Britannia, by William Camden

The County of Kilkenny.

Small T THE County of Kilkenny is bounded on the west with the County of Tipperary, on the east with the Counties of Weisford and Caterlogh, on the south with the County of Waterford, on the north with the Upper-Ossery; and is adorn’d on all sides with Towns and Castles, and more plentiful in every thing, than any of the rest. Near Ossery are those huge copling Mountains, named Sleiew Bloemy (which Giraldus calls Bladinæ Montes,)Bladin-hills. of a vast height; out of the bowels whereof, springs the river Swire aforesaid, as also the Neor and Barrow. Bladinae These descend in three several Chanels, but join in one before they fall into the Sea; which made the Ancients call them The three Sisters.

Neor, riv. The Neor, commonly called the Neure, does in a manner divide this County in two; and when, with a swift stream, it has pass’d the Upper-OsseryUpper-Ossery. (the first Baron whereof was Barnabas Fitz-Patrick,Barons of the Upper-Ossery. advanc’d to that honour by King Edward the sixth,) and many Forts on both sides; it arrives at Kilkenny,Kilkenny. i.e. the Cell or Church of Canic; who was an eminent Hermit in this Country. It is a Town Corporate, ⌈(now a City, )⌉ neat, fair-built, and plentiful, and by much the best midland town in the Island. It is divided into the English, and the Irish-town. The Irish-town is, as it were, the Suburbs, where stands the Church of St. Canic, which has both given name to the Town, and a See to the Bishops of Ossery. Ware, Ant. p.137. ⌈Their See was at first at Saiger, which we now call Seir-keran, in Ely O Carol; and was translated from thence to Agabo in Ossory, in the year 1052, as is supposed; and at last, to Kilkenny, by Felix O Dullany Bishop of Ossory, about the end of Henry the second’s reign. The situation of the Cathedral is render’d exceeding pleasant, by it’s standing on a hill gently raised; from which is a delightful prospect over the City and the fertile Country thereabouts.⌉

The English-town is much newer; being built (as I have read) by Ranulph the third Earl of Chester, and wall’d on the west-side by Robert Talbot, a nobleman, and fortified with a Castle by the Butlers. When the daughters of William Mareschal, Earl of Pembroke, made a partition of their Lands; it is certain, that this fell to the share of the third Sister, who was married to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Glocester. Lower, upon the same River, stands a little fortify’d Town, called in English Thomas-town,Thomas-Town. in Irish Bala-mac-Andan, i.e. the Town of Anthony’s Son; both deriv’d from the founder, Thomas Fitz-Anthony, an Englishman, who flourished in Henry the third’s time, and whose heirs † † Are at this day, C.were long Lords of the place. Collan, riv. Below this, the river Callan runs into the Neor; upon which stands the third Corporation of this County, that takes the name Kallan from it; and also Inis-Teag,Inis-Teag. a fourth.

The family of the Butlers spreads its branches almost all over this Country, and has long flourish’d in great honour; having been, for their eminent Services and Merits, dignify’d with the title of Earls of Ormond, of Wiltshire in England, ⌈of Brecknock in Wales,⌉ and (as we said) of Ossery. Besides * * So said, ann. 1607.
See Ormond.
the Earl of Ormond, Viscount Thurles, and Knight of the Garter; there are of this family the Viscount Mont-Garret, the Viscount Tullo, the Barons de Dunboyn and Cahyr, with many other noble branches. The other Families of note in these parts, were also of English original, namely, the Graces, Walshes, Lovels, Foresters, Shortels, Blanchfelds or Blanchevelstons, Drilands, Comerfords, &c. ⌈But at this day, the greatest part of these are only of private condition, and some are wholly extinct.

From three several places in this County, the following Titles of Honour have been respectively taken: the title of Viscount Castlecomer,Castle-comer. by the family of Wandesford; the title of Baron of Gowran,Gowran. by the Fitz-Patricks; and the title of Baron of Killaghy,Killaghy. by General George Carpenter, in England.⌉

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06