From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
CARRICK-on-SUIR, a market and post-town, and a parish, in the barony of IFFA and OFFA EAST, county of TIPPERARY, and province of MUNSTER, 13 miles (W. N. W.) from Waterford, and 78 ¼ (S. W. by S.) from Dublin; containing 7445 inhabitants, of which number, 6922 are in the town. This place formed part of the possessions of Theobald Butler, to whom were granted also the lands of Carrig-mac-Griffin, now Carrick-Beg, and whose grandson, Edmond, founded a castle here about the year 1309. The castle was, in 1336, granted by his son, James Butler, created Earl of Ormonde in 1328, to the Franciscan friary of Carrick-Beg, which he had founded; and continued to form part of the endowment of that house till about the year 1445, when, the brethren having suffered it to fall into ruin, a re-grant of it was purchased from them by Sir Edmond Butler Mac Richard, grandson of James, third Earl of Ormonde, who rebuilt both the castle and the bridge. A priory, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, was founded here at the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th century, for Canons Regular of the order of St. Augustine, by William de Cantell and Dionisia his wife, daughter of Thomas Fitz-Anthony; it was afterwards subject to the hospital of St. John de Acon, at London, and after the dissolution was granted to Thomas, Earl of Ormonde, in 1557, which grant was confirmed in 1562 by Queen Elizabeth, who also remitted the reserved rent. A castle was erected on the site of the priory by Thomas Duff, called Black Thomas, Earl of Ormonde. Here was also a nunnery for poor Clares, of which nothing more has been recorded. In 1500, the Earl granted a charter to the burgesses of the town, dated at Waterford.
The town is pleasantly situated on the north bank of the river Suir, which here forms a boundary between the counties of Tipperary and Waterford, and is connected by an ancient stone bridge with the suburb of Carrick-Beg, on the opposite side, in the county of Waterford. It consists of one long street extending in a direction from east to west, from which three smaller streets diverge on the north to the fair green, a spacious area surrounded by houses, and one on the south side to the river: the total number of houses, in 1831, was 1292. There are cavalry barracks for 8 officers and 148 non-commissioned officers and privates, with stabling for 52 horses; but they are now occupied by infantry. In 1670, the great Duke of Ormonde established the woollen manufacture here, which flourished till towards the close of the last century, but has since declined: at present there is only a very limited trade in ratteens of superior quality, which are made in the town and vicinity. There are some tanneries and breweries; but the chief trade is the sale of agricultural produce and of provisions, which are sent to Waterford for exportation, and to Clonmel for the supply of that town and neighbourhood.
The trade in corn and butter, the produce of the surrounding district, is stated in a petition to parliament, presented by the inhabitants in 1832, and praying for the privilege of sending a representative to the Imperial parliament, to amount at that time to £240,000, and previously to have exceeded £360,000 per annum. The river is not navigable for vessels of considerable burden farther than Fiddown, a few miles below the town, whence lighters are used for conveying the produce. The rail-road from Waterford to Limerick, if completed, will pass through the town. The market is on Saturday; and fairs are held on the first Thursday in every month for cattle and pigs. A constabulary police force is stationed in the town; and petty sessions are held here every alternate week: the manor court formerly held in the castle is discontinued.
The parish, which is exempt from county rates by grant of William III., comprises about 1600 statute acres, which, with the exception of about 32 acres of common, called Carrick green, where the fairs are held, are chiefly arable. The surrounding country is peculiarly beautiful, being part of the district or plain which, for its singular fertility, is called the "Golden Vale," throughout enlivened by the river Suir, the banks of which are embellished with the richest variety of scenery. The chief seats within the parish are Tinvane, the handsome residence of H. W. Briscoe, Esq.; the Cottage, of W. O'Donnell, Esq.; Deerpark Lodge, of — Haliday, Esq.; and Mount Richard, of J. Power, Esq.: and within a range of three or four miles are Curraghmore, the seat of the Marquess of Waterford; Besborough, of the Earl of Besborough; Coolnamuck, of Charles W. Wall, Esq.; and Castletown, of R. Cox, Esq.
The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Lismore, and in the patronage of the Marquess of Ormonde; the rectory is impropriate in W. H. Bradshaw, Esq. The tithes amount to £193. 16. 11., of which £129. 4. 7 ½. is payable to the impropriator, and £64. 12. 3 ½. to the vicar. The church is in ruins. The glebe-house was built by aid of a gift of £400 and a loan of £270 from the late Board of First Fruits: the glebe contains 3r. 3p. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising the parishes of St. Nicholas in Carrick-on-Suir, and Newtownlenan, in each of which there is a chapel. The chapel of this parish is a spacious and handsome building; the interior is well arranged, and the altar is embellished with a painting of the Crucifixion by a native artist. There are a monastery of the order of the Christian Brotherhood, and a convent of sisters of the order of the Presentation; to the former is attached a school of 250 boys and to the latter a school of 500 girls, aided by subscription; there are also seven private schools, in which are about 200 boys and 100 girls. Here are a fever hospital and a dispensary.
A poor-house for destitute persons of the R. C. religion is supported with a bequest of £2000 by Thomas and Richard Wadden, augmented with £30 per annum by James Sause, Esq., and a bequest of £400 by Mr. Kennedy: a few acres of land have also been bequeathed to it. A rent-charge of £10 was bequeathed to the Protestant poor by Mrs. Cook, about a century since. The castle is still a stately building, though much of it is in ruins; it was for many years the residence of the Ormonde family, and part of it has been converted into a private residence. There are some small remains of the ancient town walls. Carrick gives the title of Earl to a branch of the Butler family.
From a sad, comfortless childhood Giles Truelove developed into a reclusive and uncommunicative man whose sole passion was books. For so long they were the only meaning to his existence. But when fate eventually intervened to have the outside world intrude upon his life, he began to discover emotions that he never knew he had.
This is a story for the genuine booklover, penned by an Irish bookseller under the pseudonym of Ralph St. John Featherstonehaugh.
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