Trade, Manufactures, Commerce, etc., of New Ross - 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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NEW ROSS as a business place, in proportion to population, is regarded as first-rate. It is still a common saying among the people, that it could buy out Wexford. Many of the merchants are very wealthy. If the public spirit was commensurate with the wealth, few towns in Ireland could compare with it for manufacturing enterprise. With its broad avenue to the ocean, and splendid quays, nothing should prevent its inhabitants from attaining an enviable position in this respect. At present it has a brewery, a mineral water factory, a bacon factory, second to none, a tannery, a tobacco and snuff factory, malting houses, corn mills, a roofing factory, and some woollen weaving. The trade is chiefly of a local character, and is confined to articles required for consumption by the farmers of the surrounding country. This field of operation has proved a rich one to many of the merchants. New Ross is the market, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for the farm produce of a district containing choice lands of two counties. Its fowl market, every Saturday, is always well attended, and sometimes occupies almost the entire length of the quay. Every day in the season there is a corn market. The salmon fishery is a source of considerable profit to the town; it gives employment to about 600 persons, and the money produced for the catch goes to the merchants for food and other supplies.

Owing to the competition of the railway and the Barrow Navigation Company, a great reduction has occurred in the tonnage of shipping since 1844. Then it aggregated 18,000. The Albinos, barque, belonging to Messrs. James E. Galavan & Co., and a coasting schooner, are the only sea-going vessels owned in the port. It is believed that a considerable increase in the number of coasters will result from the opening of railway communication between Wicklow and Carlow. The line to Palace East, it is believed, will be ready for traffic in about two years. Colliers, owned elsewhere, supply New Ross with coals. Twenty of them often discharge at the same time. New Ross contributed £30,000 to the revenue of the country last year. This sum was raised from spirits, teas, tobacco, and brewing. River communication with Waterford, for passengers, is maintained by a small steamer, which runs up and down every day.

Potatoes, oats, and barley are the principal crops raised in the County Wexford district of New Ross. The soil is light, and not adapted to profitable wheat growing. In the Kilkenny County district the land is excellent for all kinds of crops. Dairy farming is extensively engaged in at both sides of the Barrow.

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