Archive for the ‘Dictionaries and Surveys’ Category

Anyone who studies local history is never really surprised by the unusual guides and information they come across. One such publication I recently found out about is Devia Hibernia: The Road and Route Guide for Ireland of the Royal Irish Constabulary.[1] It was published in 1893 and was complied to “provide a road book of reliable and comprehensive character, for the use of cyclists and tourists, of Irish travellers, and others of the public who may desire to travel through our beautiful island”.[2]Paulstown had an RIC station or ‘barracks’ at the time of publication and the following information was provided.

Paulstown (Rural Location)

Barony: Gowran

Parliamentary Electoral District: North Kilkenny

County: Kilkenny

Provence: Leinster

Telegraph Office: No

Fairs: No

Markets: No

Nearest Railway Station : Bagenalstown 4 miles away

Service by railway company : Great Southern and Western Railway

Time at which letters arrive at local post office : 8am

Hours at which boxes are cleared for dispatch mail : 6pm

Nature of the postal business:  PO (Post Office) – Yes, MOO (Money Order Office) – Yes, SB (Savings Bank) – No

Post Cars or Vehicles for Hire: No

Interesting Places in the Locality : No

RIC Officer  who supplied information: Patrick Walsh, Sergeant

Nearest RIC stations: Bagenalstown 3 miles / Baurnafea 5 miles / Goresbridge 5.5 miles / Gowran 4 miles

[1] Dagg, Edwin and George A de M. 1893. Devia Hibernia: The Road and Route Guide for Ireland of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Dublin: Hodges, Figgis and Co.

[2] Ibid., p.i

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The 2011 Census of Ireland will be carried out on 10 April. The most previous census, in 2006, showed that the population of Paulstown increased by over 100%, from 292 to 598.[1] This is a tremendous change for any area in such a short amount of time.

To give some idea of the changing population of the village in the 20th and 21st centuries, I have included some demographic statistics from the Central Statistics Office in Ireland. It is important to remember that these figures cannot be compared against each other when two different area definitions are used.

Currently, I am unaware of what townlands are included in the Paulstown Electoral District. Ancedotal evidence would suggest that it might be just the three townlands where the village is located, namely Shankill, Paulstown and Kellymount.

2006 598 Electoral District
2002 292 Electoral District
1996 221[2] Electoral District
1991 234[3] Unknown
1971 459[4] District Electoral Division
1961 239[5] Cluster of 20 houses or more
1951 83[6] Cluster of 20 houses or more
1946 89[7] Cluster of 20 houses or more
1926 70[8] Cluster of 20 houses or more
1911 493[9] District Electoral Division
1901 349[10] District Electoral Division

[1] Central Statistics Office. 2006. Alphabetical List of Towns with their population 2002-2006. http://census.cso.ie/Census/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=75478 : accessed 16 March 2011

[2] Central Statistics Office. 2002. Population of Towns ordered by County and size, 1996 and 2002 http://www.cso.ie/census/documents/vol1_t5.pdf: accessed 3 March 2011

[3] Central Statistics Office. 1991. Alphabetical list of towns tith their population in 1991 http://www.cso.ie/census/census_1991_results/Volume1/C1991_V1_T20.pdf : accessed 3 March 2011

[4] Central Statistics Office. 1971. Population, area and valuation of each district electoral division, urban district, rural district and county. http://cso.ie/census/census_1971_results/Volume1/C%201971%20V1%20T11.pdf : accessed 3 March 2011

[5] Central Statistics Office. 1961.  Alphabetical List of towns with population 1961. http://www.cso.ie/census/census_1961_results/Volume1/C%201961%20VOL%201%20T15.pdf : accessed 3 March 2011

[6] Central Statistics Office. 1951.  Alphabetical List of towns with population 1951.  http://www.cso.ie/census/census_1951_results/Volume1/C%201951%20V1%20T14.pdf : accessed 03 march 2011

[7] Central Statistics Office. 1946.  Alphabetical List of towns with population 1946.  http://cso.ie/census/census_1946_results/Volume1/C%201946%20V1%20T13.pdf : accessed 03 march 2011

[8] Central Statistics Office. 1926.  Alphabetical List of towns with population 1926. http://www.cso.ie/census/census_1926_results/Volume10/C%201926%20V10%20Chapter%20Appendix%20D.pdf :accessed 03 March 2011

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One of the main employers in the Paulstown area today is the limestone quarry in the townland of Kellymount, about one mile west of the village up the ‘Kellymount road’. It is one of the most technologically advanced limestone quarrying sites in Ireland and is owned and operated by Feelystone. Limestone from Paulstown has been used all over the world, including the Irish Famine Memorial in Toronto, Canada and The Irish Hunger Memorial in New York City. The Feely family purchased the quarry in the mid 1970s.[1] They have a long history in the quarrying industry going back to the 1790s in Roscommon. Limestone quarrying in Paulstown has an equally long history going back almost 200 years.

As early as 1802 the limestone at Paulstown is mentioned. Tighe’s Statistical Observations of Kilkenny notes that “there is a cave in the limestone rock of Paulstown, in the parish of Shankill.”[2] In 1833 the area is mentioned in a brief discussion of the “calcerous districts” of Kilkenny. The author notes that “there are many such in the limestone region of Kilkenny, of which those of Dunmore and Paulstown are the most spacious.”[3] The first detailed description comes from Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of 1837:

“At Kellymount and Shankill are some of the principal flagstone quarries in the county, the produce of which is chiefly sent by the Barrow navigation to Dublin, Waterford and other places, and generally sold under the name of Carlow flags: limestone is also quarried, and a considerable quantity of stone, coal and culm are obtained at Bornafea”[4]

The Ordnance Survey maps of the 1830s and 1840s show that there were three or four openings (blue dots on map below) in the ground where quarrying was taking place. They are in the same place as the modern day quarry. An 1852 publication also outlines the type of stone quarried in Paulstown, noting the presence of “flag and limestone quarries, coal etc.”[5]

At this time, the immediate leaser of the land (section 9 in map below) that contained some of the quarry openings was Edmund Staunton, Esq . It was being rented by John and Abraham Wynne with the land and buildings valued at £69.[6] The area of land rented by the Wynne’s covered 115 acres, 3 roods and 15 perches. Another portion of the quarry (section 13) was being leased by John Dawson from Edward Wynne. He was leasing 4 acres, 3 roods and 22 perches of land, a house and some other buildings which had a value of £6.[7]

The Ordnance Survey maps for the 1890 to 1910 period give a clearer picture of the mining activities. It shows two lime kilns and the main ground opening. This map seems to indicate that the opening shown in the map from the 1840s has been filled in with some trees growing on top. A newer quarry is located beside the previous one.

The 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland give some examples of people who have quarry related occupations living in the civil parish of Shankill. John Scanlon, 38, and Martin Scanlon, 35, are listed as ‘Flag Miners’.[8] They are unmarried and live with their father and sister in Shankill townland. John Walsh is listed as living in the townland of Coorleagh with the occupation ‘labourer in flag quarry’. He was 56 years of age at the time and living with his son Robert.[9]The Walsh family continued to be involved in the quarry into the years of the Second World War as it was operated by a Peter Walsh.[10]

[1] Byrne, Liam. 2010. Roscommon History. Online at http://www.roscommonhistory.ie/Misc/business/feelystone/feely.htm : accessed 9 December 2010

[2] Tighe, William. 1802. Statistical Observations Relative to the County of Kilkenny Made in the Years 1800 and 1801. Dublin: Graisberry and Campbell.

[3] Gorton, John. 1833 A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland Vol II. London: Chapman and Hall. p.424

[4] Lewis, Samuel. A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. London: Lewis, 1837. Print. p.551

[5] Sharp, James A. A New Gazetteer; or Topographical Dictionary of the British islands and Narrow Seas Vol II. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans. 1851. Print. p.557

[6] The Library Council of Ireland. Primary Valuation of Tenements in Ireland or Griffith’s Valuation. Kilkenny County, Gowran Barony, Shankill Parish, Kellymount Townland. P.118, Number and Letter Reference 9b, Abraham Wynne. Digital image askaboutirealnd.ie http://www.askaboutireland.ie : accessed: 22 March 2011. Dublin Ireland: OMS Services Ltd, Eneclann Ltd and the National Library of Ireland, 2003.

[7] The Library Council of Ireland. Primary Valuation of Tenements in Ireland or Griffith’s Valuation. Kilkenny County, Gowran Barony, Shankill Parish, Kellymount Townland. P.119, Number and Letter Reference 13, John Dawson. Digital image askaboutirealnd.ie http://www.askaboutireland.ie : accessed: 22 March 2011. Dublin Ireland: OMS Services Ltd, Eneclann Ltd and the National Library of Ireland, 2003.

[8] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, County Kilkenny, DED Shankill, Townland/Street Shankill, Form A, Number on Form B 1 (stamped), house 45, Family of Ann Scanlon; digitial image, The National Archives of Ireland, http://census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000923834 : accessed 22 March 2011; original manuscript not cited.

[9] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, County Kilkenny, DED Shankill, Townland/Street Coorleagh, Form A, Number on Form B 1 (stamped), house 2, Family of John Walsh; digitial image, The National Archives of Ireland, http://census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000923701 : accessed 22 March 2011; original manuscript not cited.

[10] Dunleavy, John. 2007. A Short History of Paulstown. John Dunleavy.

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This map comes from the publication A Statistical Account or Parochial Survey of Ireland, Drawn up from the Communication of the Clergy Vol 2 and was written by William Shawn Mason. It was printed by the Hibernia Press Office in Dublin in 1816. In this publication a series of parishes from around Ireland are surveyed in detail. One of the parishes selected is Kilmacahill with information supplied by the Rev. William Latta who was the vicar of the area.

What makes this publication stand out from other surveys and topographical dictionaries is the inclusion of a map for each parish. The map below is on pages 332 and 333 with the legend of the map, also below, on page 347. The village of Paulstown is where ‘K. Chapel of Paulstown’ is marked. The map comes from before the standardization of townlands by the Ordnance Survey in the 1830s and as a result some of the names and boundaries will be different to today’s townlands.

The map can be clicked to enlarge.


1. Castlekelly    2. Woodville and Redbog   3.  Butlersgrove   4. Paulstown   5. Garryduff    6. Kilmacahill

7. Jordanstown  8. Ballinvally    9. Knockadeen    10. Kilure (part of Wells civil parish in Carlow)


A. Mount Rothe, William Barton, Esq.     B. Mr. Robert Burroughs     C. Castle of Paulstown, Henry Flood, Esq.

D. Mr. Perse Healy    E. Mr. Thomas Butler    F. Mr. John Anderson, at present uninhabited    G. Farm Houses

H. John Flood Esq.    I. Rev. William Latta    K. Chapel at Paulstown

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Topographica Hibernica or the Topography of Ireland Ancient and Modern…..was written by William Wenman Seward and published in 1797. The book gives an account of many different area in Ireland including the townland of Kellymount.   The relevant section discusses the Kellymount Gang and a battle fought between the inhabitants of Carlow and Kilkenny over the boundary between the two counties. I am currently not aware of what battle the article refers to.

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I have come across a very interesting publication that forms an appendix to the Report of the Commissioners, that was part of the House of Commons Papers for the year 1836. It was published in London by Clowes and Sons. The publication contains answers to a series of questions on the “earnings of labourers, cottier tenants, employment of women and children” in different parts of Ireland. One of those areas covered is the Union of Paulstown. It gives a fascinating insight into the social and economic conditions which contributed to the harsh realities of life in the mid 1830s.

The answers for Kilmocahill are provided by Rev. James M. Stubbs and the answers for the Union of Paulstown are provided by Rev. Michael Brenan P.P. The first graphic shows the twelve questions that were asked. The answers are in the second and third graphics and read downwards. The twelve boxes correspond to the twelve questions.

Each graphic can be clicked to enlarge.

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Many publications in the 19th century give detailed descriptions of the baronies, parishes and townlands of Ireland. One of the most detailed is The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland published in three volumes in 1846 by Fullarton and Co. Based on statistics from the lost censuses of 1831 and 1841, and providing excellent detail of a country on the cusp of The Famine, it is a truly excellent resource. Below is the description given to the civil parishes of Shankill from volume 3 and Kilmacahill from volume 2.

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