TULLOW, or TULLOWPHELIM, a parish and market-town and post-town, in the barony of RATHVILLY, county of CARLOW, and province of LEINSTER, 7¼ miles (E. S. E.) from Carlow, and 46½ (S. S. W.) from Dublin, on the road from Carlow to Newtownbarry; containing 2587 inhabitants, of which number, 1929 are in the town. This place, which is situated on the river Slaney, over which is a bridge of five arches, built, according to an inscription on it, in the year 1767, is supposed to have been originally an appendage to a castle erected here by some of the first English settlers under the directions of Hugh de Lacy, and to a monastery founded here in 1315 for Augustinian friars by Simon Lumbard and Hugh Tallon, whose grant was confirmed, in 1331, byEdw. III. At the dissolution its temporalities were granted to the Earl of Ormonde. The castle was defended by Col. Butler in 1650 against the parliamentarian army, but after a stubborn resistance it was taken by Cols. Hewson and Reynolds. There are no vestiges of it now in existence, and the only relic of the abbey is a mutilated stone cross in a burial-ground on the south side of the river. It is said that the building was taken down in the reign of Queen Anne, to supply materials for the erection of a barrack on a site now occupied by the court-house. The town comprises two main streets and a few lanes, in which are 305 houses, mostly of inferior description: its outlets extend into the two adjoining parishes of Ardristan and Killerig. It obtained a patent for holding a market on Saturday and again for another on Tuesday: the market is now held on Saturday, and is the best corn market in the county. Fairs are held on April 21st, July 10th, Oct. 29th, and Nov. 21st. The extensive flour-mill of Messrs. Doyle and Pirn grinds about 10,000 barrels of wheat annually: there are also in the town two breweries belonging to Mr. Carter and Mr. Roche.
General sessions of the peace are held in the town in January, April, June, and October; petty sessions are also held here: the business of both is transacted in a small court-house. The town is a chief constabtilary police station.
The parish contains 5837 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: about one-half of it is meadow and pasture, and the remainder under tillage, with the exception of a small portion of wood. Two of its townlands are locally situated in the adjoining county of Wicklow.
The Derreen river flows along its south-eastern and southern boundaries, and at its southern extremity joins the Slaney near the church of Aghade. The principal seats are Newstown, the residence of R. Eustace, Esq.; Rathglass, of Pilsworth Whelan, Esq.; --of R.
Doyne, Esq.; Castlemore, the seat of the Eustace family; Rathrush, a seat of Viscount Frankfort de Montmorency: and Ballynunnery, of - Swift, Esq.; the residence of W. Carter, Esq., is in the town. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Leighlin, and in the patronage of the Marquess of Ormonde: the tithes amount to £600. There is a glebe-house, with a glebe near the church; the latter is a new building, erected in 1831 in the Gothic style. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising the parishes of Tullow and Tankardstown, and part of those of Ardristan, Pubbledrum, and Urglin. In the union there are three chapels; that of Tullow is a spacious building with three galleries, to which has been lately added a very fine tower and spire. There is a monastery in the town, the friars of which, ten in number, superintend a classical school, and also a national school, to which the Board of National Education allows £20 per annum for an additional master. The ladies of a convent superintend two schools, one for the daughters of the gentry, the other a free school for the education of the poorer classes; the latter of these also receives aid from the National Board. A number of orphan children are sent from Dublin,to the monastery and convent schools for instruction. There is in the town a school for boys and girls, supported by subscriptions, and an infants' school, maintained by Chas. Doyne, Esq. There are also two private schools, in which are about 60 boys and 20 girls.
Some distance south of the town are the ruins of Castle Grace, erected by one of the ancient family of Grace, descended from Raymond le Gros. The title of Viscount Tullowphelim was enjoyed successively by two branches of the Butler family, both of which have been many years extinct.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.