Thurles Town Government, Churches, Convents, College, Christian Brothers - 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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In 1861, by memorial to the Lord Lieutenant, Thurles was permitted to take advantage of the Towns Improvement Act, 1854. Twelve Commissioners are elected, each holding office for three years. Previous to 1885 the streets were repaired by the Grand Jury. In that year the work was undertaken by the Town Commissioners. In 1886 rates were struck of 1s. in £ on buildings, and 3d. on land for town purposes, and 2s. in £ on buildings, and 9d. on land for repairs of roads, bridges, etc., in lieu of county cess. This rating continues. The Town Commissioners have been constituted the sanitary authority. While under the control of the Grand Jury, and during the time of the public works, 1846–7, the streets were nearly all sewered. Of £1,600 borrowed by the Commissioners from the Board of Works, £1,400 was spent on flagging of footways. The water supply is procured from street-pumps, and a well near the eastern bank of the river.

The Catholic Cathedral of the diocese of Cashel is situated at the eastern side of the town, a short distance from the bridge. The front consists of a highly ornamented gable, to which is attached at one side a large tower, and at the other a structure with a beautiful dome. The distance from the street is sufficient to give full effect to the architectural merits of the building. There are three richly sculptured door-ways in the gable, approached by a broad flight of stone steps. The interior is in keeping with the exterior, dignified in style and harmonious in detail. Six arches at each side resting on massive pillars, divide the nave from the aisles. Nine arches, springing from marble columns of different colors, support the choir. The high altar is a very fine work in many colored marbles, surmounted by a gilded dome. The altars of the Virgin and St. Joseph are also worthy of note, as are the pulpit—white marble and Caen stone, with figures sculptured in relief—and the Stations of the Cross. The organ loft is supported on three arches springing from six columns, and has a chaste marble rail. In the apse alone there are twenty-one stained windows, and many others in the aisles, commemorate former residents of the parish or diocese. To describe this cathedral as it deserves would require a great deal more space than I can afford to devote to the subject. Vincent Wallace, the musical composer, was at one time organist here. The site of the cathedral was originally occupied by the Carmelite monastery. Archbishop Croke’s residence occupies enclosed grounds next to the Cathedral.

The Protestant church stands in the old church-yard at the eastern side of town, and is of good size with battlemented pinnacled tower and spire. The interior is plain, and has modern seatings in pitch pine. One stained window in the chancel was erected by Maud Herbert Maher to the memory of her mother, 1882. A handsome baptismal font, Caen stone and marble, was presented by W. H. Maher, 1877. The oldest discernible date is that on a monument to Ellen Purcell, 1681, and the most interesting tomb is at the eastern end of the church, outside. There are effigies of a Knight and lady on the slab, which is supported on fourteen figures.

The Methodist church is situated at the western side of town. It is a plain edifice dating from 1848.

The Presentation Convent stands to the right of the cathedral, in Cathedral-street. It was founded in 1817. The work of the sisters, of whom there are 35 in community, includes the teaching of a national School of 600 children, males and females, and of an industrial school certified for 45 girls. About 300 of the extern children are partly fed and clothed. Thirteen acres of land belonging to the convent, among other purposes serves for the training of dairymaids.

The Ursuline Convent stands to the left of the cathedral, in Cathedral-street. It was founded in 1789. There are over 50 sisters in community. The duties include the teaching of ladies’ boarding and day schools, and a school of about 60 poor children, who are partly fed and clothed. Attached to the convent is a garden beautifully laid out.

St. Patrick’s College is a large handsome building in a tastefully planted park of considerable area. It faces the cathedral from the end of a long straight avenue. The students in it at the beginning of 1889 numbered over 100, of whom 20 were boarded outside. Only those preparing for the priesthood are admitted.

The School and Convent of the Christian Brothers are entered from Gaol-street. About 400 boys are taught. There is a good play ground in front, and a handsome garden in the rere. Rev. Bro. Thomas J. Nugent is superior.

Book of County Tipperary

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