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Famous Carrick People

Carrrick-on-Suir has produced many famous people over the years, excelling in athletics, cycling and entertainment. We list only a few of them here:



Name: Mike Lynch
Hometown: Carrick-on-Suir
Background: Scientist and technology entrepreneur
Position: Founder of Autonomy
While in his youth, Mike Lynch's  parents, a fireman and a nurse, upped sticks and moved from Carrick-on-Suir to Essex. Lynch won a scholarship to the Bancroft private school in Surrey, where his interest in the sciences began. According to one source he was inspired by a chemistry teacher and decided at an early age that he wanted to do something useful, rather than just make money.

After Bancroft, he went on to Christs College in Cambridge where he initially read natural sciences. He worked during the summers at the telecoms company, Marconi. According to Lynch, those summers shaped his entrepreneurial spirit. "It was a very traditional structure and I remember thinking 'I don't want to do this for the rest of my life'."

He switched to a degree course in electrical engineering and went on to do a doctorate at Cambridge. He was a graduate student in 1991, with his PhD titled An Adaptive Approach to Connectionless Models, which was based on the 250-year-old theorems of Thomas Bayes.

Bayes, a Presbyterian minister and mathematician, had attempted to use probability to prove the existence of God, but the young Lynch took up his research, adapted it and set about finding commercial uses for the theorems. 



mdMaurice Davin who was born and lived in Carrick-on-Suir is one of the co-founders of the G.A.A. along with Cusack and Archbishop Croke. An outstanding athlete who won international fame in the 1870s and who was actively campaigning for a body to control Irish athletics from 1877. He gave his support to Cusack's campaign from the summer of 1884, presided at the foundation-meeting in Thurles and became GAA's first president and the only president to have two terms and to resign twice. Not actively involved after 1889, but many major games (including 1904 hurling final) were played on his farm. The G.A.A. centre in Carrick-on-Suir along with one of its clubs is called after Maurice.

For further information, please visit the Maurice Davin Wikipedia page.




Sean Kelly was consistently one of the top achievers in professional cycling for over 18 years. With his 22 Classic wins he is statistically the fourth most successful professional cyclist of all time behind Eddy Merckx (50), Bernard Hinault (29) and Jacques Anquetil (29).

Born on May 24, 1956, Sean Kelly was the dominant classics rider in the 1980’s. Kelly began his professional career in 1977. He won almost every important race on the calendar except the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the World Championship Road Race. Kelly was another complete rider who could sprint, time-trial and climb with the best, although he did have trouble in the heat and on the major climbs in the Tour de France.

Kelly was a rider’s rider, a professional’s professional. His record in the Tour de France of fifteen starts and twelve finishes attests to this. Kelly raced hard during entire racing calendar.

In addition to his record in the CyclingHallofFame.com designated races, he also won the Paris-Nice a record seven times, the Tour of Switzerland twice, and the Grand Prix de Nations, the then most prestigious time trial of the year, once. Kelly retired from professional competition in 1994.

For further information, visit the Sean Kelly Wikipedia page.





Clancy Brothers

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were the seminal Irish Ballad group and their influence has been central to the folk revival, in both Irish and American contexts, and the huge revival of interest in and performance of traditional Irish music throughout the world.

The group comprised of Paddy (1922-98), Tom (1923-90) and Liam Clancy, three of nine children, from Carrick-on Suir, Co. Tipperary and Tommy Makem of Keady, Co. Armagh. After a spell in the RAF during the Second World War, Pat and Tom emigrated to America in 1948, working first in Cleveland and eventually settling in New York. They worked at various jobs, always aspiring to be actors, eventually producing and acting in a very successful productions of "Othello" and of Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. Other plays were not quite as successful and in order to pay the theatre rent, they decided to put on midnight concerts in the Cherry Lane Theatre. Folk music interest was emerging and people who are now legendary, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, Jean Ritchie, Jack Elliott, Theo Bikel and Bob Dylan took part. Paddy and Tom also performed. Later, they teamed up with Lou Gordon to do a "Swopping Song Fair" at the Sheridan Square Theatre. These performances encouraged them to develop their Irish song repertoire and the popularity of the Irish songs gave Paddy the idea of putting out an LP on his own label, which he formed in l956 and called Tradition Records. Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem, met in Ireland while working with Diane Hamilton who came to Ireland to collect traditional songs, both emigrated to the United States in 1955. They became involved in acting but discovered they could make a better living singing at clubs. Paddy and Tom joined in whenever they could and the group, while not yet classed as a group, began to build popularity.

 The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem first were billed as such in 1956 when they performed at the Gate of Horn Club in Chicago and they became more widely known performing at fund-raising concerts for the Cherry Lane Theatre and at the Woodie Guthrie benefits. They first recorded in 1959, producing their LP "The Rising of the Moon" on Pat's Tradition Records. At this time the band began touring in the United States, especially in Chicago and New York and became well known for their performances in the Village Vanguard, the Village Gate and Gerde’s Folk City. At a very elegant uptown club, The Blue Angel, they were spotted for their first major exposure to a large American audience which came when they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1961 and it lead to widespread acclaim all over the United States.

For further information, please vist  'The Clancy Brothers' on Wikipedia.


Tom Kiely

The outstanding Irish-born personality of the early years of the Olympic Games was Tom Kiely, who won the all-round Championship, the forerunner of the Modern Decathlon, at the Games in St. Louis in 1904.

His victory was claimed by the United Kingdom or Great Britain but the Olympic historians Dr. Derenc Meso and David Guiney have now established beyond argument that Kiely was, in fact, representing Ireland and indeed paid his own expenses in travelling from Ireland to St. Louis.

Tom Kiely hailed from Ballyneale just outside Carrick-on-Suir and achieved his gold in 1904 becoming the first Olympic multi-event track champion for 16 centuries.
Tom Kiely's win in the Decathlon, then known as the "All-Around Championship" was noteworthy as all ten events were held on the same day.

The events were: 100yds, Shot Putt, High Jump 800yard walk, Hammer, Pole Vault, 120yards Hurdles, 56lbs Weight Throw, Long Jump, Mile.

For further information, please visit the Tom Kiely Wikipedia page.



Charles Bianconi was born in Tregolo, in the Duchy of Milan, Italy on 26th September 1785.  He came to Ireland in 1802 and was apprenticed to an Italian print-seller named Andrea Faroni in the Temple-bar area of Dublin. He travelled on foot around Ireland selling prints mostly in Munster and Leinster. In 1806 he set up a shop in Carrick-on-Suir, in a small lane opposite the Ormond Castle as a picture frame maker and gilder.  He supplied his shop in Carrick with gold leaf from Waterford, going down in Tom Morrissey’s boat to buy it. Carrick-on-Suir was thirteen miles from Waterford by road but was twenty-four by water due to the bends in the river. The departure time depended on the tide and took four to five hours to make the journey. At the age of 21 he moved to Waterford and sold his wares in Georges St. He made many influential friends, one of whom was Edmund Ignatius Rice, the founder of the Christian Brothers. Edmund helped him in his understanding of the English language.

In 1809 he moved to Clonmel and set up as a first class Carver and Guilder at No1 Gladstone Street.  It was on his frequent travels from Clonmel to Waterford, carrying four stone (twenty five Kg) of pictures on his back, that he realised the concept of coach travel. In 1840 he had one hundred coaches on the road, performing daily 3,800 miles, at an average charge of 1 ¼ d per mile for each passenger, and at a speed of up to nine miles an hour. At its peak there were one hundred cars, one hundred and forty stations, one hundred drivers, thirteen hundred horses providing cheap and regular transport between the main towns and cities. Hearn’s hotel in Clonmel, Anthony’s Inn in Piltown and Cummins Hotel on the Quay in Waterford (now the Granville Hotel) were Bianconi way stations. To this day in Carrick-on-Suir a number of stables and a cobbled floor are still intact and remain hidden behind a wall and an original  stone arch. As you walk down Oven Lane from the Main St they are on the first left lane before the Quay. Local historians claim that this was his first stable even though his first car run was in 1815 between Clonmel and Cahir in Co Tipperary.

Charles became a naturalised Irish citizen in 1831 and was the Mayor of Clonmel twice. In 1832 he married Eliza Hayes and they had on son, Charles and two daughters Kate and Mary Anne. In 1834 he invested a lot of money in railways because he knew they were the future and he still made a lot of money  bringing people to and from the railways. In 1835 he became a Director of the Waterford and Limerick Railway Co and in the same year he became a Director of Daniel O’Connell’s (The Liberator) newly founded National Bank; the first branch was opened on the present Bank of Ireland site on 28th January 1835 on Main St Carrick-on-Suir. He died in 1875 aged eighty-nine and a very wealthy man. He is buried in the family mortuary chapel in Boherlan, Cashel which he designed and partially constructed himself.


 Like to read more on Charles Bianconi? Read the Charles Bianconi Biography in book format.



Thomas Butler, 10th Earl of Ormond and 3rd Earl of Ossary,
Viscount of Thurles  (c. 1531 – 22 November 1614)

Thomas Butler, known as Thomás Dubh“ Black Tom “ was the son of James Butler, the 9th Earl of Ormond. His mother was Lady Joan Fitzgerald, the daughter of James, the 10th Earl of Desmond. In 1546 he acceded to the title. He was the first in his family to embrace Protestantism.

The Butlers (le Botiller) were a Hiberno-Norman family who arrived in Ireland in 1185.  In 1177 King Henry II conferred on Thomas Walter, 1st Baron Butler with the Butlership of Ireland, whereby he and his successors were to attend the Kings of England on their Coronation and on that day present them with their first cup of wine. Edmund Butler was the first Butler to arrive in Carrick and in 1309 he built a castle on the site of the present Ormond Castle, consisting of four towers and a central courtyard. He became the first Earl of Carrick in 1315. In 1322 his son James, who held the title Chief Butler of Ireland, became the First Earl of Ormond.

At that time Carrick-on-Suir was an island surrounded by water. It was not until the 18th century that small rivers were diverted to form dry land to the north and west of the town. A ferry was the only way to cross the River Suir and it landed on the Carrick side opposite Oven Lane.

The Old Bridge was built in 1447 by Sir Edmund MacRichard Butler and was for centuries the first bridge built above the estuary and was strategically important.  The bridge predates the voyage of Columbus to the New World.  In the battle of Piltown in 1462 Thomas, the 7th Earl of Desmond, heavily defeated an army led by Sir Edmond. The battle started in Piltown, then went southerly to Tybroughney and ended at Arclone. He lost 400 men and was captured. A ransom was later paid for his release.

Thomas was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth 1st through her mother Anne Boleyn and in the 1560sanneboleyn
he built an Elizabethan Tudor Manor onto the castle and hoped that the Queen would visit, but she never did.

On the first floor of the manor is a 100ft Long Gallery with two beautiful carved stone fireplaces and a ceiling and a frieze of Elizabethan plaster work. One of the fireplace mantles is inscribed with the date 1565. This room was once hung with tapestries. The manor is Ireland’s major unfortified dwelling from the 16th century.

James Butler, the 9th Earl of Ormond (1496-1546) was to have married Anne Boleyn but the plans ended in failure. Boleyn’s mother, Margaret was the daughter of the 7th Earl of Ormond and it is claimed that Anne Boleyn was born in the Castle during one of her mother’s visits. Anne Boleyn was the 2nd wife of  Henry 8th and was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536. She was beheaded in the Tower of London on 19th May 1536 mainly because she bore Henry no male heir and he wanted to marry Jane Seymour. Pope Clement VII had already excommunicated Henry because of his marriage to Anne, thus leading to the break away by the Church of England from Rome.

In 1559 Thomas married Elizabeth Berkley, but they separated in 1564 without having any children. His second marriage was to Elizabeth Sheffield in 1582 and they had three children, James (1583–1589),

Elizabeth (1593–1628) and Thomas (1601–1606). His third marriage was in 1601 to Hon Helen Barry and they had no children. His illegitimate son Piers FitzThomas Butler (1531-1601) married Catherine Fleming, the eldest daughter of Lord Slane before 1587. Their son Edward became Viscount Galmoye and the Sheriff of Kilkenny. There is a memorial to Piers in the Heritage Centre in Carrick-on-Suir.

During a battle in 1579 against forces led by Gerald Fitzgerald, 15th Earl of Desmond, the Crown forces led by Thomas overwhelmed Fitzgerald’s forces and Fitzgerald was forced to go on the run. He was captured in 1583 near Tralee and his head was sent to London where it was hung on London Bridge as a warning to would be traitors. This period is known in Irish history as the Desmond Rising.

In 1588 Thomas was invested with the most noble Order of the Garter which is the highest order that can be bestowed by the British Monarch and a rare title bestowed on an Irishman.

Thomás Dubh  “Black Tom” Butler died on 22nd November 1614 at the age of 82 and since he had no male heir the Earldom reverted in the male line, to his brother John Butler of Kilcash. He is buried in St Canice’s  in Kilkenny.

The castle was abandoned in 1688 and was taken over by the Office of Public Works in 1947, who subsequently conserved the building.

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Excellent site. Very informative and entertaining. Just goes to show what a diverse community and town Carrick is.