- Golden, County Tipperary
The village of Golden "(An Gabhailín)" is situated on the
River Suirin south west County Tipperary. It is located between Cashel and Tipperary Townon the N74 road and in older times was known as Goldenbridge.
The bridge at Golden, which straddles an island in the
River Suir, was the scene of an historical event of some significance in 1690, when King William II renewed, by letter in his own hand, the Royal Charter of the city of Cashel. This was an act of gratitude to the people of Cashel for the hospitality received by his followers following their attack on Limerick. The letter was preserved for posterity by the Borough of Cashel and its successors. There is a medieval castle on the island, now in a ruinous state, but which still retains a certain grandeur. Located in the castle ruins is a memorial sculptured bust of Thomas MacDonagh,(1878-1916) Tipperary-born poet and leader of the Easter Risingin 1916.
Augustinian Athassel Prioryis located south of the village. The abbey was founded by William FitzAdelm de Burgo (William de Burgh) in the last decades of the 1100s. It was once the largest abbey in Ireland and was surrounded by a small town named Athassel which was burned twice, in 1319 by Lord Maurice Fitzthomas and in 1419 by Bryan O'Brien. No fragment of the settlement survives today, though an aerial survey exposes to view, a faint tracery of old foundations close to the Abbey ruin.
Perhaps Golden's most famous son was Rev. Fr.
Theobold Mathew, OFM (Cap), who was born at Thomastown Castle, close to Golden on October, 10, 1790, though it is sometimes claimed that Rathclogheen House, in close proximity to the Castle was the place of his birth - that residence being part of the extensive family estate of the Mathews. Fr. Mathew was the best known Irish temperance reformer and founded the Abstinence Society in 1838 and became widely known as the "Apostle of Temperance". To mark the centenary of the foundation of the Society, a statue in his honour was raised at Thomastown Cross in 1938 and is a very visible landmark on the N74 road, west of Golden.
The village is located in the ancient parish of Relickmurry and is in the modern parish of Golden & Kilfeacle. Within the village confines, there are a number of commercial and retail enterprises, including three public houses. The Church of The Sacred Heart is a focal point in the village as is the local sportsfield, home to the local club of the
Gaelic Athletic Association, Golden-Kilfeacle, which once rejoiced in the more exotic name of the "Golden Fontenoys". There are two hamlets close by at Kilfeacle and Thomastown, the latter being an estate village which co-existed with the demesne of Thomastown Castle, home of the Mathew family, Earls of Llandaff.
The valley of the Suir in which Golden is located is fertile agricultural terrain and is part of an area known as "the
Golden Vale", renowned for the richness of the sub-soil which has a limestone base, eminently suitable for the raising of bloodstock. In 2002, the village had a population of 268 but it has been growing rapidly since then due to new housing development.
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