"Kilkenny", a city and, including Irishtown, a county of itself, and the seat of the diocese of Ossory, locally in the county of Kilkenny, of which it is the chief town, and in the province of Leinster, 24 miles (N. E. by N.) from Clonmel, and 57 1/2 (S. W.) from Dublin, on the river Nore and the mail coach road to Cork; containing 23,741 inhabitants. This place is supposed by some writers to have derived its name from Coil or Kyle-Ken-Ni, "the wooded head, or hill, near the river;" and by others, with more probability, from the dedication of its church to St. Canice, on the removal of the ancient see of Ossory from Aghavoe to this place, about the year 1052, which had been originally founded at Saiger, now Seir-Keran, about 402. Of the earlier history of the town little is recorded previously to 1173, when Donald O'Brien, King of Thomond, assembled his forces to dispossess the English invaders under Strongbow, who had established thenselves and erected a fortress here soon after their landing in Ireland. On this occasion Strongbow retreated to Waterford, and abandoned the castle to the enemy, by whom, together with the town, it was demolished, and the surrounding country laid waste. In 1192, the English appear to have settled themselves firmly at this place; and in 1195, William Le Mareschal, who had succeeded to Strongbow's possessions, rebuilt the castle on a larger scale and restored the town, which became one of the principal residences of his successors, and the head of the palatinate of Kilkenny. About this time arose that portion of the present town which is more especially called Kilkenny, and which was more immediately connected with the castle, in contradistinction to the original town on the opposite bank of a small river flowing into the Nore, called Irishtown. Each had its separate and independent municipal government, the former under the lords of the castle, and the latter under the bishops of Ossory, who ceded a portion of it to William Le Mareschal, by whom the burgesses of Kilkenny were incorporated and endowed with many privileges, among which was exemption from toll in all his territories of Leinster.

Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hereford, marrying a duaghter of William Le Mareschal, obtained as her dower the county of Kilkenny, which subsequently passed by marriage again to Hugh, grandfather of Thomas Le Spencer, from which it was purchased by James Butler, third Earl of Ormonde. A great council of the barons of the English pale was held here in 1294; and in 1309 a parliament assembled at this place, in which severe laws were enacted against such of the English settlers as should adopt the Irish customs; and anathemas against all who should infringe them were denounced in the cathedral by the Archbishop of Cashel and other prelates who assisted on that occasion. In 1317, Lord Roger Mortimer, justiciary of Ireland, and the English nobles, held a council here to deliberate on the most effectual means of opposing the ravages of Edward Bruce; and an army of 30,000 men was assembled, and great numbers of families sought refuge in the town under the general alarm. ...

The city, which comprises an area of nearly a square mile, is intersected from north to south by the river Nore, dividing it into two very unequal portions, of which the large, containing the castle, is on its western bank; and near the northern extremity, on the same side of the river, is that portion called Irishtown, containing the cathedral, and separate from the former by the small river Breagh, which here falls into the Nore. The streets are very irregular, but the city has an air of venerable magnificence, from its castle, cathedral, and the numerous and imposing remains of its ancient religious edifices, and is seen to great advantage from the high eastern bank of the river, and from the rising ground on the road to Clonmel. The houses in the principal streets are generally built of stone, and many of them are spacious and handsome, especially in that part of it properly called Kilkenny, in which the chief modern improvements have taken place; the total number of houses, in 1831, was 2800, since which time the number has increased. There are two elegant stone bridges over the Nore, erected after designs by Mr. G. Smith, to replace two which were destroyed in 1763 by a great flood; St. John's bridge consists of three arches, and Green's bridge connects Irishtown with the opposite bank. ...

The county of the city comprehends the parishes of St. Mary, St. Patrick, St. John, and St. Canice, and comprises 16,400 statute acres. The parishes of St. Mary and of St. Maul is entirely within the city.
[From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)]


Church Records

  • Civil Parish: St. Canice's. RC Parish: St. Canice's.
    Earliest Records: b. Apr 1768; m. Jun 1768.
  • Civil Parish: St. John. RC Parish: St. John's.
    Earliest Records: b. Jan 1789; m. Jun 1789.
  • Civil Parish: St. Mary's. RC Parish: St.Mary's.
    Earliest Records: b. Jan 1754; m. Jan 1754; d. Jan 1754 to Jul 1787.
  • Civil Parish: St. Patrick's. RC Parish: St. Patrick's.
    Earliest Records: b. Aug 1800; m. Jul 1801.
  • Civil Parish: St Maul's. RC Parish: St. Canice's.
    Earliest Records: b. Apr 1768; m. Jun 1768.

Cross reference to Family History Library microfilm (double-check with the Library)

 Civil           Roman Catholic  Time            FHLC
 parish           parish           period           number
 St Canice’s     St Canice       1768-1810       0926195
 St John’s       St John’s       1817-1880       0979701
 St Mary’s       St Mary’s       1754-1810       0926196
 St Mary’s       St Mary’s       1762-1858       0926197
 St Patrick’s    St Patrick’s    not available




The transcription of the section for this parish from the National Gazetteer (1868), provided by Colin Hinson.


Historical Geography

Townlands (1851) - vicinity of Kilkenny City
 Parish               Townland                Acres   Diocese
 St. Canice      Archerstreet Lot        88      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Ardboy                  43      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Ayresfield              43      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Ballynalina             290     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Bishops Demesne         54      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Bishopsfurze            71      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Bishopsmeadows          32      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Bonnetstown             574     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Boolyshea               168     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Burntfurze              32      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Cappagh                 140     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Cashel                  39      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Cloranshea              353     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Coolgrange              159     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Crokershill             25      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Deerpark                530     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Dukesmeadows            8       Ossory    
 St. Canice      Dunningstown            467     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Gardens                 81      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Jamesgreen              33      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Jamespark               40      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Keatingstown            733     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Kilcreen                42      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Kingsland East          161     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Kingsland West          75      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Lacken                  267     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Loughmacask             56      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Lousybush               107     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Lyons                   40      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Maidenhill              45      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Marnellsmeadows         19      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Newtown                 902     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Oldpark                 17      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Palmerstown             162     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Raheennagun             46      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Robertshill             67      Ossory    
 St. Canice      Sugarloaf Hill          6       Ossory    
 St. Canice      Talbotsinch             303     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Troyswood               507     Ossory    
 St. Canice      Walkinslough            71      Ossory    
 St. John's      Archersrath             107     Ossory    
 St. John's      Baun                    157     Ossory    
 St. John's      Blanchfieldsland        116     Ossory    
 St. John's      Bleachgreen             12      Ossory    
 St. John's      Bonnetsrath             269     Ossory    
 St. John's      Brownstown              537     Ossory    
 St. John's      Cellarstown East        167     Ossory    
 St. John's      Cellarstown Lower       100     Ossory    
 St. John's      Cellarstown Upper       87      Ossory    
 St. John's      Cellarstown West        299     Ossory    
 St. John's      Charterschoolland       34      Ossory    
 St. John's      Collegepark             9       Ossory    
 St. John's      Dukesmeadows            69      Ossory    
 St. John's      Dunmore                 105     Ossory    
 St. John's      Dunmorepark             111     Ossory    
 St. John's      Friarsinch              43      Ossory    
 St. John's      Gardens                 55      Ossory    
 St. John's      Garrincreen             116     Ossory    
 St. John's      Glendine                123     Ossory    
 St. John's      Greenridge              163     Ossory    
 St. John's      Highhays                10      Ossory    
 St. John's      Kingsland               104     Ossory    
 St. John's      Kyleroe                 170     Ossory    
 St. John's      Lacken                  24      Ossory    
 St. John's      Leggetsrath East        215     Ossory    
 St. John's      Leggetsrath West        245     Ossory    
 St. John's      Loughmerans             369     Ossory    
 St. John's      Lyrath                  74      Ossory    
 St. John's      Maudlinsland            53      Ossory    
 St. John's      Middleknock             55      Ossory    
 St. John's      Neworchard              208     Ossory    
 St. John's      Newtown                 134     Ossory    
 St. John's      Pennefatherslot         87      Ossory    
 St. John's      Purcellsinch            177     Ossory    
 St. John's      Quarryland              19      Ossory    
 St. John's      Radestown North         584     Ossory    
 St. John's      Radestown South         168     Ossory    
 St. John's      Roachpond               31      Ossory    
 St. John's      Seixeslough             49      Ossory    
 St. John's      Sionhermitage           30      Ossory    
 St. John's      Templemartin            28      Ossory    
 St. Maul's      Newpark Lower           151     Ossory    
 St. Maul's      Newpark Upper           160     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Archergrove             102     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Archersleas             147     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Ardscradum              12      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Baunreagh               151     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Birchfield              158     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Castleblunden           190     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Clonmoran               127     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Cox's Fields            12      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Danville                143     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Deansground             35      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Dicksborough            136     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Donaghmore              53      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Drakeland Lower         104     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Drakeland Middle        230     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Drakeland Upper         40      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Dukesmeadows            37      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Gallowshill             86      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Gardens                 30      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Holdensrath             320     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Joinersfolly            116     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Kilcreen                118     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Kylebeg                 211     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Loughboy                109     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Margaret's-fields       34      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Mortgage Fields         48      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Palmerstown             57      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Poulgour                131     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Raggetsland             97      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Reviewfields            138     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Shellumsrath            128     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Smithsland North        106     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Smithsland South        66      Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Springhill              148     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Warrington              487     Ossory    
 St. Patrick's   Wetland                 65      Ossory