The Topographical Dictionary

The Topographical Dictionary

In 1837 Samuel Lewis in the Topographical Dictionary describes Borrisokane as regards population, area, houses, etc. as follows:
Petty sessions are held every Saturday and the Chief Station of the Constabulary force is in  Borrisokane. There is a Bridewell, comprising of two small cells, a day room, and a cell for females, but it is on a confined plan and in a bad situation.

The land is principally under an under an improving system of tillage and there is a considerable extent of bog, in detached portions. In the Townland of Tombricane is a quarry of limestone of superior quality, which is mostly used for tombstones and building.
In 1844/45 The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland describes Borrisokane in the following manner “A parish in the barony of Lower Ormond, it contains 5,128 acres, it is 3 and 3 quarters miles long and its breadth is 2 miles. The population in 1831 was 2,634 and in1841, 3,175 and some 580 houses. The land is tolerably good and a small stream “The Ballyfinboy” bisects the parish, passes through the town and falls into Lough Derg about six miles west. The highest ground occurs at the  C.I. Church and has an altitude of 216 feet. The principal country residences are  Bushy Park, Arran Hill, Kyle Park, Greyfort House, Fortnesbit and Ballyhaden cottage.

The Church of Ireland has seating for 200; attendance 250. A Wesleyan chapel has an attendance of 80 and the Roman Catholic chapel 800. In 1834 the parishioners consisted of 633 church men, 37 protestant dissenters, and 2,010 Roman Catholics, poor spiritless, desolate place and though advantageously situated for a considerable trade, it transacts comparatively little business. Fairs are held on April 26th, June and September 26th and December 15th. In 1838 the public conveyances was a car to Birr, and a mail-car in transit between Roscrea and Portumna.

The Bridewell is “an illegal prison, devoid of all proper accommodation and should be abolished unless a new immediately erected”. A fever hospital and dispensary in the town are within the Nenagh Poor Law Union and serve p population of 16,576. The hospital had 133 patients and the dispensary administered to 800 patients. The area of the town was 38 acres, population in 1831 was 1,885 people and had 266 houses.
Forty four years later “Basset’s Guide and Directory” of 1889 was published and gives us the following information about Borrisokane: Population 1881-693, fowl and egg market every Tuesday, corn and wheat market held up to 1864. Mr David Clarke landlord held all the toll rights. Bakers, Miss K. Corbett, Patrick Hoctor and Miss M. Moloney. Book shop, Miss M.A. McGolrick. The land is mainly of tillage-barely, oats, potatoes and sheep farming speciality. The shops and businesses of the town were as follows; Spirits and Vinters Daniel J, John and Patrick Cleary, Mrs. K Birmingham, Daniel Darcy, Mrs. S Egan, Martin Foley, P. Hackett, Timothy Heenan, Daniel Hough, Michael Kelly, Mrs. M. Lambe, Ml. McKenna, S. Russell and Mrs. M. Stephens. Grocers and Hardware: P. Cleary, Hugh Delaney, Mrs. E.J. Gaynor, James Hamilton, Walter F. Kent and Miss Mary White.

Seeds, coal and timber were sold by Mrs. E.J. Gaynor, and W.F. Kent. James Hamilton sold timber, seeds and hardware, while Mrs. Mary Ann Crampton sold drugs only. Hugh Delaney and J. Slattery and Patrick Wall were emigration agents. Dispensary – Doctor J.C. Daly and Patrick Cleary was the one business man in town that ran a pub, grocery and hardware.