18th- and 19th-century Maps

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More Modern Maps

A series of maps were produced over the next three centuries (i.e. 17th, 18th & 19th centuries), each more accurate than the last. The focus was very much on the parts of Ireland governed by Britain - most surveys were commissioned by landowners or local government.

Some good maps of towns and military installations were produced, but the first complete maps of Ireland did not emerge until mid-way through the eighteenth century. The rise of the railways in the first half of the 19th century also produced a number of high-quality maps.

18th- and 19th-Century Irish Maps

The map below shows a reasonable amount of detail including roads and hills and forestry. It also includes basic information about Carlow town.

Now look at the second map, below, to see how much map-making improved over the following 45 years. This map shows plans for proposed railways across Ireland and also information about levels of trade in Irish ports. Note the level of accurate detail around the coastline. How important was the existence of accurate maps for large scale planning such as building railways?