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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Extracts from Slater's Directory of Ireland 1894

Page 1

Carlow Town Slater’s 1894

CARLOW is an assize town, parliamentary borough, the capital of the county bearing the same name and a union town, partly in the parish, co. and barony of Carlow, and partly in the parish of Killeshin, Queen's co. barony of Slievemargy, head of a petty seasonal division and of a dispensary district, Protestant diocese of Leighlin, Catholic diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, 50 miles south-by-west from Dublin and 18 north-east from Kilkenny, seated on the noble river Barrow, and on the main road from Dublin to Waterford and Cork and also to Kilkenny. Carlow is a station on the Dublin, Carlow and Kilkenny branch of the Great Southern and Western railway, and thus forms an important link in the communication between Dublin and the south and west.

Caiherlough seems to have been its baptismal name, " the city on the lake,"' and though not strictly on a lake now, its position is at a spot where a picturesque weir widens the river into a considerable expanse; the river is crossed by a stone bridge, connecting the suburb Graigue with the town, and Queen's co. with that of Carlow, Graigue being locally in the former. The Barrow Steam Navigation Company has their offices here.

The Barrow is navigable to New Ross and also to Athy, giving facilities for the transit of goods southward to Waterford, and north by the medium of the Grand Canal to Dublin. There is a smaller river, named the Burrin or Burren, passing across the town, the aspect of which is cleanly ; indeed, in descending from the higher levels 'in the environs, the lofty spire of the Protestant Episcopal church on the one hand and the noble tower of the Catholic cathedral on the other, give Carlow an appearance of grandeur. It is well paved, and the town has since 1891 been lighted by electricity, this being the first town in Ireland to adopt the same for public purposes,

Messrs. J. E. H. Gordon and Co. Limited, London, being the erectors of the first installation at a cost of £10,000. The generating plant is worked by water power, situated at a distance of five miles, and the current is carried by two overhead cables into the town. The richness of the soil around may be estimated by the number and size of the corn mills in Carlow and its vicinity. The trade in butter is extensive, large quantities being forwarded to Dublin and Waterford for shipment. There is also a large coal trade carried on, several collieries being close at hand. Local anthracite is found and known by the name of the "Kilkenny" coal, which is largely exported for malting and milling, being better adapted for that purpose than the coal from South Wales. There are several hotels, which afford excellent accommodation; a branch of the Bank of Ireland and one of the National Bank.

The town supports three newspapers, the “Carlow Sentinel," the Carlow Vindicator” and the “National and Leinster Times," all published on Saturdays. The borough had a charter in 1296 and subsequently, but for some years it has been governed by a body of commissioners, and returned one member to Parliament since the Union until, under the" Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885," it was merged into the county. The local magistracy hold petty sessions every Monday in the Court house, wherein the quarter sessions and assizes are also held. This town is the head quarters of the constabulary district and the residence of the county inspector. The castle was built about the year 1179 or 1180, by Hugh de Lacy, then the lord-deputy of Ireland and the grantee of Meath: in 1397, during the reign of Richard II.

The castle was surprised by one of the Kavanaghs, Donald M'cArt, self-styled King of Leinster, and he retained it sometime: in 1642, a detachment of the Duke of Ormond's army rescued 500 imprisoned Englishmen from it, almost dead from starvation and in 1650, it submitted without a struggle to Cromwell and the Parliamentary forces. The castle as now remaining is reduced to a fragment, for about 1824 a medical man, in order to adapt it to the purposes of a lunatic asylum (having obtained a lease), used gunpowder to enlarge the windows and diminish the thickness of the walls, and with the result that the largest portion of the structure was overthrown. Carlow suffered by a furious attack of the insurgents in the deplorable year 1798; eighty houses were burned, but the assailants were afterwards repulsed. A large Town Hall, erected in 1886 in the Haymarket, contains a public hall and the usual suite of offices, the cost been, £3,600 and the architect William Hague J.P. Dublin. The Court House is a beautiful stone edifice, in form hexagonal, with an elegant portico, supported by Ionic columns and entered by a lofty flight of stone steps. The Bridewell is now closed and used for a pound, prisoners being now sent to Kilkenny. Contiguous are the cavalry and infantry barracks, in which is a military hospital they cover a large area. Prominent among the public institutions is the Carlow

District Asylum for the lunatic poor of the counties Carlow and Kildare, erected in 1831, and is a handsome stone building, pleasantly situated. Two wings were added in 1874, and it will now hold 250 patients. It is under the superintendence of directors appointed by the lord lieutenant and the Privy Council. There is also an infirmary, a fever hospital and a dispensary. There are two convents in the town, in that of the Presentation several hundred female children are instructed; the Sisterhood of Mercy devote themselves to the visitation of the sick. There are several public scholastic establishments, the most conspicuous being Saint Patrick's College, founded in the year 1793 (the first Catholic college opened after the relaxation of the Penal Laws): there is no endowment: it trains about 190 students for the Priesthood the subjects taught are theology, sacred scripture, natural and moral and mental philosophy, sacred eloquence, history, classics and languages: in 1892 the lay element was transferred to a branch college at Knockbeg, 3 miles distant from Carlow.

The Protestant church, in Church Street, has a graceful spire 195 feet high, the huge gilt cross at the summit being a gift from the ladies of Carlow. There is also another Protestant church in Athy road. Carlow is the seat of the Catholic diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. The cathedral, in College street, is a noble edifice, completed in 1834 at a cost of 18,000, with an octagonal tower and Lantern 150 feet high; it is in the Later English style, with chapels in the transepts, and the interior is enriched by a statue of Dr. Doyle, from the chisel of Hogan.

There is a large Catholic church, on the Graigue side of the river; and the Presbyterians, Society of Friends, and Methodists have their respective places of worship. The market days are Monday and Thursday. Fairs : January 25th, February 22nd, March 28th, April 25th, May 4U1 and 22nd, June 27th, July 25th, August 22nd, September 26th, October 24th, November 8th and 28th and December 26th : pig fairs held on previous days. The area comprises 629 acres; the population in 1891 was 6,619.

POST, MONEY ORDER & TELEGRAPH OFFICE & SAVINGS BANK, Dublin Street John O'Keefe, postmaster, Arrivals from Dublin, England & Scotland, 7 & 9.50 a.m. ; Bagnalstown Kildare & Kilkenny, 7 a.m. ; Athy & all Ireland, 9.50a.m.; Dublin, 3 p.m.; Waterford, Kilkenny, Bagnalstown & Tullow S.O. 5.15 p.m. ; sub-offices, 7 a.m. Dispatches to sub-offices, 2 a.m.; Waterford, Bagnalstown & Kilkenny, 8.35 a.m. ; Dublin, England, Scotland, Athy & Naas, 4.10 p.m.; Cork, Limerick & South of Ireland, 7.25p.m.; Dublin, Scotland, England, Kilkenny, Bagnalstown, Athy, Kildare & Naas, 10 pm Telegraph Office, Railway station, Maria Hoey, manager.


Transcribed by Terry Curran c2008

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