Archive for the ‘Maps’ Category

The study of placenames has a long tradition in Ireland. Classics of the field include Joyce’s The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places, among others. The standout modern day effort is the work of the Placenames Database of Ireland.

More localized and specific examples abound and one such publication is the work of William Shawn Mason. In volume two of A Statistical Account or Parochial Survey or Ireland he gives the following origins for the townlands in the civil parish of Kilmacahill.

You can also see an accompanying map from a previous post.


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A recent article in the Irish Times highlighted one Kilkenny man’s quest to photograph all parochial houses in Ireland. The parochial house in Paulstown is included and can be viewed on this page. The house was the residence of the parish priest up to the late 1990s when it was purchased by the Barrett family. The parish priest now lives in a residence in Goresbridge village.

Currently, I am unaware of when the house was built. An aerial photo of the village, from the beginning of the 1900s, shows that it was built by this stage.[1] Likewise it appears on the OSI maps from the late 19th century and early 20th century.

[1] Paulstown Education and Historical Society (2007) Paulstown School Past and Present Paulstown, Kilkenny: Grange Silvia Publications. p.15

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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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The first atlas of Ireland was Hiberniae Delineaho, published in 1685. It came about as a result of the ‘Down’ Survey which had been carried out in the thirty years previous to the publication of the atlas. The publisher of the atlas was Sir William Petty. A detailed map of every county in Ireland was published along with maps of the provinces and maps of Ireland. It is a truly masterful piece of cartography.

Below you can see Paulstown (right middleground) and the lands around it from the county of Kilkenny. The dashed line more than likely represents a road from Gowran to Paulstown which also goes on to Old Leighlin in Carlow. A small structure directly under the word Paulstown is probably Paulstown Castle. To the north west of Paulstown is a Church and another structure.

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The map section below comes from the publication Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland by P.W. Joyce and  A.M Sullivan and was published in 1900. The original map is for county Kilkenny, hence the lack of colour and place names to the right hand side, as this is county Carlow.  The publication is described as  “A Comprehensive Delineation of the Thirty-two Counties, with a Beautifully Colored Map of Each, arranged Alphabetically, showing over 11,000 Cities, Towns, Villages, and Places of Public Interest.”[1]

The map names well known antiquities of the area such as Shankill Castle and Paulstown Castle. The proximity of the railway line to the village can be seen along with the nearby Monefelim river, a tributary of the Barrow.

[1] Joyce, P. W., and A. M. Sullivan. Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland. New York: Murphy & McCarthy, 1900. Print.

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One of the most confusing things about Irish genealogy is the proliferation of different administrative divisions of land and the type of records associated with them. Some areas can be very confusing with the same name used for a townland, civil parish and Roman Catholic parish, with each of them covering a different area of land that overlaps into other administrative divisions.

So, to help with genealogical research,  I have a created a GoogleMap that shows all the different administrative divisions in the Paulstown area. When using this map it is best to ignore the place name labels provided by Google. I have used four main sources to create this map: the Kilkenny County Council online planning maps, the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) online maps for Ireland, the OSI 6 inch maps from 1837-1842 and the OSI 25 inch maps from 1888-1913.

These boundaries provide some interesting observations and anomalies. The townland of Jordanstown is divided in two by the civil parish boundary between Shankill and Kilmacahill. The townland boundaries along the N10 road, as it passes through the village, show the outline of the road before it was modernised. Part of the civil parish of Kilure (which is in county Carlow and is the neighbouring civil parish to Shankill) is completely surrounded by Kilmacahill civil parish, in county Kilkenny. Just one of the countless anomolies in Ireland.

To get the best accuracy the map below is best viewed using the ‘Satellite’ tab. This will give a view down to the level of boundaries between fields and along roads. I have not included the townlands south of Kilmacahill and Paulstown townlands, in the Kilmacahill civil parish.

The colour codes for the boundaries are:

Blue- Boundary of Townlands

Red- Boundary of Civil Parishes

White- Boundary of County, Barony and Roman Catholic Parish

I have limited the map area to land covered to natural and artificial boundaries formed by:

Areas where satellite pictures have not been taken by Google (north and west)

The River Barrow (east)

Click here to view the map.

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