Kilkenny, Ireland

Description

KILKENNY (County of), an inland county, in the western part of the province of Leinster, bounded on the east by the counties of Carlow and Wexford, on the north by the Queen's county, on the west by the county of Tipperary, and on the south by the county of Waterford. It extends from 52° 14' to 52° 51' (N. Lat.), and from 6° 56' to 7° 38' (W. Lon.); and comprises an area, according to the Ordnance survey. of 536,686 statute acres. of which 417,117 are cultivated land. and 96,569 bog and mountain. The population. in 1821, was 158,716; and in 1831, 169,945. According to Ptolemy, this county was originally inhabited by the Brigantes and the Caucoi, and it afterwards formed part of the kingdom of Ossory. The name of Uisraigagh, modernized into Ossory, is supposed to be expressive of its local situation, being compounded of the Gaelic words uisge, "water," and rioghachd, "kingdom," as lying between the rivers. The portion between the Nore and Barrow is sometimes excluded from the kingdom of Ossory, and was anciently styled Hy Creoghain Gabhran; the southern part of the county was sometimes called Comor na tri uisge, "the high district of the three waters." The countries of Ely O'Carrol and Hy Carthin comprised some of the north-western portion of this county. This kingdom was sometimes tributary to Leinster, and sometimes to Munster. After the arrival of the English, it formed one of the counties into which King John divided the portion of the island that acknowledged his sovereignty. At the commencement of the reign of James I., it was chiefly occupied by the Graces, the O'Brenans, the Wandesfords, the Butlers, the O'Sheas, the Rooths, the Harpurs, the Walshes of the mountains, and the Shortals.

This county is partly in the diocese and province of Cashel, and partly in the diocese of Leighlin, but chiefly in and comprehending the greater part of the diocese of Ossory, in the province of Dublin. For purposes of civil jurisdiction it is divided into the baronies of Gowran, Ida, Fassadineen, Kells, Galmoy, Cranagh, Iverk, Knocktopher, and Shillelogher. It contains the incorporated market and post-towns of Callan, Thomastown, and Gowran; the market and post-towns of Castlecomer, Darrow, and Graig; the ancient disfranchised boroughs of Knocktopher and Innistiogue, of which the latter is a post-town, and the former has a penny post; and the post-towns of Freshford, Ballyragget, Urlingford, Johnstown, and Goresbridge. Among the largest villages are those of Piltown, Clough, Bennettsbridge, and Rossbercon, besides the large suburb of Ferrybank, opposite the city of Waterford. Prior to the Union this county sent twelve members to the Irish parliament.-two knights of the shire, and two representatives for each of the boroughs of Callan, Gowran, Thomastown, Knocktopher, and Innistiogue: but since that period its representation has been confined to the two members for the county at large. The constituency, as registered at the summer assize of 1836, consists of 266 £50, 108 £20, and 864 £10 freeholders; 27 £50, 12 £20, and 189 £10 leaseholders; and 5 £50 and 6 £20 rent-chargers: making a total of 1477 voters. The election takes place at Kilkenny. It is included in the Leinster circuit: the assizes are held at Kilkenny; and the general quarter sessions at Kilkenny, Castlecomer, and Thomastown. The county court-house and the county gaol are in Kilkenny, and there is a bridewell at Thomastown. The number of persons charged with criminal offences and committed to the prisons, in 1835, was 574, and of civil bill committals, 21. The local government is vested in a lieutenant and 17 deputy lieutenants, of whom 13 are county magistrates. and there are also 105 other magistrates; besides whom there are the usual county officers, including two coroners. There are 50 constabulary police stations, having in the whole a force of one stipendiary magistrate, 10 chief and 51 subordinate constables, and 341 men, with 22 horses, the expense of maintaining which is defrayed equally by Grand presentments and by Government. There are 30 stations of the peace preservation police, consisting of two magistrates, 3 chief and 18 subordinate constables, and 112 men, with 2 horses, maintained at an expense, in 1835, of £6963. The county infirmary and fever hospital are at Kilkenny, and there are also fever bospitals at Freshford, Kells, Kilmaganny, and Rossbereon, and dispensaries at Kilkenny, Castlecomer, Ballyragget, Graig, Freshford, Kilmanagh, Knocktopher, Kilmaganny, Thomastown, Ida, Kells and Stonyford, Gowran, Callan, Durrow, Johnstown, Kilmacow, Urlingford, Whitecburch, and Innistiogue, maintained by equal subscriptions and Grand Jury presentments. The amount of the Grand Jury presentments. for 1835, was £29,793. 14. 8½., of which £2603. 11. 6. was for the public roads of the county at large; £5907. 19. 1. for the public roads, being the baronial charge; £2387. 6. 9. in repayment of loans advanced by Government; £7609. 19. 1. for officers' salaries, public establishments, &c.; and £11.284. 18.3½. for the police. In the military arrangements this county is included in the eastern district.

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