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Very Rare Large Map of Ireland. Showing the Lasting Legacy of the Down Survey of Ireland a Century after its Completion.

Beautifully-colored large 18th-century map of Ireland, published by Carington Bowels in London.

This exquisitely detailed and unusually large-scale map shows the island according to county structure, with all major geographical features shown. Distances from every city to Dublin are provided on the map, as well as distances between cities. Naval distances are shown. An inset in the lower right shows the British Isles and the Channel in full.

The title of the map credits the work of Sir William Petty as the base of this map, while including some modern improvements. This is in reference to the Down Survey, a cadastral survey of Ireland carried out in 1655 and 1656 during the Commonwealth period. Employing a thousand soldiers as surveyors, they were instructed to note the positions of natural features before using a "laid down" chain to measure distances.

The Down Survey was the first ever English survey of a conquered territory and was the most important survey of the island until the advent of scientific mapping and the Ordnance Survey in the 19th century.


This map is known in a 1782 and a 1787 edition, identifiable by the dating below the cartouche. This is the earlier 1782 edition.


We locate only four institutional examples of this map, at the BL, the BNF, the Biblioteca National de Espana, and McMaster University Library.

Condition Description
Beautiful original hand-color. Dissected in 48 sheets and laid on publisher's linen. Included in a later slipcase reading "Bowles Map of Ireland 1782." Some significant dampstaining around certain fold lines.