"Why Were They Traded?"

The Local Government (Ireland) Act of 1898

The Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 (61 & 62 Vict. c. 37) is a piece of legislation passed as an Act of Parliament by the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1898 to establish a system of local government in Ireland similar to that recently created in Great Britain.

The Act brought in a mixed system of government, with county boroughs independent of county administration, and elsewhere a two tier system with county councils, along with borough, urban district and rural district councils. Urban districts were created from the larger of the town commissioners towns, while the smaller towns retained their town commissioners, but remained in a rural district for sanitary purposes.

County level services had been administered by Grand Juries, dominated by large landowners, since the seventeenth century. The Act broke the power of the aristocratic ascendancy and passed these services to new, directly elected, county councils. The electoral franchise was greatly widened, to include all male householders and occupiers, a remarkable concession to popular rights and economic reconstruction at the time.

The creation of the new councils had a significant effect on Ireland as it allowed local people to take decisions affecting themselves. The county and district councils created a political platform for proponents of Irish Home Rule, displacing Unionist influence in many areas. The enfranchisement of local electors allowed the development of a new political class, creating a significant body of experienced politicians who would enter national politics in Ireland in the 1920s, and increase the stability of the transitions to the parliaments of the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, the provisions of the act were replaced in the 1970s with a pattern of unitary authorities. In the Republic of Ireland, the act was amended by several Acts of the Oireachtas principally by the abolition of Rural District councils 1925 - 1930 and the inception of a system of council-manager government1929-1940 and the act as so amended has been replaced by the Local Government Act 2001

Changes in county boundaries as a result of the Act

The Act also caused a number of county boundaries to be modified, with the result that a number of baronies, civil parishes and townlands now cross county boundaries:

In all the above cases, the areas transferred officially remained part of their original baronies.

A number of county boroughs and other towns which lay on county boundaries had their boundaries redefined to include suburbs which were traditionally in other counties. Again, this resulted in baronies, civil parishes and sometimes townlands being split between counties. These towns include:

List of Townlands in Kilcolman Civil Parish "Traded"

These changes easily causes confusion to those researching family histories from the 19th century. Sources prior to the 1898 Act will list these areas as being in different counties to the ones they are currently in.

For example, the Townland Index to the 1851 Census of Ireland [1] lists townlands under their pre-1898 counties.

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