Carlow Union Electoral Divisions

The Poor Relief (Ireland) Act became law on July 31st 1838. It provided for the establishment of Boards of Guardians who operated in areas known as Poor Law Unions. In February, 1840 it was reported with surprise in the Carlow Sentinel that the Poor Law had not yet been adopted in Carlow. On July 18th of that year a notice appeared in the same local paper announcing a meeting "for the purpose of explaining the arrangements contemplated for the formation of a Union". This meeting was convened by R.M. Muggeridge, Assistant Poor Law Commissioner on July 23rd 1840 in Carlow Courthouse. A number of Landed Proprietors and other gentlemen were in attendance.

The following also attended:

Sir Thomas Butler Bart, Col. Bruen, Robert Clayton Browne, William Duckett, Henry Faulkner, William Garrett, James H. Eustace , John James Lecky, William R. Stewart, William Cope Cooper, William Fishbourne (snr), William Fishbourne (jnr), James Butler, Peter Gale, John Watson, Joseph Fishbourne, William Fishbourne, Samuel Elliott, Thomas H. Watson, Thomas Haughton, Samuel Haughton, John Nolan, William Robert Lecky and John Watson.

Bishop Haly, a number of clergy and many cess payers were also at the meeting.

The Assistant Poor Law Commissioner stated that the first thing to be done was the marking out of the Boundaries for the Union. The area of the Poor Law Union was to consist of "the entire Baronies of Carlow, Idrone East and Idrone West in the County of Carlow, and the Barony of Slievemargy in Queen County, also the whole of the Barony of Forth (with the exception of a part of the parish of Barragh) and the parishes of Tullowphelim, Fenagh and Ardristan in the Barony of Rathvilly and of four townlands in the County of Kildare".

The Union was to be divided into fourteen electoral divisions. Eleven divisions in were in County Carlow and three in the Queens' County.


Map of the County of Carlow 1798

A coloured map published by Laurie and Whittle in London in May 1798. It shows County Carlow with its Baronies, the town of Carlow with Graigue and other towns and villages. It also shows important physical features such as the River Barrow. The surrounding Counties are also indicated. A scale of miles is shown in the left hand corner. The Baronies as shown in this map do not fully represent those which made up the Carlow Poor Law Union. For instance, the three parishes from the Barony of Slievemargy (in Co. Laois) are omitted.

Carlow County Library

Map of the County of Carlow 1798 - Carlow County Library

Carlow Courthouse, Carlow 1

Carlow Courthouse Front approach. Architect: William Vitruvius Morrison (1794-1838). Carlow Courthouse was designed by William Vitruvius Morrison and completed in 1834. It was built under the patronage of the Grand Jury and the Bruen Family of Oak Park, Carlow. It is built of Carlow Granite and set on a high podium, approached by nineteen steps. The Courthouse is designed in the classical style with a projecting central block, screened by an Ionic portico of eight columns with pediment and cornice. On either side of the main hall are the courtrooms covered by half domes and lit through diocletian windows. The courthouse is surrounded by fine cast iron railings and is strategically situated at the junction of the Athy Road and the Old Dublin Road. The interior was refurnished c. 1995 but some of the original features remain intact. Carlow Courthouse is considered to be one of the finest courthouses in Ireland.

Carlow County Library

Carlow Courthouse, Carlow 1 - Carlow County Library

previousPrevious - Rev. James Maher: Poor Law Critic
Next - Carlow Electoral Divisionsnext