The Lewis Topographical Directory was first published in 1837 in two volumes, with an accompanying atlas.  The first edition is available online. A second edition was published in 1842.

Lewis relied on the information provided by local contributors and on the earlier works published such as Coote's Statistical Survey (1801), Taylor and Skinner's Maps of the Road of Ireland (1777), Pigot's Trade Directory (1824) and other sources. He also used the various parliamentary reports and in particular the census of 1831 and the education returns of the 1820s and early 1830s. Local contributors were given the proof sheets for final comment and revision. The names of places are those in use prior to the publication of the Ordnance Survey Atlas in 1838. Distances are in Irish miles (the statute mile is 0.62 of an Irish mile).

The dictionary gives a unique picture of Ireland before the Great Famine.




by Samuel Lewis

NAVAN, an incorporated market and post-town (formerly a parliamentary borough), and a parish, in the Barony of Lower Navan, county of Meath and province of Leinster, 7 miles from Trim, and 23 from Dublin, on the road to Enniskillen; containing 5292 inhabitants, of which number, 4416 are in the town.

It is one of the first boroughs established by the English in the Palatinate of Meath, and appears to have arisen under the patronage of the family of the Nangles Barons of Navan, who, towards the close of the 12th century, founded here an abbey for Canons Regular of the order of St. Augustine.

The town is situated in the centre of the county, and at the junction of the rivers Blackwater and Boyne; it consists of three principal streets, from which several smaller branch off in various directions, and contains about 850 houses, many of which are well built; altogether it has a neat, cheerful, and thriving appearance.

The Cavalry Barracks, on the site of the ancient abbey are adapted for 4 officers and 52 non-commissioned officers and privates, with stabling for 50 horses.

The chief trade is in provisions, which is extensively carried on with Drogheda, and seems to have been consequent on the opening of the  Boyne Navigation from that part to Navan, a line of 15 miles in extent; and its further extension inland, which has been attempted but not yet carried into effect would contribute greatly to its increase and to the general prosperity of the neighbourhood. There is also a considerable retail trade with the surrounding districts.

In the immediate vicinity of the town, and closely connected with its trade, though locally within the limits of the adjoining parish of Athlumney, are flax-mills on the river Boyne, affording regular employment, on the average, to about  260 persons, and in the same parish, but close to the bridge of Navan, are some very extensive flour-mills, the property of Mr. Delany.

Of these mills, one has five pairs of stones used for grinding wheat only; and the other, called the New Mill, which has been recently erected and fitted up with the most improved machinery, has ten pairs of stones, of which six are used in grinding wheat, and four for oats; attached to these mills is a steam-engine of 30-horse power.

There are also some smaller mills in the town, chiefly for oatmeal and a paper-mill upon a small scale, chiefly for the coarser sorts of paper. The distillery belonging to Mr. James Morgan is capable of producing 30,000 gallons of whiskey annually; and on the river Blackwater, and close to the town, was formerly a very extensive distillery, with a mill and corn stores, employing a large number of persons; but the establishment has been for some time discontinued, and the buildings are fast going to decay.

The manufacture of sacking, of which this place is the principal seat, is extensively carried on: it is made of tow brought from the North of Ireland, and in the town are from 200 to 300 looms in constant operation, each producing annually about 40 pieces of 60 yards in length. The market, which is the best attended in the county, is on Wednesday, and is abundantly supplied with corn, large numbers of bacon-hogs and porkers, and with coarse linen, yarn, frieze, and country merchandise.

In the R.C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, comprising also the parishes of Donaghmore, Ardsallagh, and Bective: the chapel is a handsome Grecian edifice, now in course of erection upon an extensive scale; there is also a chapel at Bective.

Near the R.C. chapel is the convent of the Ladies of Loretto , a handsome edifice, attached to which are two schoolrooms, one in connection with the National Board, in which are 200 girls, who are gratuitously instructed by the sisters of the convent; and the other a private seminary for young ladies. The Navan Endowed School was founded by Alderman Preston, of Dublin.