About Lorrha and Dorrha, Co Tipperary
Lorrha & Dorrha is a unique hidden secret at the heart of Ireland. Whether touring the ancient monastic sites of Lorrha village, enjoying the local hospitality in Rathcabbin, or visiting the historic castle and law school of Redwood, visitors will be treated to an experience unlike any other.
For those interested in history, Lorrha is a site unlike any other. In the east of the village, the remains of two 8th century High Crosses can be found next to the modern Church of Ireland, which is itself built on the site of an older church that dated from 1000AD. That in turn was built on St Ruadhan's Abbey, which dated from the 6th century. Just meters away sit the imposing remains of the Augustinian Abbey that was constructed more than 800 years ago, earthworks marking the site of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle, and an ancient holy well that supplied water to these sites. In the west of the village stand the magnificent remains of a 13th century Dominican Friary, sitting next to the modern Catholic church. Just a short distance from the village you can also find two Norman tower house castles, each over 800 years old. Lackeen Castle was a stronghold of the famous O'Kennedy chieftains, while Redwood Castle was the home to the MacEgans, one of the most famous legal and scholarly families of medieval Ireland. If that still isn't enough, you can always call in to our neighbours in Portumna and explore their great Heritage Trail, or head east to Birr and visit Birr Castle and Gardens.
If the natural world is more to your taste, a visit to Lorrha & Dorrha will certainly not leave you disappointed. The Shannon Callows, Brosna Callows and Redwood Bog are wonderful natural environments which are a haven for wildlife, as well as those that would like to observe it. Just outside Lorrha village you can also find the undisturbed beauty of Friar's Lough, long rumoured to hide a fearsome monster! Just south of Lorrha is a beautiful picnic area, while a visit to Rathcabbin village wouldn't be complete without a trip to the peaceful Sensory Garden beside Kelly's Last Chance Bar. If walks and bike rides through ancient Irish forests are more your thing, why not take a 10 minute drive down to Portumna Forest Park on the banks of Lough Derg.
Many would argue though that what really makes Lorrha & Dorrha unique are its people. Countless visitors to the area have had their trips enriched by a chance encounter with locals, always happy to take the time to pass on a little local knowledge, share a story, or even help them track down the home-place of an ancestor. This generosity and warmth is captured by the formation of the SCÉAL group from residents of Lorrha, Redwood, Rathcabbin and the surrounding areas. The region was hit incredibly hard by the country's economic difficulties, but its people have come together to bring this historic area back to life. A community shop and café was established, run by volunteers and supported by the entire community. It has already grown tremendously, and work has begun to include a full heritage and genealogy centre. Further projects have been undertaken by SCÉAL's volunteers that are benefiting locals and visitors alike.
Lorrha is best reached by car, and is within easy reach from most of Ireland – just two hours drive from Dublin and Cork, and just over an hour from both Galway and Shannon Airport. National coach services will regularly travel to Birr and Portumna, which are 15km and 10km from Lorrha respectively.