1868 - The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland
"COUNTY TIPPERARY, an inland county in the province of Munster, Ireland, is bounded N. by Galway and King's County, E. by King's County, Queen's County, and Kilkenny, S. by Waterford, and W. by Cork, Limerick, Clare, and Galway. It lies between 52° 12' and 53° 9' N. lat. and 7° 20' and 8° 26' W. long. Its greatest length from N. to S. is 70 miles, and from E. to W. 40 miles. The area is 1,659 square miles, or 1,061,731 acres, of which 843,887 are arable, 178,183 uncultivated, 23,779 under continuous plantations, 2,359 in towns, and 13,523 under water. The population in 1841 was 435,553, in 1851 it was 331,567, and in 1861 it had fallen to 249,106. The poor-law valuation in 1851 was £618,148, and the general valuation in 1861 was £670,525. The number of persons from this county who emigrated from Irish ports between May, 1851, and December, 1865, with the expressed intention of not returning, was 110,248, or 33 per cent. of the population at the former date. Previous to the English conquest the county seems to have been divided into the kingdoms of Thomond, or North Munster, and Desmond, or South Munster, the princes of each having alternately paramount rule over Munster. On the English invasion in 1172 Henry II., in person, received the submission of the native chiefs, and summoned a council at Cashel, where his authority was recognised by princes and prelates, but on his departure this submission was recalled, and the O'Briens, of Thomond, for a time successfully resisted Strongbow. In 1185 Theobald Walker, a follower of Prince John, obtained a grant of the lands near the Shannon, with the title of Chief Butler of Ireland, which became hereditary, and whence the family derives its name. In 1210 Tipperary was erected into a county by King John.
In 1328 the sixth Chief Butler was created Earl of Ormond, and Edward III. granted to his son and successor, on his marriage with Elizabeth Bohun, granddaughter of Edward I., the royal privileges of the entire county, which were preserved to the family till the commencement of the last century. Frequent contests took place between the Butlers and the Geraldines, in the course of which the cathedral of Cashel was burned by the Earl of Kildare. The county was the scene of important military movements during the civil war of 1641, almost every stronghold having been at first seized by the Irish party, and subsequently reduced by Cromwell, when Clonmel, Cashel, and other places suffered severely. In the Jacobite wars Clonmel was abandoned by the Irish on the advance of William, after his victory at the Boyne in 1690. The surface is varied, comprising large tracts of level country intersected by ranges of hills. The Devil's Bit range, separated by a narrow defile at Roscrea from the Slieve Bloom mountains, extends in a continuous line across the county in a S.W. direction to the neighbourhood of Borrisoleigh, and then branch into the Bilboa mountains to the S., and the Keeper mountains towards Newport, where they are immediately connected with the Slieve Phelim mountains of Limerick. The Devil's Bit range has in no place a basis of more than 4 miles, and generally reaches an altitude of 1,300 to 1,600 feet, but Keeper mountain rises to 2,278 feet, and Moher Slieve of the same group to 1,783 feet. The Slievenamuck mountains or Tipperary hills run in a narrow ridge from Limerick to the S. of Tipperary town, reaching an elevation of only 1,215 feet at their highest point. The Galtees extend from the S.E. corner of Limerick to the valley of the Suir, near Cahir, with a basis breadth of 5 miles. They rise steeply, and at places inaccessibly, on the N. side, but slope gently on the S. Their highest summit near Limerick county is 3,015 feet, while at other points they reach 2,636, 2,588, 2,378, 2,166, and 1,969 respectively. The Knockmiledown range runs parallel to the Galtees, and form the boundary with Waterford, to which county they chiefly belong, but they here rise to 2,150 feet. Along the E. of the county is a small group, of which Slievenaman, 2,364 feet high, is the most important point. The plain of Ormond, stretching from the Devil's Bit mountains to Lough Derg, is rich, and is abundantly watered by the Shannon and its tributaries, the most important being the Brosna, Nenagh, and Mulkear. The valley of the Suir, embracing the central and southern portions of the county, and forming the Golden Vale, is fertile, and is drained by that river with its numerous affluents, while the eastern districts are watered by the King's and Munster rivers flowing into the Nore. The lakes of the county are numerous, but small and unimportant, except Lough Derg, which separates it from Galway and Clare. The only communications by water are the Shannon and the Suir, which latter is navigable for large barges to Clonmel. The Great Southern and Western railway enters near Borris-in-Ossory, and passes Thurles and Tipperary, communicating with Dublin on the N. and Cork City on the S., and having a branch line by Roscrea and Nenagh, to Limerick city. The Waterford and Limerick railway runs through the S. of the county, passing Clonmel and Tipperary. The roads are numerous, and are kept in excellent order. The level parts of the county belong to the great limestone field of Ireland. On the N. side of the Devil's Bit mountains, and about the Keeper and Bilboa groups, yellow sandstone and sandstone conglomerate prevail, and narrow belts of this formation are met with among the mountains in the S. and E. A considerable portion of the Galtees, Slievenamuck, and the S. side of the Devil's Bit ranges, and the greater part of the Keeper and Bilboa groups, consist of clay slate, graywacke, and graywacke slate; and a formation of old conglomerate, with red, purple, and grey clay slate prevails extensively in the Knockmiledown range, and is much met with among the Galtees and Slievenamuck. Coal is found on the eastern border, and thence to within a few miles of Cashel, with a small outlying district at Cashel, and one at Clonmel. The coal is of the nature of anthracite, or blind coal, and is an extension of the Kilkenny field. Copper is found at Hollyford, and zinc and lead mixed with silver at Silvermines and Shallee. The sandstone of Slievenamuck yields excellent flags, and from the Arra hills, near Lough Derg, slates are quarried equal to those of North Wales. The climate is temperate and healthy. The soil in the level parts is fertile, particularly in the Golden Vale, which is of calcareous loam, and in the district to the N. of the Devil's Bit range, comprising the baronies of Upper and Lower Ormond. Agriculture is principally attended to, but the importation of foreign corn has caused a change in this particular, while the rearing of cattle, and more particularly of sheep, has increased. In 1847, 319,334 acres were under crops, and in 1865 only 297,551 acres. The condition of the peasantry, though not satisfactory, has been considerably improved. Drainage has been carried out in many districts, and a better system of farming is adopted. The love of the soil, inherent in all Irishmen, seems specially so in the people of this county, and in 1760, and for many subsequent years, the Whiteboy disturbances, arising out of agrarian disputes, gave considerable annoyance to landowners, and so recently as 1862 the murder of two landlords is to be attributed to the same cause. The county is partly in the dioceses of Lismore, Emly, and Killaloe, but chiefly in that of Cashel. In the Roman Catholic distribution it belongs principally to the archdiocese of Cashel and diocese of Emly, but also to the dioceses of Waterford and Lismore, and that of Killaloe. Of the population in 1861, 12,800, or 5.1 per cent., were members of the Established Church; 234,881, or 94.3 per cent., were Roman Catholics; and 1,425, or 0.6 per cent., belonged to other Christian denominations. The county returns four members to parliament; two for the county at large, constituency in 1864, 8,996; and one each for the boroughs of Cashel and Clonmel, constituencies respectively in 1866, 148 and 339. It is divided for civil purposes into North Riding and South Riding, the former consisting of the baronies of Ormond, Lower and Upper, Owney and Arra, Ikerrin, Eliogarty, and Upper Kilnamanagh; the latter of Slievardagh, Lower Kilnamanagh, Middlethird, Clanwilliam, East and West Offa and Wit; and contains 193 parishes. The civil government is intrusted to a lieutenant and custos, a high sheriff, 31 deputy lieutenants, 6 resident and about 206 local magistrates. It belongs to the Leinster circuit. The assizes for the north riding are held at Nenagh, and for the south riding at Clonmel. Sessions are also held at Roscrea, Thurles, Carrick-on-Suir, Cashel, Clogheen, New Birmingham, Newport, Templemore, and Tipperary. The county belongs to the Cork, or south-western military district, and contains twelve military stations. It is divided into 9 Poor-law Unions, and there are 19 market towns. In 1863 there were 271 National schools, attended by 17,104 male and 18,046 female children, besides Church Education, private, and other schools. The principal seats in the county are, Cahir Castle, Earl of Glengall; Knocklofty, Earl of Donoughmore; Rathronan, Lord Gough; Dundrum, Lord Hawarden; Shanbally, Lord Lismore; Laughton, Lord Bloomfield; Kilboy, Lord Dunalley; Thomastown, Vicomte Chabot, besides numerous mansions of the resident gentry. The county is rich in antiquities, chiefly of the mediæval period, the most interesting being those of Cashel, Roscrea, and Golden, with Holy Cross Abbey, a specimen of the Pointed style of architecture. Here are also the stalactite caverns, called the Mitchelstown Caves."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2018