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Tankardstown, County Carlow

Approaching McGrath’s Cross in Tankardstown on the N81.

The County Carlow parish of Tankardstown is in the barony of Rathvilly, a little under 3km north-northwest of Tullow. It covers about 1416 acres and borders the townlands of Ballybit Big, Rathlyon and Kilmagarvoge to the west, Knockeen and Liscolman to the east, Butlersgrange to the south and Tobinstown to the north.

In his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837), Samuel Lewis counted 1101 inhabitants, before adding:

“It is situated on the rivers Dereen and Slaney, the former of which separates it from the county of Wicklow and bounds it on the east, and the latter bounds it on the west. About 7/10 of its surface consists of meadow and pasture; the reminder is arable, with a small portion of wood. Within its limits are the small hamlet called from its situation Tankardstown Crossroads, and Cappagh House, the residence of William Young, Esq. In ecclesiastical concerns it is not known as a parish, but constitutes part of the rectory of Tullow, in the diocese of Leighlin; and in the Roman Catholic divisions also it is part of the union or district of Tullow. About 170 children are educated in two private schools. At Capnagh is the ruins of an old castle.”

The crossroads in Tankardstown is known as McGrath’s Cross Roads while the one to the north, where a minor road branches off towards Rathmore, is called Judy Lees Cross Roads.

Does anyone have any information on the Tankard family, sometimes Tancred, of County Carlow?

According to one definition:

‘Tancred or Tankred is a masculine given name of Teutonic or Germanic origin that comes from thank- (thought) and -rath (counsel), meaning “well-thought advice”. It was used in the High Middle Ages mainly by the Normans (French, Tancrède) and especially associated with the Hauteville family in Italy.’

Tankardstown House, which stands between the cross and the railway bridge, was built, as a sign says, in 1969.

There is a 2-metre high granite standing stone at Rathlyon in Tankardstown, known locally ‘Molly’s Cross Stone’, that appears to be aligned east-west with others in Tobinstown and Liscoleman. Rathlyon was home to the Healy family since 1826 but was sold recently and the Healys now live at Rathanure.

There was a Brother Tancred who was involved with the Knights Templar who were themselves connected to Killerrig.