In the 16th century, Piers, Earl of Ormonde, with a view to benefit the town by the introduction of manufactures, brought over several artificers from Flanders and the neighbouring provinces, whom he employed in working tapestry, diapers, and carpets, but the manufacture did not extend beyond the supply of the castle and was soon discontinued. The manufacture of coarse frieze was extensively carried on here in the reign of Charles II., but was withdrawn to Carrick-on-Suir, and succeeded by the wool-combing and the worsted trade, which, about the middle of the last century, were superseded by the manufacture of blankets, which became the principal trade both of the city and the county. In 1821, from 3000 to 4000 persons were employed in this manufacture; but on the expiration of the protecting duties, the trade became greatly depressed, and at present not more than 600 persons are employed in it, and even these at greatly reduced prices; the blankets made here are still in great repute, and are purchased for the supply of the army. There is also a small manufacture of coarse woollen cloth, but the principal trade is in corn, and in the immediate neighbourhood are several very extensive flour-mills, three large distilleries, four breweries, two tanneries, some extensive yards for curing bacon, some salt-works, and several considerable starch-manufactories.

Coarse linens are woven by the country people for domestic wear, and there is a large bleach-green. About half a mile from the city are quarries of the well-known Kilkenny marble, which has a black ground with white veins interspersed with shells and marine exuviae, and is susceptible of a very high polish. It is mostly worked into mantel-pieces of great beauty, and is cut and polished in a mill moved by water power, erected on the bank of the river, about two miles from the town, in the parish of Blackrath; great quantities of the marble are exported. Limestone is also quarried in various parts of the county of the city. The amount of excise duties paid in the district of Kilkenny, for the year 1835, was £70,665. 16. 11 ½. The markets are on Wednesday and Saturday, and are amply supplied with corn and provisions of every kind. Two great fairs are held on March 28th and Corpus Christi day; they are great cattle and wool fairs, which regulate the prices of all the others, and are attended by graziers from all parts of Ireland: there are also several other fairs, established by recent patents. An area in the lower part of the spacious old building called the Tholsel is appropriated as a market-house.

Kilkenny, City of | Kilkenny History | Kilkenny Topography | Kilkenny Manufactures | Kilkenny Charter | See of Ossory | Kilkenny Parishes | Kilkenny Schools | Kilkenny Hospitals | Kilkenny Residences | Kilkenny Churches | Kilkenny, County of

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