UK Genealogy Archives logo
DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission.

Waterford, Ireland

Historical Description

WATERFORD (County of), a maritime county of the province of MUNSTER, bounded on the west by that of Cork; on the north, by those of Tipperary and Kilkenny; on the east, by that of Wexford; and on the south, by St. George's Channel. It extends from 51° 54' to 52° 19' (N. Lat.); and from 6° 57' to 8° 8' (W. Lon.); comprising an extent, according to the Ordnance survey, of 461,598 statute acres, of which 343,564 acres are cultivated land, and 118,034 are unimproved mountain and bog. The population, in 1821, exclusively of the city of Waterford, which forms a county of itself, was 127,842; and, in 1831, 148,233.

The earliest inhabitants of this portion of the island were a tribe designated by Ptolemy Menapii, who occupied also the present county of Wexford. Prior to the seventh century, mention is made of two small tracts, one called Coscradia, and the other Hy-Lyathain, on the south, about Ardmore; but these designations appear to have merged at an early period in that of Decies, given by the preponderating power of a tribe called the Duii, or Decii, who occupied the central and larger portions of the county at the time of the English invasion. They are said to have been originally planted in Meath, and gave name to the barony of Deece, In a contest for the chieftaincy of that tribe in the middle of the third century, a large number was compelled to abandon that territory, and to remove southwards, and they ultimately settled themselves in the tract of country extending from Carrick-on-Suir to Dungarvan, and thence eastward to Waterford harbour. From this time Decie in Meath, and Decie in Munster, were called respectively North and South Decie , the latter also bore the Irish name of Nan Decie. But Ængos Mac Nafrach, King of Munster, in the fifth century, enlarged the territories of the Decii by annexing to them the lands of Magh-Femin, comprising the present barony of Middlethird, and the large extended plains near Casbel, called Gowlin, together with the country about Clonmel: and from this period the designation of Decie-Thuasgeart, or North Decie, became applied only to this grant; the former territories in Waterford still retaining the distinctive appellation of Decie-Deisgeart, or South Decie. St. Declan, a Christian missionary of the race of the Decii, converted great numbers of them about the year 402, and, by his influence, their pagan chieftain was deposed, and one of the Christian converts elected in his stead. This saint and St. Carthage, of the same sept, who died in 637, founded respectively the religious establishments at Ardmore and Lismore, the extent of the parishes attached to which is thus accounted for by their remote antiquity. In the ninth century, the population of this territory was augmented by the Danes, who, under a leader named Sitric, conquered and retained the maritime district bordering on the harbour of Waterford, then nearly insulated, and forming the present barony of Gaultier, "the land of the Gauls, or Foreigners." They founded the city of Waterford, and made it their chief station; and though they never became amalgamated with the native population, they appear at a subsequent period to have united with them in cases of common danger. In the twelfth century, the chieftains of the Decii assumed the surname of O'Feolain ; and in 1169, Melaghlin O'Feolain, Prince of the Decii, was taken prisoner at the siege of Waterford by the Anglo-Normans under Strongbow, and saved only through the mediation of Dermod Mac Murrough. He was the last chieftain who enjoyed the full powers of his predecessors; but the political existence of the Decii was not at once terminated, as appears from the recorded deaths of three of their "kings" in the interval between that period and the year 1206.

The power of the Anglo-Norman invaders was too great to be long effectually resisted. In 1113, Raymond le Gros, with a select party, overran the country of the Decies, which be everywhere depopulated and ravaged, and, after a conflict with the Danes of Cork, returned in triumph to Waterford. Hen. II., in 1171, granted in custody to Robert le Poer, his marshal, the country lying between Waterford and the river of Lismore {the Blackwater}, comprising the greater part of the present county, the rest of which was included in the grant of the "kingdom" of Cork to Milo de Cogan and his companions: henceforward the Poers maintained a great superiority in this territory, and often waged sanguinary hostilities on their own part with the men of Waterford. It appears from a charter of King John to the citizens of Waterford, in 1206, that the territory of Waterford had been then erected into a county, the justices of assize and other officers of which were inhibited from exercising any authority within the city: this controverts the generally received opinion that the first counties in Ireland were erected by King John, in 1210. The same king granted the custody of this county and that of Desmond to Thomas Fitz-Anthony, together with all the royal demesnes in the same, at the annual rent of 250 marks; and by Edw. I. it was confirmed to his son John, for 500 marks per ann.; but this act having been performed during the king's minority, the lands were subsequently recovered by the crown, by a decree against Thomas Fitz-Maurice, cousin and heir of John: Edward, however, in 1292, re-granted them to Thomas Fitz-Anthony, another branch of the Geraldines. In 1300, a party of natives made an incursion into Waterford, but were repulsed with much slaughter by the O'Feolains. In 1444, James, Earl of Desmond, obtained a patent for the government of this and other counties of Munster; but three years afterwards, John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, then lord-lieutenant of Ireland, obtained a grant from the king of the city and county of Waterford, and the dignity and title of Earl of Waterford, together with the castles, honour, lands, and barony of Dungarvan, with jura regalia, wreck, &c., from Youghal to Waterford, because the country was waste, in so far as, in lieu of producing any profit to the crown, it was a cause of great loss. This patent was made by virtue of a privy seal, and by authority of parliament; but by the act of the 28th of Hen. VIII., vesting in the crown the possessions of all absentees from Ireland, the whole of the above lands, rights, and titles were resumed by the crown; and the only portion restored to the family of Talbot was the title, which was re-granted in 1661 by Chas. II. The county suffered the severest calamities during the protracted war in Munster, towards the close of Elizabeth's reign, those whom the sword spared being reduced to the extremest misery of famine. A large portion of its lands was forfeited: an extensive tract near its western confines, included in the grant to Sir Walter Raleigh, was subsequently vested by purchase in Sir Rich. Boyle, afterwards Earl of Cork, and is now the property of the Duke of Devonshire. In the war of 1641, it experienced its full share of the calamities of that period: the towns were chiefly in the Catholic interest, and their inhabitants ravaged the lands of the English settlers and put many of them to death: the Earl of Cork was scarcely able to defend his settlements in the west; and finally the whole was overrun and reduced by Cromwell's forces. Few events connected with the war of 1688 occurred here; but subsequently, in the middle of the last century, the county was much disturbed by agrarian associations and outrages committed by bands of the peasantry, styling themselves Whiteboys, Levellers, and Rightboys. In the insurrection of 1798, the people of this county, notwithstanding the fury of the hostilities in the adjacent counties of Wexford and Kilkenny, suffered but little; the amount claimed for compensation of losses within its limits, during this period, being only £1322. 18. 11. Early in the present century, however, considerable disturbance was occasioned by the hostilities of the rural factions called "Caravats" and "Shanavests."

The county comprises the whole of the diocese of Waterford and the greater part of that of Lismore, in the province of Cashel. For civil purposes it ill divided into the baronies of Coshbride and Coshmore, Decieawithout-Drnm, Decies-within-Drum, Gaultier, Glenabiery, Middlethird, and Upperthird. E:rclusively of the city of Waterford, which forms a county of itself, it coutains the borough, market, and sea-port town of Dungarvan; the sea-port, market and post-town of Dunmore; the sea-port and market-town of Tramore, 'and the sea-port town of Paesage East, each of which has a penny post; the market and post-towns of Lismore and Tallow, formerly parliamentary boroughs; the post towns of Cappoquin, Clashmore, Portlaw, and Kilmacthomas; and the maritime village of Bonmabon, which bas a penny post. It sent eight representatives to the Irish parliament, two for thc county, and two for each of the boroughs of Dungarvan, Lismore, and Tallow; but since the Union its only representatives in the Imperial parliament have been two for the county and one for the borough of Dungarvan: the county members are elected at Waterford. The county constituency, up to Jan. 1st, 1837, consisted of 261 freeholders of :£50, 170 of :£20, and 926 of :£10; and 13 leaseholders of :£'20, and 140 of :£.0; making a total of 1510 registered electors. The county is included in the Leinster cireuit : the assizes and four general sessions of the peace are held at Waterford, in which city the court-house, county prison, and house of correction are situated; but efforts are now being made to transfer the assizes and sessions to Dungarvan, where it is in contemplation .to build a county courthouse and prison, pursuant to a resolution of the Grand Jury at the summer assize of 1836. General sessions of the peace are also held twice in the year at Dungarvan and twice at Lismore. The local government is vested in a lieutenant, 20 deputy-lieutenants, and 49 other magistrates. The number of constabulary police stations is 33, having unitedly a force of 5 officers, 20 constables, 112 men, and 6 horses. The district lunatic asylum, which is confined to the county and city, is in the city of Waterford: there are fever hospitals at Waterford, Dungarvan, Lismore, and Tallow; and dispensaries at Cappoqnin, Clashmore, Dunmore, Kilmacthomas, Kilbarrymeaden, Tramore, Dungarvan, Tallow, Lismore, Ballyduff, Bonmabon, and Drumcannon, supported by Grand Jury presentments and private subscriptions in equal proportions. The Grand Jury presentments for 1835 amounted to :£23,806. 15. 10. ; of which :£6794. O. 1. was for roads. bridges, &c .• for the county at large; :£3499. O. 1 i. for roads and bridges, &c., being the baron'al charge; :£7171. 8. 7i. for public buildings, cbarities, officers' salaries, and incidents j :£2696. 4. 5. for the police; and :£3646. 2. 7i. for repayment of advances made by Government. In military arrangements the county is in the southern district, and within its limits are barracks for infantry at Ballinamult and Dungarvan, capable of accommodating 13 officers and 241 men.

The surface is for the most part of a mountainous character; and the valleys watered by its various rivers are generally picturesque and beautiful. It is divided into two nearly equal portions by the Cummeragh or Monevullagh mountains, which extend from Cappa, three miles west of Dungarvan. The general range of these mountains is from west to east: their sides are wild and precipitous, their lofty rocks and deep ravines exhibiting extraordinary masses of light and shade. On the summits of most of them are irregular piles of stones, many of them of great size, which, from their extraordinary situation, are thought to have been placed there by the hand of man. Among these mountains are four lakes, two called Cummeloughs, and the others Stillonghs, the largest of which covers only five or six acres: they contain several inferior kinds of trout, and in the Cummeloughs are found also char: around these lakes are some very fine" echoes, Connected with the northern extremity of this mountain range is the sterile district called the Gammons of Clonmel, which extends to the vicinity of that town; proceeding from which, however, down the course of the river Suir, is found a gradually expanding vale of the greatest beauty, particularly in the vicinity of Curraghmore, the seat of the Marquess of Waterford. From this vale, however. to the sea-coast, in a southern direction, the face of the country is wild and almost entirely destitute of trees, and, except near the village of Bonmahon, unimproved by any respectable residence. A considerable range of high land extends from this part of the coast through the parishes of Dunhill and Reisk, in which latter it divides into two branches; the low land intervening is partially covered with water during the winter season, which in summer is confined to the small lake of Ballyscanlan. In this low land, trunks and roots of trees, chiefiy of oak and pine, of considerable size, are found imbedded. Hence the hills extend to the vicinity of Waterford; and the entire range is overspread with rocks, forming in some places very curious groups, especially on the precipitous heights about Pembrokestown. The barony of Gaultier, which exhibits a varied though not very elevated surface, is a peninsular tract, appearing to have been at one period completely insulated in the direction of the dine of marshy land which extends' from Tramore bay to Kilbarry, near Waterford. To the south of the Cummeragh mountains, from the parish of Clonea, the land declines in approaching the sea, and presents a large alluvial tract, highly cultivated and fertile, which entirely encircles the bay of Dungarvan. But immediately to the south-west of this noble inlet rises the elevated tract called the Drum mountain, which separates the old territory of the Decies into Deeles within and without Drum. This mountain comprises a large tract of land, much of it already cultivated, and all capable of considerable improvement: the summit is a table land estendiug about twelve miles in length. and from five in breadth, and comprising about 25,000 aeees. It is supposed by some to have anciently "belonged to the proprietors of the surrounding estates in common; by others, in consequence of its inferior valne, to have never been appropriated; while a favourite notion among the common people is that it was reserved by Queen Anne for the relief of the-poor of Ireland, of whom great numbers have made settlements on small plots of it. The barony of Decies-within-Dmm was cut off by this tract from the rest of the county, and was formerly accessible only by a circuitous route, or by attempting the mountain passes, which were impassable by a loaded carriage. Consequently, the produce of the land could be conveyed to the neighbouring markets only by sending it coastwise in boats, or employing horses that carried it on their backs over the difficult and dangerous pathways. This tract has lately been decided to be the property of Henry Villiers Stuart, Esq., M.P. Some of the finest scenes are presented by the shores of the Blaekwater, throughout its course in the western part of the county; wooded heights generally bordering the broad and navigable stream on each side, and the whole being enriched by castles, seats, and villages. The general superiority of Cosh more and Coshbride, in cultivation and pleasing scenery, has procured it the designation of II the garden of the county." The other western parts of the county, including even the small barony of Glenahiery (so called from the glen of the Nier, a small river, which descends through it into the Suir), has for the most part an elevated and uninteresting character, except where the high mountain of Knockmeledown stands conspicuous to the north of Lismore, and has some picturesque glens descending from its sides to the Blackwater: its summit commands a prospect of great extent and magnificence. The coast presents a great variety of interesting features, Beginning at the Suir, the first remarkable object is the Little Island, two miles below Waterford, and nearly 1'2 miles from the sea. The rivers Suir and Ross unite their waters witb great fulness and rapidity, and at once form a grand estuary nearly three miles in breadth. Woodstown strand, below New Geneva, has a low beach; beyond it the coast is bold and precipitous, with lofty headlands stretching out into Waterford harbour. The same character of coast is continued past the harbour of Dunmore to Brownstown Head, which forms the eastern boundary of the bay of Tramore. On this line of coast there are several caverns of natural formation, remarkable for their extent. Next beyond Brownstown Head is Newtown Head, and between these is Tramore bay, noted for the shipwrecks that have occurred in it, and presenting a level beach and flat coast three English miles in extent. A bar or mound of sand, raised by the opposing influence of the tides and the land streams, prevents the further encroachments of the sea; and separates from the open bay a part called the Back Strand, containing about 1000 Irish acres, which it is designed to embank and enclose. From the bay or Waterford to that of Dungarvan there is no sheher for vessels of any cb!scription: the shore is rocky and precipitous, and affords only precarious retreats for the boats of fisbermen in a few coves. The rocks along this line appear to have been violently separa!-ed, the beds being heaped together in the greatest confusion. Contiguous to the coast, in the parish of Icane, 11ft the islands of Icane, which are merely small masae8 or rock separated from the main land. and partially covered with coarse grass. Whiting Head, near Bonmahon bay, a small inlet formed by the mouth of the Bonmahoo river, is high and steep; and to the weatward of it is the square island rock of Templehric, about 100 feet high, on which numbers of sea-fowl breed. Clonea bay i. an elltensift sweep of coast, presenting at low water a vast sandy strand; the next great break in the line of coast, which here assumes a south-western direction, is the barbour of Dungarvan. From Helwick Head to Mine Head the coast inclines southward about a league distance, and is high and rocky, enclosing Mliggort's bay. From Mine Head it runs more directly westward into Ardmore bay, which has in part a flat shore, and i. sheltered _on the west by the bold and high promontory of Ardmore, to the west of which is a point called Ardigna Head, fonning the eastern boundary of Whiting bay, enclosed on the west by Cabin Point. The low point called Black Ball, about half a league further, forms the eastenl boundary of the entrance to Youghal harbour, and the western extremity of the coast of this county.

In an agricultural point of view the county may be divided into three classes, two-thirds being under tillage, and the remaining third equally divided between meadow and pasture, and unimproved mountain and bog. Wheat, barley, bere, oats, and potatoes are the general crops, except in the mountain land, where they are confined to the two Jast-named. Clover is becoming very general, turnips and vetches are seldom sown, and 8ax or hemp only in the headlands or corners of the field. The manures are chiefly lime, which abounds in the western parts, and sea-weed and sand procured in the utmost abundance at Dungarvan and Youghal. The fences, except in the neighbourhood of gentlemen'a eeats, are high banks of earth, with furze occasionally planted on the top. The most improved implements and carriages are now in general use , and the best breeds of every kind of cattle, which have been proved to be suited to the soil, are encouraged. Sheep are leas common than other species of stock. Pigs are to be met with everywhere, and, though the old Irish breed may be seen in a few places, those in general demand are of the best description : goats are also numerous in the county. There is a great deficiency of timber: the ornamental woods and plantations Qf Curraghmore, Lismore. Dromana and Tourin, those on the banks of the Blackwater and on that part of the Suir between CalTick and AIdfinnan, being all that the county can boast of, except a few young plantations about the houses of BOrne of the resident gentlemen. The average size of tillage farms is from 30 to 40, and of dairy farms from 50 to jO acres; butter is the only produce of the dairy, the making of cheese not being at all practised. Tbe example of the successful cultivation of poor land in a mountain district set by the Trappists at Mount Mellory (described in the article on Cappoquin), and the opening of roads. through the hilly parts of the country, are exciting a strong spirit of exertion in the neighbourbood, to attempt improvements in the treatment of the lands, heretofore deemed impracticable, the effects of which have already begun to shew themselves in the large tracts of land that have been enclosed and bronght into cultivation since the settlement was made.

The geology of this county exhibits no great variety, nearly the whole being composed of clay-slate, sandstone, and some limestone. The elevated region between the Suir and the Blackwater, comprising the heights of the Cummeragh and of Knockmeledown, is a table land of clay-slate, partly bordered by sandstone, and sustaining isolated caps of the same rock. Its outskirts are marked by Carrick, Clonmel and Clogheen, on the north; and by Kilmacthomas, Dungarvan, and Lismore, on the south: on the north, wcst, and south, it is bounded by limestone. A border of sandstone approaches close to the Suir on the ROuth side, from the vicinity of Ardfinnan to Kilmaiden, four miles west of Waterford. The clay-slate throughout the mountain district is of a reddish brqwn, purpleish, or greenish grey colour; it ranges nearly uniformlynortb-west and south-east, and dips gene1"Blly from 70 to 75 degrees to the south and aouth-west. Good slates for roofing are raised in the glen of Ownasbad, near Lismore, and in Glen Patrick, near Clonmel. Near the junction of the streams that form the river Mahon are veins of quartz, comprising granulated lead ore; and in the same mineralogical tract, at Kilkeany, near Mountain Castle, there is a fine vein of lead ore. The rocks to the north of Lismore are also rich in mineral veins: iron, copper, and lead ores are of frequent occurrence. Lismore Castle stands on a ftcetz limestone rock, which, partly separated from the clayslate by a border of fine-grained sandstone, extends in a narrow range down the vale of the Blackwater, to the innermost recesses of Dungarvan harbour: in several places it assumes the character of marble, as at Tourin, where it is variegated with many colours; near New Affane, where it is black and white; in the parish of Whitechurcb, where it is both black and grey, &C. In the country to the south of this range, beyond the river Bricky, the clay-slate and sandstone again prevail in the same relations as to the north: near the summit of the Dmm mountaiu the white sandstone partakes of a uaty structure, and bears fossil impressions of leaves, fern branches, &c., near which are thin seams of black shale or coal slate J but between the Drum mountain and the coast, limestone again occurs, and extends into the sea. ·Mineral veins, containing lead, iron, and copper ores, were formerly worked on this side of the Drum, and are said to have been very productive: at Minehead and Ardmore very valuable iron ore was procured, and converted into the finest steel: of the copper and lead mines also worked at the latter place, the ores, from fragments still found, are supposed to have been very rich. The eastern portion of the county consists almost entirely of clay-slate, presenting a disposition of range and dip nearly approaching to that observed more westward. Limestone, however, imbedded in indurated clayslate, is found on the sea-coast, at Lady's Cove, in the immediate vicinity ofTramore: it is of the primitive kind, and capable of receiving a very high polish, butis chiefly burned for manure. Near Annstown, farther westward, occur both couglomerate and basalt; and a range of trap rock of a columnar tendency projects into the sea. In the bigh land extending from Dunhill towards Waterford are occasionally found large masses of very beautiful jasper. Along the coast, the rocks are rich in metallic veins; and the elevation and abruptness of the cliff. greatly facilitate their discovery. Lead and copper ores have been found at Annstown and Bonmahon, Dear which the copper mines at Knockmahon are carried on most scientifically and extensively by the Mining Company of Ireland, which has a lease of the 'royalties 'of the district: they are considered to have the most complete machinery in Ireland, and give employment to 940 persons. A lead mine, the ore of which contains a considerable portion of silver, in the parish of Ballylaneen, belongs to the same company, but has not yet been worked. In the conical hill of Cruach, in the parish of Reisk, a rich vein of lead ore, containing a large proportion of silver, was formerly worked to a great extent. On the strand of Kilmurrin, lead ore, containing a large proportion of silver, is dug from among the sand. The south-eastem angle of the county is wholly composed of sandstone and :conglomerate throughout a line of coast three leagues in extent. The sea bas in some places laid bare a clear unintermpted sheet of the rock, exposed in one plane at low water for 300 yards in length and 50 in breadth. The conglomerate of this coast bears all the marks of the detritus of a primary country: it sometimes forms a thick and apparently unstratified mass, resting on finer stratified sandstone; and sometimcs it is interstratified with the latter, as well as with very fine-grained reddish-brown micaceous sandstone, which is of a very perishable nature, and in these the sea has formed spacious caverns. Potters' clay is found in numerous places, at Dungarvan, Ringagonagh, Lismore and Whitechurch; pipe clay, at Ballyduff, near Dromana and at BaUyntaylor ; ochre, a~ the last-named place, and in small veins in various other parts; and red bole, at &llyduff. The sandstone is worked in numerous places for building, for grindstones, and millstones; and marl is found incumbent on the limestone.

The manufactures are very inconsiderable. Carrickon-Suir was once the centre of a very extensive manufacture of woollens, chiefly ratteens and stuffs: but the trade is now nearly extinct. Linen, though made in all parts for domestic use, was never an article of commercial importance. Cotton-manufactories were established at Cheekpoint and in some other places, all of which have totally failed; but a factory has been since erected at Mayfield by Mr. Malcolmson for spinning and weaving cotton, in which nearly 900 persons are employed. The cloth is in great demand; much of it is shipped for Manchester. At Fairbrook, or Phairbrook, near Waterford, is an extensive paper-mill, furnishing employment to 150 persons. A large distillery is now being erected at Clashmore. The fisheries are of much value, and capable of great extension. The embayed nature of the coast renders it the resort of great quantities of fish of every kind; the Nymph bank, about seven miles distant, abounds with immense shoals of round fish. Hake, which is the leading object of the fishery, is taken in the mackarel season, wbich commences in June. Cod and ling are in season from October to February, and both are very fine : the former is cbiefty consumed fresh; the latter is salted, dned and sent chiefly to Dublin. The most valuable kinds of flat fish are taken in quantities limited only by the want of a more extensive market. Although berrings visit the coast yearly, the quantities taken are comparatively insignificant,scareely sufficing for the home consumption: the season is from September to Christmas. The coast abounds with various kinds of shell-fish. The striking advantages of situation for the fishery which the eastern coast possesses have not yet been made fully available: the villages of Portally, Rathmoylan, Ballymacaw, and Summerville, are principally occupied by poor fishermen, who are also small farmers and divide their time between both occupations. The cause of the want of exertion in this class of men is the deficiency of any shelter from the prevailing winds from the south and south-west, to which this coast is greatly exposed; in consequence of which the fishermen are compelled to draw up their boats high on the beach in foul weather, and in violent and sudden storms, having no safe harbour to resurt to, cannot fearlessly venture to any great distance from the shore. These observations apply to the entire coast, with the exception of the harbours of Waterford and Dungarvan. The commerce of the county, consisting of the export of agricultural produce and cottons, and of the import of timber, iron, coal, and British and foreign manufactures and commodities of every kind, is almost wholly carried on in the city of Waterford.

The principal rivers are the Suir, the Blackwater, and the Bride. The Suir forms a great part of the northern, and its estuary the whole of the eastern, boundary Of the county; it is navigable to the city of Waterford for vessels of the greatest draught, and to Carrick-on-Suir for those drawing 11 feet. The Blackwater, formerly called the Awendubh and Avonmore, "the Black river" and "the Great river," enters the county at its western extremity and falls into Y oughal bay; the Bride from the west is a tributary to it: vessels of 100 tons' burden can proceed to the confluence of these rivers. The Blackwater is navigable for barges of10 tons to Cappoquin, from which a canal was formed by the late Duke of Devonshire to Lismore, a distance of tbrec miles; the Bride, which has a very slow current, and is affected by the tide throughout the whole of its course through this county, is also navigable for small craft. The Neir is a tributary to the Suir. The principal of sbe smaller streams which discharge their contents into the sea are the Tay, Colligein, Mahon, Phinisk, Bricky (which falls into the head of Dungarvan bay), Clodagh, and Lickey. The principal line of inland communication is the mail road from Waterford to Cork, which forms a trnst and is called the military road: it is kept in excellent order by the proceeds of the tolls. Several new lines have been formed: the principal are, a road from Dungarvan to Youghal; two through the mountains from Dungarvan to Youghal; one from Cappoquin into the mountain region there; one from Waterford to Tramore, completed in 1836; one from Lismore to Mitchelstown; one from Lismore to Clogheen, now in progress; and one from the new Youghal line to Ardmore.

The county presents vestiges of many periods of antiquity, and of various character. At 'Ardmore is a very perfect and beautiful ancient round tower. There are remarkable raths on the hill of Lismore, at Rathgermuck in the parish of Kinsalebeg, near Youghal, and at Ardmore, the remains of which show it to bave been of great extent: many others of less Dote are dispersed in various quarters. Circular intrenchments, consisting of a small area, defended by a rampart and fosse, and called in the langnageofthe country li., "a fortified residence," are very numerous, and appear to form with each other branches from more important stations that formerly existed at Waterford, Lismore, Dungarvan, and Ardmore. One of the sepulchral mounts called in England "barrows," and here " duns," is to the west of Dungarvan, and many others occur in different parts. A large double trench, called by the Irish Rian-bo-Padriuc," the trench of St. Patrick'. cow," commences to the east of Knockmeledown, and runs in nearly a direct line across the Blackwater, and through the deer-park of Lismore, towards Ardmore. being traceable for sixteen or eighteen miles; it corresponds exactly with that extraordinary wurk called U The Danes' Cast," which runs through the counties of Armagh and Down. A second trench, which runs from Cappoquin, through the plain along the side of the mountains westward into the county of Cork, is called by the peasantry Clee-dnff, There are cromlechs in'the barony of Gaultier, within five miles of Waterfora; on Kilmacombe hill; on Sugar-loaf bill, near Reisk; at Dunhill, Gurteen, near Stradbally, and others in different places. There appear to have formerly existed, within the limits of this county, 24 religious establishments; but at present there are vestiges of the buildings of those only of Mothill, Dungarvan, Stradbally, Lismore, and Ardmore. The castles and fortified houses were anciently very numerous: there still exist (some of them entire, and the rest in ruins) that of Lismore, one on the Little Island, one at Crook, Cullen Castle, and those of Carrick beg, Ballyclough, Feddens, Clonea, Darinlar, Dungarvan, Modeligo,:Kilbree, Strancally, Conagb, and Castlereagh. The princely castle of Lismore, the mansion of the Duke of Devonshire, and that of Curraghmore, the seat of the Marquess of Waterford, with which is embodied the ancient castle of that place, with the other mansions and seats of the nobility and gentry worthy of particular notice, are described in the accounts of the parishes in which they are respectively situated. Chalybeate springs are particularly numerous in the barony of Ganltier: the most efficacious are that at Monamintra, and that near the "Fairy Bush." The Clonmel spa, on the Waterford side of the Suir, is a strong chalybeate; and the others of the same nature at all noted are some very strongly impregnated between Dungarvan and Youghal; that of Two-mile bridge; that of Ballygallane, between Lismore and Cappoquin; one between Knockmeledown and Lismore; and one at Kilmeaden. The vitriolic spas are those at Modeligo and Cross, the latter in the parish of Kill-St. Nicholas. Among the natural curiosities may be noticed the numerous caverns, of which the largest are on the sea- coast. In the little bay of Dunmore is a small fissure; and some distance westward is an immense hole, called the Bishop's cave, upwards of 100 feet long and 24 wide; and though more than SO yards from the sea, it is approachable in a boat at high water. There are several other caves in this neighbourbood, as at Rathmoylan and Ballamacaw, and in Brownstown Head. Others of great extent have also been worn by the waves in the rocky shore of Ardmore. In the inland parishes of Whitechurch, Kilwatermoy, Lismore, and Dungarvan there are, in the limestone rock, several singular caverns adorned with stalactites. In the mountains of Cummaragh are several large and deep pits, very difficult of access; some of them are evidently artificial. This county gives the title of Marquess to the Beresford family, and of Earl to that of Talbot, also Earl of Shrewsbury, in Great Britain. The barony of Decies gi ves the title of baron to a branch of the Beresford family.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis

Chapman code

The Chapman code for Waterford is WAT.
Chapman codes are used in genealogy as a short data code for administrative areas, such as county and country names.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Waterford from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Waterford is available to browse.

Parishes & places

Cheekpoint or Bolton
Dunhill or Don Isle
Dunmore or Dunmore East
Dysart or Desert
East Passage
Fenoagh or Finnoogh
Guilcagh or Gilco
Innislonnagh or Abbey
Kilculliheen or Kilcloheen
Kilronan or Butlerstown
Lickoran or Lawcoran
Lisgenan or Grange
Monemointer or Ballycloghy
Monksland or Monkstown
Mothell or Moathill
Mount-Coin or Moncoin
Rathgormuck or Rathcormuck
Ringagonagh or Ring
Rossmere, Rossmire or Rossmore
Tallow or Tallagh


Ancestry UK