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Recounting the old Nenagh fair

Sunday, 3rd September, 2017 9:00am
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Recounting the old Nenagh fair

Local historian Damian O'Donoghue is working on a book about the old Nenagh Fair.

Local historian Damian O'Donoghue is asking the people of North Tipperary for anecdotes about the old Nenagh Fair for his new book on the topic.

“At this point I am looking into the human interest side of it as I have the bulk of the research done on the day to day goings on at the fair,” Damian explained of the book that he is working on.

“So any tales from the Fair days that people remember would be fantastic. I always find the oral history to be the most fascinating part of research.” 

Damian studied at the University of Limerick and is expanding his Masters dissertation to incorporate the oral history of the event. “Whilst I enjoyed studying the 19th Century Irish Church for my PhD, I have always wanted to come back to this area and create a fuller history of the Nenagh Fair,” he said. “So much of the town’s history was based around the fair and it was a huge part of life for people here.” 

Some amusing anecdotes have already been passed on to Damian, including one where “a bullock made a dash through a local shopkeeper’s front door and decided to go upstairs and have a look around”!

Damian’s path to studying History was unconventional. He is qualified as and was working as an Engineer before he decided to change career paths and begin to study history. “I enjoyed engineering and working in that area but my heart was never really in it so I decided to take a chance and apply for a History Masters because history and politics are areas I was always interested in,” he said. Having worked in the University of Limerick for years and studied different areas of history, it is the history of his own town that still interests him the most.

“Well when you walk the streets of a town every day, it is fascinating to think what it was like a hundred or two hundred years ago.” It was this thought that led him to research the Fair in the first place.  
“I had spoken to family members and locals such as Kevin Whelan who know the history of North Tipperary. I read books written by Donal and Nancy Murphy and I wanted to try and focus on just one area myself so I chose the Fair.”

Anyone with stories of the Nenagh Fair for the book is invited to email Damian at

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