'The Blessington Estate, 1667 - 1908', by Kathy Trant.  Available in the 'Blessington Bookshop' at Main Street, Blessington, price €15.


Trant talk to Lisburn Historical Society on the history of the Blessington/Downshire estate


'Wicklow History and Society', editors Hannigan and Nolan


'The place‑names of County Wicklow', Liam Price, 1953 (note that for the Blessington area you only need Volume IV, 'The Barony of Talbotstown Lower')


'Topographical Dictionary of Ireland', Samuel Lewis, 1837.  Descriptions of the local villages in 1837.





E-Books available for download free of charge, including Biographies, History and Genealogy books of Irish relevance.





There is a comprehensive list of Irish History Journals covering a broad range of topics and also indices to them here





These are available via

  • Church Registers
  • Public Records Office of Ireland


The Roman Catholic Parish Registers are at the National Library of Ireland.  


The Church of Ireland Registers are held at the Representative Church Body Library (RCB Library).  There is a copy held by Blessington Public Library, Local History Section.


Records of the Quaker community of Baltyboys are held at the Friends Historical Library, Dublin.





'Memorials of the Dead - Gravestones inscriptions from Co Wicklow' by Cantwell 





West Wicklow Bookshelf


West Wicklow Granite Quarries


Settlement clusters and partnership farms of North-West Wicklow




National Library of Ireland (NLI)  - Search the online catalogue, newspapers, photos, etc.  You should also consult 'Hayes's Manuscript Sources' at NLI as a 'source of sources'.


Royal Irish Academy (RIA) - Has a comprehsive library of Irish source material, but you must join the library to use it.  RIA Catalogue.




Irish Newspaper Archive has 250 years of newspapers online, and they are searchable.  At present you can consult the 'Freemans Journal' which circulated in the local area from 1763 to 1924.  Other papers are being added over time.  There is a small fee for using this service, but your local library may have subscribed to the Archive in which case you may not have to pay.





Ordnance Survey of Ireland

The area was surveyed by Ordnance Survey at 6 inches to a mile circa 1838, with revisions circa 1878 and 1908/09, when more populous areas were re-surveyed at 25 inches to a mile. Consult the Ordnance Survey of Ireland for maps, aerial photos, etc. (Best viewed using Firefox or Chrome as a browser!)


Field books of the Ordnance Survey.  Visit National Archives of Ireland.


Ordnance Survey Name Books.  Visit National Archives of Ireland.



Google maps and Google Earth cover the area well.





You can search the Irish census for 1901 and 1911 online.  It is searchable by name and location.  Remember that names change (O'Neill can become Neill, Olligan became Halligan, McCarthy can change to MacCarthy or Carthy) and also that in the 1900s there was not consistency of spelling of names - they were often simply spelled phoenetically.




This group was formed in 2003 to make people aware of the abundance of field monuments and archaeological sites and to work towards their preservation.

  • published a booklet on the Blessington Lakes
  • assisted the staff in the Tourist Office
  • restored the last remaining Holy Well in Blessington 
  • replaced the stolen road signs around Manor Kilbride
  • replaced local signs made from Ballyknockan Granite
  • updated the Heritage Walk around Blessington
  • restored the Quaker graveyard at Baltyboys
  • published the first edition of the Journal of the Lakeside-Heritage Group


West Wicklow Historical Society





'Handbook on Irish Genealogy', Donal F Begley, Irish Genealogical Office, 1984





The Downshire Estate papers.  These contain of the order of 90,000 documents and are in the Public Record Office for Northern Ireland, Titanic Quarter, Belfast.  


'The Downshire Estates in Ireland, 1801‑1845', W. A. Maguire


'Letters of a great Irish Landlord - a selection of from the estate correspondence of the third Marquis of Downshire, 1809-1845', W A Maguire, 1974




‘Valleymount Newsletter’


Father Cantwell, parish priest of Valleymount, was a dedicated collector of local history and local lore. During the period 1986 to 1993, he regularly included articles on local history in the parish newsletter. 


Fr. Cantwell published a compendium of local history articles - ‘Facets of our Local History’, Parts 1 & 2 in 1990 and Part 3 in 1993.  He died before the final volume of ‘Facets of local History’, Part 4, could be compiled and published, but I have collated the remaining articles and assembled them into the unpublished ‘Part 4’. 


Parts 1 to 4 are now available to read on-line or to download, with links as follows:-  (Note that the file sizes are 7MB to 15MB so they will take a little time to download)


Valleymount Newsletter/Facets of our Local History - Part1.pdf


Valleymount Newsletter/Facets of our Local History - Part 2.pdf


Valleymount Newsletter/Facets of our Local History - Part 3.pdf


Valleymount Newsletter/Facets of our Local History - Part 4.pdf





Russborough ‑ Irish Heritage Series No. 13





Lacken, by Seamus O’Maitiu, in 'Studies in Local History - Irish Townlands', editors Brian O’Dalaigh, etc., 1998





Baltyboys Quaker community


The weaving industry around Baltyboys


Information on Elizabeth Smith and Baltyboys:-

  • 'The Irish Journals of Elizabeth Smith' (diaries 1840‑1850)
  • 'The Wicklow World of Elizabeth Smith', by Dermot James and Seamus O'Maitiu. 
  • 'Memories of a Highland Lady' ‑ Autobiography of Elizabeth Grant (Smith) of Baltiboys 1898, republished in 1992
  • 'Come Dance with me' ‑ Ninette de Valois, 1957, reprinted 1992


The records for Boystown Parish in Griffith's Valuation of 1854 are available to download as a .pdf file.





'An Irish Village, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow', Chris Lawlor.  Book and blog


'The Story of Baltinglass', Claude Chevasse, 1970



THE POOR LAWS and the FAMINE of the 1840s


The area was part of the Naas Poor Law Union.  Information relating to the famine in the 1840s, the Workhouse at Naas and the County Kildare hinterland of Blessington.





'The Rebellion in Wicklow, 1798', by Ruan O'Donnell


Insurgent Wicklow in 1798, by Luke Cullen


Rebellion in Wicklow, General Joseph Holt's personal account


The Poulaphuca Survey was carried out in 1939 for the ESB before the flooding of the valley.  Key parts of this have published as 'Beneath the Poulaphuca reservoir: the 1939 Poulaphuca survey of the lands flooded by the Liffey Reservoir Scheme', edited by Christiaan Corlett, published by the Stationery Office in 2008. 





'The Last County, the emergence of Wicklow as a County, 1606‑1845', a County Wicklow heritage project in conjunction with FAS, 1983


'Memories of the Liffey Valley', by Blessington Community Enterprise Group, 1992





Wilson's Post Chaise Companion, 1786


Maps of the Roads of Ireland, Taylor and Skinner, 1777


Frazer's report on County Wicklow, 1801


The Neighbourhood of Dublin in 1912, St. John Joyce


'The Illustrated History of the County of Wicklow', 1844, Irwin, George O'Malley








Page created by John Hussey 3 June 2013, revised 29 May 2017.

The Author













John Hussey is a historical-geography.  His studies focus on human settlement and industry in north-west of County Wicklow - the area extending from Blessington into the upper Liffey valley and the Kings River valley.


He has researched and written on the region's Granite Quarrying Industry, its Weaving Industry and its Quaker community.


His most recent research has focused on the Woolpack Road, along which the region's wool and cloth was transported to Dublin. 


His book on the Quaker community of Baltyboys was published by the Irish Society of Friends (Quakers) in July 2017.