The county extends into each of the four ecclesiastical provinces, being partly in the diocese of Clonfert, in Tuam, partly in that of Ossory, in Dublin, partly in that of Killaloe, in Cashel, but chiefly in those of Meath, in Armagh, and of Kildare. For purposes of civil jurisdiction it is divided into the baronies of Ballyboy, Ballybritt, Ballycowen, Clonlisk, Coolestown, Eglish, Garrycastle, Geashill, Kilcoursey, Lower Philipstown, Upper Philipstown, and Warrenstown. It contains part of the borough and market-town of Portarlington; the market and assize town of Tullamore; the ancient corporate towns of Philipstown and Banagher; the market and post-towns of Parsonstown, (formerly Birr,) Clara, Edenderry, and Frankford; and the post-towns of Farbane, Shinrone, Moneygall, Geashill, Cloghan, and Kinnitty. Amongst the largest villages are those of Ballycumber, Ballingarry (each of which has a penny post), Shannonbridge, Ballyboy, and Shannon-harbour.

The county sent six members to the Irish parliament, two for the county at large, and two for each of the boroughs of Philipstown and Banagher; but since the union its representation has been confined to the two members for the county at large. The constituency, as registered under the act of the 3rd and 4th of William IV., to Feb. 1st, 1836, consists of 417 freeholders of £50 each, 292 of £20, and 985 of £10 each, making a total of 1694 registered electors; and in the county books they are all classed under the head of freeholders except one rent-charger of £50, five of £20, and four leaseholders of £10 each. The election takes place at Tullamore. The county is included in the Home Circuit. The assize and general quarter sessions of the peace are held in Tullamore. Quarter sessions are also held at Birr and at Philipstown.

The county gaol and court-house are at Tullamore, and there are court-houses and bridewells at Birr and Philipstown; the former is a modern and well-constructed building, the latter is the old county gaol. The local government is vested in a lieutenant, 7 deputy-lieutenants, and 105 magistrates, besides the usual county officers, including two coroners. There are 45 constabulary police stations, having a force of a sub-inspector, three chief officers, 41 sub-constables, 182 men, and 6 horses. The county infirmary is at Tullamore; and there are fever hospitals at Shinrone and Parsonstown, and dispensaries at Banagher, Clara, Edenderry, Farbane, Frankford, Geashill, Kinnitty, Leap, Moneygall, Parsonstown, Philipstown, and Shinrone, supported equally by private contributions and Grand Jury presentments.

The lunatic asylum for the county is at Maryborough. The Grand Jury presentments for 1835 amounted to £21,060. 19. 8., of which £4739. 14. 4. was for public works, repairs of roads, &c.; £11,179. 16. 6. for public buildings, charities, salaries, and incidents; and £5141. 8. 10. for the police and the administration of justice. In the military arrangements the county is included in the western district, and has barracks for infantry at Banagher, Parsonstown, and Shannon-harbour, and for cavalry at Tullamore and Philipstown, affording, in the whole, accommodation for 68 officers and 1412 men.

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