Carr, George Whitmore (1780–1849), clergyman and temperance pioneer, was born in New Ross, Co. Wexford, eldest son of the Rev. Edward Carr, rector (1802–15) of Kilmacow, Co. Kilkenny, and Sarah Carr (née Foster) of Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. Educated at the John Ivory endowed school, New Ross, where his father was master till 1802, he went on to TCD, where he graduated BA in 1798. In that year he took part in the defence of New Ross during the rebellion, and as a result was appointed a burgess of the town in 1799. After his ordination as a Church of Ireland deacon (May 1799), he was licensed to the curacy of New Ross in 1800. He was also engaged as master of his old school (1802–11). An enthusiastic evangelical and effective preacher, described by Daniel O’Connell (qv) as the ‘best public speaker he knew of out of parliament’ (Bland, 67), he was active in both the Bible Society and the Church Missionary Society. In 1811 he left the Church of Ireland and set up his own independent chapel, taking the greater part of this congregation with him. His reasons appear to stem from his objections to the Church of Ireland's burial and baptismal rites.
A visit to Ulster in 1829 was something of a watershed for Carr, as it was there he met Dr John Edgar (qv), with whom he discussed the temperance question. On his return to New Ross (August 1829) he immediately established the New Ross Temperance Society, the first such organisation in Ireland. Despite his evangelical fervour, he was always anxious to cooperate with catholics, and used his good relations with local catholic clergymen, in particular James Doyle (qv), bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, to further the temperance movement by successfully seeking endorsement of the new society. He also collaborated over the years with Fr Theobald Mathew (qv). He played an influential role in encouraging temperance societies throughout the south-east, and in December 1836 was appointed travelling agent for the Hibernian Temperance Society, after which he engaged in a lengthy tour of the country, which led to the formation of societies in Co. Carlow, Co. Tipperary, King's Co. (Offaly), and Queen's Co. (Laois). His own New Ross society had over 450 members by 1836. Throughout his career as a temperance organiser he stressed the importance of targeting the poor; while some concentrated on reclaiming the middle and upper classes, he argued that ‘the poor man's example and influence are to be prized, and will be felt. Nothing can more encourage the friends of this cause than to see the poor come forward’ (Malcolm, 74). In later years he became increasingly involved in the teetotal movement, and was also associated with William Wilberforce in his anti-slavery campaign. He died 27 January 1849 in Camlin, New Ross, Co. Wexford.
He married (1801) Charlotte Shaw of Sandpitts, Co. Kilkenny; they had nine children. Several of his granddaughters were active philanthropists. Elizabeth Hawthorne Carr founded the Miss Carr's Homes for destitute children in Dublin, the first being established in 1887. In this she was assisted by her sisters Anna and Mary Meredith Carr; the latter was also a founder of the Kingstown Mission.