Clonmel Governmental System, Corporation Property, Water Supply, Fire Brigade, Town Hall, Borough Cemetery, Loans, &c - Book of County Tipperary, 1889

About “The Book of County Tipperary,” 1889

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. The Book of County Tipperary is the first of these to be made available on libraryireland.com, with its own search page. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

To enjoy the rich variety of advertisements, confirm accuracy of the entries, or have a printed record of a family member, obtain an original or facsimile copy of The Book of County Tipperary.

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The charter granted by James I., and confirmed by William III., was the one in use down to the passage of the Act for the Reform of Irish Corporations, 1841–2. The James charter grants “to the Portrieve, Provost, burgesses and community of the town of Clonmel, the suburbs of same, and whole extent of land and water within the ancient limits in the counties of the liberties of Tipperary and Waterford, the right to be forever called the free borough of Clonmel.” It provides for “one body incorporate consisting of the mayor, two bailiffs, free burgesses and community.” In addition to the mayor and bailiffs there were to be seventeen free burgesses. The election of mayor was to take place yearly on the feast day of John the Baptist. Power is given to the mayor, with the consent of the burgesses, to appoint a deputy, who during his absence may exercise “all his powers.” Provision is also made for the appointment by the mayor and burgesses of “a proper man, learned in the laws, to be recorder,” a clerk of the Tholsel, one swordbearer, three sergeants of the mace, and other inferior officers, ministers, etc. The mayor and recorder were created justices of the peace. The Act of 1841–2 did away with the bailiffs and recorder. The Act for the watching, lighting and cleansing of Corporate towns, passed in 1828, was adopted by the Corporation. A Night Watch system was organized under this Act, and maintained until Clonmel came under the provisions of the Towns’ Improvement Act 1854–5. In 1856–7 the Constabulary took over the beat duty of the Night Watch, but after awhile gave it up and ever since have done patrol duty only. Clonmel continues to enjoy its Corporate rights as defined in 1841–2, the mayor, aldermen and councillors becoming, on occasion, the chairman and Town Commissioners. A Court of Conscience is held by the mayor every Wednesday for recovery of debts as high as £2. He sits on fair and market days to hear disputes, and presides at the Town Commissioners’ Court, and Borough Magistrates’ Court, every Wednesday. The mayor is now elected by the Council annually on 1st of December, and takes office on the 1st of January. Councillors are elected for three years and Aldermen for six years. An election is held annually on the 25th of November. Eldest sons, sons-in-law, and apprentices of freemen are admitted to freedom of the borough on application to mayor.

A handsome civic chain “was originated and presented to the Council in the name of the subscribers thereto, on the 23rd December, 1872, by Ald. H. O’Connell Hackett, Mayor.” The links are in the form of horse-shoes, fastened by shamrocks. In the centre there is a chaste enameled pendant, representing the arms of the town, with inscription. Each link, which costs about £5, is added annually at the close of the term of office. John Hackett was the first mayor after the passage of the Corporation Reform Act. His name appears upon a link with the date of the Mayoralty, 1843. The mayors represented by links from that time down to the present were: Dr. Edward Phelan, 1844–1847–1853; Ald. Charles Bianconi, 1845. He was an enterprising Italian, who made a fortune by establishing mail and passenger car services in the South of Ireland, with head-quarters at Clonmel. Dr. O’Brien Mahony, 1854; John Bagwell, M.P., 1857; Wm. L. Hackett, T.C.D., 1859–1862; Francis Ryan, 1861; Michael Guiry, 1863; Wm. L. Byrne, 1868; Thomas Cantwell, 1869; Ald. H. O’Connell Hackett, 1872. Four links record the Mayoralty years of Ald. Edward Cantwell, 1873–1874–1880–1881–2; Ald. E. Woods, 1875; Denis P. O’Mahony, 1878; Ald. Edward C. Hackett, 1883; Benjamin Wright, 1886; Edward Murphy, 1888. Ald. Thomas J. Condon. M.P., became Mayor in 1889. The salary is one hundred guineas.

Clonmel elected two members of the Irish Parliament down to the Legislative Union with Great Britain, 1801. It had one member in the Imperial Parliament from the Union until the disfranchisement of the borough by the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885. Arthur, Count Moore, was the last M.P.

In order to maintain the fortifications of Clonmel, and that the inhabitants might continue to perform “laudable services” tor the kings of England, the town and suburbs, and estates in the liberties of Tipperary and Waterford, were granted by charter to the Corporation. The Church livings within the jurisdiction were in its gift. From time to time the town property was deeded away, in what circumstances is not known, as the available books of the Corporation show no minutes of proceedings earlier than 1744. In 1889 the rental from the estates, consisting of 4,800 Irish acres, was only £570 6s. 8d.

The valuation of property within the borough in 1888, was £16,434. Of this amount £1,127 belonged to the Government. The rates struck for 1889 were, borough 2s. 6d., burial 2d., Towns Improvement 9d. in £. In 1879 the borough was separated from the county. Prior to that date the work of street cleaning, repairing, etc., was done by the county and paid for by Grand Jury presentments. In 1888 £726 was expended in repairs of streets, flagging, etc. For the same period £450 for lighting, cleansing and maintaining 167 public lamps.

All the streets have sewerage connection with a main which discharges into the river.

Water for domestic and all other purposes is procured from town pumps. In May, 1889, a motion by Mr. Peter Collins, T.C., to secure a high pressure water supply, was defeated at a meeting of the Corporation, by a vote of ten to four.

The men who are engaged in street cleaning, act as a Fire Brigade, with Mr. S. A. Brunicardi as superintendent. For such work they are paid one shilling per hour. A manual engine, by Merryweather, and a fire escape, are maintained by the Corporation. Water is procured from the pumps and the river.

Within ten years a considerable amount of money has been expended in substantial improvements by the Corporation. Among these was a handsome Town Hall, built in 1881. It is situated in Parnell-street, and cost £6,000. A borough cemetery (St. Patrick’s), for all denominations, containing eight statute acres, was opened in 1886. It is situated on the Carrick-on-Suir road, one mile, Irish, from town, and contains two handsome mortuary chapels. The total amount expended upon it was £3,300. At present the Corporation owes the Board of Works on foot of three loans a little over £9,000. Repayment is by instalment, with interest at 3½, 4 and 4½ per cent.

Book of County Tipperary

Find a copy of Bassett’s Book of County Tipperary