MASON, William Shaw. A Statistical Account, or Parochial Survey of Ireland. Drawn up from the communications of the clergy. With all maps, plates present and correctly placed.


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Three volumes. Dublin: Graisberry, Campbell, Faulkner and Hibernia Press, 1814-1819. Large post octavo. pp. (1) xxxiv, 652, [16 (Plates - some folded)]; (2) [iv], lxxxviii, 560, [9 (Folded plates)]; (3) lii, 716, [14 (Plates - some folded)]. Modern cloth, titled in gilt. Ex lib with neat stamps. All plates and maps present. A very good set of an extremely rare item.
William Shaw Mason (1774-1853) statistician and bibliographer. He graduated B.A. at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1796. With two others, he was appointed by patent in 1805 to the office of remembrancer or receiver of the first-fruits and twentieth parts in Ireland; and also in September 1810 to the post of secretary to the commissioners for public records in Ireland. Sir Robert Peel, while chief secretary to the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, encouraged Mason to undertake an Irish statistical work similar to that of Sir John Sinclair for Scotland. The first volume of Mason’s publication was issued at Dublin in octavo, with maps and plates, in 1814, under the title of A Statistical Account or Parochial Survey of Ireland, drawn up from the communications of the clergy. The second volume appeared in 1816, and a third followed in 1819. A catalogue of books relating to Ireland, collected by Mason for Sir Robert Peel, was printed under the title of ‘Bibliotheca Hibernicana’, Dublin, 1823. He died in Camden Street, Dublin, on 11 March 1853.
Social and local historians acknowledge the usefulness of, and frequently quote from, three volumes of statistical accounts of various parishes of Ireland. He had solicited contributions from the Church of Ireland clergy, and had intended to produce a statistical survey of the whole country, possibly envisaging it as an adjunct to the enumeration of the population.
With exhaustive and statistical accounts of numerous parishes throughout Ireland, treating the extent, division, topographical description, buildings, gentlemen’s seats, ancient buildings, monastic and castellated ruins, state of population, education, agriculture, manufacturing and commerce, remarkable occurrences, eminent men, etc.
Sir Robert Peel, while chief secretary, also asked Mason to select, for Peel’s own library, books on Ireland that would be useful in the statesman’s efforts to understand the country. Mason managed to collect three hundred rare and important volumes; a catalogue of the collection, with Mason’s annotations, was published privately (1823) limited only to fifty copies.
Illustrations includes: Map of the Parish of Aghaboe; Abbey of Aghaboe; Mote of Monacoghlan; Map of the Parish of Ardbraccan; Map of the Parish of Ardstraw; Map of the Parish of Dunagby; Plan of the forts of Dundermot and Dunbought; Plan of a proposed Canal at Dundermot Bridge; Map of the Parish of Dungiven; Gable of the Chancel of Dungiven; Church of Dunaibinn (or Dungiven); Ancient Coins; Map of the Parish of Grange-Sylvæ; Map of the Parish of Lea; Castle of Lea; Map of the Parish of Annahilt; Plan of the Harbour of Arklow; Map of the Union of Culdaff and Cloncha; Map of the Parish of Culdaff; Map of the Parish of Cloncha; Map of the Union of Glenavy; Map of the Parish of Kilmacahill; Plan of the harbour of Kilrush; Map of the Parish of Ramean; Map of Hollywood Parish in the County of Down; Map of the Parish of Errigalkeroge in the County of Tyrone; Map of the Union of Midleton situate in the Baronies of Imokilly Barrymore and County of Cork; Map of the Parish of Shruel in the Diocese of Ardagh; N.E. View of Courtown Castle; Tomb of Sir John Grace; Map of Tulleroan or Grace’s Parish, 1655; Map of Tulleroan or Grace’s Parish, 1818; S.W. View of Tullaroan Church and Grace’s Chapel; Western Entrance to Grace’s Chapel; Stone Crosses in the Parish of Tullaroan; N.E. View of Grace’s Mausoleum; One of the Pinnacles at large of the Grace’s Mausoleum; Interior View of Grace’s Mausoleum.
Imprint varies: volume 2: Printed at the Hibernia Press and Volume 3 Printed at the Faulkner Press.


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