor attractions include Jerpoint Abbey, Kilfane Glen gardens, and Mount Juliet Golf Course. It is a lively market town along a stretch in the River Nore which is known for its salmon and trout. A bronze statue of Ollie Walsh, a famous Thomastown hurler, stands in Mill Street.

History
Thomastown was founded in the 13th century by Thomas FitzAnthony, a Welsh mercenary of the 1169 Norman occupation. Thomas FitzAnthony was the Governor of Leinster in the 13th century. He built fortifications at Thomastown, fragments of which can still be seen today, together with nearby Grenan Castle, now ruined.

Thomastown was called Grennan until the 11th century, when it was renamed after Seneschal Thomas FitzAnthony Walsh, of Leinster. Of his castle and the town's walls, the only remains are the towers near each end of the bridge and debris from a 13th century church, dedicated to St Mary. The 12th century Jerpoint Abbey is located near the town.

Local tradition holds that the remains of Saint Nicholas, the 3rd century Anatolian bishop, lie in the vicinity of Thomastown. A grave slab with the carved heads of three people, at the ruined Church of St. Nicholas, the church, and other stones are virtually all that remains of the medieval village of Newtown Jerpoint which fell to ruin by the 17th century. The village of Newton was adjacent to Jerpoint Abbey, founded in 1183. The abbey had its own gardens, watermills, cemetery, granary, and kitchens, and was home to a group of Irish-Norman Crusaders in the Middle Ages. It was dissolved in 1540. The legend refers to a band of Irish-Norman knights from Jerpoint, who travelled to the Holy Land to take part in the Crusades. On their return to County Kilkenny, it is said they brought St. Nicholas' remains.

At the time of the Norman Invasion, in 1172, a wooden fortress in the Kilkenny area was built by "Strongbow" (Richard de Clare), which later became Kilkenny Castle.


Sport
A bronze statue of Ollie Walsh, a famous Thomastown hurler, stands in Mill Street. Dysart Castle close to Thomastown is reputed to have been the birthplace of the influential Irish philosopher Bishop George Berkeley. Tom Walsh played hurling with his local club GAA Thomastown and with the Kilkenny senior inter-county team in the 1960s. Monsignor Tommy Maher played hurling with his local club Thomastown and with the Kilkenny senior inter-county team in the 1940s and coached Kilkenny to seven senior All-Ireland titles between 1957 and 1978.
 
 
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Thomastown
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Thomastown
In: Kilkenny
People: 10,000
Speak: English
Type: Market Town
GPS: -7.140427, 52.52207