Farming on the edge of the City in 1881


Taxes and possible increase have never been popular. Equally the urban/rural divide (amongst some persons) is nothing new. Both tendencies were exhibited in the evidence of Mr James Nolan, a prosperous Kilkenny farmer in 1881. His evidence was given in the context of the proposed revision and extension of the boundaries of Kilkenny City to include a large adjoining area. This would have led to an increase in the rates payable by the owners of lands and it would have been more profitable for Mr Nolan to remain outside the borough boundary. His evidence shows a great determination to avoid inclusion with borough as distinct from remaining outside the city area. It makes interesting reading. His address is not stated and it would be interesting to know if his descendants still hold the 70 acres referred to. The evidence given was given to Mr Exham QC and Mr Cotton BE, commissioners taking evidence for Municipal Boundaries Commissioner (Ireland) in 1881 who specially attended to give evidence for that purpose. Apart from Mr Nolan evidence in opposition to the any extension of the borough was also given by Mr Richard Langrishe on behalf of a local rural ratepayer’s association.


Mr. James Nolan, examined, 1881 at Kilkenny

246 CHAIRMAN (Mr Exham, QC) —Are you at present living outside the boundaries? —Yes, I am.
246. And you are not a rate-payer of the city – No.
247. Row much land do you hold ?-70 acres,
248. And would all that be taken in by the proposed extension? -yes, every bit.
249. Were you ever living in the city? —Originally, I was—the place where I lived was in the liberties of the city, and two mills about me.
250. What was your taxation in those days as corn-pared with now?-It was a good deal, here in the city. It was higher since ’44 than before it.
251. For a series of years before you were put out of the city what was the county cess [local tax] on the average would you say ?—Well I don’t know. We used to pay much more, I know.
252. And, in point of fact your taxes have been considerably less for a series of years than they would be if you were in town? – Yes , I think so.
253. Do you think you get great advantages from the city? -Yes, and disadvantages, too. Everything is plundered and taken from you; everything is stolen , and you might as well live two miles out. It would be better to live three miles or more from Kilkenny than near it.
254. But then you would not have to pay so much for your lands? -they would act be so highly valued? —That is just what Mr. Griffith said.
258. And is not the fact that you pay a higher rent, that the land is valued higher, caused by your being close to the town?—Yes, that is what Mr. Griffith told me, but I would rather be three miles away.
256. Do you use the town largely? —I don’t know what you mean exactly.
257. Going into it frequently, buying and selling, getting manure, and so on? – yes, but must pay very high for it.
258. Do you not sell your produce in Kilkenny? -Not for the post 4 or 5 years. I bring it to Bagnalstown (sic).
259. How—is it by rail? —Sometimes, and sometimes by road by horses.
260. Do the horses go through the town? —No, they go through the new soldiers’ barracks, and go on to the left to Bagnalstown (sic).
261. But in so far as you use the railway you use the town? -Very little, indeed.
262. But those who live at the opposite or furthest side have to l)a80 through the town to reach the railway? Oh,yes,but I don’t live on that side.
263. Do you not think that those people who come through the town and sell their property, and derive advantages from the town, using the streets, and getting the benefits of the lighting, watering &c., should contribute? -Well, I don’t know. I don’t know what advantage John’s bridge is.
264. Do you send in produce every day? -No.
265. Are there not a number of people who send in milk and poultry, and so on? —Yes, people four miles off send in more poultry than people nearer town do.
266. Then the people nearer the city are they not better off—is there not a saving of time to them? —Yes, they are nearer, no doubt.

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