Date: 07/18/04 17:14:34
Subject: Anacarty parish

Rosemary –
I pulled out my copy of the book Tipperary History and Society, which is a
collection of very scholarly essays edited by William Nolan and Thomas McGrath.
I remembered that there was a piece by Kevin Whelan on the Catholic Church in
Tipperary 1700-1900.
He mentions Anacarty as being one of the more remote upland communities being
slow in following the trend of building “modern” chapels – the one there
being built in 1870 as you noted.
In another section, he talks about how the Comissioners of Public Instruction
gathered figures in 1834 on the level of attendence at Sunday mass in the
various parishes. Thurles was estimated to have 90 percent attendence. The
lowest attendence was in the hill parishes – Ballingarry was the lowest at 13
percent attendence at mass and Annacarty had very low estimates of attendence as
This doesn’t really answer your question about the 18th century parish,
however interesting it is to find out that our ancestors weren’t too diligent in
their church going.
But another article by T. Jones Hughes on Landholding and Settlement in
County Tipperary in the Nineteenth Century may have the answer to whether there was
an 18th century parish in Anacarty. He talks about “chapel villages”of which
21 have been identified in County Tipperary, Anacarty being one. “The
villages were the product of two main stimuli making for the development of vigorous
new forms of village life in the 19th century. On the one hand, the
rehabilitated church was seeking appropriate settlement foci for its fresh parochial
structures, and on the other hand, the state was becoming more aware of its
obligations locally as a provider of elementary welfare services, especially as
these were concerned with health, justice and education. Chapel villages were
in origin embryonic service centres attached to a parish system.”
Some chapel villages were created in response to the alienation of older
sites, i.e., historial parish centers which had been taken over by the Anglican
church. Others, however, were successful “when located in physically marginal
areas, especially those which had acquired strong traditional and Gaelic
sentiments, and where the late eighteenth century church sometimes found its most
congenial initial footing. In this way, the Ryan-Dwyer country in the southern
rimland of the Kilnamanagh uplands became the territorial focus for dynamic
new parishes such as Anacarty and Cappawhite.”
“Even when it was most successful, however, the essential hallmark of the
chapel village of the 19th century was its poverty. Such settlements were,
therefore, of the lowest order in the changing hierarchy of villages and as such
they were often objects of derision. Their condition however was in keeping
with a carefully cultivated image of a fugitive church, caring for a proscribed
people and whose limitations were initially largely ascribed to the punitive
nature of colonial legislation.”
I gather from these comments that Anacarty was not a parish until late in the
18th century, when the penal laws were being lifted. And that it was
extremely poor when compared to other parishes in the county. It isn’t surprising
under those circumstances that the written records don’t start until late. I
know that Ballina’s records start around 1838 but I also know that the parish
was in existance in the mid 1700’s.
There was evidently an article about the chapel village by Kevin Whelan
called “The Catholic parish, the Catholic chapel and village development in
Ireland” published in Irish Geography, vol 16 (1983), pages 1-15. This article
identified the 21 chapel villages, including Anacarty. Maybe it gives a little
more detailed history of the parish. Getting your hands on a copy might be more
problematical although there should be some college library nearby you that
has a subscription.
Now that I read this, it still may not answer the your question, but it gives
someidea about the parish history.
Theresa Liewer
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