Emigration and Education Statistics, 1931, Co. Tipperary

Description from Thoms’ 1931 Directory

Tipperary an inland county is the province of Munster is bounded on the north by Galway and Offaly (King’s county), on the east by Offaly, Laois (Queen’s county) and Kilkenny, on the south by Waterford, and on the west by Cork, Limerick, Clare and Galway. Length from the corner of the Araglin river on the boundary south-west of Clogheen to where the Little Brosna river enters the Shannon is 74 miles; breadth from the western boundary between Hospital and Emly and Carrickdoon Hill on the eastern boundary is 45 miles.

Name & Former Divisions

The ancient sub-kingdom of Thomond or North Munster, included portions of North Tipperary and Ormond, or East Munster, included in the middle and southern parts of the county. The ancient district of Muskerry Tire, part of Thomond, corresponds with the barony called Lower Ormond, and part of that called Upper Ormond both erroneously named. The Galtee mountains were originally called Crotta Cliach, or Slieve Grod, a name which survives in Dungrod, an old castle near Galbally. In ancient times there were four royal residences in Tipperary, one at Cashel which was the ancient capital, and is still the Ecclesiastical capital of Munster; a second at Cahir (Caher), on a rock in the Suir; another at Dungrod Castle; and another at Knockgraffon, the residence in the 3rd century of Fiacha Mullehan, King of Munster.

Physical Features

There was an extensive coalfield in Tipperary; it extended about 20 miles by 6 between Freshford, Co. Kilkenny, to near Cashel, and was about 6 miles broad. North east of Killaloe, in the Arra Mountains are the Killaloe slate quarries. Mines of lead with a mixture of silver were worked in the 18th century, in the Silvermine mountains near Kilboy.

The chief Mountain Ranges are Knockmealdown, the Galtees and Slievenaman in the south, the group of which Keepherhill is the principle in the west and the Slievedaragh Hills in the east. The Knockmealdown, the highest summit of which is Knockmealdown or Slievecua (2,609′) run east and west. The Galtees are separated from the Knockmealdown by a valley about 7 miles wide. The highest summits are Galteymore (3,015′) and Slievenamuck (1,215′). Slievenaman (2,364′) stands in the south east of the county, and is surrounded by several smaller peaks, the chief of which are Carrickabrock (1,859′), Sheegouna (1,822′) and Knocknahunna(1,654′). Knockshigowna (701′) near Cloughjordan, is associated with many fairy legends. The range of which Keeperhill (2,278′) is the chief, are situated in the west of the county. Mauherslieve (1,783′), Knocktiege (1,312′) and Knocknasceggan (1,296′) are the principle; a smaller group lies to the south east of these from which they are separated by the valley of the Bilboa river; the chief peaks are Knockalough (1,407′) and Laghtseefin (1,426′). The Silvermine mountains lie north of Keeperhill and are separated from it by the Mulkear river. North west of these are the Arra mountains (1,517′), rising over the Lough Derg opposite Killaloe. South of the town of Roscrea, the group known as the Devil’s Bit (1,583′) begins and runs south west. This mountain has a remarkable gap in its outline, from which it was formerly called Barnane Ely; the other peaks in the range are Kilduff (1,462′), Borrisnoe (1,471′), Benduff (1,399′), Knockanora (1,429′) and Latteragh (1,257′)

(NOTE: The directory does not explain that the Devil was on his way to Cork or that direction anyhow, and he felt a bit hungry, took a bite out of a mountain. Didn’t like the taste and spit it out. That’s how we have the Rock of Cashel :)

The middle of the county is occupied by a fine plain through which runs the River Suir. The “Golden Vale”, well known as containing some of the richest land in the country, is a branch of this plain; it runs west from Fethard into Limerick and is bounded by Slievenamuck on the south and Slievefelim on the north, and from this stretches towards Kilmallock and Bruree in Co. Limerick.

The chief rivers are the Shannon, the Suir and the Nore with their tributaries. The Shannon and Lough Derg form the north western boundary; the tributaries of the Shannon are the Little Brosna, the Ballyfinboy, the Nenagh (with its tributaries, the Ollatrim and Ballintotty), the Newtown river, the Kilmastulla river, the Newport river, the Clare river, the Bilboa river (with its tributaries the Gortnageragh, the Cahernahallia and the Dead river). The Nore rises in the Devils Bit Mountains, flows east-north-east for about 9 ½ miles through Tipperary, forms the boundary with Laois (Queen’s county), for about two miles and then enters Laois. The King’s river rises in Tipperary, near Ballingarry and flows first southward and then eastwards and enters county Kilkenny near Callan. The Munster river forms the boundary for about 8 miles between Tipperary and Kilkenny, entering Kilkenny where it joins the King’s river. The Suir rises at the foot of the Benduff Mountain near Moneygall, it flows eastward for about 5 miles, and then south for about 55 miles when it touches county Waterford and turns in a south east direction and after about 5 miles turns east again and forms the boundary between Tipperary and Watrford for about 1 ½ miles. It’s chief tributaries are the Drish (with its tributary the Black river), the Anner (with its tributaries, the Honor, the Clashawley and the Moyle) and the Lingaun on the left bank; the Clodiagh (with its tributaries the Cromoge and the Owenbeg), the Multeen (with a tributary also called Multeen), the Ara (with tributary the Aherlow), the Thonoge, the Tar (with tributaries, the Duag and the Burncourt) on the right bank.


Year Males Females Total Pop.
1821 172,468 174,428 346,896
1831 197,713 204,850 402,563
1841 216,650 218,903 435,553
1851 160,024 171,543 331,567
1861 122,483 126,623 249,106
1871 106,499 110,214 216,713
1881 98,755 100,857 199,612
1891 86,807 86,381 173,188
1901 81,399 78,833 160,232
1911 78,584 73,849 152,433
1926 72,867 68,079 141,015

Families and Houses in 1926

The number of families in the county was 30,403, the average number in each family being 4.5. The number of inhabited houses was 29,425 showing an average of 4.7 persons to each house. The special inmates of public institutions are omitted from these calculations.

There were in the county 19,081 Occupiers or Heads of Families who were in occupation of less than five rooms, being 62.7% of the total for the county; of these, 1,004, or 3.3% of the families in the county occupied one room; 4,148, or 13.6% , 2 rooms; 5,856 or 19.2%, 3 rooms; and 8, 073 or 26.5%, occupied 4 rooms.

There were in the county 356 tenements in which the room had only one occupant; 450 cases where the room had 2-4 occupants; 163 cases in which there were 5-7 occupants and 35 cases where the occupants f one room exceeded 7 in number, including 4 cases where 10 persons and 2 cases where 12 or more persons occupied the same room.

Birthplace of Inhabitants

Of the population in 1926, 87.23% were born in the county, 11.22 % in other counties in Saorstat Eireann. 0.26% in Northern Ireland, 0.88% in Great Britain, and 0.41% were born abroad.


In 1911 there were in the county 126,545 persons aged 9 years and upwards; of these 115,062 or 90.9% could read and write; 3,250 or 2.6% could read only; and 8,233 or 6.5% were illiterate. As this is the first census where the age was raised from 5 to 9 it is not possible to compare figures for earlier censuses. However, the report states that the percentage of those of 5 years and upwards who were unable to read and write was 15.1% in 1891, 10.9% in 1901 and had fallen to 8.9% in 1901.

IRISH SPEAKING (1861-1911)

of people
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911

Irish only
680 675 248 68 15 3

Irish & English
36,621 21,245 23,558 12,244 9,720 10,017

Irish Total
37,301 21,920 23,806 12,312 9,735 10,020
% of
19.6 10.1 11.9 7.1 6.1 6.6

RELIGIONS, 1871-1926 (% of population)

1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926

Roman Catholic
93.8 94.2 94.0 93.82 94.57 96.86

Church of Ireland
5.4 5.1 5.3 5.43 4.74 2.64

0.3 0.3 0.3 0.35 0.29 0.16

0.3 0.3 0.3 0.29 0.28 0.12

0.2 0.1 0.1 0.11 0.12 0.22

EMIGRATION (1861-1911)






81,068 47,269 26,465 32,762 19,050 12,307