A Walk Around Clones, County Monaghan


Updated On: March 19, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Clones is a town steeped in history and brimming with cultural richness in the verdant heartland of County Monaghan. Though modest, this Irish treasure offers a profound journey into Ireland’s multifaceted heritage, encapsulated within its ancient streets and idyllic countryside. Embarking on a walk around the town is not merely a stroll; it is an exploration of a town where every corner whispers tales from the past, every building holds a storied legacy, and every local greeting reveals the warm spirit of Irish hospitality.

The picturesque town of Clones, with its lush greenery and serene landscapes, represents the quintessential Irish rural experience. It harmoniously blends its historical significance with the tranquillity of its natural surroundings, creating a unique tapestry that appeals to history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a genuine taste of Irish culture and community.

As you meander through the town, the echoes of a rich past are evident in its ancient monuments and architectural marvels. From the majestic remnants of its monastic origins to the intricate beauty of its lacemaking legacy, it is a town where history is not just preserved but vibrantly alive.

This introductory walk through Clones, County Monaghan, aims to uncover the layers of charm hidden within this quaint town. We will delve into the historical depths of its religious and architectural heritage, explore the artistic finesse of its traditional crafts, and experience the natural and recreational havens that make Clones a place of peaceful retreat and cultural enrichment. Join us on this captivating journey as we discover the myriad facets of the town, a true hidden gem in Ireland’s crown.

A Walk Around Clones on a Winter Day – County Monaghan

The Historical Tapestry of Clones

The history of Clones is as layered as the landscape that surrounds it. Founded in the 6th century, the town originates from Saint Tighearnach, who established a monastery here. The remains of a round tower, a high cross, and several churches testify to the town’s early religious significance.

Walking through the town, visitors will notice the Clones Round Tower. Although partially in ruins, it stands as a symbol of the town’s ancient ecclesiastical heritage. The tower, dating back to the 9th century, is an architectural marvel of its time and offers a glimpse into the Ireland of yore.

Nearby, the 9th-century Clones High Cross, intricately carved with biblical scenes, fascinates historians and tourists. Its presence is a reminder of the town’s early Christian legacy and its role in spreading monasticism in Ireland.

Clones Lace: A Thread of Elegance


The town is also renowned for its lacemaking tradition, which flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries. Clones Lace, a delicate and ornate crochet, became a symbol of intricacy and skill that brought fame to this small town. Visitors can explore the town to find various establishments where this art form is still practised and taught, keeping the tradition alive.

Nature and Recreation

The town’s natural surroundings provide a perfect backdrop for leisure and recreation. The town is set amidst gentle hills and serene lakes, offering picturesque views and a peaceful ambience. The Ulster Canal, though no longer in commercial use, is a focal point for walks and cycling. Its tranquil waters and towpaths are ideal for those seeking a quiet retreat into nature.

Golf and Gaelic Games

For sports enthusiasts, Clones is in the heart of Irish golf and Gaelic games. With its challenging course, the Clones Golf Club offers golfers the chance to play in a beautiful and historic setting. Meanwhile, St. Tiarnach’s Park is a hub for Gaelic games, hosting exciting matches that draw crowds from across the region.

The Architecture of Clones: A Glimpse into the Past

A walk around Clones is also a journey through architectural time. The town is dotted with buildings of various styles and periods, each with its own story. The Diamond, the town’s central square, is surrounded by Georgian buildings that reflect the prosperity of the 18th century. Standing proudly in the square, the Market House was once the heart of commerce in the town and now symbolises its historical significance.

Clones in Modern Times

Clones Town, County Monaghan, Ireland – Ireland Attractions

Despite its rich history, the town is not trapped in the past. It is a town with a vibrant community and a forward-looking spirit. The town hosts various cultural events throughout the year, including music festivals and craft fairs, which reflect the town’s dynamic and creative energy.

Local Delights

No walk around Clones would be complete without experiencing the local culinary scene. The town boasts a variety of eateries and pubs where visitors can savour traditional Irish dishes and contemporary cuisine. From hearty stews and freshly baked bread to fine dining experiences, the town offers a taste for every palate.

The People of Clones

The natural charm of Clones, however, lies in its people. Known for their warmth and hospitality, the residents of Clones make every visitor feel welcome. Their stories, laughter, and friendly demeanour add a personal touch to the experience of exploring this quaint town.

Discovering the Hidden Treasures of County Monaghan

While a treasure in itself, Clones is surrounded by various attractions that add to the appeal of visiting this area of County Monaghan. Exploring beyond the town limits, visitors can discover different sites and activities that enrich their experience in this part of Ireland. Here are some notable attractions near Clones:

  1. Monaghan County Museum – Located in Monaghan, this award-winning museum offers insights into the county’s rich cultural and historical heritage. The museum’s exhibits include ancient artefacts, and it often hosts temporary exhibitions and educational programmes.
  2. Castle Leslie Estate – Situated in Glaslough, a short drive from Clones, Castle Leslie is one of Ireland’s most famous castle hotels. This stunning estate offers luxurious accommodations, equestrian activities, and a relaxing setting. Visitors can enjoy horseback riding, spa treatments, and fine dining in a historic ambience.
  3. Lough Muckno Leisure Park – Located in Castleblayney, Lough Muckno is a scenic parkland and lake that offers a range of outdoor activities. It’s a popular spot for fishing, walking, and golfing, with beautiful landscapes and peaceful surroundings.
  4. Ulster Canal Greenway – This developing project aims to create a walking and cycling path along the route of the old Ulster Canal, which passes through the Clones. The Greenway will provide a recreational space, connecting towns and communities along its route.
  5. Rally School Ireland – For those passionate about motorsports, Rally School Ireland near Monaghan offers a thrilling experience. Here, visitors can learn rally driving techniques or enjoy the adrenaline rush of being a passenger in a high-speed rally car.
  6. Crom Estate – A bit further afield but worth the visit, Crom Estate is one of Northern Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas. The estate boasts ancient woodland and historic buildings, including the Old Castle ruins and Crom Castle, alongside the serene Lough Erne.
  7. Cavan Burren Park – Located near Blacklion, this prehistoric park is a hidden gem with unique geological formations, ancient megalithic tombs, and fantastic walking trails. The park beautifully combines history, archaeology, and nature.
  8. Drum Heritage Centre – This centre, nestled in the village of Drum, offers an intimate look into the area’s local history and cultural heritage. It’s an ideal stop for those interested in learning about rural Irish life and history.
  9. Patrick Kavanagh Rural and Literary Resource Centre – In Inniskeen, the birthplace of poet Patrick Kavanagh, this centre celebrates his life and work. It’s a must-visit for literature enthusiasts keen to delve into the world of one of Ireland’s most renowned poets.
  10. The Bawn – Situated in Latton, The Bawn is a restored 18th-century agricultural outbuilding, now hosting a variety of cultural events, workshops, and exhibitions. It’s a cultural hub that captures the rural essence of the area.

Each of these attractions near Clones offers a unique experience, contributing to the rich tapestry of County Monaghan and its surroundings. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, sports, or culture, there’s something to suit every taste, just a stone’s throw from Clones.


A walk around Clones is more than just a stroll through a scenic Irish town. It is an immersive experience that connects one with history, culture, nature, and community. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, a sports enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful getaway, the town offers something for everyone. It is a town where the past and present coexist harmoniously, inviting visitors to explore its many facets and leave with cherished memories.

As you walk the streets of Clones, each step takes you on a journey through time, revealing the layers of history, culture, and beauty that make this town a hidden gem in the heart of County Monaghan.

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