Emigration and Education Statistics, 1931, Co. Wexford

Wexford a maritime county is in the province of Leinster. It is bounded on the North by county Wicklow on the east by St. George’s channel on the south by the Atlantic ocean and on the west by counties Waterford, Kilkanny and Carlow. It’s length from Hook Head to the boundary south-west of Arklow in county Wicklow is 55 miles and it’s breadth from Greenore Point to New Ross is 29 miles.


The name is derived from that of the Borough of Wexford.

Croghan Kinsella is called after the ancient family of Kinsella, whose original name was Hy Kinsella and they were descended from Enna Kinsella, King of Leinster in the fourth century. The people called Hy Felimy occupied territory in county Carlow and Wexford and the branch in county Wexford took the name O’Murcada which was then anglicised to Murphy. They occupied territory corresponding to the Barony of Ballaghkeen. Another old territory, that of Fotharta also extended from Carlow into county Wexford and this gave its name to the Barony of Forth.


There were several variations of minerals to be found in the county, copper at Kerloge near Wexford itself; lead at Caim near Enniscorthy and silver at the head of Bannow Bay.

The Wicklow Mountains extend into the northern part of county Wexford; the height in feet is given after each peak’s name here; Mount Leinster (2,610) and the Blackstairs (2,409) are on the boundary with county Carlow, Blackrock is near county Carlow but within county Wexford. Croghan Kinsella (1,987) mentioned previously is on the Wicklow border and close to this are Annagh (1,498) and Slieveboy (1,385). on the coast near Gorey is Tara (826) and Forth Mountain, near Wexford separates the south-eastern plain constituting the Baronies of Forth and Bargy from the other parts of county Wexford.

The chief headlands are Kilmichael, at the point where counties Wicklow and Wexford meet, Raven and Rosslare points mark the entrance to Wexford Harbour. Greenore marks the south end of Wexford Bay. Carnsore Point is in the extreme south-eastern point; Crossfarnoge, Clammers Point and Baginbun Head are on the west. Clammers Point and Baginbun Head mark the entrance to Bannow Bay. Hook Head is at the eastern entrance to Waterford Harbour

The Saltee Islands are off the west coast; the Keeragh islands are in Ballyteige Bay; the Bannow islands in Bannow Bay. Tuskar Rock lies south-west of Greenore Point about five miles from the coast.

The principal rivers are the Barrow which forms the western boundary with Kilkenny from its confluence with the Pollmounty river, until after receiving the waters of the Nore and the Suir and other tributaries it enters Waterford harbour. The Slaney river forms the boundary with Carlow until it enters county Wexford at Newtownbarry, and crosses the county to enter the sea at Wexford. The Cody, the Glasha, the Urrin, the Borro, the Aughnaglaur, the Derry, teh Bann, the Lask and Milltown stream are tributaries of the Slaney. The Sow river flows into Wexford harbour.


There were 20,607 families in the county according to the 1926 Census for Ireland, the average number in each family being 4.4. The number of ‘inhabited houses’ was 20,452, with an average of 4.7 persons to each house. The Special Inmates of Public institutions are omitted from these figures.

There were in the county 11,802 ‘Occupiers’ or ‘Heads of Families’ who were in occupation of less than five rooms, this was 57.3% of the total for the whole county. Of these 444, or 2.1% occupied one room; 1,872 or 9.1% occupied two rooms; 2,821 or 13.7%, occupied three rooms; and 6,665 or 32.3% were in occupation of four rooms.

There were 165 tenements in the county, in which the room had only one occupant at that time; 213cases where the room had two, three or four occupants; 53 cases in which there were five, six or seven occupants and 13 cases where the occupants of one room exceeded 7 in number, including 8 cases where 8 persons, 4 cases where 9 persons and 1 case where 10 persons occupied the same room.




Total Pop.
1821 82,322 88,484 170,806
1831 87,995 94,718 182,713
1841 97,918 104,115 202,033
1851 86,938 93,220 180,158
1861 69,104 74,850 143,954
1871 64,199 68,467 132,666
1881 60,928 62,926 123,854
1891 54,935 56,843 111,778
1901 51,756 52,348 104,104
1911 51,568 50,705 102,273
1926 48,561 47,251 95,848


In 1911, there were in the county 84,677 people aged 9 years and upwards; of these 72,271 or 85.3% could read and write; 3,123 or 3.7% could read only; and 9,283 or 11% were illiterate. As that census was the first for which the age for consideration had been raised from 5 years to 9 years, no comparison can be made with figures from earlier censuses. But – the percentage of those of five years and upwards who were unable to read and write in 1891 was 19.6%. By 1901 this figure was listed as 15.5% and in 1911 had fallen to 13.9%.

IRISH SPEAKING (1861-1911)

of people
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911

Irish only
1 1

Irish & English
240 209 512 320 1,300 2,901

Irish Total
241 210 512 320 1,300 2,901
% of
0.2 0.2 0.4 0.3 1.2 2.8

RELIGIONS, 1871-1926(% of population)

1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926

0.3 0.2 0.2 0.26 0.25 0.15

Church of Ireland
8.5 8.2 7.9 7.55 6.89 5.34

Roman Catholic
90.7 91.1 91.4 91.67 92.31 94.04

0.3 0.3 0.3 0.33 0.33 0.23

0.2 0.2 0.2 0.19 0.22 0.24

EMIGRATION (1861-1911)

1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
27,053 16,088 13,106 11,966 3,960 2,900