The Irish Language in Co. Wicklow

Wicklow Historical Society Journal 1988

By Ken Hannigan

Evidence from the Census

ONE of the issues which still causes some controversy in the writing of Irish history concerns the role played by the national schools in the decline of the Irish language. Although the once popular view that the Government of the time set out deliberately to kill the language through the national schools is rarely encoun­tered today, the extent to which its decline was a by-product of the system is still being debated by historians. The divergence of emphasis is illustrated in the following extracts from two works of history published within the last decade:

…Nor is it surprising that the British Government, in establish­ing the national system of primary education in 1831, also neglected the teaching of Irish. In effect the advent of general education in the nineteenth century was a major factor in the decline of Irish’…

…We can see that the simplistic attitude which holds the national schools responsible for the decline of Irish is grossly inaccurate. They came too late to play a major role, except in remote areas of the west. The hedge schools were more impor­tant in transmitting English to the people (2)…

Whatever about the situation in the rest of the country, in County Wicklow the question hardly arises. Most indications are that when the national schools were established in 1831 the Irish language was all but extinct in this county. This article examines some of the evidence which points to this, as well as some con­trary indications, tries to suggest when and why the language disappeared, and also looks at how its revival in the early part of this century was reflected in the census returns.

One of the earliest and most emphatic statements on the decline of Irish in the county was made by Robert Fraser in his General View of the County Wicklow, presented to the Royal Dublin Society and published in 1801:

It is very remarkable, that although the Irish language is com­mon in all the counties around, in the county of Wicklow the Irish language is unknown. Nor did I find any of the natives of this county, even in the remote vales in the midst of the moun­tains, accustomed to speak the Irish language (3).

Corroboration of this statement insofar as it applied to the south-east of the county was given by the Rev. Henry Lambert Bayly, Rector of Arklow, in 1816. Writing about his parochial union, which included, as well as Arklow, the parishes of Enereily, Kil­bride, Templemichael and Killahurler, he stated that the English language was exclusively spoken (1).

These reports from early in the century appear to have been borne out by the first census to gather statistics on the Irish lan­guage, that of 1851. This showed that not only had Wicklow recorded the lowest absolute number of Irish speakers of any county in Ireland, with only 135 individuals claiming to have a knowledge of Irish, but also that it had by far the lowest proportion of Irish speakers at 0.14% of its population. The only other coun­ties which came near to this with less than a half of one per cent were Queen’s (Laois), with 0.22%, Carlow, Down and King’s (Offaly), with 0.36% and Wexford, with 0.44%. At the other end of the scale, with more than 60% Irish speakers, were Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Waterford. Table I, below, shows how these Irish speakers were distributed throughout the county in 1851 and in the four succeeding censuses.

TABLE I

Distribution of Irish speakers in Co. Wicklow 1851 - 1891. (Source: Census of Ireland, published reports)

 

Number of Irish speakers

Year

1851

1861

1871

1881

1891

Baronies

 

Arklow

12

6

11

36

44

Ballinacor North

16

55

12

32

12

Ballinacor South

22

3

6

12

25

Newcastle

16

62

7

20

17

Rathdown

16

17

33

84

36

Shillelagh

5

5

1

11

7

Talbotstown Lower

16

16

18

29

16

Talbotstown Upper

13

5

6

19

19

Towns

 

Arklow

7

0

Included in

Arklow Barony

Bray

6

1

Included in

Rathdown Barony

Wicklow

6

12

Included in

Arklow and

Newcastle Baronies

 

 

Some qualifications must immediately be made regarding these figures, especially those for 1851-71. The figure of 135 Irish speakers in 1851 is remarkably low, even as a proportion of those born outside the county. The 1851 census showed that of the 98,979 people living in Wicklow, 10,805, or nearly 11% had been born in other parts of Ireland. Of these, 851 had come from Munster and Connaught, where Irish speakers comprised 44% and 51% respectively of the population in 1851. It is not possible to say at what age or how long before 1851 these people left their native place and came to Wicklow or to what extent a knowledge of Irish in early life might have been lost in later life, but if even a quarter of these people had a knowledge of Irish they would have accounted for more than the 135 recorded, and this would not have included the other ten thousand who had come from Ulster and other parts of Leinster where spoken Irish was more prevalent than in Wicklow.

The explanation for these low figures may lie in part with the confusing formula used on the census forms in 1851, 1861, and 1871 to gauge the extent of Irish. This information was sought under the heading ‘Education’ and by way of a footnote to a ques­tion on literacy. The footnote directed that the word ‘Irish’ be added in this column to the name of each person who spoke Irish but who could not speak English and that the words ‘Irish and English’ be added to the names of those who could speak both languages. It is possible that the footnote may have been overlooked in error or even intentionally ignored by enumerators in areas where Irish was not widely spoken, thus exaggerating the extent of decline in these areas. It seems equally possible that the footnote may have been wrongly interpreted as seeking information on literacy in Irish and this indeed would have resulted in drastically reduced numbers. In this respect it is significant that when the census form was revised in 1881 to include a separate column for Irish there was a sharp increase in the number of Irish speakers re­corded (see Table I) (5).

Other factors which may have influenced a low rate of response are equally difficult to assess but feelings of shame and caution may be considered. Knowledge of Irish was not regarded by many at this time as a source of pride; rather the reverse. It was the language of the poor, spoken mostly in what were considered the most backward parts of the country. Knowledge of Irish was regarded as a stigma, not least by many of those who spoke it and who made great efforts to ensure that their children would not continue the habit (0). Secondly, people who were wary of official­dom may have regarded enquiries about their knowledge of Irish as a test of loyalty. Although official attitudes in such matters had changed by 1851 this may not have been universally perceived and some Irish speakers may have decided that it was wiser not to broadcast the fact of their knowledge. All this is specula­tive, however; what is more certain is that even in 1881, when the census form had been revised, Wicklow still recorded the lowest number of Irish speakers of any county in Ireland—0.3% of its population, followed once again by Queen’s, Carlow and Down with 0.4% each. The very consistency of these relative positions must argue something for the value as evidence of the earlier censuses. So too must the sharp increases recorded in Table I above for the baronies of Newcastle and Ballinacor North in 1861. This was at the time when the railway was being extended through these baronies from Wicklow to Rathnew, Glenealy and Rathdrum. Whatever its shortcomings, the enumeration managed to reflect the fact that many of the railway navvies spoke Irish*.

With regard to the situation at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it is necessary to voice some reservations about Robert Fraser’s assertion that the Irish language was unknown in Wick­low. We may accept that the statement was made in good faith and that it was supported by the information then available to him. As far as is known, Fraser had no axe to grind on the subject; his survey claimed to be scientific by nature and accuracy was para­mount. He had already published surveys of Devon and Cornwall and intended publishing sequels to the Wicklow volume. He had much to lose by incorporating obvious errors of fact in his study. On the other hand he worked under certain constraints. Time was mentioned as one of these and it is clear from remarks made in the book that he did not visit all parts of the county. It is also apparent that much of his information came from the owners and managers of large estates, the rectors, and some improving farm­ers. The statement about Irish was made almost as an aside towards the end of the book and indeed the question was unlikely to have preoccupied him for long during his researches. Fraser’s first hand contacts with the peasantry must of necessity have been limited. Wicklow, in the aftermath of 1798, was still a dangerous place in which to wander alone without an armed escort. Fraser’s party camped for several days in the summer of 1800 on top of Knocknamunnion at the head of the Glen of Imaal, unaware until later that a group of twenty armed rebels was in hiding less than a quarter of a mile from them (7). Such were the feelings of mutual suspicion between the Catholic peasantry and Protestants of all classes in the county, even a generation later, that there was panic on both sides and fears of massacres when an outbreak of millenarianism gripped the county in June, 1832 (8).

Against Fraser’s statement can be placed some evidence, albeit scattered, that Irish survived in the county later than 1801. John O’Donovan and Eugene O’Curry, who travelled around Wicklow in the 1830s collecting information on placenames, antiquities, and folklore for the Ordnance Survey, both encountered elderly inhabitants who were able to provide them with the correct pronunciation of Irish placenames. O’Donovan met one such man aged 90, in the parish of Aghowle (9) and O’Curry met another, aged 79, in Glaskenny in the barony of Rathdown (10). More intriguing perhaps is O’Curry’s assertion that Irish was spoken by all over the age of 40, and understood even by the young, in Glenasmole, just outside the county boundary, in 1838 (11). Much later there were retrospective reports of Irish having been spoken in Glenmalure and around Aughrim up to the time of the Famine and of a native of the Glendalough area who had been born in 1837 and who had some Irish, but it is difficult to authenticate these. Andrew and Hannah Byrne of Glenealy, who both died in 1830, were believed to have been among the last native speakers in the locality (12). Further back, in the 1790s, Irish was reported to be spoken on the Western slopes of the Wicklow Mountains (13). All this is not to deny the essence of Fraser’s claim, that English was the language of everyday life throughout Wicklow in the early nineteenth century, but merely to modify somewhat the dogmatic statement that Irish Was unknown. What remains remarkable is the degree to which English had replaced Irish at this time.

It is difficult to be precise about the extent of Irish-speaking at earlier dates. A recent exhaustive study of the nineteenth century census figures for every barony in Ireland has attempted to map the decline of Irish among successive generations from 1771 (14). In projecting the analysis back to the 1770s, this study estimates that Wicklow was unique in having not a single barony in which more than 2% of those born between 1771 and 1781 spoke Irish. Cer­tainly the ascendancy of English in the county at the beginning of the nineteenth century suggests that this must also have been the case for much of the previous century as well. If the majority of the county’s inhabitants had abandoned Irish for English in the second half of the eighteenth century it would be difficult to ex­plain. There were no coercive measures enforcing the use of English and although there were a number of endowed ‘English’ schools in the county, notably the Free School in Wicklow and Carysfort Royal School at Macreddin, the reports concerning these schools tell not of their successes but of their inefficiency and neglect (15). Besides, they were hardly likely to have loomed large in the lives of most of Wicklow’s children.

Nationally, many of the factors which one associates with the rapid decline of Irish in the nineteenth century; the spread of uni­versal literacy, the availability of mass circulation newspapers, were to a large extent missing in the eighteenth century. It is true that Wicklow had large numbers of locally supported schools and teachers but the county still had 41% illiteracy in 1841, the earl­iest year for which statistics are available.

Wicklow was unique in one other respect at this time, however; no other county outside Ulster had such a high proportion of Protestant inhabitants". The earliest enumeration of religious de­nominations for which comprehensive figures, covering the whole country, survive was taken in 1834. This showed that, while in the whole of Ireland outside the ecclesiastical province of Armagh, Protestants of all denominations averaged 7% of the population, in Wicklow most parochial unions had Protestant populations which were far in excess of this. The following is a list of the parochial unions in Wicklow whose Protestant population num­bered 20% or more in 1834:

Parochial Union

Number of

Protestants

Number of

Roman Catholics

Arklow

2,246

(30%)

5,118

(70%)

Bray

1,213

(23%)

3,963

(77%)

Calary

 

640

(22%)

2,217

(78%)

Carnew

 

1,895

(36%)

3,416

(64%)

Castlemacadam

(Avoca)

1,301

(28%)

3,402

(72%)

Crosspatrick

 

1,226

(25%)

3,650

(75%)

Delgany

 

1,725

(30%)

3,931

(70%)

Dunganstown

 

649

(20%)

2,579

(80%)

Kilbride

795

(34%)

1,518

(66%)

Newcastle

 

852

(22%)

2,972

(78%)

Preban

241

(22%)

851

(78%)

Rathdrum

 

1,804

(20%)

7,222

(80%)

Redcross

 

380

(25%)

1,165

(75%)

Wicklow

 

2,686

(23%)

8,839

(77%)

Source: First Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, Ireland, 1834 (H.C. 1835 xxxiii). **

 

Within these parochial unions individual parishes had even higher relative numbers of Protestants. Delgany was 46% Protes­tant followed by Rathdrum (39%), Arklow (32%) and Kilpoole in Wicklow Union (30%). An earlier religious census, carried out by the Protestant clergy for the House of Lords in 1766 has sur­vived only in part. Such returns as survive for Wicklow, however, show similar figures as in 1834 with the following percentages of Protestant families:

 

Castlemacadam

30%

Delgany

37%

Newcastle

20%

Rathdrum

25%

Wicklow

23%

 

 

Over thirty years earlier, the Hearth Money collectors recorded one third of the households in Co. Wicklow as Protestant (18). In short then Wicklow in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries had remarkably high numbers of Protestants compared with other parts of the county outside Ulster. They key to this and, it seems, to the early decline of Irish lies in the intensive settlement of the county in the previous century.

Wicklow, which was shired in 1606, was the last Irish county to be created. Following the extension of English law and admin­istration to the area things changed with astonishing rapidity. The ruling families who had controlled the area in Elizabethan times, as they had for centuries, notably the O’Byrnes and the O’Tooles, were reduced or expropriated. Lands thus forfeited were granted to English adventurers and many of the large estates which were to shape the physical and social character of Wicklow over the next three centuries were formed. These included the huge Went­worth (later Fitzwilliam) and Wingfield (Powerscourt) Estates. The partial revolution in land ownership achieved in the first three decades of the century became total when those native land­owners who had been allowed to retain large tracts of territory in the initial settlement were swept away in the confiscations which followed the rebellion of the 1640s. The picture of the county in the wake of the Cromwellian and Williamite settlements was one in which not a single large native proprietor remained (19). Nor was this just a change at the top; over the course of the period the county became the focus of a massive influx of migrants.

The levels of migration from Britain to Ireland during the seven­teenth century were colossal by contemporary standards. Recent studies have suggested that the movement of people from Britain to Ireland in this period was larger than anywhere else in Europe or indeed in the entire North Atlantic region (20). Much of this was centered on the newly acquired lands in Co. Wicklow where official and private schemes of plantation helped to attract not just the wealthy and powerful but those with more modest means and ambitions; tenant farmers, servants and craftsmen, hampered by economic and social pressures at home and anxious to make a new life in another country. In terms of its intensity and its geo­graphical concentration Wicklow’s settlement was as comprehen­sive as any in the country. One writer, in 1695, taking stock of what had taken place in Wicklow over the previous century, remarked that the county was now ‘…so well inhabited with English and by them improved to that degree, as to make it inferior to few counties in this kingdom’ (21). In the course of the century the area had changed from being thoroughly Gaelic (evidenced, for in­stance, by the poems gathered together in the Leabhar Branach, the Book of the O’Byrnes†) to being predominantly English. It is not possible to determine exactly how the numbers of natives and settlers compared as there are no reliable figures available for either. What is known, however, is that the warfare of the six­teenth century had been particularly devastating. In what was to become Co. Wicklow the century ended with Lord Mountjoy’s ‘scorched earth’ campaign down through Glenmalure and beyond, ending for once and for all the rule of the clans (22). The subsequent influx of English-speaking settlers was into an area which was, in all probability, sparsely populated and in which their linquistic ascendancy was more easily achieved. The forfeitures and settle­ments were followed by a century of stability during which the county thrived; the woodland clearances, the development of iron­works (of which there were over fifty in the county controlled by one family, the Chamneys (23)), the development of mines from as early as 1691 (21), all added to the numbers of English speakers coming into the county. The replacement of Irish by English throughout the county was characterised not so much by gradual transmission or assimilation among the native population but by the sudden implantation of a large English-speaking population.

It was this linguistic implantation which distinguished Wicklow from other parts of the country where Irish declined more gradually and by different means and some echoes of this were audible to J. M. Synge more than two centuries later. Writing in 1907 he remarked that:

Here and there in County Wicklow there are a number of little known places… where the people have retained a popular simplicity, and speak a language in some ways more Eliza­bethan than the English of Connaught, where Irish was used till a much later date (25).

By the time Synge made these observations the revival of Irish was underway in Wicklow. Table II below shows the numbers of Irish speakers in the county as recorded in the censuses from 1851 to 1936.

 

TABLE II

Number of Irish speakers in County Wicklow 1851-1936. (Source: Census of I re land, published' reports)

Year

Total population of county

Number of

Irish speakers

Irish speakers as % of total population

1851

98,979

135

0.14

1861

86,479

182

0.21

1871

78,697

94

0.12

1881

70,386

243

0.35

1891

62,136

176

0.28

1901

60,824

631

1.04

1911

60,711

1054

1.74

1926

57,591

5008

8.70

1936

58,569

7868

13.43

 

Disregarding the apparent surges in 1861 and 1881 for which there are particular explanations already mentioned above, the beginnings of the revival are evident in the figures for 1901. The published statistics for the year show some peculiar manifestations of this revival especially in Wicklow Town where, of sixty-three Irish speakers, only five were female and fifty-eight were male! This might at first appear to be an error in the statistics but, happily, the household returns from which these statistics were compiled are available for consultation in the National Archives at the Four Courts, Dublin, and it is possible to identify every Irish speaker in the town. A list of these people is appended to this article and from this it is clear that the statistics did indeed contain an error— but not the one anticipated. The household returns show that there were indeed only five female residents of the town in 1901 who had a knowledge of Irish but that the correct number of male Irish speakers was not fifty-eight but fifty-nine. It is possible to make some other observations on these Irish speakers. They were divided almost equally between those who had been born in the county and those who had been born outside the county, the respective numbers being thirty-three and thirty-one (26% of the town’s population as a whole had been born outside Co. Wicklow). The great majority of the town’s Irish speakers were young, forty- nine of them being under forty years of age, but of these, only ten were scholars; the great majority of the town’s schoolgoers had no knowledge of Irish. Of the fifteen Irish speakers who were aged forty or over, ten had been born outside the county and only five within the county. Only two Irish speakers were aged sixty or over. One of these had been born in Co. Wicklow but he was a retired policeman and presumably acquired his knowledge of Irish while serving outside the county. Twenty-two of the town’s Irish speakers were married or had been married; forty-two were single.

The Irish speakers in Wicklow Town in 1901, therefore, were mainly young single men, the sort who would perhaps have been members of the G.A.A. which had been active in the town since the 1880s (26). They may have been led through the GA.A. into an involvement with the wider national revival. The centenary of the 1798 Rebellion had been marked throughout the county by the establishment of ’98 Clubs. There were, according to police reports, eight of these clubs in the county in May 1898, with a total membership of 599 (27). In Wicklow Town the activities of the ’98 Club were focused on the erection of the Billy Byrne Monument which was unveiled in July 1899 (28). Two of the town’s Irish speakers, Charles Davis and James deCourcy, represented the town on the County’s 1798 Monuments Committee (29). We can sur­mise that the national revival, evident in the establishment of the G.A.A. and the '98 Clubs would also have been reflected in the setting up of Irish language classes in the town. Although the first branch of the Gaelic League in Wicklow Town was not officially registered until January 1902 (30), it is likely that it was formed from among those who were returned on the census forms as speaking Irish. A clue to where the nucleus of a language class may have formed, is, perhaps, to be seen in the inclusion of three names on the census returns, those of Eugene Moriarty and James Consi­dine, both teachers in the Boys' National School, and Michael Clarke, the Roman Catholic curate.

Curiously, by the time of the next census, in 1911, the number of Irish speakers in the town had dropped from sixty-four to forty-­seven, though the number in the county had increased. By the time of the next census again, in 1926, the situation had begun to be transformed (see Table II above). One of the first acts of the Provisional Government of Saorstát Éireann in February 1922 was to order that the Irish language be taught for not less than one hour a day in all national schools where there were teachers com­petent to teach it. Two months later a new programme for national schools was introduced, the aim of which was the replacement of English by Irish as the sole language of instruction. To this end it was ordered that work in the elementary grades in national schools was to be conducted entirely in the Irish language (31). Although this order proved to be incapable of realisation and was later modified, the effects of such radical measures as they applied to Co. Wicklow are evident in Table III below. This shows that by far the largest number of Irish speakers in the county in 1926 was recorded in the ten-to-fourteen age group. These were the children from six-to-fourteen in the period 1922-26 whose exposure to the new programme in national schools would have been the greatest of any age group.

 

TABLE III

Irish speakers in Co. Wicklow in 1926 analysed by age. (Source: Census of Population 1926)

Age Range

0-2

3-4

5-9

10-14

15-19

20-24

25-34

35-44

45-54

55-64

65 +

Total

population

3345

2342

5700

5493

5159

4516

7510

7024

6621

4754

5127

Number of

Irish speakers

19

40

818

1856

917

342

417

271

185

92

51 *

Irish speakers as % of total population in age group

.57

1.7

14.35

33.79

17.77

7.57

5.55

3.86

2.79

1.94

.99

*ln the context of the figures for Wicklow Town in 1901, it may be worth noting that Irish-speaking in 1926 was spread evenly between both sexes.

 

If the decline of Irish in Wicklow in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries was remarkable for the fact that it happened with such speed and at such an early date, the speed of its revival was no less remarkable. Indeed, if it is accepted that the language was almost extinct in the county for over a hundred years, the word ‘revival’ may not accurately describe the process. And rather than blame the national schools of Wicklow for something that they clearly did not do in the nineteenth century, we should per­haps pay more attention to the revolutionary nature of what they attempted in the twentieth.

Ken Hannigan

(National Archives)

 

*See John Finlay’s paper in this journal. Bro. John Kavanagh mentions that the same phenomenon was remembered about the former railway workers who settled' in cottages along the Athy-Monasterevan Road in Kildare.

** It may be significant that among the few areas of lower than average Protestant numbers were Hollywood Union, with 7%, and Kilbride and Baltyboys in Bless­ington Union, with 4% and: 3% respectively.

These were situated on the western slopes of the Wicklow Mountains where Irish was reported as being spoken in the 1790s.

An leabhar Branach: The Book of the O'Byrnes. Edited by Sean Mac Airt, Dublin, 1944.

 

I am grateful to the following people for advice on sources used in this paper:

Diarmuid Breathnach,

Brian J. Cantwell, Bríd Dolan (Royal Irish Academy)

Joe Hayes (Wicklow County Librarian),

Seán Mac Mathúna (Conradh na Gaeilge),

Bairbre O'Floinn (Department of Folklore, U.C.D.),

Col. Eoghan O’Neill,

Kevin Whelan (National Library of Ireland).

Extracts from the 1901 Census Returns for Wicklow are reproduced by permission of the Director of the National Archives.

Most of the lines of research pursued here emanate from L. M. Cullen’s The Emergence of Modern Ireland 1600-1900, Dublin, 1983. 

References

1. Brian Ó Cuív, ‘Irish language and literature, 1691-1845’, Chapter XIII of T. W. Moody and W. E. Vaughan (eds.). A New History of Ireland, Vol. IV; Eighteenth Century Ireland 1690-1800, Oxford, 1986, p. 381.

2. Mary E. Daly, Social and Economic History of Ireland Since 1800, Dublin, 1981, p. 132.

3. Robert Fraser, General View of the County Wicklow, Dublin, 1801, p. 274.

4. Rev. Henry Lambart Bayly, ‘Statistical account of the Parish of Arklow’ in William Shaw Mason, Statistical Account or Parochial Survey of Ireland, Vol. II, Dublin, 1816.

5. Census of Ireland for the year 1881; General Report, pp. 73-74.

6. Maureen Wall, The decline of the Irish language’, in Brian Ó Cuív (ed.), A View of the Irish Language, Dublin, 1969, p. 86.

7. Fraser, op. cit., p. 29.

8. S. J. Connolly, ‘The “blessed turf”: cholera and' popular panic in Ireland, June 1832’, Irish Historical Studies. Vol. XXIII, No. 91, May 1983, pp 214- 232.

9. Liam Price, The Place-names of Co. Wicklow Vol. VI; the Barony of Shillelagh, Dublin, 1958, p. 373. I am grateful to Dr. Kevin Whelan of the National Library of Ireland for bringing this reference to my attention.

10. Liam Price, The Place-names of Co. Wicklow Vol. V; the Barony of Rath- down, Dublin, 1957, p. 294.

11. Donn Piatt, Gaelic Dialects of Leinster, Dublin 1933. I am grateful to Diarmuid Breathnach for this reference.

12. ibid.

13. L. M. Cullen, The Emergence of Modern Ireland, Dublin, 1983, p. 108.

14. Garret Fitzgerald, ‘Estimates for baronies of minimum level of Irish­speaking amongst successive decennial cohorts 1771-1781 to 1861-1871’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 84 L No. 3, Dublin, 1984.

15. Michael Quane, ‘Wicklow Free School’, in Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. IIC, 2, 1968, pp. 171-190 and ‘Carysfort Royal School, Co. Wicklow’ in J.R.S.A.I. Vol. XCI, Pt. 11, 1961, pp. 193- 217.

16. L. M. Cullen, op. cit., p. 213.

17. National Archives, Four Courts, Dublin, Religious Census 1766, M2476 (i). Ms. 537 in the Genealogical Office, Dublin also contains returns for the Parish of Dunganstown. Eighty-one Protestant households are listed and ninety-five Catholic households, but the clergyman who compiled the list must have despaired of counting the Byrnes and the Doyles as he left a blank space beside the name Byrne and a question mark beside the name Doyle !

18. L. M. Cullen, op. cit. p. 222.

19. National Archives, Four Courts, Dublin, Book of Survey and Distribution for County Wicklow.

20. L. M. Cullen, op. cit. p. 84, Nicholas Canny, Migration and Opportunity: Britain, Ireland and the New World’, Irish Economic And Social History, Vol. XII, 1985, pp. 7-32.

21. J. H. Andrews, ‘Land and people, c 1685’, Chapter XVIII of T. W. Moody, F. X. Martin, and F. J. Byrne (eds), A New History of Ireland Volume III: Early Modern Ireland 1534-1691, Dublin, 1978, p. 459.

22. R. A. Butlin, ‘Land and People, c. 1600’. Chapter V of Moody, Martin and Byrne, op. cit. p. 146.

23. Eileen McCracken, The Irish Woods Since Tudor Times, Belfast, 1971, p. 95.

24. Ernie Shepherd, Avoca Mines’, Arklow Historical Society Journal, 1986. pp. 18-30.

25. J. M. Synge, ‘The people of the glens’ in Alan Price (ed.) J. M. Synge: Collected Works: II Prose, Washington, 1982, p. 216.

26. Jim Brophy, The Leathers Echo, Wicklow, 1984.

27. National Archives, Dublin Castle, Crime Branch Special Reports, CBS 1898/16235/s.

28. National Archives, Dublin Castle, Crime Branch Special Reports, CBS 1899/ 19527/s.

29. L. O’Toole, ‘Wicklow Jail and Billy Byrne’, The Wicklow Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer 1987, pp. 17-19.

30. Information supplied by Sean Mac Mathuna, Ard Runai, Conradh na Gaeilge.

31. D. H. Akenson, A Mirror to Kathleen’s Face: Education in Independent Ireland 1922-1960, Montreal, 1975, pp. 42-47. See also K. Hannigan (ed.) The National School System 1831-1924: Facsimile Documents, Dublin, 1884, pp. 68-73.

 

APPENDIX : Irish Speakers in Wicklow Town 1901

[Source : National Archives, Dublin, Census of Ireland 1901, Household Returns. (CEN. 1901 WICKLOW 62)]

Place of Residence

Name

Age

Sex

Marital Status

Religion

Occupation

Relationship to Head of Household

Where Born

Abbey Street

James Gernon

35

M

Married

RC

Newsagent

Head

Co. Dublin

 

Simon J. Doyle

35

M

Not married

RC

Clerk

Boarder

Co. Wicklow

 

James Jos. Verscheyle

29

M

Not married

RC

General Wholesale Agent

Boarder

City of Dublin

 

Edward M. Collins

23

M

Not married

RC

Grocer & Publican

Son

Wicklow Town

 

John Wolohan

32

M

Not married

RC

Shop Assistant

Assistant

Wicklow

 

Joseph Byrne

35

M

Not married

RC

Shop Assistant

Assistant

Wexford

 

William Cardiff

22

M

Not married

RC

Shop Assistant

Assistant

Wexford

Bond Street

William Power

28

M

Married

RC

Constable R.I.C.

Head

Co. Waterford

 

Thomas Hanrahan

57

M

Married

RC

Police Pensioner R.I.C.

Head

Co. Kerry

 

John C. J. Hanrahan

13

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Son

Co. Wicklow

Church Street

Margaret Clarke

25

F

Married

RC

Wife

Tipperary

Dispensary Lane

Henry J. Nalty

23

M

Not married

RC

Clerk (Ironmongers)

Son

Co. Wicklow (Arklow)

Dominican Convent

John McDonnell

12

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Boarder

Kerry

 

Patrick McDonnell

11

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Boarder

Kerry

Fitzwilliam Rd.

Thomas Rourke

50

M

Married

RC

Road Contractor

Head

Wicklow

 

Mary Rourke

50

F

Married

RC

Housekeeper

Wife

Wicklow

Fitzwilliam Row

John Darcy

30

M

Not married

RC

Shopman in Public House

Head

Co. Wicklow

 

John Walsh

40

M

Married

RC

Bodymaker at Coachmakers

Head

Co. Cork

Fitzwilliam Sq.

Thomas Corrigan

25

M

Not married

RC

Book Keeper

Head

Co. Carlow

 

Michael Crowley

25

M

Not married

RC

Draper’s Assistant

Assistant

Co. Kilkenny

 

William Horr

20

M

Not married

RC

Draper’s Assistant

Assistant

Co. Wexford

 

Peter Healy

45

M

Not married

RC

Draper’s Assistant

Assistant

Co. Sligo

 

Andrew Finlayson

42

M

Married

RC

Painter Master

Head

Scotland

 

James Redmond

16

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Son

Wicklow

 

Denis Rooney

30

M

Not married

RC

Clerk in Coal Office

Son

Co. Wicklow

 

Edward Grace

24

M

Not married

RC

Grocer’s Assistant

Assistant

Co. Meath

High Street

Humphrey Murphy

55

M

Married

RC

Boot and Shoe Maker

Head

Co. Wexford

 

Thomas Murphy

20

M

Not married

RC

Bank Porter

Son

Co. Wicklow

 

Patrick Murphy

18

M

Not married

RC

Post Man

Son

Co. Wicklow

 

William Murphy

15

M

Not married

RC

Son

Co. Wicklow

 

Charles Davis

42

M

Married

RC

Commission Agent

Head

Wicklow

 

Elizabeth Davis

34

F

Married

RC

Ladies’ Maternity Nurse

Wife

Dublin

 

Frances Burrowes

17

F

Not married

C of I

Nurse

Visitor

Tipperary

Kilmantan Hill

Peter Byrne

49

M

Married

RC

Draper

Head

Wicklow

 

Mathew Farr

40

M

Married

RC

Baker

Son-in-law

Fermanagh

 

Peter McClusky

37

M

Not married

RC

Baker

Head

Fermanagh (Roslea)

 

Charles Kavanagh

17

M

Not married

RC

Apprentice Bricklayer

Son

Wicklow

 

Thomas Kearney

65

M

Widower

RC

Police Pensioner R.I.C.

Head

Wicklow

Leitrim Place

John Phelan

25

M

Not married

RC

Pawnbroker’s Assistant

Brother

Co. Kilkenny

 

William White

37

M

Not married

C of I

Inland Revenue Officer

Head

Co. Dublin

 

Michael Clarke

21

M

Not married

RC

Solicitor’s Clerk

Son

Wicklow

 

Patrick Clarke

19

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Son

Wicklow

Main Street

Alexander Flynn

17

M

Not married

RC

Carpenter

Son

Wicklow

 

James Kennedy

14

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Son

Wicklow

 

James Ed. De Courcy

48

M

Married

RC

Master Plumber

Head

Halifax, Nova Scotia

 

John De Courcy

10

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Son

Wicklow

 

James Geo. De Courcy

11

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Son

Wicklow

 

Leo Roe

17

M

Not married

RC

Post Carrier

Son

Wicklow

 

Edward Hogan

24

M

Not married

RC

Calico-printer

Boarder

Co. Limerick

The Mall

James McDonald

20

M

Not married

RC

Shop Assistant

Son

Wicklow

 

Peter Joseph Mullen

29

M

Not married

RC

Commercial Clerk (Grocers)

Son

Wicklow

 

Simon Nolan

31

M

Not married

RC

Shop Assistant (Grocers)

Boarder

Wicklow

 

Hugh McGahan

20

M

Not married

RC

Joiner

Son

Wicklow

New Street

George McGahan

18

M

Not married

RC

Joiner

Son

Wicklow

 

Michael Frawley

36

M

Married

RC

Commercial Traveller (Draper)

Head

Co. Clare

St. Patrick’s Rd.

Eugene Moriarty

58

M

Married

RC

National School Teacher

Head

Co. Kerry

 

James Moriarty

9

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Son

Wicklow

 

James Considine

36

M

Married

RC

National School Teacher

Head

Clare

 

Michael Clarke

54

M

Not married

RC

R.C. Clergyman

Head

Dublin City

South Quay

Joseph Wall

13

M

Not married

RC

Scholar

Son

Co. Wicklow

Strand Street

James Quinn

34

M

Married

RC

Mariner

Head

Wicklow

Summerhill

John Grady

80

M

Married

RC

Tailor

Father

Co. Tipperary

 

Charles Jos. Leonard

25

M

Married

RC

Journalist

Head

Co. Derry

 

Margaret Leonard

23

F

Married

RC

Wife

Co. Wicklow

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