Tipperary, Ireland's largest inland county, has a rich history and traditions, as well as varied landscape - mountains, plain, hills and river valleys. The Galtee Mountains lie in the north, as well as the Knockmealdowns and the isolated Slievenamon, while in the south, the highest point is Keeper Hill. The middle of the county is occupied by a broad plain, the Golden Vale, that extends to the west into Co. Limerick. The most famous of Tipperary's hills is the Devil's Bit; the Devil is said to have taken a bite out of it while riding over Ireland, and to have spit it in the form of what is now the Rock of Cashel. The River Shannon flows through Tipperary and Lough Dergh is the biggest of its three lakes.
The Rock of Cashel is actually a very important historical site, including: the Hall of the Vicars Choral (with St. Patrick's High Cross), an Anglo-Norman cathedral, a round tower - the oldest in the complex, and Cormack's Chapel. The Rock was the seat of the Kings of Munster until the time of Brian Boru, and the abundance of castles and ruined towers in the entire area show its importance as trading route and royal home. The Rock is used even today for music and dance competitions. The town of Cashel has great restaurants and pubs, and good accomodation. A Heritage Centre can be found here, as well as many mediaeval buildings.
South of Cashel, there's the famous Rockwell College, built on the former estates of Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork. St. Patrick's Chapel here has wonderful stained glass windows and a tower.
Clonmel, on the border with Co. Waterford, is one of the largest towns in the country, with a thriving economy. Bulmer's Cider (Magner's in the U.S.) is brewed here, from the juice of 17 different varieties of apples. Clonmel enjoys the presence of a student population (due to the recently-opened Institute of Technology), and also of a variety of hotels and nightclubs, two race tracks (for both horses and greyhounds) and pubs - from the main-city type to the traditional ones. The South Tipperary Arts Centre has a visual arts gallery and a café and runs literary and musical events all year-round. St. Mary's Church in Clonmel, a 13th century church extensively repaired in the 15th century, is known for its unusual multisided tower. While in Clonmel, St. Patrick's Well site nearby is also worth a visit; it includes an early church ruin and an older cross, and the spring waters are said to cure many disorders.
Thurles has a long hurling tradition, and every summer major GAA games are held, among which the Munster Hurling Final. Festivals and traditional music sessions make the town come alive all summer long.
Tipperary has a lot of other archaeological sites of interest - at Cahir, Carrick on Suir, Kilcooley, to name just a few. Cahir Castle is considered to be the finest and easiest to defend 15th century castle. Cahir Abbey dates from 1220, and its choir and tower still survive. At Carrick on Suir, the tourist may visit the finest example of an Elizabethan mansion in the country, as well as some remnants of a 14th century Franciscan Abbey at Saint Molleran's Parish Church. The Cistercian Abbey at Kilcooley has a magnificent stained glass window and excellent stonework.
Tipperary has to offer a range of outdoor activities: angling (on the river Suir), cycling, as well as walks in various forest parks (Bansha Wood) and open farms (Clogheen, Clonmel).