Mr. Thomas Prior

Mr. Thomas Prior was born in Rathdowney in 1680. He was educated locally and at Trinity College, Dublin. Being the son of a farmer he took a keen interest in agriculture. He decided to set up an organisation to promote agriculture and to advise farmers on good husbandry.

On the 25th June 1731 he held a meeting at Trinity College with Dr. Samuel Madden and eleven other gentlemen. After he put forth his views, it was decided that a society should be formed that would both help the farming community and promote agriculture, the arts and sciences.

It was duly incorporated. In 1749 it received a Parliamentary Grant of 500 per annum. In due time it became the Royal Dublin Society. He died on 21st October 1751 and is buried in Rathdowney. A monument was erected to his memory in Christchurch Cathedral. He wrote a number of books and pamphlets including "The Absentees of Ireland" and "The Virtues of Tar Water."

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