A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland - Samuel Lewis - 1837
Transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2013
TIPPERARY, a county, of the province of MUNSTER, bounded on the east by the King's and Queen's counties, and that of Kilkenny; on the south, by that of Waterford; on the west, by those of Cork, Limerick, and Clare, from which latter it is separated by the Shannon and Lough Derg; and on the north, by that of Galway and King's county. It extends from 52° 12' to 53° 9' N. Lat., and from 7° 20'to 8° 26' W. Lon.; comprising an area, according to the Ordnance survey, of 1,013,173 statute acres, of which 819,69S consist of cultivated land, 182,147 of bog, mountain, and unimproved waste, and 11,328 are covered with water. The population, in 1821, was 346,896; and in 1831, 402,363.
The inhabitants of this portion of the island are designated by Ptolemy the Coriondi. Ængus McNafrach, King of Munster in the fifth century, is said to have enlarged the territory of the powerful tribe of the Desii, occupying the present county of Waterford, by the addition of the southern part of Tipperary, then forming a district called Magh Femin, but afterwards designated Desie Thuasgeart or North Desie, to distinguish it from the more southern lands of the same sept. According to Vallancey, the chiefs of Magh Femin, whose principal residence was on the rock of Cashel, obtained the name of Hy dun na moi, or "the chiefs of the hill of the plain," rendered by corruption O'Donnohue, and from them descended the Mac Carthies. The Desii maintained a separate sovereignty until overpowered by the first English invaders, against whom, however, they carried on a sanguinary and protracted struggle. The families then holding superior rank were those of O'Fogarty, occupying the territory about Thurles, anciently called Hy Fogarta; O'Brien, possessing the tract bordering on the Shannon, below Lough Derg, called Aradh Cliach, and forming the present barony of Owney and Arra; and O'Kennedy, who held Muscraighe Thire, now the baronies of Upper and Lower Ormond. The names of several other small districts have also been preserved, such as Corca Eathrach, including the country around Holy Cross and Cashel, forming a considerable part of Goulin, or the Golden Vale; Eoganacht, a territory and sept to the north of this, around Thurles; and Hy-Kerrin still further north. Ormond, the name of the northern part of the county, signifies East Munster. The first English army that penetrated into this part of the island was led in person by Hen. II., who, in 1172, advanced from Waterford, and on the banks of the Suir received the submissions of the surrounding chieftains of the south; but on his return these submissions were for the most part retracted, and hostilities with the English commenced by the march of Earl Strongbow with an army to Cashel, where he reviewed his troops, and having received information of the strength and posture of the enemy, sent to Dublin, for the aid of the Ostmen forces enlisted in the English service there. When this auxiliary force had advanced as far as Thurles, it was suddenly attacked by O'Brien of Thomond so successfully, that their four principal leaders and 400 men were slain; upon which Strongbow made a precipitate retreat to Waterford. Afterwards Prince John, to secure the southern part of the county in subjection to the English authority, ordered the erection of castles at Ardfinnan and Tipperary. The next great struggle originated in an attempt made by Daniel O'Brien, of Thomond, to dispossess the English of this tract of country, for which purpose he levied a considerable force, and the contending parties having met at Thurles, a battle ensued in which the English were discomfited. But this did not put an end to the contest; the English still continued to ravage the territories of O'Brien, and to increase the number of their castles, which they gradually extended towards the Shannon. When the territory had been in a great measure reduced. Hen. II. granted the whole of its lay possessions to Theobald Walter, who accompanied prince John to Ireland, in 1185, and was constituted "Chief Butler" of Ireland, a dignity made hereditary in his family, and from which it derives its name. Tipperary was one of the counties erected into shire ground by King John, in 1210. In 1315, Edmund, the fifth chief Butler of Ireland, received a grant of the return of all writs in his cantreds of Ormon, Hyogarty, and Hyocaroyl; and his son and successor, James, was created Earl of Ormonde in 1328. Edw. III. granted to this nobleman's son, James, who had married Eleanor Bohun, grand-daughter of Edw. I., for the better support of the name and honour of Earl of Ormonde, and in consideration of his valuable services, and of the consanguinity existing between him and his majesty, the regality, fees, and all other liberties in the county of Tipperary, and also the prisage of wines in Ireland. The royal liberty thus established in the county continued until the commencement of the last century, having, through the power, talents and loyalty of the family, been preserved long after the other royal liberties in Ireland had ceased to exist. The lands of the church being exempt from the palatine jurisdiction, formed considerable tracts within the limits of the county, in which the king's writs and ordinary jurisdiction had free course; these lands, in contradistinction to the county palatine, were designated the Cross of Tipperary, had their own sheriffs, and sent separate members to the Irish parliament. From a representation of this parliament, in 1430, it appears, that the greater part of the county was then subject to "Irish enemies, or English rebels," meaning by the latter name, such as, under the loose authority of the age, lived in the old native fashion, in contempt of the King's authority or the English law; but the Butler family and the archbishops of Cashel were at a subsequent period firm in their allegiance to Hen. VII., in opposition to the attempts of Lambert Simnel. In the reign of Hen VIII., ordinances for the government of this and other western counties, in which English law had been long disregarded, were committed for execution to the Earl of Ormonde. In the 28th of the same reign, much of the possessions and privileges of the earldom vested in the king, by his marriage with Anne Boleyn, while such portions as were settled in tail male, including the prisage of wines, passed to the eldest heir male of the family, Sir Pierce Butler, created Earl of Ossory, and commonly styled Lord Ormonde, and in 1537, the same king confirmed to this nobleman all the lordships and manors anciently belonging to the family, in this and other counties. In 1632, James, commonly styled "the great Duke of Ormonde," succeeded to the possessions of his family; and in the subsequent civil commotions, in which he acted so important a part, this county suffered very severely. In 1642, almost every fort and castle was captured by the Irish, and nearly all the relations of the earl were at once involved in the insurrection. In 1647, it suffered from the military ravages of Lord Inchiquin, who took Cahir and Cashel, and ravaged the whole county. After the fall of Clonmel in 1650, a great portion of the forfeited lands of the rebels was divided amongst the parliamentarian adventurers, and subsequently confirmed to them by the act of settlement after the Restoration. James, Duke of Ormonde, obtained confirmation of all his ancient paternal property by several patents and statutes of Chas. II., and the royalties and liberties thereby granted were extended over the county at large, including the Gross of Tipperary, and were confirmed by act of parliament in the 14th and 15th of the same king. James, grandson of the Great Duke, was impeached on the accession of Geo. I., and, fleeing to France, was attainted of high treason by an act of the British parliament, and his estates confiscated; and by an act of the Irish parliament, in the 2nd of Geo. I., all the liberties, regalities, franchises, courts of law and equity, jurisdictions, rights, power and authorities, granted by the letters patent and acts of parliament above mentioned, were for ever extinguished, and the rolls and records thereof, consisting of the pleadings in the court palatine of Tipperary from 1662 to 1714 and leases of lands from the Duke during the same period, were deposited chiefly in the Rolls Office of Chancery in Ireland, and a few in the office of the Chirographer of the Common Pleas. However, by an English statute in 1721, his brother, the Earl of Arran, was enabled to purchase the estates, and after his Grace's death without issue, succeeded as heir and representative of the Butlers of Ireland. From this nobleman's time until the year 1791, the ancient honours of the house of Ormonde remained dormant; but in that year John Butler, Esq., of the castle of Kilkenny, was restored to the earldoms of Ormond and Ossory, Viscounty of Thurles, &c.; no statute of restoration being deemed necessary on the occasion, as the title had not been attainted by an act of the Irish parliament. The present Marquess of Ormonde still retains the honorary office of Chief Butler, but the profits of the butlerage and prisage were purchased from the family for £216,000, under the 46th, 50th, and 51st of Geo. III., and vested in the Crown for the benefit of the public.
The county is partly in the dioceses of Lismore, Emly, and Killaloe, but chiefly in that of Cashel: for purposes of civil jurisdiction it is divided into the baronies of Clanwilliam, Eliogarty, Iffa and Offa East, Iffa and Offa West, Ikerrin, Kilnemanagh, Middlethird, Lower Ormond, Upper Ormond, Owney and Arra, and Slievardagh. It contains the borough, assize and markettown of Clonmel; the city and borough of Cashel; the corporate, market, and post-town of Fethard, formerly a parliamentary borough; the market-town and post-towns of Nenagh, Thurles, Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary, Roscrea, Clogheen, Killenaule, Cahir, and Templemore; and the post-towns of Burris-o-Leagh, Burris-o-Kane, Cloghjordan, Newport, Golden, Littleton, and New Birmingham: the largest villages are Bansha, (which has a penny post) Emly, Toomavara, Silvermines, Ballina, Ballingarry, and Mullinahone. It sent eight members to the Irish parliament, two for the county, and two for each of the boroughs of Clonmel, Cashel, and Fethard; but since the Union its represen- tatives in the Imperial parliament have been two for the county and one for each of the boroughs of Clonmel and Cashel. The county members are elected at Clonmel: the constituency, as registered up to Jan. 1st, 1837, consisted of 837 £50, 379 £20, and 1600 £10 freeholders; 62 £20 and 228 £10 leaseholders; and 16 £50 and 15 £20 rent chargers; making a total of 3137 voters. The county is included in the Leinster Circuit. The local government is vested in a lieutenant, 30 deputy-lieutenants, and 153 other magistrates, with the usual county officers, including 4 coroners. There are 99 constabulary police stations, comprising altogether a force of 2 magistrates, 10 chief officers, 77 constables, 464 men and 21 horses. The county gaol is at Clonmel, and there are bridewells at Cahir, Clogheen, Tipperary, Cashel, New Birmingham, Thurles, Templemore, Roscrea, Nenagh, Burris-o-Kane and Newport. The lunatic asylum for the county is at Clonmel; where also is the county House of Industry, with a lunatic asylum attached to it, principally for cases of idiotcy: the county infirmary is at Cashel: there are Fever hospitals at Clonmel, Tipperary, Cahir, Burris-o-Kane, Clógheen, Cloghjordan, Cashel, Carrick-on-Suir, Nenagh, Roscrea, and Templernore; and dispensaries at Ballingarry, Bird Hill, Burris-o-Leagh, Burris-o-Kane, Ballyporeen, Clonmel, Drangan, Golden, Kilsheelan, Newcastle, Portroe, Poulmucka, Lorrha, Carrick-on-Suir, Cahir, Clogheen, Cappaghwhite, Cloghjordan, Dundrum, Fethard, Killenaule, Mullinahone, Nenagh, Newport, Ballynonty, Roscrea, Silvermines, Tipperary, Thurles, Templemore, Toomavarra, Littleton and Ballymacky, each maintained by equal Grand Jury presentments and private subscriptions. The Grand Jury presentments for 1835 amounted to £56,795. 16. 0., of which £442. 6. 6. was for new roads and bridges, &c.; £21,629. 2. 10. for repairs of roads and bridges; £20,065. 16. 1. for public buildings, charities, officers' salaries and incidents; £11,811.7.10. for the police; and £2847. 2. 9. for repayments of advances made by Government. In the military arrangements the county is partly in the western, but chiefly in the south-western, district; and within its limits are nine barracks, or military stations: four for cavalry, at Cahir, Carrick-on-Suir, Clogheen, and Fethard; four for infantry, at Cashel, Nenagh, Roscrea, and Templemore; and one for cavalry, artillery and infantry at Clonmel; the whole capable of accommodating 139 officers and 2938 men.
The surface of the county is composed of several extensive and fertile tracts of champaign country, separated from each other by ranges of hills. The greatest tract of level country is that watered by the Suir, from its source near Roscrea to Ardfinnan, extending in length about 50 miles, and in breadth averaging 15. Although it presents a nearly level appearance, when viewed from the surrounding heights, owing to the general equality of its successive swells, it is found to be diversified with slightly depressed valleys and gentle elevations, which, combined with an exuberant fertility, present a pleasing though by no means a picturesque succession of scenery. The part of this plain between the Kilnamanagh and Galtee ranges, in the centre of which the town of Tipperary is situated, and which is bounded by a line drawn from Bansha and Thomastown. near Golden on the east, and by another from Galbally through Pallasgreine to the Bilboa mountains on the west, has been designated the "Golden Vale," on account of the surpassing richness of its soil. The general elevation of its surface is about 400 feet above the level of the sea, though in some parts it does not exceed 250: from Cashel upwards it varies from 326 to 474 feet. On the east it is bounded at first by a large tract of bog, a branch of that of Allen, extending into the contiguous county of Kilkenny; farther south, it is enclosed by the low range of the Slievardagh hills, forming the Killenaule coal district, extending from the vicinity of Freshford, in the county of Kilkenny, a distance of eighteen miles south-westward, to a point five miles beyond Killenaule: the breadth of this range is about six miles; it is most elevated and abrupt towards the north-western side, where the height of the hills above the subjacent plain varies from 300 to 600 feet, while towards the south-east the surface gradually declines, and in that direction flow all the principal streams. Farther south the boundary of the plain is terminated on this side by the elevated group of Slievena- man, to the south-east of Fethard, from which several ranges of hills extend into the county of Kilkenny. On the south the vale is immediately overlooked by the steep and towering heights of the Monevullagh and Knockmeledown mountains, which form the county boundary towards Waterford; and along the base of the latter, a branch of the plain extends westward from Cahir and Ardfinnan, by Clogheen and Ballyporeen, into the vale of the Blackwater, which forms the northeastern part of the county of Cork. On the north of this portion of the plain stands the noble range of the Galtees, which on this side rise for the most part with a gentle ascent, while on the north-west they are in many parts extremely precipitous. The length of this range is twenty miles to its termination at the river Funcheon near Mitchelstown, which river forms part of the boundary between Tipperary and Cork, and its breadth from five to seven. The highest summit is Galtymore, which attains an elevation of about 2500 feet. The wild magnificence of this chain is, from its sudden elevation in the midst of a fertile plain, very striking; and its vast groupings present an assemblage of the most interesting features in boldness, freedom of outline, and variety of aspect. There are three curious circular lakes of small extent on these mountains, and the glens diverging from them present many natural beauties, particularly the western glen, in which is a fine cascade. North of these is a subordinate and lower parallel ridge, called Slieve-na-muck, near the base of which stands the town of Tipperary. From this vicinity a second branch of the great plain, through which a road runs from Clonmel to Limerick, extends to the western confines of the county, where it is met by the more elevated district in the vicinity of Pallasgreine, in the county of Limerick; and to the north of this vale rises the grand group of the Bilboa, Keeper, and Slieve- Phelim mountains, presenting a grand and varied outline. Among these, which occupy a wide district, is pre-eminently distinguished the Keeper mountain, between Newport and Silvermines, to the north-west of which; lies another mountain group on the borders of the Shannon at Lough Derg, appearing to form part of a range extending by Killaloe to the vicinity of Six-milebridge, in the county of Clare, though here intersected by this grand watercourse. The Bilboa mountains separ.ate the baronies of Ormond from the other baronies; and from them the western boundary of the grand vale of Tipperary is continued by a narrow range of heights, called the Kilnamanagh hills, which stretches hence north-eastward above Thurles and Templemore, forming the Devil's Bit mountains; and from these, again, a lower series of hills extends by Roscrea to the more elevated Slievebloom mountains, separating the King's from the Queen's county, and which makes the length of the entire range not less than 40 miles. The Keeper mountains and their northern dependencies within the. county of Tipperary form a wild tract of country, extending in length about 24 miles, and in breadth about 20, and comprehending an extent of about 480 square miles, throughout the whole of which there was, until lately, scarcely any road passable for wheel carriages; but two excellent lines have recently been constructed by Government. From these mountains to the banks of the Shannon, and its expansion Lough Derg, extends the fertile plain of the Ormonds, of similar character to the Golden Vale, like it highly cultivated and adorned with many rich demesnes. The common elevation of this plain varies from 114 to 274 feet, gradually declining towards Lough Derg.
The soil of the great plains and vales consists of calcareous loams of various quality, but for the most part exuberantly fertile, and forming, in parts of the southern and south-western baronies of Clanwilliam, Middlethird, and Iffa and Offa, the most productive portion of the county; these baronies contributing more to the county cess than all the other seven, and comprising a greater number of highly cultivated farms. The rest of the low country is similar in character, forming extensive agricultural tracts; the hills are occupied by poorer soils on substrata of slate and sandstone, and are often very shallow. Great progress, however, has been made in their improvement, by means of the facilities which the construction of new roads has afforded for the introduction of lime as a manure, which is procured in abundance in the low country.
The soil of the Slievardagh hills is of a cold and wet nature, abounding in many places with yellow clay. Contiguous to the bog of Allen lies a great extent of flat marshy ground, producing little but sedges and aquatic grasses, used for thatching and litter. The diversified nature of its surface renders the county equally noted for its good sheepwalks, its rich corn-fields, and its fertile grazing pastures. In describing the husbandry of the county it may be. classed into five districts, three agricultural, occupying the plains, and two of pasturage, comprising the mountain tracts. The principal of the former is the plain from Carrick to Tipperary, the superior quality of the soil of which, and its contiguity to Clonmel, the great mart for export, have caused it to be occupied by the more wealthy class of landholders, in farms averaging about 50 or 60 acres, though sometimes considerably more: here the lands under tillage exceed the quantity of pasture in the proportion of five to three. Of the other two agricultural districts, one occupies the upper part of the same plain, extending to Roscrea, Burris-o-leagh, Dundrum and Cappaghwhite, while the third forms the plain country extending from the northwestern mountains to the Shannon and Lough Derg. The mountain districts are the coal tract of Slievardagh. and Killenaule, and the mountains of Upper Ormond and Kilnemanagh.
By much the greater part of the hills of Slievardagh are under tillage; the farms, which were of considerable size, averaging from 80 to 100 acres, have been in many instances so subdivided among the descendants of the original lessees, that they do not now average more than 10. The mountain district of Upper Ormond, including the Keeper and Kilnamanagh mountains, though elevated, affords good pasturage to the summit; the bases of these mountains, particularly on the north, are fertile and under excellent cultivation, which is extending a considerable way up their sides. In the low lands the general course of crops is potatoes, wheat, and oats, sometimes for two years, after which the same course is resumed, after liming or manuring. On light and shallow soils barley sometimes succeeds the potatoes. Bere is usually taken off rich deep soils that have remained long under pasturage. In the mountain districts, wheat is cultivated only in a few peculiarly favourable valleys, except where the increased use of lime has extended its growth on the Slievardagh hills. Sometimes the corn crops are repeated until the soil is entirely exhausted, and then it is left to regain its natural sward, and remains untilled for a few years. The common mode of planting the potatoes is in lazy beds, but in many parts they are now drilled. The artificial grasses are red and white clover, rye-grass, and hay-seeds, which last are now almost invariably sown whenever land is laid down for grass. The grass lands are good and sound, and though not in general clothed with the luxuriant herbage that adorns the county of Limerick, the butter is of superior quality. The most productive lands are the abundant tracts of low meadow along the banks of the larger rivers descending from the mountains, and constantly enriched by their alluvial deposits. These lands are here designated Inches, signifying "islands." A considerable portion of fertile land is devoted to the purposes of the dairy; and there are some extensive grazing farms, on which large herds of cattle are fattened. The butter, which is made in large quantities in the dairies, is mostly packed in firkins and sent to Clonmel, Waterford, or Limerick, for the English market, or by the canal to Dublin: the demand for it is annually increasing. The principal manure is lime, which is extensively used on the rich lands of the vale, and in reclaiming and improving the colder soils of the high lands. A compost of turf mould mixed with the refuse of the farm-yard is also used, particularly for top-dressing. Limestone gravel is likewise in demand: that taken from the escars in the coal district between Killenaule and New Park, which form fertile and picturesque hills chiefly composed of this material, was formerly in great repute as manure, and was always spread on the ground without being calcined. Agricultural implements and carriages of improved construction are every year coming more into use; a light car with a wicker body is common. The fences are generally large mounds of earth from six to eight feet at the base, thrown up from the trench, frequently topped with white thorn or furze. In some districts stone walls are the general fence: a few resident gentlemen have set the example of an improved English system of fencing. Notwithstanding the un- dulatory character of the plain country, which renders the land less retentive of moisture than the contiguous county of Kilkenny, large tracts of the tillage land require draining. In many parts, a mode of drawing the water off pasture lands, called pipe-draining, has been introduced from Limerick: it consists of a narrow drain, covered with a thick surface sod, resting on an offset on each side. In some parts of the Ormonds, and on the lands of the principal gentry, the most approved systems of green-cropping are practised: the raising of clover has become general among the farmers, by whom rape, flax, vetches, and hemp are occasionally sown, though not to any great extent. Flax is cultivated in small plots, on the headlands or in a corner of the field, for domestic use only. The fields are generally very small, even in the dairy districts seldom exceeding five or six acres, and in tillage land being from two to four. The number and width of the ditches in such a mode of arrangement must throw much land out of cultivation. Great improvements have taken place latterly in the breeds of every kind of cattle: the breed most esteemed for the dairy is the Irish cow crossed by the Holderness or Durham, the latter of which seems to thrive best on every soil but the limestone, where the cross between the Devon and Limerick answers better: the Kerry cow crossed by the Old Leicester is small, but fattens rapidly in the lowland pastures. Sheep are seldom seen except with the gentry and large farmers: the defective system of fencing, the small holdings and subsequent minute subdivisions of the fields tend to exclude them from the management of the small farmer: in the mountain districts the small old hairy country breed is still to be found. Pigs are very numerous, forming part of the stock from the highest to the lowest landholder: they grow rapidly, are easily fattened, and much care is bestowed on them: great numbers are shipped for England both alive and dead. The breeding and improvement of horses is also much attended to, although the number is now less than what it formerly was, the farmers having brought into use a greater number of asses and mules to perform the drudgery. Some of the asses are of a large Spanish breed; they are almost everywhere used by the poorer classes. There are very few woods, and these are mostly mere copses, consisting of underwood, or stunted oak, whitethorn and birch. The defect is in course of being remedied by the numerous plantations around the mansions of the gentry, in some of the glens and on the. sides of the hills; the most extensive wood of this description is that in the western Galtees, round the mountain lodge of the Earl of Kingston. Several good nurseries for forest trees have been established, particularly in the neighbourhood of Clonmel, and great encouragement to plant is held out by many of the landed proprietors. The greatest extent of bog is that formed originally by the obstructed waters of the Nore, which constitutes a tract of 36,025 statute acres, between Roscrea, Urlingford, and Killenaule, forming part of the bog of Allen: its general elevation is about 400 feet above the level of the sea. This vast tract, now wholly unprofitable except for fuel, is, according to a computation made by the surveyors in 1811, capable of being reclaimed at the moderate expense of 5s. per acre, and of being converted into land of the best quality; but with the exception of petty encroachments and improvements on the borders, no attempt has hitherto been made to carry into execution the plans then deemed practicable. The great object is the removal of obstructions in the bed of the Nore, which flows through these morasses, and must form their main drain. There are several other detached bogs, all capable of being reclaimed, because they command a fall towards some one of the great rivers of the county. Yet, notwithstanding these extended tracts of turbary, the bog is so unequally distributed that the peasantry in many parts suffer much from the want of fuel; in the neighbourhood of Cahir, the women and children are chiefly employed in collecting every thing of a combustible nature from the ditches and roads. In 1786, one of the smaller bogs of the county overflowed, and submerged some lands in its progress to the Suir at Ballygriffin. The mineral productions are various and important.
The plain country forms part of the great limestone field of Ireland. The Roscrea and Devil's Bit mountains, which are a continuation of the Slievebloom range, consist of sandstone in mass, whose covering everywhere assumes the form of conglomerate: the Keeper and Bilboa mountains, in which this range terminates, consist of a nucleus of clay-slate surrounded by sandstone, except on the north, near the village of Silvermines, where the clay-slate comes immediately in contact with the limestone of the flat district, extending nearly to Lough Derg: the surrounding sandstone in some parts forms a red coarse conglomerate, similar to that of Lyons and Donabate, near Dublin, and is quarried for mill-stones. The Galtees, with the subordinate ridge of Slieve-na-muck, consist wholly of sandstone, the upper part of which forms strata from one to two feet thick, gradually curving in the form of the summit: the sandstone of Slieve-na-muck is arranged in horizontal strata, which yield excellent flags. The Knockmeledown and Monavullagh mountains, ranging along the southern boundary of the county, are likewise composed of clay-slate, with sandstone at the base and horizontal strata of the same formation on their summits: the Slieve-na-man group is of analogous structure, consisting of a nucleus of clay-slate surrounded and surmounted by sandstone, which is connected with the sandstone hills stretching by Nine-mile-house towards Carrick-on-Suir and Thomastown. The clayslate to the east of Slieve-na-man, extending towards Kilmagany, yields good slates, particularly in the quarries of Inchmagloeh, or the Ormond quarries. The Killenaule coal district chiefly occupies a low range of heights extending to Coalbrook, on the north-east, a distance of about 5 miles. The strata constituting this formation are shale and sandstone, the principal bed of the latter forming the main body of the elevated part of the coal hills; the whole occupy a depression in the limestone strata, from the borders of which they dip to a common centre, those declining from the northwest having a descent about twice as rapid as those from the south-eastern margin. This bed of sandstone forms narrow troughs or basins lying north-east and south-west, in which are beds of fire-clay, forming the immediate floor of the coal and covered next it by two beds of shale and one of iron rock. In some instances this series appears to be repeated, two or more seams of coal lying one above the other in the same trough, which are generally from 40 to 43 yards from the surface to the upper bed of coal, with a breadth of from 500 to 700 yards. The fire-clay under the coal varies in thickness from four to nine feet, and is everywhere interspersed with vegetable impressions, apparently of grasses, which, when fresh, have a glossy surface. The roof also exhibits vegetable impressions of a similar kind, chiefly of ferns, reeds and grasses, but occasionally of shells.
The coal of the whole district is of the kind called stone or blind coal, similar to that of Kilkenny and Queen's county. The value of the quantity annually raised, previously to 1825, amounted to about £12,000, but has since nearly doubled. The increase is attributable in a great measure to the exertions of the Mining Company of Ireland, who took several of the mines on lease, among which were those of Glangoole, Ballygalavan, and Boulintlea, the lastnamed of which is said to be the most extensive coalfield in Ireland, and opened that of Mardyke in 1827. The principal colliery worked by an individual is that of Coalbrook, the property of Mr. Langley, in which the beds of coal are not only more extended but nearer the surface and more regularly stratified than any others in the same neighbourhood: a singular feature in the strata of these collieries is their occasional interruption by what are technically called "hags" or "faults," which consist of substitutions of firm shale in lieu of coal, commonly from three to five yards broad, ranging across the troughs in a north-western and south-eastern direction. The Coalbrook colliery has been worked for more than a century by the family of the present proprietor, and was the only mine of any importance kept open previously to the Mining Company's undertaking: the first steam-engine in this part of the country was erected in it. There are now extensive collieries in full operation at Ballinastick and Earl's Hill, belonging to Mr. Going. The troughs generally contain two or three seams of coal from one to two feet thick, covering a space varying from 50 to 600 acres. The undulating surface being favourable to the construction of adit levels, most of the seams were worked to the depth at which this mode was available before much use was made of steam power. One fourth of the produce of the seam is pure coal and the remainder culm: the former is peculiarly adapted to every purpose where a strong regular heat is required; it possesses about 87 per cen. of pure carbon, and, therefore, without any preliminary preparation, it is fit for the use of the maltster, and is carried to great distances for brewers, distillers, millers, and smiths: the culm is in great demand for burning lime, and is likewise made up into balls with a mixture of clay, and used in the kitchen: the charge for the coal at the pit's mouth varies from 20s. to 40s. per ton, according to the quality; that of the culm from 16s. to 18s. The collieries in which steam-engines are employed are worked on the most approved principles, the engine pits being sunk in the lowest part of the field whence the coal is raised; eight engines are now erected in the district, in which 34 pits are at work, giving employment to upwards of 1000 persons. In the Coalbrook pits several valuable seams of iron stone, yielding about 30 per cent, of metal, have been found, which have not yet been turned to profitable account.
The Mining Company likewise possesses extensive slate quarries in the hilly tract adjoining the lower extremity of Lough Derg. Until a late period the produce of these quarries had to be conveyed by a land carriage of six miles to Killaloe, whence it was taken by boats along the Shannon or canal, although they lie within two miles of the Shannon navigation; but a new line of road thither, and the erection of a small quay in a bay in Lough Derg, allow it now to be conveyed at a greatly reduced scale of carriage to every part of the country with which the Shannon or the canals communicate. The produce of the mine has been about 7000 tons annually. The same company had the slate quarries at Derry, close to the shipping quay on the Shannon, but these are now held by John Salmon, of Derryville, near Killaloe, Esq.; and also those at Glenpatrick, east of Clonmel, of great magnitude and returning a good profit. But the mineral works of earliest celebrity are the copper and lead mines near Silvermines. They were first worked by an English company who extracted a considerable proportion of silver from the ore; when their lease expired about a century ago, new veins were opened and the works extended in different directions by successive companies. Mr. Hudson, the last lessee, sold his interest to the Mining Company, who, after sinking some expensive shafts, relinquished the attempt. The works were opened in four places called the Old Works, Knockeen, and Kevestown, on Lord Dunally's estate, and Garryard, on that of Lord Norbury. The Old Works were carried on in a space between the clay-slate and limestone rock, which here approach each other, being several fathoms wide at the surface, but contracting until it closes at the depth of about 25 fathoms. This was filled with clay, sand, decomposed slate, and scattered blocks of limestone, lydian stone, and hornstone; the whole mass being penetrated and cemented by metallic deposits, consisting of iron ochre in various stages of induration, iron pyrites, white lead ore, galena, malachite (the value of which was unknown and it was therefore thrown away), copper pyrites, with calcareous spar and heavy spar. In Knockenroe is a powerful vein, consisting at the surface principally of quartz and iron pyrites, with some heavy spar, galena, blende, and copper pyrites. In Knockeen are various others, comprising the same substances. About five miles to the east of Newport is the old copper mine of Lackamore, the workings of which were very extensive, and an attempt was made to renew them at the beginning of the present century, but was abandoned on account of the insufficiency of the machinery to draw off the water. It was subsequently worked by the Mining Company, and yielded ores worth from £90 to £30 per ton, but has again been abandoned as unprofitable. Here are two veins running through clay-slate, and composed of brown spar, calcareous spar, clay, and iron ochre, more or less indurated, a few inches in width; and a third vein of the same material, but of greater thickness, and comprising rich copper ore in bunches at Cappaghwhite, Ballysinode, and Gurtdrum, in this county: these were also held on lease by the Mining Company, who seem, however, to have made no attempt to work the two first, but on the last they made an outlay, in 1826, of £300, apparently without any return. Ores of zinc and manganese are common in various places, but no efforts are now being made to work them.
With the exception of an extensive cotton-manufactory at Clonmel, of recent establishment, the county may be considered to be wholly devoid of manufactures. The ancient staple manufacture of wool, of which Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir formed the centre, was suppressed by the parliamentary regulations made shortly after the Revolution for the avowed purpose of confining the woollen manufacture to England and substituting that of linen in its place in Ireland; yet, notwithstanding this discouragement, stuffs and ratteens were made in large quantities until the close of the last century; and blankets and flannels, much prized for their warmth and durability, are still manufactured in various places. Flax and linen had been manufactured on a small scale, chiefly for domestic consumption, for many years, and a few grants towards the erection of scutching mills were made by the Linen Board from 1817 to 1823. In 1822, the London Society for the relief of the western counties in Ireland, during the famine occasioned by the failure of the crops, besides supplying nearly £6000 to purchase food for the poor of this county, remitted £2500 for the employment of the peasantry in the linen manufacture; in addition to which grant, other sums were contributed by various charitable societies and by the Linen Board. Societies were consequently formed in seventeen of the most important places by ladies of rank and respectability, (among whom was the Countess of Glengall, who allotted 50 acres of land at Cahir for the growth of flax) to form and superintend establishments for carrying on the manufacture; but notwithstanding these exertions, the linen trade, after languishing a few years, may be said to be nearly extinct in the county. Flour is now the staple manufacture; there being 61 large mills for grinding it on the several rivers throughout the county; and this branch of industry is deemed to be of such importance that some of the wealthiest individuals in the country have embarked their property in it.
The commerce of the county consists in the extensive exportation of its agricultural produce, the chief mart being Clonmel, from which the export trade is so great that the farmer is here always certain of a favourable market. The market of Thurles is the second in importance, and the others for agricultural produce are those of Carrick-on-Suir, Cahir, Tipperary, Cashel, Templemore, Roscrea, and Nenagh. Carrickon- Suir, like Clonmel, exports by Waterford to the English markets; Nenagh sends to Limerick, by the Shannon navigation, and to Dublin by the Grand Canal; Roscrea, to Dublin, by the Grand Canal; and Templemore, Thurles, Cashel, Tipperary, and Cahir generally send their products by land carriage to Clonmel or Waterford. The rich southern and eastern plains contribute, perhaps, one-half to the vast exports from Waterford of flour, oatmeal, barley, horned cattle, sheep, and pigs.
The principal rivers are the Shannon, the Suir, and the Nore. The Shannon, with its noble expansion, Lough Derg, forms the western boundary of the county from the mouth of the lesser Brosna to within a few miles of Limerick, a distance of about 40 statute miles, throughout the whole of which it is navigable, and displays a grand succession of striking and beautiful scenery: it receives several streams from the Kilnamanagh hills, of which the most important is that from Nenagh. The Suir, in consequence of the great length of 4 M its course throughout the entire county from north to south, forms the grand outlet for the superfluous waters of by far the greater portion of it. The principal tributaries from the baronies to the east of its course are the Derryhogan, the Littleton, and the Anner; from the hills of Kilnamanagh, three considerable streams, which discharge their waters into it near Golden; from the Galtee mountains, the Dunbeg, through the beautiful glen of Aherlow; and from the Cummeragh mountains in Waterford, the copious waters of the Nier. The Nore, from its source in the Slievebloom mountains, flows eastward for about ten miles through this county, in its way towards Burros-in-Ossory and Kilkenny; and though it has a fall of 71 feet in this distance, the various interruptions to its current have chiefly caused the formation of the vast tracts of bog extending along that part of the county. With the exception of the Shannon and the Suir, the rivers present greater facilities for irrigation and millsites than for inland navigation. An extension of the Grand Canal by Mountmellick, Roscrea and Cashel, to Carrick-on-Suir, was at one period proposed. Another extension was designed to proceed along the western side of the Slievebloom and Keeper range: and in the report of the Board of Works, in 1831, it is recommended to form a still-water communication between Parsonstown and the river Shannon, by a canal, nearly parallel with the lesser Brosna. In 1825, the late Mr. Nimmo, by desire of the resident proprietors, made a survey and estimate for the construction of a railway, to connect the towns of Cahir, Clonmel, and Carrick-on-Suir, with an extension in one direction to Limerick and in the other to Waterford, and with a branch to the Killenaule coal district. It was proposed to extend this line from Cahir to Tipperary, with a branch to Thurles, but no steps have yet been taken to execute this plan. A proposed line of railway from Dublin to Cork is intended to enter this county near Callen, and to proceed through Fethard, Cahir, and Clogheen to Ballyporeen, near which it is to enter the county of Cork. The roads of common construction are generally in good order, more especially the mail coach roads. Two lines of cross road deserve especial notice: they are called Anglesey's roads, from having been commenced in 1828 under the immediate order of the Marquess of Anglesey, then Lord- Lieutenant: one, connecting the towns of Newport and Thurles, was completed in 1830, at an expense of £9857: the other, from Nenagh to Tipperary, has been more recently finished, at an expense of about £17,200. The great object of their construction was to open a communication into the mountains through which they extend, which had been for many years the asylum of outlaws and of robbers: they also afford the means of agricultural improvement to the whole district, by the introduction, of lime from the surrounding quarries. A new line has been opened from Mitchelstown to Tipperary; another from Lismore to Mitchelstown through the Knockmeledown range; and a third is also in course of formation, being an extension of the Mitchelstown line, from Tipperary by Dundrum, in the direction of Thurles, thence to be continued toward Durrow, and to form, part of the grand mail line between Dublin and Cork, by which the distance between these cities will be shortened 33 miles. Great facilities of inter- course throughout the country are afforded by the exertions of Mr. Bianconi, an intelligent Italian settled at Clonmel, who first established a communication between Clonmel and Cahir by a jaunting car in 1815, and now has depôts of cars and horses in every post-town in the county, and in all the counties of Munster except Clare, and of Connaught except Sligo, and in the counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, King's, Queen's, Longford, Westmeath, and Wexford in Leinster, in which 84 cars, 816 horses, and 469 men are constantly engaged; some of them carry the cross mails.
The most numerous remains of antiquity are the raths or earthworks of various kinds, scattered over the surface of the county. There are also many little mounds, called Clogh Breagh, or "Stones of Sorrow," said to have been formed by passengers casting a stone each on a spot where any person had met with a violent death. There are yet standing within the limits of the county two ancient round towers, in good preservation, one on the rock of Cashel, and the other at Roscrea. In a small bog near Cullen have been found an amazing number of valuable relics of a very remote period of antiquity: they include utensils of brass; ingots, plates, plain pieces, and numerous ornaments of gold; a quantity of arrow and spear heads; gold cups, tubes, rings, and chains; brass spears of very extraordinary form, and other articles of a similar kind. The number of religious houses is stated to have been 40, and there are still remains of those of Ardfinnan, Athassel, the Dominican and Franciscan houses at Cashel, Clonmel, Corbally, Fethard, Holy Cross, Hore Abbey, Lorragh (where there are the remains of three religious edifices), Monaincha, Roscrea, Thurles, and Kilcooly. There is also an old decayed ecclesiastical building at Mullinahone, and numerous decayed parish churches. But the ruins that claim pre-eminent notice are those on the rock of Cashel, described in the account of that city, which see. Remains of ancient castles are to be met with in every part. The most remarkable of the castles are those of Nenagh Round, Ardfinnan, Cahir, Lismalin, Grestown, Gralla near Killenaule, Mealiffe, Drumban in the parish of Mealiffe, two at Roscrea, and two at Thurles; besides which may be particularly noticed the old castellated mansion in the town of Carrick-on-Suir; Carrick Castle, formerly the seat of the Earl of Carrick; and Killaghy Castle, that of F. Despard, Esq. Burnt Court is a very fine specimen of an ancient fortified mansion, and there are some remains of another at Thurles. The modern mansions of the nobility and gentry are noticed in their respective parishes. The celebrated natural caves near Mitchelstown, lately discovered, are in the parish of Templetenny, in this county, under which head a detailed description of them is given. The title of Earl of Tipperary is enjoyed by His Royal Highness Prince Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge."
[Transcribed information from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland - Samuel Lewis - 1837]