GENERAL READING

 

'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

 

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

 

 

JOURNALS AND MAGAZINES

 

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

 

 

BIRTH, MARRIAGE & DEATH RECORDS

 

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.

 

 

GRAVESTONE RECORDS

 

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

 

 

WEBSITES AND BLOGS

 

West Wicklow Bookshelf

 

West Wicklow Granite Quarries

 

Settlement clusters and partnership farms of North-West Wicklow

 

LIBRARIES

 

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.

 

OLD NEWSPAPERS

 

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.

 

 

MAPS AND AERIAL PHOTOS 

 

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.

 

 

CENSUS

 

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.

 

 

BLESSINGTON LAKESIDE-HERITAGE GROUP

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

 

 

GENEALOGY

 

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

 

 

BLESSINGTON AND THE DOWNSHIRE ESTATE

 

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, BALLYKNOCKAN, etc

 

‘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

 

Russborough ‑ Irish Heritage Series No. 13

 

 

LACKEN 

 

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

 

 

BALTYBOYS

 

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.

 

 

HOLLYWOOD, DUNLAVIN, BALTINGLASS

 

'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.

 

 

1798 REBELLION

 

'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. 

 

 

OLDER DOCUMENTS

 

'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

 

 

BOOKS OVER 100 YEARS OLD

 

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 has degrees in Geography and in Civil & Environmental Engineering. 

  

The author adopts a regional approach based on historical-geography, focusing on human settlement and industry in north-west of County Wicklow, extending from Blessington into the upper Liffey valley and the Kings River valley.

 

He has written on the region's Granite Quarrying and Weaving industries 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 will be published by the Irish Society of Friends in July 2017.