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Local Studies Department

Lewis's Topographical Dictionary 1837

Towns & Villages
HARRISTOWN

HARRISTOWN, a village (formerly a parliamentary borough), in the parish of RATHMORE, barony of NORTH NAAS, county of KILDARE, and province of Leinster, 2 ½ miles (N.E.) from Kilcullen-Bridge; the population is returned with the parish. This place was formerly the property of the ancient and noble family of Eustace, to whom it gave the title of Baron; and during the civil war, in 1650, the castle was besieged and taken by a party of the parliamentarian forces under Cols. Hewson and Reynolds. In 1681, Sir Maurice Eustace, Knt., obtained from Chas. II. a charter, constituting his estates a manor, with power to hold courts leet and baron, and a court of record before his seneschals, for the recovery of debts not exceeding £10. He also obtained leave to appoint bailiffs and other officers, to have a gaol, to take all waifs, estrays, deodands, and felons' goods, and to hold a market and two fairs at Carnallaway.

The town was afterwards made a free borough, with a corporation, consisting of a sovereign and 12 burgesses, which had the privilege of returning two members to parliament, and continued to exercise it till the Union, when the borough was disfranchised, and the £15,000 awarded as compensation was paid to John Latouche, Esq., who was at that time proprietor of the town. For some time previously to the disfranchisement, its corporation had ceased to exercise any municipal functions; none of its offices have since been filled, and it is now an inconsiderable village. Harristown, the seat of R. Latouche, Esq., is an elegant mansion with a stately Ionic portico, beautifully situated on an eminence on the right bank of the river Liffey, which winds through the demesne and is crossed by two stone bridges, one of which, at Brannockstown, was built by the late J. Latouche, Esq., to supply the place of a very handsome bridge of seven arches, now included within the demesne.

The banks of the river are richly ornamented with stately timber, and the undulating surface of the grounds has been made available to the graceful embellishment of this fine demesne. Near Harristown is Kilbarry, the elegant villa of Mrs. Dundas. A constabulary police force is stationed in the village; and there are some slight remains of the ancient castle, formerly belonging to the family of Eustace.

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