Cashel 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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During the period when Ireland was divided into petty kingdoms, owing allegiance for federal purposes to the Monarch at Tara, Cashel was the seat of power for Munster, and was for centuries the residence of kings. St. Patrick, in the fifth century, came here after his conversions at Tara and Armagh, and successfully continued his labors. He held a synod in the reign of Aengus, assisted by Saints Ailbe and Declan. From that time down to the enthronement of Brian Boru as monarch of Ireland, much was done by the several kings of Munster, also called Kings of Cashel, in furtherance of Christianity. The elevation of Brian was the culmination of a rivalry for the monarchy of Ireland, maintained with the Hy. Nial race for two hundred years. It was claimed that St. Patrick had put a curse on Tara, and had promised that its rights should be transferred to Cashel. In 990, while still only King of Munster, Brian built a Royal Palace at Cashel, within the limits of the present city.

The English connection with Cashel began in 1172. Henry II., under a bull of Pope Adrian, given to him fourteen years previously, summoned a synod here with the view of effecting a conformity between the religious practices of England and Ireland. He had, on his arrival in the county that year, received a form of submission from the Lords of the Decies, and Donald More O’Brien, of Thomond. King Henry, while at Cashel, to secure the adhesion of the archbishop, made a grant to him of the city, and considerable landed estates in the barony. Meanwhile, Donald More O’Brien and the other chieftains retracted their avowals of allegiance, and in 1174 Strongbow marched from Leinster to Cashel to try conclusions with them. Conor, son of Roderick, King of Ireland, was on their side, and in a battle fought near Thurles, Strongbow was defeated, and compelled to retreat to Waterford. Cashel was destroyed by fire in 1179, but soon restored. It became a borough in 1216 by favor of Archbishop Donat O’Lonergan. Edward Bruce, who had been proclaimed King of Ireland at Downpatrick, 1315, came hither at the head of an army. He was accompanied by his brother, then King of Scotland, and camped at Cashel in the manner of the candidates for the monarchy before and after the time of St. Patrick. He was courteously received, but not favorably regarded. A Parliament was held at Cashel, in 1372. Gerald, eighth Earl of Kildare, made an attack on Cashel during the baronial feuds, 1495, and set fire to the cathedral. During the rebellion of Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, Cashel favored the Irish cause, but when O’Neill and O’Donnell fled the country in 1603, it surrendered to Lord Mountjoy, Lord Deputy under Elizabeth and James I.

In the war waged by the Confederate Catholics for civil and religious equality, Lord Inchiquin, commanding a division of the Royal troops, 6,500 strong, stormed the rock where the inhabitants had sought refuge, and took it. He was accused of having permitted a cold-blooded massacre, because of a refusal to contribute £3,000 and a month’s pay for his soldiers.

Many of the residents of Cashel were enrolled among the United Irishmen, but they did not participate in the Rebellion of 1798. There were also adherents here of the William Smith O’Brien movement in 1848. One of the leaders, Michael Doheny, author of The Felon’s Track, was a resident.