Aglish Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Brennan Surname in Griffith's Valuation

Aglish Civil Parish falls within Carra Barony and is part of Castlebar Roman Catholic Parish. The Civil Parishes of Aglish, Breaffy (Breaghwy) and Ballyheane make up the modern parish of Castlebar. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Aglish Civil Parish in 1857, there were essentially four churches: a Roman Catholic Chapel in the Town of Castlebar that lies within the Townland of Garryduff, a Convent and Convent Chapel in the Town of Castlebar within the Townland of Gorteendrunagh, a church of unknown affiliation in the Town of Castlebar within the Townland of Knockaphunta and a Wesleyan Meeting House on the Green (Mall) in the Town of Castlebar that resides in the Townland of Knockaphunta. There were two Graveyards, one in the Townland of Ballynew and one in the Town of Castlebar within Knockphunta. There was also a burial ground in the Town of Castlebar within the Townland of Knockacroghery. (Griffiths, 1847-1864; 2003, Aglish).

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857, there were 55 Townlands (not including the Town of Castlebar). The Town of Castlebar was one of the most important market towns of County Mayo in the 19th Century. Castlebar is incorporated into 7 different Townlands all clustered together in the south-central part of Aglish Civil Parish. These Townlands are: Carrowncurry, Curragh, Garryduff, Gorteendrunagh, Knockacroghery, Knockaphunta and Knockthomas. I have done a specific page on the Town of Castlebar in my County Mayo Market Town Section.

As early as 1609, Sir James Bingham applied for and obtained a patent for a market and fair in Castlebar, and by the mid 18th century Aglish Civil Parish had fairs in four different months of the year. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 86). Castlebar probably owes its early successful development to its more central location in County Mayo and its ready access to ports in Westport and Newport. There were four major linen market towns in County Mayo when the textile industry was peaking, Castlebar, Ballina, Westport and Newport. Of all the major market towns in County Mayo, (there were about 11- see my market town map) Castlebar was the primary one for quite some time.

From an economic perspective the hub of commercial activity for Aglish Civil Parish was centered in the Town of Castlebar. Of the 7 Townlands of which Castlebar was a part, the following items were noted in the Griffith's Valuation: Carrownacurry was the location of the Union Workhouse, The Townland of Curragh had a Revenue Police Barrack, Stables, Herd's House, Forge, Artillary Barracks and the Grand Jury of County Mayo Courthouse. The Townland of Garryduff had a Constabulary Barracks, ruins and Herd's House, the Townland of Gorteendrunagh had an Infantry Barracks, House of Refuge and numerous ruins, the Townland of Knockacroghery had a "Tolls of Crane", "Tolls and Customs of Markets and Fairs", a dilapidated store, a Corn Store, an old Brewery and an orchard, the Townland of Knockaphunta had the Dispensary and County Infirmary, stores and Herd's House and the Townland of Knockthomas had a "Fair Green," "Tolls and Customs of Fairs," a Store yard, the old Linen Hall and Ruins. Aglish Civil Parish had more evidence of economic activity than I have seen in most other County Mayo Civil Parishes. The Townland of Antigua (Lisnageeha) had a Brick and Tile Manufactory, Ballyneggin had a Gate Lodge, Ballynew had a Mill, Carrowbrinoge had a Forge, Lisnaskirka (Milebush) had an Orchard, and the Townland of Tawnylaheen had a Mill. Herd's Houses were scattered throughout the Civil Parish in the Townlands of Aghalusky, Annalecka, Ardvarney, Antigua, Ballymacrah, Ballynacarriga, Cappagh, Carrownaltore, Cloonagh, Coarsepark, Corradrish, Derrynadivva, Drumshinnagh, Largnavaddoge, Liscromwell, Lisnakirka (Milebush), New Antrim, Pheasanthill, Rathbaun, Sarnaght and Snugborough. The large quantity of Herd's Houses would seem to indicate that this Civil Parish had a large amount of pastoral/grazing area in addition to the other commercial activity. (Griffith, 1847-1864; Aglish).

As far as education goes, there was a Schoolhouse in the Townland of Cloonkeen and Church Education Society Schoolhouses in the Town of Castlebar within Knockaphunta and in the Townland of Tully. The Town of Castlebar within Garryduff had a National Schoolhouse as did Burren, and there was a Convent School in the Town of Castlebar in Gorteendrunagh. (Griffith, 1847-1864; Aglish). "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" mentions the presence of another school being established within the new "gaol" (jail) on the outskirts of Castlebar. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 289).

There are numerous lakes dotting Aglish Civil Parish such as Saleen Lough, Castlebar Lough, Cloodcash Lough, Cloondeash Lough, Tuckers Lough and Black Lough. I didn't see any designated "Bog" parcels in the Griffith's Valuation for Aglish Civil Parish, but Samuel Lewis in "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" describes about 1400 acres of the 13,342 statute acres in this Civil Parish being bog and waste. He also describes an ancient burial ground near Lough Lanark and Castlebar that I didn't see listed on the valuation. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 289).

The Earl of Lucan was heavily represented as a landlord in Aglish Civil Parish, along with a smattering of others such as Lord Kilmaine and the Law Life Assurance Company. There were many Townlands that were quite small only composed of two or three people. Most of the larger Townlands made up the hub of the Town of Castlebar.

The Civil Parish of Aglish saw a population drop during and after the peak famine years like many other Civil Parishes in County Mayo. In 1841, the population of Aglish Civil Parish was 10,464, dropping to 9,135 in 1851. By the year 1911 that number had dropped to 5,675. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).

The Brennan Surname is documented in six Townlands in Aglish Civil Parish during the Griffith's Valuation. Michael Brennan was in Cloonkeen, a larger Townland in the southernmost part of Aglish Civil parish. William Brennan was found in Antigua (Lisnageha). This was a small town with a Brick and Tile Manufactory. Michael Brennan was documented in Ballynaboll South a town that was on the small side. Michael shared his parcel with most of the town. Patrick Brennan was found in Carrrowncurry, the site of the only Workhouse in Aglish Civil Parish. Thomas Brennan was in Knockcroughery and Robert Brennan in Tawnylaheen. Tawnylaheen had a mill and was a larger town.

There is one caveat to keep in mind when looking at these findings from the Griffith's Valuation: The Griffith's Valuation only includes the individuals (occupiers) who own, lease or rent a parcel. For instance it will list a householder but not the individuals who live with him. It was common in County Mayo for individuals to share parcels, particularly of land (The Rundale system of communal land sharing). Sometimes the whole town shared one parcel of land. Shared parcels may or may not be with related individuals. Just because an individual is a lone occupier of a parcel does not mean that he is living in (house) or tilling (garden) this parcel alone. He may have numerous family members living with him, but they will not be listed unless they actually lease or own the parcel. Occupiers who sublet their acreage of land or houses to others will be listed as landlords.

For helpful details on how to interpret the following records, please take a look at the page I created on "Deciphering Griffith's Valuation."

Townland Map Ref Number Occupier Landlord or his Rep Property Type Area in Acres, Roods and Perches - a-r-p Total Valuation in pounds, shillings and pence Shared with (other occupiers)
Antigua or Lisnageeha 4c Brennan, William Walsh Michael and Garvie, James House   0-4-0 none
Ballynaboll South 2f Brennan, Michael Lucan, Earl of Land and House 112-1-18 2-18-0 8 others
Carrowncurry on New Antrim Street 42 Brennan, Patrick Cunningham, Madge House, Yard and Small Garden   0-12-0 none
Cloonkeen 1 Brennan, Michael Ryder, James and Partners Land and House 19-3-39 2-5-0 none
Garryduff on Upper Chapel Street 18 Brennan, Robert Lucan, Earl of House   0-8-0 none
Knockcroughery on Market Street 13 Brennan, Thomas Atkinson, Dr. John House, Offices, Yard and Garden 0-0-30 23-0-0 none

(Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Aglish).