Tipperary County Boundaries, Population, Farming, Farming Societies, Horses, Cattle, Sheep and Poultry, Butter Factories, Markets and Fairs - 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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The King’s County bounds Tipperary on the north and north east, Cork bounds it on the south-west, Waterford on the south-east, Kilkenny on the south-east, Queen’s County, east by north, Limerick on the southwest, Clare on the west, and Galway on the north-west. The greatest length, north and south, is seventy miles, the greatest breadth, east and west, forty miles. It has an area of 1,048,969 statute acres. To facilitate local government there are two ridings in the County, North and South, each containing six baronies. Those of the North Riding are Eliogarty, Ikerrin, Kilnamanagh Upper, Ormond Lower, Ormond Upper, and Owney and Arra. Those of the South Riding are Clanwilliam, Iffa and Offa East, Iffa and Offa West, Kilnamanagh Lower, Middlethird and Slievardagh. The entire population, according to the census of 1881, was 199,612, showing a decrease since 1841 of 235,951. Of the present population 8,851 belong to other counties of Munster, 6,379 to Leinster, 685 to Ulster, 1,117 to Connaught, 2,351 to England and Wales, 276 to Scotland, and 669 to various foreign countries.

The low lands having to a great extent a limestone basis, are exceedingly fertile. Vast plains, including the Golden Vale, are used for grazing, and prove equally effective for fattening and dairying.

The county is also famous for sheep-walks, and for the superior quality of its mutton. Lime has been used freely in the improvement of the high lands.

In 1881, there were under plantations 27,579 acres, 13,601 under water, and the waste lands, bog and mountain, absorbed 151,838 acres. A large part of the Bog of Allen is in Tipperary. Farming Societies in the North and South Ridings have done a great deal to improve the methods of husbandry. The North Tipperary and King’s County Farming Society, established in 1874, still continues to work effectively in the interest of tenant farmers. A part of the programme includes the purchase of pure bred short-horn bulls every spring. These are given out to farmers on easy terms. Ploughing and mowing machine contests are also held by the Society. The shows are held annually, at each of the following places in turn: Nenagh, Roscrea and Parsonstown. There are over 200 members. Farmers under £25 valuation pay an annual subscription of 2s. 6d. each, under £75, five shillings, under £150, ten shillings, over £150, one pound. The treasurers for Tipperary are Messrs. M. Head, Nenagh, David Ireland, Roscrea; and the secretaries, Messrs. John Mounsey, Nenagh, and J. P. Mason, Roscrea.

The total area under crops in 1888, was 272,128 acres. Of this there were 8,378 acres of wheat, 47,966 acres of oats, 17,528 acres of barley, 172 acres of bere and rye, 21 acres of beans and peas, 32,924 acres of potatoes, 19,894 acres of turnips, 2,900 acres of mangel wurzel and beet root, 1,151 acres of carrots, parsnips, etc., 3,283 acres of cabbage, 477 acres of vetches, and 1 acre of flax.

In 1888 there were 29,221 horses in the county. Of these 4,315 were under one year old, 5,267 under two years old. The number of mules of all ages was 2,248, and of donkeys 14,046. Milch cows numbered 78,148. Cattle two years old and upward 55,036, one year old and under two years, 56,919, under one year old, 56,610, total number of sheep, 204,879, total number of pigs, 83,244, total number of goats, 13,822, poultry, 664,396.

Butter factories with improved machinery have lately been established at Ballingarry, Cahir, Carrick-on-Suir, Cashel, Clonmel, Fethard, Golden, Killenaule and Newport. Clonmel, Fethard and Newport have two each, and at Cardangan, near Tipperary, Mr. Smith-Barry has one for his own private use, put up in 1889. The capacity is for 100 cows.

The principal markets are held at Clonmel, Tipperary, Thurles, and Nenagh. Tipperary has the greatest butter market of the county, and thus far regards creameries with disfavor. Its supplies are drawn exclusively from dairies employing the old methods of cream-gathering and churning. The minor markets are all described under the headings of the different towns and villages. A carefully compiled list of the fairs, which are among the best in Ireland, is given at the back of the book.