Carrick-on-Suir before and since the English Connection - 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, 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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Carrick-on-Suir is derived from the Irish equivalent for rock of the Suir. There are no records, or bardic allusions to indicate that this rock had in its vicinity a native town or village. The Danes are supposed to have had a fortified station here in connection with their encampments throughout the interior of the county. Where this was situated is a matter entirely of conjecture. Notice of Carrick-on-Suir, after the arrival of the English, is first made in the reference to an Augustinian monastery, founded in the twelfth century. The progress, if not the rise of the town, dates from the beginning of the reign of Edward I., who succeeded his father in 1274. Theobald Butler, a descendant of Theobald Walter, appointed Chief Butler, of Ireland by Henry II., about the time mentioned, received a grant of lands, including the town site.

Thenceforward the Butlers figure prominently in the history of Carrick-on-Suir and its suburb, Carrickbeg. In 1309 the castle was built, and in 1315 Edmond Butler, as a reward for services rendered during the invasion of Ireland by Edward Bruce, was created Earl of Carrick. This consisted in the suppression of a revolt, headed by the native chiefs of Wicklow. James, son of Edmond, became Earl of Ormonde, 1328, and received a grant of the Regality fees, and all other liberties in the County Tipperary, with confirmation as Chief Butler, etc. Carrick appears to have been incorporated since Edward I., for in 1344 the Provost and Community secured a charter from Edward III., providing for the collection of tolls to aid in the erection of a fortified wall around the town, and the construction of a stone bridge across the river.

Thomas, tenth Earl of Ormonde, in 1516, erected an Elizabethan mansion against the castle. For a period after his demise, the fortunes of the house of Ormonde were at a low ebb, until revived by the genius of his grandson, James Butler. In the war of 1641, waged by the Confederate Catholics for Civil and Religious Liberty, he was called from Carrick-on-Suir to the command of the English forces, which he held until 1649. Toward the end of the war circumstances brought about a union of the Confederate and Royal armies, under his leadership, against the Puritans, who had gained the upper hand in England.

Col. Reynolds, a Cromwellian, with twelve troops of horse and three troops of dragoons, took Carrick by stratagem in November, 1649. Before arriving in sight of the town he formed two independent bodies of his command. One was sent forward to engage the attention of the garrison, and while endeavouring to storm the walls, the other succeeded in reaching one of the gates, and in gaining an entrance unknown to all but the guards, who escaped over the river in boats. Cromwell, having been notified of the success of his lieutenant, marched the remainder of the army to Carrick, where he passed a night, continuing the way toward Waterford on the following day, leaving Col. Reynolds behind with “about 150 foot, his own six troops of horse, some troops of dragoons, with very little ammunition.” In an account of the entry of Col. Reynolds, by an English writer, it is stated that his dragoons massacred the garrison, sparing only about seventy Welshmen, who joined the Cromwellian ranks. Having received news of the fall of Carrick, the forces of Lord Ormonde, under Lords Inchiquin and Taaffe, endeavored to regain possession. They advanced to the gates, which they burned, but while encountering a great barricade composed of loose stones, they were pelted with stones from inside, and ultimately had to retreat with a loss of more than a thousand men. Lord Ormonde, failing to retrieve this great stroke of ill-luck, soon afterward joined Charles II. in France, and remained in exile until the Restoration, 1660. He was then raised to the rank of duke, reappointed viceroy, and his Irish rental increased from £7,000 to £80,000 a year.

With the return of fortune to the Duke of Ormonde came a period of prosperity for Carrick-on-Suir. Acting under his orders, in 1668, the rocks in the river, close to the castle, were blasted away, and vessels over twenty tons, enabled to enter the quays. In 1671, also by his orders, French merchants were encouraged to establish woollen industries, and the town gradually rose to considerable importance.

William III. in his march from the victory of the Boyne, 1690, camped on Carrick Green. In consideration of the friendly character of the reception accorded to him, he ordained that the inhabitants should have freedom from county taxes.