Dunbrody Abbey - Wexford Guide and Directory, 1885

About “Wexford County Guide and Directory,” 1885

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version of Bassett’s Wexford County Guide and Directory is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

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A TWO days’ tour from New Ross should make Dunbrody Abbey the first stopping place. The distance is about six miles, and the road leads through a district highly favored by nature. Annaghs Castle, in a fair state of preservation, gives its name to a large mansion, said to have been built by a Mr. Murphy in 1798, and of materials, all of which were brought from England. Mr. Edward Carr, Solicitor, Camlin, has a pretty place on the left bank of the Barrow. Horeswood Chapel, Fruit Hill, Miss Julia Glascott, Kilmanock House, Capt. Samuel Barrett, and the village of Campile, Priesthaggard, are all passed on the way. Capt. Barrett’s house and grounds are well worth seeing, but it is not necessary to break the journey for the purpose, considering that their attractions are manifest from the tower of Dunbrody Abbey, and form part of the picture which includes the confluence of the Suir and Barrow. It would be difficult to give in writing an adequate idea of the nobility of architecture suggested by what remains of Dunbrody Abbey. Its foundation as a religious institution was a grant of lands by Harvey of Mt. Maurice, 1178, to the Cistercian Monks. Richard, Earl of Pembroke, and Walter, his grandson, were its benefactors, a great part of the buildings having been erected by Herlewin, Bishop of Leighlin, whose remains were interred in the Abbey, 1216. Edward III. and Henry IV. confirmed the grants of the institution. In 1544 the Abbey was surrendered by its last Abbot, Alexander Devereux, who became the first Protestant Bishop of Ferns. The possessions of Dunbrody were extensive, and were granted by Henry VIII. in 1546, to Sir Osborne Etchingham in exchange for property in Norfolk, England. By marriage, in 1660, the Dunbrody property passed to the family of Chichester, in whose hands it remains at the present day. Lieut.-Col. Arthur Chichester, was raised to the Peerage with the title of Baron Templemore, in 1831. During the past fifty years, changes have been wrought upon the fabric which has withstood the wear and tear of centuries. Of the cross-shaped building, the chancel and tower, are in good preservation, the walls of the former, and part of the latter rejoicing in a coat of ivy which it is a delight to look upon.

The site of the ruin is somewhat elevated, and its rugged lines and soft masses cut clearly against the sky, which, in this favourable southern locality, is fair and warm more frequently than otherwise. Off the south transept are three small apartments groined and vaulted. The arches which support the massive short tower are magnificent in height, and show here and there traces of former richness. The remaining wall of the nave has its arches half filled with masonry, and possesses double upper windows with filagree ornamentation and triple arches. At the western end one tall shaft marks the place once occupied by a remarkable window, much praised by former writers. From this point there is a fine view of the interior. All views of the ruin are good, new and charming irregularities revealing themselves at every turning.

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