SOURCE: Slater’s Commercial Directory of Ireland 1846
Athenry is a small incorporated market and post town and parish, partly in the baronies of Clare, Dunkellin, Kilconnell and Tyaquin, but chiefly in that of Athenry, 121 miles from Dublin and 14 from Galway. This place, anciently called ‘Athneri’ is said to have derived its name from Ath-na-Raigh, ‘the King’s Ford’, or ‘the abode of a king’. Sir James Ware considers it to have been the chief town of Athneri; and at a remote period it was surrounded by walls with round towers fifty yards apart, which indicate it to have been a place of considerable importance. The ruins of the walls and towers, together with a castle called the ‘Kings Court’, as it is considered to have been the residence of one of the provincial kings, and which was a building of great defence, are still to be seen.
The ruin of a Dominican abbey here, from its antiquity and style of architecture, is the admiration of all strangers. It was founded by Meyer de Birmingham, second baron of Athenry in 1241, and was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. A Franciscan friary was also founded here by the Earl of Kildare in 1464. In 1577 the two sons of the Earls of Clonricarde, renouncing their submission to Elizabeth, assembled their partisans, and succeeded in reducing the town to a state of complete ruin.
In this state it continued till the year 1584, when it was to a great extent rebuilt; but in 1596 the northern Irish invested it, and again was reduced to ashes. From this time, though it had formerly held a second rank in the county, it never recovered its ancient importance.
The Dominican friars who, under the protection of the O’Dalys of Caronakelly, took up their abode at Esker, about three miles from the town, still continue to flourish there. They have built a very neat chapel and are about completing a college and agricultural school for the education of young gentlemen. There are also national schools there, wherein eight hundred of the children of the poor are daily educated, one hundred of which are provided with food. In a house of industry here, twenty-four boys are instructed and apprenticed to trades.
The town is situated in the midst of a tolerably fruitful soil, though there is a considerable quantity of unreclaimed bog in the neighbourhood.
The houses and shops are poor and the streets narrow and unpaved. The magistrates regulate the affairs of the town for which purpose they hold a petty sessions once a week.
The places of worship are a church, a remarkably neat building, and a Roman Catholic chapel, a plain slated edifice.
There is a constabulary police barrack, a dispensary and a national school. A chalybeate spring here is much resorted to.
The market, entitled to be held on Tuesday, is not observed, and the fairs (which are but poorly attended) are May 5th, July 2nd and October 20th.
The parish contained, in 1841, 4192 inhabitants, and the town 1,256 of that number.
Post Ofice: Neptune Persse, Post Master. Letters from all parts arrive (from Craughwell) every forenoon at quarter before noon, and are dispatched there to every afternoon at quarter past two.
Gentry and Clergy
Bateman, Thomas G. Esq., Ivy Lodge.
Blake Peter, Esq., J.P. Holly Park.
Bodkin John D., Esq., Bingarra.
Braddish Mr. John, Ballinacraig
Browne Mr. Barthlw., S. Athenry.
Browne Lieut. Mercer, Gloves
Burke Edmond, Esq., J.P., Tyaquin
Burke Mr. Lambert, Tyaquin.
Burke Mr. James Moore, Park.
Callogy Rev. Michael, Esker Convent.
Clarke James, Esq., Graig Abbey.
Cruise Mr. Richard, Creasain Grove.
Cullinan Rev. Daniel, P.P., Athenry.
Cullinan Mr. John, Mount Brown.
Fitzpatrick Rev. Wm., Esker Conveny.
Healy Rev. Daniel, C.C., Athenry.
Kelly William, Esq., Rockville.
Kinneen James, Esq., Carton House.
Kinneen Mr. Michael, Boy hill.
Lambert Walter, Esq., J.P., Castlelambert.
Lawless Rev. John, D.D.,Esker House,
Lopdell John, Esq., Prospect.
Loughlin Mark, Esq., Gloves.
McHanly Mr. Michael, Athenry.
Madden James, Carronakelly.
Madden Rev, John, Esker Convent.
Mahon Major Thomas, belville.
Perrin Rev. Mark, Castle Turvin.
Perrse Burton, Esq., D.L., J.P., Moyode Castle.
Smyth Mr. Lawerence, Caherfinischar.
Smyth, the Very rev. Peter D., D.D., Esker Convent.
Taylor John Esq., Mulpit.
Barrett James, Land Agent.
Lopdell John, Barrister, Prospect House.
McCalman Lawrence, Surgeon.
Tully John, Master of National School.
Inns and Public Houses
Barrett Margaret, Hotel (and posting house).
Shopkeepers and Traders
Barrett Joseph, Grocer and Draper.
Burke John, Grocer and Draper.
Cahill Patrick, Butcher.
Collins Michael, provision Dealer.
Connolly Bartley, Grocer.
Culkeen Daniel, Car Maker.
Fahy James, clothier and dyer.
Grealey Patrick, Draper and Stationer.
Hynes John, Chair Maker.
Kelly Byran, Nail Maker.
Kenneday James, Gunsmith.
Kilroy Eliza, Provision Dealer.
McKigue John,Boot and Shoe maker.
Mahon Patrick, Carpenter.
Public Institutions Etc.
Constabulary Barracks-Charles Ramsay, Chief constable
Dominican Convent-The Very Rev. Peter D. Smyth D.D.
Sessions House- Henry Mackey, Clerk, Margaret Mackey, Keeper.
Stamp Office-John P. Cooney.
The nearest conveyances is from Craughwell, four miles distant.