History of the Queen's County, Ireland


Many years have now passed since the project of writing the History of the Queen's Count was seriously entertained. But although materials for a work of this kind hail been collected and prepared at intervals by the Author, other literary engagements and still more pressing occupations prevented the accomplishment of such a task and almost precluded the hope of time and opportunity being afforded to complete it. Not alone was it required to glean from manuscript and printed sources those records which serve to illustrate the subject and to arrange the topics and chronological sequence of events in a systematic form, but it was found to be most desirable to examine and describe those monuments remaining many from a pre-historic period that the archeological problems of each locality might have a more scientific distinctness for the consideration of antiquaries. This independent investigation has been made at various times, and with the greatest exactness within the power of the author.

Personally and at frequent intervals its monuments remaining in their various localities have been examined and described, as also sketched on the spot.

The want for a History of the Queen's County has long been complained of, and fearing that no more competent person was likely to engage on the labour and research requisite to supply that deficiency, the present writer for many past years had conceived the project of collecting and procuring materials for the preparation of such a work. A native of the county himself, and familiar from birth with its scenes, people, and associations, the subject had for him an interest altogether special, and opportunities were afforded by a long-continued residence in and near Dublin for constant and ready access to all its public libraries. From their numerous manuscript and printed sources have been gleaned the records and information that mainly serve to illustrate its archaeology, topography, and chronological sequence of events, from the earliest known period down to the present day.

To render the study of topography and archaeology interesting and satisfactory to the general reader, it is necessary to present fairly accurate maps of ancient territorial divisions in connection with the natural features of a locality where no material changes of depression or elevation have occurred at least within historic times. This task has been accomplished in the present history of the Queen's County. Before the close of the fourteenth century sufficient descriptions of districts have been furnished to determine the chief boundaries of the tribe lands at that period. Accordingly a map has been prepared to show their relative situations, and drawn to a scale in its general outlines, which corresponds with the measurements on the Ordnance Survey maps. And as those tribe lands are not known to have greatly changed their bounds for many centuries previous to that time, so may we reasonably conclude they preserve a fairly correct representation of the ancient Irish tricha-ced or cantred, which has been obscured or varied considerably in the modern distribution of local denominations.


Table of Contents

Book I. - Natural History
Book II. - Antiquariun and Pagan History Book III. - Ecclesiastical, Diocesan and Parochial History
Book IV. - General History


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Volume II - History of the territory from 1556 to 1900.

Two causes, chiefly, have delayed the appearance of this volume. One was the necessity of securing a sufficient number of subscribers to tender its publication possible. To those who have enabled us to overcome this definitely we tender out grateful thanks.

The other cause of lay was the insufficiency of the material collected by Canon O'Hanion. At the time of his lamented death he was but midway in his work. We Were this obliged to undertake the duties rather of compliers than of editors. And, as compliers, our progress was bound to be slow. Living at a distance from public libraries and from the Record and other Public offices, where research work had to be done, our task proved, as might be expected, both toilsome and tedious. That we did not abandon it in despair is due, in a large measure, to the encouragement, and help, received from three friends to whom it gives us sincere pleasure to acknowledge our indebtedness. These are Lord Walter Fitzgerald, Martin J. Blake, Esq., B.L., and the distinguished historian of the diocese of Ossory, the Rev. Dr.Carrigan.


Table of Contents

Book IV. - Continues - General History


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In the year 1814, Sir Richard Griffith produced a very admirable Report on the Leinster Coal District mainly confined to the Queen's County and County of Kilkenny and in 1836, he prepared a General Map of Ireland to accompany a Report of the Railway Commissioners. This Map was elegantly engraved, contoured, and mounted on fine vellum paper of a large size, so that it presents the principal physical features and geological structure of all Ireland. It has been geologically coloured by hand, moreover, and for all practical purposes, the student may find on that portion representing the Queen's County sufficient to arrest his intelligent curiosity. On this Map is marked, likewise, a Synoptical View of the principal fossils of Irish strata, with numerous fossiliferous and mineral localities arranged, as also with reference to the Post Towns adjacent. Nevertheless, for a much more accurate and detailed picture of the geological formation of the Queen's County, those Ordnance Survey maps, drawn on the scale of one inch to a statute mile, and geologically coloured with intelligible references to the various districts, are most of all to be preferred. Accompanying those Maps are tracts, containing explanations under the head of "Memoirs of the Geological Survey." These have been prepared from the Reports and descriptions of the surveyors in their various districts.