Suir Navigation, Markets and Fairs, Social and Benevolent Organizations, &c - 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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In the Carrick-on-Suir department full particulars are given concerning the navigation of the Suir. A considerable trade is carried on in flat-bottomed boats between Clonmel and Waterford.

Although the Charter of James I. gave the Corporation power to hold two markets every week, Tuesday and Saturday, what may be called a general market has come to be held only on Saturday. An enclosed and covered market for butter dating from 1817, is held in Market-street. The local buyers are reinforced by competitors from Waterford. During the season the supply averages about 500 casks per week, upon which a toll is collected of 3d. per cask. After a specified hour a charge of 6d. per cask is made. The other markets are all toll-free. Lump-butter, corn, fowl, etc., are sold in the Main-street. The potato market is in New-street. Mr. Henry M‘Carthy has a weighing machine here for the use of which he charges at the rate of 1d. per bag. Hay and straw are sold at the Mall.

Clonmel is famous for its fairs, held on the first Wednesday of every month for horses, cattle and sheep, and on the first Monday of every month for pigs. Half-yearly fairs (old) are held on the 5th of May and 5th of November. In these months the regular monthly fairs are not held. The monthly horse fairs were established in 1824. Sales in all departments are made on the streets free of toll.

Clonmel Literary Institute was originally established in 1842, for the purpose of giving the operative classes of the town and neighbourhood an opportunity to become acquainted with the arts, sciences, and general literature by means of a library, reading room, schools, and suitable periodical lectures. In furtherance of this object a fund was established by public subscription, and a building erected during the mayoralty of Charles Bianconi, 1845. In 1878 it became the Clonmel Literary Institute, for the reason that it had not succeeded in thoroughly interesting the mechanics. Trades’ societies still meet here, and individual mechanics have the use of the reading-room and library upon a payment of one shilling and sixpence per quarter; apprentices one shilling. The library contains over 4,000 volumes. The Mayor for the time being is president of the Institute, Mr. Benjamin Fayle, J.P., treasurer, and Mr. Thomas Hassett, secretary. Connected with it is a School of Art, under the authority of the Department of Science and Art, and conducted by Mr. Sl. J. Murphy, Art Master at Waterford. In December, 1888, there were forty pupils. The Lecture Hall of the Institute has a seating capacity of 600. A night school is taught by Mr. William Mahony, who has about thirty pupils. The expenses of this are partly met from the interest of money left by the late Mr. Rt. Grubb. Altogether, the Institute has about 120 members. Access to the reading room alone costs twelve shillings a year, and to the library alone ten shillings.

St. Joseph’s Industrial School is situated at Ferrybank, on the River Suir, two miles, Irish, from town. It was established in 1880, and in 1889 had 150 boys under sixteen years of age. These boys receive a good common school education, and are taught useful trades by competent instructors. The industrial department is divided into shops, where tailoring, boot-making and carpentry are carried on. A knitting factory is one of the features. This contains six machines and two winders, and was got up specially to keep the smaller boys warm in cold weather. Forty-six of them are occupied here. The manufactures include Jerseys, caps, mufflers, trousers and mats. Baking is also taught. The institution which owes its origin to the munificence of Arthur, Count Moore, has attached 32 acres of land. A portion of this is tastefully laid out in gardens, and the rest farmed. About 30 boys find occupation in the cultivation of the land. The Rev. Timothy Buckley is manager.

The Clonmel Young Men’s Christian Association was established about forty years ago. It occupies a building in Duncan-street, which was used as the Chamber of Commerce down to 1840. About 156 members, senior and junior, are in good standing. The seniors pay an annual subscription of ten shillings and the juniors six shillings. A library of about 800 books, reading and recreation rooms, and during the winter months, entertainments consisting of readings, music and lectures, are among the attractive features. Rev. Canon Warren is clerical president, Mr. Thomas C. Grubb, lay president, Mr. Thomas Hassett, treasurer, and Mr. Robert H. Gordon lay secretary.

The Catholic Young Men’s Society of SS. Peter and Paul’s was established over twenty years ago. It has about 100 members who pay an annual subscription each of ten shillings. The home of the society is at the corner of Market-street and Richmond-street. There are reading and billiard rooms, and in the winter months, musical and dramatic entertainments are given by the members. The Rev. John Curran, C.C., is president, Messrs. J. Condon, John Kenny, Thomas J. Condon, M.P., and James White, vice-presidents, Mr. James J. Walsh, secretary, Mr. G. Britton, assistant secretary, and Mr. Thomas Fitzgibbon, treasurer.

There are two branches of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. This is a charitable organization, the influence of which is to prevent families from breaking up in times of distress. The Rev. Timothy O’Connell, P.P., is spiritual director of the branch in St. Mary’s parish, Mr. John Kennedy, secretary, and Mr. Charles Byrne, president and treasurer. In the parish of SS. Peter and Paul’s the Rev. John Curran, C.C., is spiritual director, Mr. Arthur St. George, sol., president, Mr. Thos. Brett, secretary, and Mr. John Tobin, treasurer.

The Clonmel Horticultural Society was established in 1885, and the first chrysanthemum and fruit show held at the Court House in November of the same year. In 1886 and 1887 the society took first prizes at the shows of the Royal Agricultural Society of Ireland. Mr. Thos. Phelan, of Spring Garden, is secretary. Down to 1888 the amount received for admission to the shows had proved sufficient to cover all expenses.

The Tipperary County Club occupies a substantial building at the Mall. It was founded in 1836, and has a present membership of 106. The annual subscription is four guineas, and the entrance fee four guineas. The house belongs to the club, a building fund having been raised by the issue of £50 debentures, some of which are still in existence. There are four bed-rooms, dining-room, billiard-room, etc. Management devolves upon a committee of twenty-one members under the chairmanship of Lord Lismore. Capt. Villiers Morton, J.P., is honorary secretary, and the Bank of Ireland, treasurer.

The Donaghmore Club occupies premises in Nelson-street. It was established in 1845, and has 60 members. The annual subscription is £2. It has reading and billiard-rooms.

The Catholic National Club succeeded the Catholic Club, which had succeeded the long established Liberal Club. In February, 1889, the rooms were over the West Gate. The chief features are reading and billiard-rooms. About 80 members pay an annual subscription each of £1. Rev. P. F. Flynn, C.C., was then president, Messrs. John Russell and Thomas J. Condon, M.P., vice presidents, Mr. Francis Woods, secretary, and Mr. David O’Connor, treasurer.

The Clonmel Rowing Club has been in existence for eighteen years. It now has about 150 members. Seniors pay an annual subscription of £1, and juniors 10s. The boat house is a sightly wooden building on one of the islands of the Suir below the Convent Bridge. This is laid out tastefully and well provided with seats. Twenty pleasure boats, a dozen boats for racing and twenty canoes, are maintained. Mr. Gerald Fitzgerald is president, Messrs. Michael Ryan, J.P., E. O’Donoghue, D. Fetherston, and D. J. Clancy, sol., vice-presidents, Mr. Timothy Beary, C.E., captain, Mr. Thomas Foley, secretary, and Mr. James Quinlan, treasurer. There is a gymnasium in connection with the club, sustained by about 60 members, who pay an extra subscription of 5s. It is in Market-street, and is called the Gymnasium Club. Mr. Thomas Fell is secretary. A regatta and athletic sports are held under the auspices of the Rowing Club annually in August.

The Clonmel Bicycle Club was established in 1887. Mr. E. O’Donoghue is president, Mr. Joseph Coffey, captain, Mr. Joseph Fegan, secretary, and Mr. Matt Purcell, treasurer. About 35 members pay an annual subscription each of 10s. The roads around Clonmel are excellent.

The Clonmel Amateur Dramatic Corps was established in 1888. It has about 30 members, and the annual subscription is 6s. Mr. Alexander Good is secretary, and Mr. Joseph Coffey, treasurer. In December, 1888, the first performance was given.

The Clonmel Branch, Gaelic Athletic Association, was established in 1886. There are 80 members. Mr. Thomas J. Condon, M.P., is president, Mr. Maurice Power is captain, Mr. William Prendergast, formerly secretary of the G. A. A. for all Ireland, is secretary, and Mr. John Russell, treasurer. The first tournament was held in the drill field, 15th May, 1887. It is estimated that the attendance numbered over 12,000. Mr. Thomas Tobin is president, and Mr. Darmody, secretary of The Commercials of Clonmel. At a distance of one mile, Irish, from Clonmel, are the head-quarters of the Powerstown and Lisronagh G. A. A. (Mandeville Club). It was established in 1888, and has about 200 members. Rev. Andrew Condon, C.C., is president, Mr. John Harney, captain, Mr. Prendergast, secretary, and Mr. P. O’Brien, treasurer.

The Ancient Order of Foresters, Court Shamrock, No. 5,254 was established in 1868. Mr. Walter Brennan is secretary, and Mr. Joseph Delany treasurer. Forty members pay from 6d. to 8d. per week, and when ill have free medical attendance and 12s. per week each.

The National Foresters (C. J. Kickham Branch) hold meetings at the Literary Institute. Permission was given for this foundation in 1884.

Cottage industries were started at Clonmel in 1884. A knitting and sewing class of about 30 girls attends at the Literary Institute every Monday from 3.30 to 5.30 p.m. The work consists of fancy knitting, sewing, crochet and lace making. Mrs. Richard Bagwell, Marlfield, presides.

For facts concerning salmon, trout, and net fishing in the Suir and tributaries, see page 49.

Distinguished writers born at Clonmel include the Rev. Laurence Sterne, Lady Blessington, daughter of Edward Power, and Bonaventura Baron, nephew of the Rev. Luke Wadding.