County Kilkenny in 1839
KILKENNY, an inland county of the province of Leinster in Ireland; bounded on the north by Queen's County, on the east by the counties of Carlow and Wexford, on the south by the county of Waterford, and on the west by the county of Tipperary.
Its southern and western limits are also those of the province of Leinster, of which this county forms the south-western extremity.
Its greatest length from the Slienmargie Hills on the north to the river Suir on the south is 36 Irish or 45¾ statute miles.
Its breadth varies from 15 statute miles at its southern extremity to 24 across the northern districts.
The area is 469,170 statute acres, or 733 statute square miles.
It is estimated by Mr. Griffith at 536,686 statute acres, of which 417,177 are cultivated land and 96,569 unprofitable bog and mountain.
The population in 1831 was 169,945, exclusive of the city of Kilkenny, the total population being 193,635.
The navigable rivers Barrow and Suir form the greater part of the eastern and the whole of the southern boundary of Kilkenny, and the partly navigable Nore traverses its entire length from north to south-east.
The northern part of the district between the rivers Nore and Barrow, including portions of the Queen's County and county of Carlow, is occupied by a hilly tract of country, extending 15 statute miles by 20.
In Carlow and Queen's County these elevations form a continuous range.
On the Kilkenny side they spread into numerous lateral groups, the general direction of which is from north-north-east to south-south-west.
The principal valley on this side is watered by the Dian river, which rises in the north-eastern extremity of the county, and passes through the village of Clogh and the town of Castlecomer.
Being joined by the Dineen and Dubhglass rivers from the east, it runs into the Nore five miles north of Kilkenny city.
The valley of the Nore, from the northern extremity of the county to this point, is confined between the declivities of the Castlecomer Hills on the east and two groups of similar formation rising from the right bank of the river towards Tipperary on the west.
Between the two latter groups the low ground spreads westward by the neat town of Freshford, expanding into a rich plain which occupies the north-western extremity of the county, and contains the towns of Urlingford, Johnstown, and the village of Ballyspellan, famous for its spa.
In a detached portion of this plain, surrounded by the lands of the Queen's County, is the well built town of Durrow, situated on a small stream running eastward to the Nore.
The town is built in the form of an oblong square, most of the houses are slated, and many of them are occupied by genteel private families, led to reside here from the convenience of the situation, which is central to the places of chief importance in Kilkenny and Queen's County.
This insulated district, containing about 2,000 acres, originally formed a portion of the lordship of Ossory in the Queen's County, and was annexed to Kilkenny by act of parliament at the instance of the Earl of Ormonde.
The object was to repress the outrages committed against the Earls tenantry by the sept of the Fitzpatricks, who, when tried in the Queen's County, were always acquitted, but rarely escaped conviction when brought to Kilkenny.
In the neighbourhood of Durrow is the residence of Viscount Ashbrook, and between it and Ballyragget on the road to Kilkenny is Ballycondra, the ancient seat of the Viscount Mountgarret, whose descendants now possess the earldom of Ormonde.
Ballyragget, another seat of the Butler family, is now a thriving town on the left bank of the Nore, 9 miles north of Kilkenny city.
Here is an old castle of the lords Mountgarret, which has been converted into a barrack.
Five miles south-east of Ballyragget, near the road from Castlecomer to Kilkenny, is the remarkable cave of Dunmore.
The entrance is by a picturesque hollow clothed with brushwood, at the extremity of which the cavern opens by a natural arch fifty feet high.
There are several chambers within encrusted with stalactites and traversed by a subterranean stream.
Southward from these hilly districts, the plain, which to this extent is confined to a narrow strip on each side of the Nore, expands across the entire central part of the county, spreading into Tipperary on one side and Carlow on the other, with an open undulating surface characteristic of the great limestone field of which it forms a part.
The city of Kilkenny is situated on both sides of the Nore where that river enters the more open district.
The Nore divides this central plain into two nearly equal portions.
The chief drainage of the eastern portion is towards the Barrow, on one of the streams running into which the town of Gowran is situated.
This place gave title successively to branches of the families of Butler and Fitzpatrick, and was in the fourteenth century the principal residence of the Earl of Ormonde, who had a very strong castle here.
It was greatly decayed about the beginning of the present century, but is now improving.
It is principally the property of Viscount Clifden, whose mansion, Gowran Castle, is in the vicinity.
The demesne and deer-park are extensive and well timbered, and the house is a fine edifice.
Thomastown, situated on the Nore 10 miles south from Kilkenny, derives it name from Thomas FitzAnthony Walsh, seneschal of Leinster, by whom it was founded.
The town has an appearance of antiquity, and is well situated for trade, the Nore being navigable up to this point.
Mount-Juliet, the residence of the Earl of Carrick, is finely seated on the banks of the Nore near Thomastown.
The banks of the river are steep and wooded, and the open country on each side to a great extent under demesne.
The open district to the west is traversed by a considerable river called the Owenree, running eastward from the Tipperary boundary to the Nore, which it joins 3 miles above Thomastown: the Munster river, which joins the Owenree from the north, forms the boundary between Tipperary and Kilkenny counties for several miles.
Near the Tipperary boundary on the Owenree is Callan, a corporate town of some extent, but much decayed, and farther down the stream, the villages of Kells and Innisnag.
Bennets Bridge, a thriving village, is situated on the Nore 3 miles above its junction with the Owenree.
Beyond this central district the entire southern part of the county, with the exception of a strip of level land along the northern bank of the Suir, is occupied with hilly and mountainous tracts, connected on the east with the granite group of Carlow, and the west with the sandstone range of Slievenaman in Tipperary.
On entering this district, the Nore, which from Durrow to Thomastown divides the county into two nearly equal portions, changes its course from south lo south-east and runs by a deep valley to the Barrow, which it joins about 15 miles above the junction of their united streams with the Suir.
The hilly district included between the two former rivers and the open country extending from Gowran to Thomastown is bounded towards the Barrow by a lofty range of hills terminated on the north by Brandon Mountain, which rises to a height of 1,696 feet over the town of Graigue-na-managh on the Barrow.
The range of Coppinagh bounds the district towards the open country on the west, extending from Mount Loftus near the Barrow to the heights above Innistioge on the Nore.
Innistioge is a well built village of the larger class, having a handsome bridge ornamented with Ionic pilasters, and some remains of ancient fortifications.
From Innistioge eastward the banks of the river are clothed for several miles with the woods of Mr. Tighes beautiful demesne of Woodstock.
The scenery on both sides of this river from Thomastown to the Barrow, a distance of 13 miles is in the highest degree picturesque.
Between the ranges of Coppinagh and Brandon are several extensive valleys opening towards the Nore, which receives The Clodagh river from this side.
A tongue of alluvial land called the Roer, extending above two miles in length, occupies the south-eastern extremity of the district at the point of junction of the Nore and Barrow; with the exception of this spot the western bank of the Barrow from Graigue to the Nore is precipitous, and in some places clothed with natural wood.
South from the Nore the banks of the Ross river (by which name the united streams are known from New Ross to the harbour of Waterford) slope more gradually, and are highly cultivated.
The hilly district west of the Nore and Ross rivers rises into mountains of considerable height and extent, of which the principal group, called the Walsh Mountains, lies between the Argula river running northward into the Nore above Innistioge, and the Kilmacow river running southward into the Suir above Waterford, and covers a space about ten miles in length by six in breadth.
The pasturable part of this district is wholly occupied by dairy-farmers.
The space between the southern declivities of the Walsh Mountains and other groups ranging towards Tipperary and the Suir is occupied to a breadth of from two to five miles by a level tract of rich land in which is situated the small but remarkably neat town of Pilltown, and the villages of Poleroan, Fiddown, and Kilmacow.
In the vicinity of Pilltown are Bessborough, the seat of the Earl of Bessborough, a fine mansion containing some excellent specimens of the Italian and Flemish schools of painting, and Belline, a seat of the Walsh family, from whom the neighbouring district is named, where there is another good collection of pictures.
A taste for art was very prevalent in this district in the beginning of the present century.
The keeper of the village inn of Pilltown at that time possessed a cabinet collection, including pieces by Rubens, Vandyck, and Tintoretto.
At the northern extremity of the hilly district is the village of Knocktopher, an ancient seat of the Ormonde family, the ruins of whose castle are still standing.
The fine mansion of Castlemorris, formerly the seat of the family of Montmorency-Morris, occupies a commanding site on the acclivity of the hill called Kings Mountain near Knocktopher, in the vicinity of which is also a handsome residence of the Langrishe family.
The Suir is navigable for vessels of 120 tons up to the bridge of Carrick, which is situated in Tipperary close to the western limits of this county.
At the bridge of Waterford it is in some places eight fathoms deep at low water.
Ships of 800 tons ascend the Barrow to New Ross, and small vessels can ply as high as St. Mullins, about midway between Ross and Graigue, where the tide ends, and the Barrow navigation for lighters commences.
The Nore throughout the upper part of its course from Durrow to Thomastown runs rapidly, and is subject to violent floods, having a fall of about 13 feet in a mile.
From Thomastown to the Barrow it is navigable for boats carrying 10 to 15 tons.
Vessels of 80 tons and upward have been built at and below Innistioge.
A canal from Thomastown to Kilkenny was commenced in 1755, and executed to a distance of four miles, but after the expenditure of large sums of money the works were abandoned.
Climate.The general slope of the surface is to the south-east, which is the best aspect both for sun and shelter.
Surface waters run off rapidly, and there is very little bog; the air is consequently dry and healthy.
The substratum in general is either limestone or brittle schist, both conducing to a light mellow soil and early vegetation.
Myrtles grow luxuriantly in the southern parts of the county; and an arbutus (Strawberry Tree) at Kilmacow in 1801 measured two feet seven inches round the stem, and covered a circuit of thirty yards.
Geology.With the exception of the mountain groups of the south, the entire surface of Kilkenny is occupied by the floetz limestone of the central plain overlaid in the hilly districts north of Kilkenny city by the shale and sandstone of the Castlecomer and Killenaule coal-tracts.
The coal formations are nearly co-extensive with the hilly districts; the limestone, where it forms the surface-rock, spreads into undulating plains sweeping round the hilly tracts, and occupying the intermediate valleys.
The strata composing the coal districts consist of alternations of shale with argillaceous ironstone, compact quartzy sandstone, and sandstone slate.
Each tract constitutes a separate basin, the strata in that of Castlecomer dipping from the edge towards the centre, so that the undermost strata appear on the outer edge, and the uppermost in the interior of the district.
The coal raised from these beds is anthracite, or non-flaming coal, called also mineral charcoal, from its containing 94 to 96 per cent of pure carbon.
It is accompanied with culm, which is used extensively for burning lime; the coal itself is used for domestic purposes and malting.
The Castlecomer district contains seven workable beds of different thickness, arranged one over the other.
Of these the uppermost beds, being nearly free from sulphur, are the most valuable, and are now nearly exhausted.
But the three lowest beds, containing an abundant supply, have never been worked except when they occur near the surface.
The beds, in ascending order, consist of, 1st, a bed little more than one foot in thickness occurring at the height of about 800 feet above the limestone substratum; it has never been worked.
Second bed, divided into two parts, each about one foot thick, by a layer of fine clay.
The coal is somewhat slaty, particularly that of the lower member.
This bed has been partially worked near the surface, but never to any considerable extent.
The third bed, which is rather thicker and more solid than the second, is worked only in a few places.
Fourth bed, usually composed of four feet of solid coal, and two feet of slaty coal ; occurs over a great extent of the interior of the district, and is at present worked in several places.
Fifth bed, one foot in thickness; not much worked.
Sixth bed, the three-foot coal, which has supplied the principal demand for upwards of a century, now nearly exhausted.
The principal works are at Castlecomer, Clough, and Newtown.
In 1836 the produce was 42,554 tons of coal, at from 15 shillings to 20 shillings per ton, and 53,354 tons of culm at 4 shillings to 5 shillings per ton.
Workings are also carried on at Feroda and other places in the district for culm and coal, the produce of which, in 1836, was 18,500 tons of culm, at from 4 shillings to 6 shillings 8 pence per ton.
The stratum on which the three-foot bed rests has been found to answer remarkably well for firebricks and other articles which are exposed in use to a great degree of heat.
That portion of the Killenaule, or Slieve Arda district, which extends out of Tipperary into this county, is not at present worked.
The isolated tract north of Freshford produces nothing but culm.
The limestone border generally follows the foot of these hills, but in some places it rises halfway up the acclivity, and in one or two instances forms considerable hills on the exterior.
A deposit of limestone-gravel, including boulders of large dimensions, generally occupies the exterior hollows of these hills, which towards the south and south-east slope gradually to the central plain.
The general colour of the limestone is a bluish-grey; the best for burning is of a blackish colour, and is found near Kilkenny and Thomastown.
Iron, manganese, and silex are generally diffused through the limestone rock towards the borders of the coal tract, and prevent it from burning.
Near Kilkenny it passes into a fine black marble, containing a great variety of impressions of madrepores and of bivalve and turbinate shells.
These beds are extensively quarried, and the blocks dressed on the spot by a saw-mill driven by the Nore.
The marble, which is sometimes procured of a jet-black, is manufactured into chimney-pieces, tombstones, &c.; it bears a very high polish, and can be raised in large blocks.
The hall at Bessborough is supported by four Ionic columns, the shafts of which are each formed of a single block of marble from this quarry, ten feet six inches in height.
Black primitive limestone also occurs at Ballyragget.
The tract of limestone skirting the northern bank of the Suir is decomposed along its northern boundary for a distance of several miles, into a friable marly rubble, which is extensively used for manure.
The surface heats and slacks under rain as if it had been subjected to the action of fire, which appearance is confirmed by the fact of detached pieces of quartzy sand stone having been found among the decomposed calcareous strata in a vitrified state.
Marl is found in large deposits in various other parts of the county.
The mountain tract occupying the south of Kilkenny, with the exception of the primitive group of Brandon, consists of a nucleus of clay-slate surrounded by sandstone.
The latter rock extends over the greater part of that portion of the Slievenaman group included in Kilkenny, and constitutes the entire tract of the Walsh mountains.
The clay-slate again rises beyond the valley of the Argula, from which it extends eastward to the Ross river, and northward beyond the Nore, constituting the range of Coppinagh, and occupying the tract included between that range and the western declivities of the Brandon group.
A margin of sandstone extends along the western foot of Coppinagh, so that the clay-slate is nowhere in contact with the field of limestone.
Minerals.The chalybeate spa at Ballyspellan was much celebrated in the last century for its efficacy in the cure of cutaneous and scrofulous diseases.
It is still visited by invalids, who derive considerable benefit from the waters; but its celebrity at present chiefly arises from the humorous verses of which Dean Swift and Mr. Sheridan have made it the subject.
The water contains fixed air, iron, and probably fossil alkali.
Essays concerning its properties, and in commendation of the air of the neighbourhood, were published in 1724 and 1725.
There are chalybeates at Kilkenny city, Castlecomer, Coolcullen, and several other places in the county, but the waters have little efficacy.
Soil and Agriculture.There is but a small portion of Kilkenny unfit for tillage.
The hills of the northern district are round backed and accessible; and the Walsh mountains are for the most part pasturable.
The group of Brandon is the only considerable extent of rough land in this county.
In the northern part of the Castlecomer coal-tract the soil is a moory turf lying over a stiff whitish clay, which is the poorest district out of the mountain region.
From Castlecomer southward the soil is light and friable as far as Kilkenny, and becomes deep, rich, and capable of any tillage towards Gowran and thence to Thomastown.
The neighbourhoods of Durrow and Johnstown are good tillage lands, and the valley of Freshford has some of the best ground in the county.
The soil of the hilly tract south of Freshford is fitter for pasture, and this is also the character of the right bank of the Nore from Kilkenny to Bennets Bridge.
The district watered by the Owenree has an excellent soil, and yields great crops of wheat.
The soil of the hilly country on the south is dry and kind, but it is badly enclosed and destitute of shelter.
Some of the best wheat and meadow lands in the south of Ireland are situated in the level tract along the Suir.
About one-third of the level districts is in tillage.
In the poor soil of the Castlecomer tract the proportion of tillage land is about five acres in the hundred, and in the Walsh Mountain district about nine.
The total productive tillage of the county in 1802 was estimated at 66,361 acres, producing 156,000 barrels of wheat, 80,000 barrels of barley, and 19,500 barrels of bere, 100,000 barrels of oats, and 1,030,000 barrels of potatoes.
The sales of grain in the several market-towns in 1826 and 1836 appear from the following table:
Barrels of wheat of 20 stone
Barrels of barley of 16 stone
Barrels of oats of 14 stone
|Gowran, Goresbridge, Graigne
|Castlecomer, Ballyragget, Durrow
|Thomastown, Bennets Bridge, Ennisnag, Kells
There are two districts almost wholly occupied by dairy-farmers, the Walsh Mountains and the southern part of the Castlecomer tract.
In the southern dairy district the sour milk is used for fattening pigs for the Waterford market: in the northern district the milk is sold, there being no convenient market for pork.
More attention is paid to cleanliness by the dairy-farmers of the Walsh Mountains than by the others.
Their strainers are usually of hemp, and sometimes of tin: among the northern dairies woollen strainers are generally in use.
The wages of agricultural labourers are 8 pence in winter, and during the rest of the year, 10 pence.
The average number of working days in the year is 145.
Manufactures.The manufacture of carpets, diapers, and tapestry was introduced into the county by the Countess of Ormonde in 1359.
James duke of Ormonde, about the middle of the seventeenth century, established and encouraged, at a great expense, both linen and woollen manufactures; and about the close of the same century the Bessborough family introduced the manufacture of linen into the southern parts of the county.
None of these branches of trade however succeeded for any considerable length of time.
The manufacture of blankets, which was carried on with great activity at Kilkenny from about 1745 to the beginning of the present century, has also declined.
In 1822 there were, in the districts of Cork, Kilkenny, Moate, and Carrick-on-Suir, 3,184 persons engaged in this manufacture, 9,876 depending on them, 19,322 pieces annually manufactured, of the value of £199,100 with capital invested in buildings and machinery to the amount of £116,700.
At present all these districts do not manufacture to the extent of £20,000.
In 1831 the number of weavers of every fabric in Kilkenny county was 502, and of wool-combers, two.
A coarse frieze for home consumption is made among the peasantry.
In 1792 there were in Kilkenny 37 mills employed in the grinding of wheat and making of flour.
The number is at present about the same; but the establishments are greatly increased in size and grinding power.
They are chiefly on the Nore, which, between Durrow and Innistioge, drives 22 mills.
Civil DivisionKilkenny is divided into the baronies of Fassadining, on the north-east, containing the towns of Castlecomer, population in 1831, 2,436; Ballyragget, pop. 1,629; and Clough, pop. 582: Galmoy, on the north-west, containing the towns of Durrow, pop. 1,298; Urlingford, pop. 1,366; and Johnstown, pop. 875: Gowran, on the east, containing the towns of Thomastown, pop. 2,871; Graigue, pop. 2,130; Gowran, pop. 1,009; Innistioge, pop. 906; part of Bennets-bridge, total pop. 426; and Goresbridge, pop. 634: Cranagh, on the west, containing the town of Freshford, pop. 2,175: Shillelogher, also on the west, containing part of the town and liberties of Callan, total pop. 6,111: Kells, on the south-west, containing the remainder of Callan, the town of Kilmaganny, pop. 514; and the village of Kells, pop. 402: Knocktopher, in the southern centre, containing the villages of Knocktopher, pop. 475, and Stoneyford, pop. 445 : Ida, on the south-east, containing the village of Rossbercon, a suburb of New Russ, pop. 369; and Iverk, on the south, containing the town of Pilltown, pop. 634, and several villages.
The county of the city of Kilkenny forms a separate division, containing 4 parishes, with a population of 23,741.
Of the above towns the following are corporate:-Callan, said to be by prescription ; Gowran, by charter of 6 James I.; Innistioge, by 6 James I.; Kilkenny and Irishtown, by 3 and 7 James I.; and Thomastown, by 1 Mary and 13 James I.
Prior to the Union each of the above towns and Knocktopher sent two members to the Irish parliament.
The representation is at present limited to two county members and one for the county of the city.
In 1836 the county constituency was 1,477.
The assizes-are held at Kilkenny, and the general quarter-sessions at Kilkenny, Castlecomer, and Thomastown.
The county courthouse and gaol are at Kilkenny, and there is a bridewell at Thomastown.
The number of criminal offenders committed to the county gaol in 1836 was 480, of whom 409 were males and 71 females.
Of these 175 males and 5 females could read and write, 64 males and 9 females could read only, and 169 males and 57 females could neither read nor write, The police force in 1836 consisted of one resident magistrate, 10 chief constables, 51 constables, 341 sub-constables, and 22 horse of the constabulary; and 2 resident magistrates, 3 chief constables, 18 constables, 122 sub-constables, and 2 horse of the Peace Preservation police; the expense of maintaining whom during the year 1835 amounted to £21,167, 11 shillings, 8 pence, of which £11.284, 18 shillings, 3 pence was chargeable to the county.
The district Lunatic Asylum is at Carlow.
The county infirmary and fever hospital are at Kilkenny, and there are also fever hospitals at Freshford, Kells, Kilmaganny, and Rossbercon, with dispenses in all the towns and chief villages.
1792 - estimated by Dr. Beaufort:- 17,569 houses, containing 97,500 persons.
1813 ascertained under the act of 1812:-
23,414 houses containing 134,664 persons
1821 ascertained under the Act 55 George III c.120
25,949 houses, 27,958 families, 77,630 males, 81,086 females, total 158,716 persons.
1831 ascertained under the Act 1 William IV c.19:-
27,248 houses, 28,823 families, 19,727 families chiefly employed in agriculture, 4,271 families chiefly employed in trade, manufactures, and handicrafts, 4,825 families not included in the preceding classes, 83,090 males, 86,855 females, total population 169,945 persons.
History and Antiquities.On the partition of Leinster among the daughters of William earl of Pembroke, A.D. 1247, Kilkenny was allotted to Isabella, the third daughter, who married Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford; by him she had issue, among other children, Eleanor, who married Hugh le Despenser this younger, whose grandson Thomas le Spenser sold his castle and manor of Kilkenny to James Butler, third earl of Ormonde, in 1391.
The other great proprietors were the families of Grace and Walsh, who possessed the districts of Graces Country (nearly co-extensive with the barony of Cranagh) and the Walsh Mountains respectively.
The former family descend from Raymond le Gros, one of the most distinguished of the Anglo-Norman invaders, who obtained this district with his wife Basilia, sister of Earl Strongbow.
The latter are descended from other companions of Strongbow called Walshes or Welshes (in Irish Brennagh), from their having originally come from Wales; they were seneschals of the palatinate of Leinster under the De Clares.
Both families lost their estates in the war of the Revolution of 1688.
The early history of the county is chiefly occupied with the feuds of the family of Ormonde against the houses of Desmond or Kildare, which led to the abolition of their respective war-cries of Butler-aboo and Crom-aboo by act of parliament in A.D. 1494.
The Graces also during this period were engaged in perpetual hostilities with the Fitzpatricks, Kavanaghs, and other Irish families, the tradition of which events still survives among the peasantry of Graces Country.
On the breaking out of the rebellion of 1641 the county of Kilkenny fell into the hands of the Irish with little opposition, Lord Mountgarret, an influential member of the Butler family, taking the lead among the insurgents.
Many others of that family espoused the same cause, and suffered extensively by the subsequent confiscations.
The bulk of the Butler possessions was however for a time preserved to the family by James earl of Ormonde, who conducted the royalist cause throughout these wars with the highest ability.
He was raised to the dignity of a duke after the Restoration, which event he had been very instrumental in bringing about, and was three times lord-lieutenant of Ireland.
On the attainder of James, the third duke of Ormonde, in 1715, the title fell into abeyance.
The dukedom has not been revived, but the earldom is now enjoyed by a descendant of Butler of Kilcash, brother to the first, or, as he is commonly called, the great duke of Ormonde.
The defection in this county on the accession of King William III was very general.
The forfeitures comprised 30,152 acres of profitable land, of a total estimated value, at that time, of £68,161, 5 shillings, 6 pence.
The chief attainted persons were Lord Galmoy, Oliver Grace, Robert Walsh, Edmund Morris, and various members of the families of Fitzgerald, Archer, Rothe, Dalton, Shee, Purcell, and Lawless.
The chief landed proprietors at present are the earl of Ormonde and Ossory, earl of Carrick, marquis of Lansdowne, earl of Bessborough, Lord Viscount Clifden, Lord Callan, Lord Viscount Mountmorris, Lord Viscount Ashbrooke, earl of Courtown, Sir Edward Loftus, Bart., Sir William Morris, Sir J. Cuffe, Bart., and the families of Flood, St. George, Tighe, Bryan, Murphy, Bunbury, Walsh, Aylward, and Rothe.
Circular stone enclosures of the Pagan era remain on the summits of the hills of Cloghmanta near Freshford, and Tory Hill, or Slieve Grian, near Kilmacow.
The latter appears to have been a sepulchral cairn, enclosing a kistvoen, or stone chamber, on one side of the covering stone of which there is in inscription long supposed to have reference to Baal, but which is now believed to be of a modern date.
The covering stone of the cromlech at Kilmogue, in the barony of Knocktopher, is 45 feel in circumference, and is elevated at one end 15 feet from the ground.
Another cromlech at Ballyheniberry, in the barony of Iverk, has a covering stone 16 feet long, 10 feet broad, and 3 feet thick.
There are numerous similar monuments of smaller dimensions throughout the county.
The remains of raths and earthen tumuli are also of frequent occurrence.
There are five round towers, one adjoining the cathedral church of St. Canice in Kilkenny, the others at Kilree, Tullocherin, Fertagh, and Aghaviller.
Of the monastic ruins, the most extensive and interesting are those of Jerpoint Abbey on the Nore, two miles from Thomastown.
This abbey was founded by Donogh, king of Ossory, in 1180, for Cistercian monks, and was liberally endowed.
The abbot was a lord of parliament.
The ruins occupy three acres, and are a fine specimen of the raised Anglo-Norman and early English architecture.
The more modern portions of the building are in the pointed style of the thirteenth century, and are distinguished by their elegance and tightness.
The tombs of the founder and of several ecclesiastics still remain.
At Graigue are the extensive remains of a Cistercian abbey, founded in 1212 by William Marshal, earl of Pembroke.
A portion of the building has been lately roofed in and converted into a Roman Catholic chapel.
There are considerable remains of the Dominican convent at Thomastown, of the Augustinian monastery at Innistioge, and of the Augustinian friaries at Kells and Callan.
Of the numerous castles founded by the Anglo-Norman lords, the most considerable is Grandison Castle in Iverk, an ancient seat of the Butlers.
It has three round towers towards the Suir and two courtyards.
The castles of Balleen, Ballyragget, Knocktopher, Gowran, Callan, Urlingford, and several others, belong to the same family.
Courtstown Castle, the chief seat of the Graces, was a building of great extent and splendour; but the ruins have now nearly disappeared.
There are numerous castles in the barony of Gowran founded by the Purcells.
In Knocktopher fifteen castles of the Walshes are enumerated; and throughout the county are the remains of various other fortalices belonging to the families of Brennan, Cantwell, Morris, Curry, Shortall, and Fitzgerald.
Kilkenny is situated in the dioceses of Ossory, Cashel, and Leighlin, under which titles the educational statistics of the district will be found.
The county expenses are defrayed by grand-jury presentments.
The amount levied in 1835 was £29,793, 14 shillings, 8 pence.
Of this a sum of £2,603, 11 shillings, 6 pence was for the public roads of the county at large; £5,907, 19 shillings, 1 penny was for the public roads, being the baronial charge; £7,609, 19 shillings, 1 penny was for the public establishments and salaries; £11,284, 18 shillings, 3 pence was for police; and £2,387, 6 shillings 9 pence for repayment of loans advanced by government.