HACKETSTOWN, a market-town and parish, partly in the barony of BALLINACOR, county of WICKLOW, but chiefly in that of RATHVILLY, county of CARLOW, and province of LEINSTER, 6¾ miles (S. E.) from Baltinglass, on the road from Wicklow to Carlow; containing 4434 inhabitants. In 1798 it sustained two attacks from the insurgent forces, one on the 25th of May, which was successfully repulsed by the yeomanry and a detachment of the Antrim militia; the other on the 25th of June, when a body of insurgents, amounting to several thousands, advanced against it at five in the morning. The garrison, consisting of 170, mostly yeomen, marched out to meet them, but, after a few volleys, were obliged to retreat, the cavalry by the road to Clonmore, and the infantry, 120 in number, into the barrack, where they maintained their position throughout the day behind a breastwork in the rear of it.
The town was fired in several places by the rebels, who, after various ineffectual attempts to force an entrance to the barrack and a garrisoned house by which it was flanked, retreated, and in the night the garrison retired on Tullow. The town, which consists of 131 houses, is situated on a rising ground, below which flows a branch of the Slaney, and commands fine views. It is a constabulary police station, and has a penny post to Baltinglass, and a dispensary. A patent was granted in 1635, by Chas. I., to the Earl of Ormonde for a market on Wednesday and fairs on the Tuesday after Nov. 1st, and the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. The market is now held on Thursday, but only during the summer months from March to August, for the sale of meal and potatoes; and the fairs are on Jan. 13th, the first Thursday in Feb., March 12th, April 13th, May 4th, June 2nd, July 13th, Aug. 21st, Sept. 18th, Oct. 17th, the third Thursday in November, and Dec. 21st.
The parish comprises 31,570 statute acres, of which 11,954 are applotted under the tithe act: about onesixth of the land is arable, nearly one-half pasture, and the remainder bog and waste; the latter is chiefly situated in the eastern part of the parish, and large blocks of granite are dispersed throughout. The principal seats are Woodside, the residence of S. Jones, Esq.; Ballyhelane, of J. Brownrigg, Esq.; and Ballasallagh House, of J. Hogier, Esq. The living is a rectory, in the diocese of Leighlin, episcopally united in 1693 to the vicarage of Haroldstown, and in the patronage of the Bishop: the tithes amount to £553. 16. 11., and of the benefice to £619. 15. 11. The glebe-house was erected in 1819, by a gift of £300 and a loan of £500 from the late Board of First Fruits; the glebe comprises 8½ acres. The church is a neat building, with a square embattled tower surmounted with pinnacles, which was erected and the church roofed anew, in 1820, by a gift of £600 and a loan of £500 from the late Board of First Fruits; it has recently been repaired by a grant of £559 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In the churchyard is a monument to the memory of Capt. Hardy, who was killed in 1798 while defending the town. In the R. C.
divisions it is the head of a union or district, comprising the parishes of Hacketstown and Moyne, and parts of Haroldstown, Clonmore, and Kiltegan; and containing chapels at Hacketstown, Killamote, and Knockanana.
Near the church is a very neat place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists, recently erected. The parochial school is supported by the rector and a small payment from the scholars; and there is a national school in the R. C. chapel-yard.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.