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Local Studies Department

Slaters Directory - Athy


ATHY is an incorporated market and post town, partly in the parish of CHURCHTOWN and partly in the parishes of ST. JOHN and ST. MICHAEL, in the barony of Narragh and Rheban West, county Kildare, 44 ¾ miles by rail s.w. from Dublin, and 32 s.w. by s. from Naas, seated on the banks of the Barrow, which flows through the town, and is navigable to Waterford. Its situation is most pleasing, being in a part of the country redundant in those natural beauties so peculiar to this kingdom. On the northern bank of the river, which is crossed by two stone bridges, stand the remains of Woodstock Castle, supposed to have been erected in 1290. The walls are of great thickness, and the windows are much admired, as are also the gateway and the other part of the court. The town of Athy is very ancient, and derives its name from Athelhac or Athelgar, meaning “the ford towards the west.” It originated in the foundation of two monasteries, soon after the English invasion, one on the west, the other on the east side of the river. The castle, erected in 1575, for the defence of the town, and now used as a constabulary barrack, has a fine appearance. The geographical situation of the place is peculiarly adapted for commerce. All the roads from different parts of the country converge here. The Barrow, as before stated, is navigable, and goods of all kinds can be conveyed to various parts of the kingdom by the Grand canal. A considerable traffic exists in corn; indeed, Athy is one of the best corn marts in Ireland, and its prosperity had not been interrupted, nor its trade crippled, like many other towns, which have unhappily suffered by political convulsion. There are two principal inns, of which the Leinster Arms Hotel is an excellent commercial house and posting establishment, having been refitted very recently, and is now replete with every comfort, including hot, cold and shower baths. His Grace the Duke of Leinster is patron of the town, and from the benevolence and public spirit of this nobleman, the inhabitants have derived many advantages, amongst which may be mentioned a very beautiful and tastefully laid out public park for the recreation of all who chose to visit it. The town consists of two main streets of a considerable length, with smaller ones diverging, and a spacious market square. James I. constituted Athy a borough by charter; its municipal officers being a sovereign, two bailiffs, a certain number of burgesses, and a common council; but under an act passed in the reign of George IV. the government of the town became, and now is, vested in commissioners. Quarter and petty sessions are held here- the latter every Tuesday; and Athy, with Naas, was formerly alternately the assize town for the county. This is now transferred entirely to Naas.

The places of worship are the Protestant Episcopal church of St. Michael, a handsome and capacious stone structure built in 1840, a Roman Catholic church, the interior of which is elegant and capacious, and a neat place of worship for the Wesleyan Methodists. The Presbyterians have a very handsome church near the railway station with a neat and convenient manse for the minister. The other public buildings comprise the court house, a fine building, in Emily Square, erected in 1858, the town hall, and assembly rooms; the union poor house, a remarkably handsome edifice, situated about a mile from the town, and a fever hospital and dispensary. The public educational establishments are a Model and Agricultural school, erected by the Commissioners of National Education, which is well supported, also National schools and two convents, one of which (St. Michael's) is a large and elegant building. About three miles distant is the moat of Ardscull, a very extensive fortification, composed entirely of earth, and commanding, from its elevated position, an extensive view of the surrounding country. The markets are held on Tuesdays and Saturdays; and the fairs on the first Wednesday of every month and a pig air the Tuesday previous. The population of the town in 1861 was 4,424, and in 1871, 4,510.

BALLYTORE, or Ballitore, is a large village in the parish of TIMOLIN, barony of East Narragh and Rheban East, union of Baltinglass, and county of Kildare, about seven miles from Athy, and six from Batlinglass. There are several good shops, a tannery, and a large flour mill in the village, also a dispensary, and places of worship for Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, and the Society of Friends. The trade of the place is mainly supported by the agriculturists of the surrounding district. Population in 1861, 421, and in 1871, 446.

BALLYLINAN is a small village in the parish of KILLABAN, baronies of Ballyadams and Slievemargy, union of Athy, Queen’s county, about three miles from Athy and seven from Carlow. Petty sessions are held here every second Saturday. There is very little business of importance carried on here. Population in 1861, 455, and in 1871, 242.

CASTLE DERMOT is a parish and large village in the barony of Kilkea and Moone, union of Athy, county of Kildare, seven miles from Athy. Petty sessions are held every alternate Friday. There is a dispensary and several good shops in the village, but the district is chiefly agricultural. The Episcopalians and Roman Catholics have each places of worship. Fairs are held on February 24th, May 24th, August 5th, September 29th and December 19th. The parish in 1861 had a population of 2,006 persons, and in 1871, 1,584, of which last number 727 belonged to the village.

KILBERRY is a parish and small village in the barony of Narragh and Rheban West, union of Athy, and county Kildare, situated about four miles from Athy. There is a neat church and school in the village and a constabulary station. In the vicinity stands Bert House, the beautiful seat of Lord Seaton. Population of parish in 1861, 1,262, and in 1871, 1,113.

KILKEA is a small village and parish in the barony of Kilkea and Moone, union of Athy, and county of Kildare, about five miles from Athy, and two from Castle Dermot. It is chiefly noted for its ancient castle, the beautiful seat of the Marquis of Kildare. There is a handsome Protestant Episcopal church, and a neat school in the village, both recently erected. Population of the parish in 1861, 344, and in 1871, 356.


POST OFFICE, Duke Street, ATHY, Lousia Molloy, Post Mistress.- Letters from Dublin, England, and all parts arrive at half-past ten forenoon and a quarter before eleven at night, and from Carlow, Bagnalstown, Kilkenny and Waterford at half-past two morning and four afternoon; and are despatched to Dublin, England, and all parts at twenty minutes past three afternoon and ten night, and to Carlow, Bagnalstown, Kilkenny and Waterford at five minutes past ten morning and ten night, and to Cork and South of Ireland at a quarter-past seven evening.

Money Order and Telegraph Office and Savings Bank.
A Mail Car leaves Athy for Baltinglass at half-past two morning, Stradbally at a quarter before eleven forenoon, Ballytore at a quarter to eleven forenoon.

Post Office, CASTLE DERMOT, John Elliot, Post Master. – Letters from Carlow arrive at nine morning and are despatched at five evening.
Money Order and Telegraph Office and Savings Bank.

Post Office, BALLYLINAN, John Gloster, Post Master. – Letters arrive by foot messenger from Athy at twenty minutes past seven morning, and are despatched thereto at a quarter to six evening.
Money Order and Savings Bank.

Post Office, BALLYTORE, Patrick Horan, Post Master. - Letters arrive by mail car (from Athy) at twenty minutes to four morning and twenty minutes past twelve noon; and are despatched at five minutes to two afternoon and half-past nine night.
Money Order and Telegraph and Savings Bank.

Post Office, KILKEA, Thomas Malone, Post Master.- Letters arrive from Carlow at twelve noon, and are despatched thereto at two afternoon.
The nearest Money Order Office is at CASTLE DERMOT.


Station, at the head of Leinster st
Station, MAGANEY-Edward Moore, station master


Grand Canal Co. Canal House-Christopher J. Deane, jun. agent and collector