Search billions of records on


Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


County Carlow

Township Acres County Barony Civil Parish PLU Province
Dunleckney 481 Carlow Idrone East Dunleckney Carlow Leinster

Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis 1837


DUNLECKNEY, a parish, in the barony of IDRONE EAST, county of CARLOW, and province of LEINSTER, on the road from Carlow to Burris; containing, with the post-town of Bagenalstown, 4217 inhabitants. This place, which is situated on the river Barrow, was anciently the seat of the Kavanaghs, Kings of Leinster; and in 1300 a preceptory of Knights Templars was founded here, which continued only till 1308, when it was suppressed. It was also the residence of the Bagenal family from the 16th to the 18th century, and is at present the property of Walter Newton, Esq. In 1545, a battle took place at Ballynakill, near Garry hill, in this parish, between the Kavanaghs of the latter place and those of Polmonty, in which, after 100 on each side were slain, the former were victorious and secured possession of the territory which was the object of their contention.

The parish comprises 7751 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act; the land is good and the system of agriculture in an improved state. Limestone abounds and is quarried for agricultural purposes, and there are quarries of fine granite, which is used for building : the Barrow is navigable to Waterford. The principal seats are Dunleckney, that of W. Newton, Esq.; Bagenalstown House, of Miss Newton; Garry Hill House, of Viscount Duncannon; the Lodge, of Mrs. Weld; Rathwade House, of B. B. Norton, Esq.; Lodge Mills, of S. Crosthwaite, Esq.; and Clonburrin, of W. B. Cooke, Esq. The manufacture of starch is carried on, and there is an extensive malting concern in the parish belonging to Mr. Crosthwaite; fairs and petty sessions are held at Bagenalstown.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Leighlin, united in 1795 to that of Agha, and in the patronage of A. Weldon, Esq., who is impropriator of the rectory. The tithes amount to 830. 15. 4 1/2., of which 553. 16. 11. is payable to the impropriator, and 276. 18. 5 1/2. to the vicar; and the vicarial tithes of the union, to 415. 7. 8 1/4. The glebe-house is a neat residence; the glebe comprises 10 acres. The church is a small edifice, and has been recently repaired. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district called Bagenalstown, comprising also part of the parishes of Agha, Fenagh, and Slyguff. The chapel, a handsome edifice lately erected at an expense of 2000, is situated at Bagenalstown; and there are chapels also at Newtown and Ballinkillen, and places of worship for Wesleyan Methodists and Walkerites.

The parochial school-house, a neat building in the Grecian style, is in Bagenalstown, where also is a handsome court-house in the same style, lately erected at the expense of Philip Bagenal, Esq., in which quarter sessions are held at the usual periods. Besides the parochial school, there are two private schools in the town. The side walls and gables of the old parish church are still remaining in the churchyard; the interior was lighted by narrow lancet-shaped windows. At Ballymoon are the ruins of the castle of the preceptory of the Knights Templars; the walls, which are 8 feet in thickness and 30 in height, enclose a square of 130 feet, flanked by four square towers, and having a gateway entrance on the west side.

Source: Library Ireland
Image source: CroppyBoy1798

Dunleckney. Dun Leicne. 'The fort of the flags'

The townland is situated to the north of the modern town of Muine Bheag, founded by Walter Bagenal in 1790 and known locally as Bagenalstown. This is one of the few Irish towns to be laid out on the street/avenue system, quite common in North America and Australia as most colonial towns date from 1800.

The Bagenal family owned large estates not only in this townland but farther afield also.

The area surveyed in the summer/autumn of 2003 stretched from the Barrow to slightly beyond the railway bridge. The survey found evidence of a small community living close to the river from the 5th century BC to the 7th c AD. All of the buildings found were simple huts (round and sometimes oval in plan] with a clay/wattle wall and roof of thatch. Only one example of a building with a dry-stone wall was found. Possible reasons for choosing this location is a) proximity to the Barrow for fishing and transport and b) a stream once flowed from farther north past the settlement and into the Barrow. This stream is no longer visible but can be traced underground, beneath the present Mc Grath Park and pitch & putt grounds. Another discovery was that the river was at various times in the 1st millennium much higher than present highest levels. The low lying areas adjoining the present canal i.e. the malting plant, Bagenalstown House, lower end of The Parade and the roadway between, was underwater for long periods.

Dunleckney Malt house complex, c.1868, comprising group of multiple-bay multiple-storey (up to five-storey) rubble stone built buildings with granite ashlar quoins and brick dressings to openings.


Entrance door to Malt-house
The following is a list of the men who were working in the Malt house according to the 1911 census of ireland.
All are listed as born in Carlow except Mr Thomas Byrne who was born in Queens Co (Laois).
Surname Forename Age   Surname Forename Age
Nolan Edward 60   Lacey Walter 50
Kealy Patrick 28   Byrne Thomas 30
Doyle Patrick 29   Doyle Edward 50
McNally Patrick 30   Fitzgerald James 35
Fitzgerald John 40   Keogh John 57
Nolan Thomas 33   Bolger Michael 36
Pluck Michael 22   Rourke Michael 29
Murphy Matthew 23   Pluck Andrew 29
Maher Patrick 28   Lakes Thomas 41
Ammond Patrick 46   Ward Matthew 34
Brien Martin 35   Maher Thomas 44
McNally John 39   Byrne John 45
Foley Patrick 52        

The area between the tennis courts and the McGrath Park is at present occupied by a mound of earth with trees planted around the periphery. The present feature probably dates from the early 19th c. In the 4th century however this was the site of a double ringed fort or rath. On examination it proved to have two timber pallisades around a raised central platform.

Beyond the pallisades was a high bank with water filled ditches on either side. Access to the fort was by two offset bridges spanning the water filled ditches. Inside the rath were two oval buildings, one large and one small. The fort was used for defensive purposes for about 200-300 years after its construction.

This would suggest the home of a local chieftain or person of wealth/influence. The construction of the rath required the demolition of several existing huts. Plus ca change!


The information contained in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP