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Local Studies Department

Thom's Trade Directories 1854

County of Kildare

KILDARE, an inland county in Leinster province.

Boundaries: N., Meath; E., Dublin and Wicklow; S., Car­low; W., Queen's, King's, and Westmeath. Greatest length, N. and S., 40 miles; greatest breadth, E. and W., 27 miles; comprising an area of 653 square miles, or 418,436 acres, of which 356,787 are arable, 51,854 uncul­tivated, 8,288 in plantations, 490 in towns, and 1,017 under water.

The subsoil is limestone and clay-slate; the surface level, with a few low hills interspersed. The rivers Liffey and Barrow pass through the county; the Boyne rises in its N. part. The Grand and Royal Canals traverse it, as also the Great Southern and Western Railway, passing through or near the towns of Naas, Newbridge, Kildare, Monasterevan, and Athy.

It contains 50,000 acres of bog; the common called the Curragh covers 5,000 acres. Large quantities of turf are sent to Dublin by the canals. The number of acres under crops in 1852, was 141,680, viz. :--wheat, 13,339; oats, 49,511; barley, bere, and rye, 9,095; peas and beans, 325; potatoes, 10,749; turnips, 10,387; mangel-wurzel, 1,307; other green crops, 1,804; flax, 17; meadow and clover, 45,146. Of plantations there were in 1841, 320 acres oak, 83 ash, 14 elm, 52 beech, 415 fir, 6,948 mixed timber, 456 fruit, besides 576,470 detached trees, equivalent to 3,603 acres of plantation; total, 11,891 acres.

The number of farms in 1841, above 1 acre each, was 8,134, on which there was a stock of 13,772 horses and mules, 47,530 horned cattle, 75,427 sheep, 16,344 pigs, 159,423 head of poultry, and 2,878 asses; the estimated value of all which was £529,384. In 1852, on 8,557 holdings, there were 12,533 horses, 4,127 mules and asses, 62,581 cattle, 110,132 sheep, 17,966 pigs, 2,757 goats, 169,148 poultry, of the total value of £662,528. The population in 1841 was 114,488; 104,090 in the rural, and 10,398 in the civic district.

According to the Census of 1851, the total population of the county was 95,688, being a decrease of 18,800. The occupations are chiefly agricultural, but there are some woollen, cotton, and paper factories.

The number of children attending public schools in 1841 was, in rudimental schools, males, 4,228, females, 3,898; in superior schools, males, 655, females, 129; total, 8,910. In September, 1852, there were 87 national schools in operation, attended by 9,218 children; 4,575 males, 4,643 females.

The county is divided into l4 baronies---Carbury, Clane, Connell, Ikeathy and Oughterany, Kilcullen, Kilkea and Moone, Naas N. and S., Narragh and Reban E. and W., Offaly E. and W., Salt N. and S., and contains 116 parishes. The principal towns are Athy, population 3,908; Naas, 3,132; and Maynooth, 2,201; adjoining the last named is the Roman Catholic College of St. Patrick.

The county returns 2 members to Parliament; constituency, under 13 & 14 Vic., c. 69, is 1852, 2,993. It is in the Home Circuit. The Assizes are held at Athy and Naas alternately. There are two County Prisons, one at Naas, the other at Athy; the committals to both in 1852, 783. It is divided into four Quarter Sessions divisions, viz., Naas, Kildare, Maynooth, and Athythe former comprising the Baronies of Kilkea and Moone, E. and W. Narragh, E. and W. Offaly; the latter, Carbery, Clane, Connell, Ikeathy, Kilcullen, N. and S. Naas, and N. and S. Salt. Petty Sessions are held in 13 places.

The County Infirmary is at Kildare; the District Lunatic Asylum, to which the county sends 52 patients, at Carlow. There are Fever Hospitals at Celbridge, Naas, and Athy.

A Savings' Bank is established at Celbridge; total depositors in 1852, 423, amounting to £15,241. Loan Funds in Athy and Fontstown; capital, in 1852, £2,952; amount circulated during the year, £12,583.

The Union Workhouses are at Athy, Celbridge, and Naas; the annual amount of property valued for the Poor-rate is £291,193; that of landed property, valued under 6 & 7 William IV., cap. 84, is £286,559. The Grand Jury Presentments for 1851 amounted to £15,264. The county is within the military district of Dublin; and there are Barrack stations at Athy, Naas, and Newbridge; and the staff of the County Militia is stationed at Johnstown, Naas. The head-quarters of the Constabulary force, consisting of 263 men, officers included, are at Athy; those of the 5 districts, comprising 45 stations, at Naas, Athy, Rathangan, Robertstown, and Leixlip. There is a Resident Magistrate at Naas.