Clones (say "KLOH-niss") is a town in County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland, with a population of 1680 in 2016. It's in the north of the country, very close to the border with Northern Ireland which here twists and turns in unusual ways. Cluain Eois means "Eos' meadow" and "cluain" or clon- particularly indicates a dry place, a precious commodity hereabouts. It was virtually an island in the bog until the area was drained in the 19th century.
Get in Edit
1 Jubilee Road is the main bus stop in Clones. There's no direct bus from Dublin, travel via Cavan or Monaghan.
Local Link Bus 176 meanders from Cavan to Scotshouse, Clones, Threemilehouse and Monaghan, with 5 M-Sa.
By road from Dublin follow M1 to Dundalk then N53 / N2 to Monaghan then N54 to Clones; or you could follow M3 / A3 through Cavan.
From Belfast follow M1 to Portadown then A3 through Armagh to the border, then N12 and N54 through Monaghan.
Get around Edit
The town is small and easy to walk around. But frankly it won't occupy you for long, and you need wheels to explore the wider county.
Check your documents! Even a short excursion may carry you across the border into the United Kingdom. Then back to the Republic then back to the UK and so on - Drummully on N54 is the best example of the higgledy-piggledy border but other lanes north also criss-cross. The border (as of 2021) is unpatrolled but it's your responsibility to check that your personal and car documents are valid for both sides.
- 1 The Diamond is the town's main square, over the site of the abbey. What remains of the abbey are a richly-carved 10th century High Cross, a 9th century Round Tower (originally over 30 m tall but truncated to 22 m), and a sturdy carved sarcophagus supposedly holding St Tiernach himself.
- Clones Arts Centre at The Diamond is closed in early 2021.
- Sacred Heart Church (RC) north side of town was completed in 1895.
- Ulster Canal south side of town closed in 1931 and is just an overgrown gully. Work is under way to re-open it, perhaps by 2024: County Monaghan#See tells the story.
- 2 Drummully "Polyp" is a pene-exclave, a tract of the Republic that can only be reached by crossing Northern Ireland or by wading across the river. County Monaghan#Understand gives the background.
- Gaelic games: Monaghan GAA play Gaelic football and hurling at St Tiernach's Park, on Roslea Terrace 500 m north of town centre. With a capacity of 32,000 this is Ulster's principal GAA stadium (Casement Park in Belfast is derelict) so inter-province fixtures are played here.
- Peace Link[dead link] is a sports and fitness facility opposite the GAA stadium. Minimum membership is a month, they don't have pay-as-you-go activities.
- Cassandra Hand Centre on Abbey Lane puts on community events and may be able to help with local ancestry research.
- Clonkeen Lough has coarse fishing. It's 1 km south along R212.
- Golf: Clones Golf Club is 5 km south on R212. White tees 5901 m, par 71, visitor round €25.
- Clones Film Festival is in October, with the next on 21-24 Oct 2021. The town doesn't have a regular cinema.
- The main store is SuperValu, open daily 08:00-20:00.
- Ulster Canal Stores is in an old warehouse by the canal, along N54 southwest edge of town. It markets itself as a museum and restaurant but it's basically a retail outlet and gift shop, open Tu-F 09:00-17:00.
- Cuil Darach, 1 Fermanagh St, ☏ . This has a bar lounge, restaurant and accommodation in 12 rooms ensuite. B&B double €80.
- Fast food: there are pizza, Chinese and kebab places along the main strip.
- Eat other people: Alexander Pearce (1790-1824) the cannibal was born around Clones. In 1819 he was convicted of petty theft, transported to Tasmania (as it became), escaped, was re-captured and sent to Macquarie Harbour penal settlement on Sarah Island off Tasmania's west coast. While working on the harbour, Pearce and seven others escaped by stealing a yacht. But they had no food, and 15 days into the escape they began killing and eating each other. Pearce alone survived to reach farmland and joined a gang of sheep thieves, who were caught and Pearce was sent back to Macquarie Harbour. Within a year he escaped again, with another convict who he soon gobbled up, and he was still carrying some flesh when re-captured. "Man’s flesh is delicious. It tastes far better than fish or pork" were his last words before being hanged.
- Pubs include Diamond Tavern, Round Tower Bar and Adamson's.
- Creighton Hotel, Lower Fermanagh St, Clones H23 HH60, ☏ . Good central hotel with spacious comfy rooms. B&B double €100.
- 1 Hilton Park, Hilton Demesne, Scotshouse H23 C582 (off R212 by golf course), ☏ . Grand Italianate manor in lush countryside. In early 2021 they're only open for special events and don't offer B&B hotel stays.
As of May 2021, Clones has 4G from Eir and Three, and mobile coverage from Vodafone. 5G has not reached this area.
Go next Edit
- Monaghan has the county museum and a cathedral.
- Cavan Town is in the heart of the drumlin belt, with scenic lakes studded by islets.
- Lisnaskea in Northern Ireland is near Upper Lough Erne; Crom Estate has beautiful lakeside gardens.
- Enniskillen is between Upper and Lower Lough Erne. These are connected by navigable waterways to the Shannon, thence to Limerick, Dublin and Waterford.