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Tullaroan, Kilkenny

Historical Description

TULLAROAN, a parish, in the barony of CRANAGH, county of KILKENNY, and province of LEINSTER, 7 miles (N. W.) from Kilkenny; containing 3650 inhabitants, of which number 182 are in the village. Tullaroan formed part of the extensive territories of Raymond le Gros, Earl Strongbow's companion in arms. He fixed his principal residence at Courtstown, in this parish, whence the head of the family was in after times sometimes styled Baron of Tullaroan or of Courtstown, and the surrounding lands were often distinguished by the name of Grace's parish. Its eastern boundary lies within four miles of the city of Kilkenny, joining the liberties; its western is the small river Munster, which borders it for three miles, forming the line of demarcation between Kilkenny and Tipperary: its extent is about six miles from east to west and five from north to south. Three-fourths of the parish consist of hills of considerable height, enclosing a fertile and spacious vale of pasture and meadow ground, opening southwards to a rich and well-planted range of country. The hills are capable of cultivation to their summits, and the vale consists of a fine aluminous soil irrigated by a number of streams, the principal of which, rising in the northern part, after passing through it, falls into the King's river at Callan: this stream is remarkable for the number and quality of its trout, while in the neighbouring stream of the Munster, that fish is scarcely ever taken. The soil of the hills consists of argillaceous clay and peat, easily reclaimable by a judicious application of lime and marl. Though more subject to rain than the more level districts, it is far from being wet or boggy, and is peculiarly healthy, having been less affected by the ravages of typhus fever during the visitations of that disease than any other part of the county. Many parts of the valley were once thickly planted; but the land has been completely cleared since the Revolution; and as no pains were then taken to preserve a sufficient quantity, nor have been since to repair the loss by new plantations, the landscape presents a bare and denuded appearance. The hills form part of a chain extending south-westwards into Tipperary, where they form a portion of the coal districts. Indications of this valuable mineral are perceptible in many parts of the parish, but the attempts to explore the veins have not been undertaken in that spirit of scientific perseverance that would enable the speculators to form a well-grounded estimate of the probable results of an outlay of capital. As far as the superficial workings have afforded means of determining the quality of the veins, these appear to enlarge as they descend, dipping into the mountain at an angle of about 23 degrees; and therefore incapable of being worked with a prospect of success without a large expenditure for machinery and skilful workmanship. The crops mostly cultivated are oats and potatoes, the soil not being found to be well adapted for wheat; but most of the land is under meadow or pasture, chiefly for dairy farms, there being very few landholder's who do not send considerable quantities of butter to market. The village is a constabulary police station, and has a fair on the 28th of August. The roads in some parts are formed of a kind of black slate, which in wet weather is very soft: this defect could easily be remedied, as abundance of good gravel is to be had from the beds of the streams.

It is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Ossory, forming part of the union of Callan: the tithes amount to £513. 4. 4. In the R. C. divisions it is part of the union or district of Freshford: the chapel is on the townland of Brith. There are six private schools, in which about 280 children receive instruction. There is scarcely a townland in which some vestige of remote antiquity cannot be traced. One of the most perfect raths is at Courtstown: it is composed of a large moated enclosure encompassing a smaller: on the same townland are two others of inferior dimensions: others of very large size are on the lands of Rathely-Grace, and near the site of the old parish church. The ruins of Courtstown castle, which for many years presented striking remains indicative of its former extent and importance, are now reduced to little more than an outline of the foundations: in digging among these many curious relics of former ages have been discovered. About half a mile eastward of the castle are the ruins of Tullaroan church and Grace's chapel, both founded by members of the Grace family; the former are of small extent and present little to attract attention; the latter, which is an offset from the church, is entered by a curiously decorated ogee gateway. The remains of a small structure, supposed to be a friary, are near the church; and at the rath of Rathely-Grace are some remains of the eastern window of an old church and of its side walls, which are pierced with loopholes instead of windows. In the village are two ornamented stone crosses in a perfect state; a third, now mutilated, is on the roadside near Bonnetstown. The water in some of the land drains is deeply coloured with an ochreous matter, affording strong indications of the existence of iron.

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

Civil Registration

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Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Tullaroan from the following:

Land and Property

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