Roscrea - 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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Population, 2,801 in 1881.

Roscrea, in the parish of same name, barony of Ikerrin, is on the Great Southern and Western Railway, 77 miles, English, south-west from Dublin, and 19¼ miles north-east of Nenagh, by rail. The town occupies a site which is a continuation of a most pleasing irregularity of surface in the adjoining country. It has several streets that impress the stranger favorably, and it is worthy of notice that even in the poorest quarters there are good footways and many suggestions of thrift and cleanliness. Another peculiarity about Roscrea is that it seems to have a larger population than is disclosed by the census.

The land of the district which extends into the King’s and Queen’s Counties, is good for pasture and tillage, and is largely used for both. Oats, barley, and potatoes are the principal crops. The farmers give a great deal of attention to the raising of young stock, and the fattening of cattle and sheep. A general market for produce, including grain in the season, is held every Thursday under a patent. The rights belong to Mr. Geo. A. Franck, and are safeguarded by Mr. William Hunt, his weighmaster. There is a market also on Saturday for hay and straw, turnips, etc. This is favored by the women more than Thursday, and hence, is of much more value to the business people. A good fowl market is held on Thursday. The markets are held in Main-street, near its junction with Castle, Rosemary and Limerick-streets. Down to 1886 there was a large Market House in Main-street, which also served the purposes of a Court House. It was considered to be rather an obstruction, and was removed and a much smaller building, one storey high, erected on a part of the site. The expense was covered by subscription. At a public meeting in November, 1884, presided overby Mr. Stuart Purvis, Mr. J. P. Mason acting as secretary, it was decided to make an addition of four to the number of old fairs. Upon these no tolls are charged except for weighing, when required. For list of fairs, all good, see index.

The tax-paying residents of Roscrea seem to think that they can get along well enough without taking advantage of the provisions of the Towns Improvement Act. Street repairing, flagging of footways, etc., are attended to by the Grand Jury; and the Board of Guardians, meeting weekly at the workhouse, in town, is the local sanitary authority.

Sources of employment for the working classes include a tannery, malt house, one corn mill, one flour mill, one saw mill, and a mineral water factory. Fifty years ago the manufacture of coarse woollens gave occupation to over 100 weavers. This branch of industry is now represented by two weavers. Roscrea has for a long period preserved a reputation for brogue-making that attracts buyers from a distance of twenty miles. The masters have headquarters chiefly in Limerick-street. About fifty people earn a decent livelihood at brogue-making.