The farm journal of the Holt family, Coolavacoose, Carbury, County Kildare, 1798-1879

This journal of a middle-size tenant farmer, a rare survivor from nineteenth-century Ireland, is in the possession of the Holt family of Coolavacoose, Carbury, County Kildare. Neither a personal diary nor a full account book, it mostly records  expenditure on labourers on the Holts’ farm at Coolavacoose but also features recipes for animal cures and notes relating to the family. The journal is incomplete and entries are written randomly throughout, interspersed among the pages of an eighteenth-century Dublin merchant’s account book, with which there is no discernible connection. The first entry dates from 1798 and the last from 1879, after which entries relate only to births, marriages and deaths within the family.

There are no entries for the years 1836-55 but it is known that some pages are missing.  My introduction to the journal, published in the Kildare Archaeological Society Journal, xxiii (2021), pp 194-209, highlights the wealth of insights and details of farming, rural life and financial transactions recorded in this source that social, economic, agricultural, local and family historians will find useful.

Lesley Whiteside

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