Tipperary 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 libraryireland.com, 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 Pagan times the site of the present town was a camping ground of considerable consequence, and contained a well which was the object of superstitious veneration. This was called Tibrad Ara, signifying the spring in the territory of Ara, and ultimately, by process of evolution, became Tipperary. Down to about sixty years ago the water was prized for its purity. The spring then had an outlet on the premises of Mr. John Ryan, in Bridge-street, and when covered there broke out in the garden owned by Mr. Maurice Hayes, at the opposite side of the way. The elevations known as the Hills of Tipperary, once contained very large earthen fortifications. The line extended for about half a mile from south-west to north-east, and included what is locally called “Mutton Pie Hill.” One fort, still perfect, and very high, is seen from trains going toward Clonmel. It was adjoined by another now partly removed, the contents having been found suitable for road-repairing. Popular opinion attributes to the Danes the erection of these works, but Dr. John O’Donovan, who made an examination in 1840, suggests that they were of Irish origin, and had been used for royal or princely residences.

The English connection with the county began in 1172 upon the arrival of Henry II., but there is no mention of Tipperary until the entry of Prince John, 1185. As Lord of Ireland, by appointment from the Pope, he immediately directed his attention to the security of the English in their settlements. With this purpose he ordered the erection of a strong castle at Tipperary, but what eventually became of it does not appear. A monastery for canons regular of the order of St. Augustine was founded in the thirteenth century, and continued to exist until the reign of Henry VIII. when it was granted to Dermot Ryan. Of the entire buildings only one arch remains, and this is seen in the grounds of the Grammar School.

It is supposed that the town was incorporated by Edward I., for there is a record to show that Edward II., in 1310, made a grant of murage to the “Bailiffs and Good men.” Bryan O’Brien burned Tipperary in 1329. The O’Briens, with the Fitzgeralds, for a period of three hundred years held possession of Galbally and district, at the head of the Glen of Aherlow. This was an important pass between a portion of Cork and the County Tipperary, and the right to dominate it was a fruitful cause of rivalry and conflict. While the Geraldine Leagues made head-quarters in the Galtees, sixteenth century (see page 15), stirring scenes were enacted in the vicinity of the town.

The campaign of 1650 resulted in the settlement of the choicest lands of the Tipperary district by Cromwellians. Soon after the passage of the Act for the watching, lighting and cleansing of corporate towns, 1829, Tipperary came under its provisions. This measure, known better as 9th George IV.,. was promoted in the interests of Newry, and found so valuable that it was extended to all the other towns. Through an illegality in the election of commissioners it became inoperative in 1874. In December, 1875, all the provisions of the 17th and 18th of Victoria, chap. 103, were taken advantage of. Eighteen commissioners are elected. The term of office is three years. An election is held annually, October 15th, for the return of six commissioners. The chairman is chosen every year.

In 1888 the valuation of property was £8,834 19s., exclusive of military barracks, for which £66 13s. 4d. is paid. The rates for all purposes in that year were 10d. in the £ on buildings and 2½d. on land. Fifty public lamps are lighted by the Gas Company, under contract to the commissioners at £2 per lamp. Street Inspectors act as a Watch during the evening and night. Repairs to the streets are done by the Grand Jury of the South Riding.

The Board of Poor Law Guardians is the sanitary authority. A good sewerage system has been established under its supervision. The main sewer discharges into a tank at Cordangan, a quarter of a mile, Irish, from town, and when the sewage has been concentrated it is sold for fertilizing. Down to 1889 the water-supply was procured from pumps and a well in Church-street. A proposal was made by the Sanitary authority to the Local Government Board to sanction an expenditure of £11,000 for a high pressure service from one of the lakes in the Galtees. Mr. Cotton, C.E., in March, 1889, held an official inquiry concerning the matter, and there seemed to be no opposition to the scheme. Facilities for extinguishing fires will be greatly enlarged by this. At present there is a volunteer Fire Brigade, of which Mr. B. M‘Carthy is captain.