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

Ardagh Civil Parish falls within Tirawley Barony and is part of Ardagh Roman Catholic Parish. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856, there was only one Roman Catholic Chapel in the Townland of Carrowcrin. There were no other documented churches of any affiliation and no Graveyards.

When "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" was published in 1837, Samuel Lewis described an Episcopal Chapel in the process of being built and a Catholic Chapel in the Town? of Newtown. Newtown was not mentioned in the Griffith's Valuation in 1858. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, Volume 1, p. 41). The records for this Catholic Parish don't begin until 1870 that is quite late compared to other County Mayo Records, and they only go until 1880.

Fairs were held in the Town of Newtown two different months of the year according to Samuel Lewis in his "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland." (Lewis, 1837; 1984, Vo. 1, p. 41). I couldn't find any applications for fairs and markets and there was no listing for Newtown in the list of fairs in the Statistical Survey of County Mayo that was conducted in 1802. There was however, a Fair Green and Customs of Fairs noted in the Griffith's Valuation for the Townland of Deelcastle. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ardagh). Deel Castle was the seat of Sir George Cuffe, Esquire. From an economic perspective there was very little of significance documented in this Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted. There was a Gate Lodge in the Townland of Derreen and Herd's Houses in the Townlands of Cloonapisha and Slievenagark. The major market Town of Ballina was less than 3 miles from Ardagh Civil Parish.

As far as education goes, there was a Presbyterian Schoolhouse in the Townland of Bunaneraghtish and a Schoolhouse in the Townland of Knockanelo. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ardagh). I haven't read of any particular Hedge Schools in this area, though they may have existed. There was another school mentioned in the 1837 "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland," in the Town of Newtown. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 41).

There were several designated "Bog" parcels in the Townlands of Cloonagh Beg (Knockegan) and Derreen. Samuel Lewis described Ardagh Civil Parish as having "large tracts of bog, furnishing abundance of fuel." (Lewis, 1837; 1984, Vol 1, p. 41). He also mentioned that this Parish is located on the River Deel. I didn't see any mention of this River in the Griffith's Valuation.

The Earl of Arran was the most prevalent landlord in Ardagh Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856, followed by Sir W. R. Palmer Bart, Annesley, Knox, William Gardiner, Capt St George Cuffe, John Orme among a smattering of others. John Knox was only dominant in one Townland but it was one of the larger Townlands of Carrowcrin.

The Civil Parish of Ardagh saw a significant population decline during and after the peak famine years like many other Civil Parishes in County Mayo. In 1841 the population of Ardagh Civil Parish was 2,621 dropping to 1,497 in 1851. By the year 1911 there were only 778 people living in this area. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).

The Surname Brennan is present in two townlands in Ardagh Civil Parish during the Griffith's Valuation. Edward Brennan occupied property in Farrannasculloge one of the larger Townlands in the Civil Parish, and William Brennan had two parcels in the small Townland of Knockduff. These two parishes are right next to each other in the northernmost part of Ardagh Civil Parish.

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 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)
Farrannasculloge 9a Brennan, Edward Palmer, Sir Wm R Bart Land, House and Office 57-1-13 16-5-0 none
Knockduff 2a Brennan, William same Land, House and Office 24-2-17 17-0-0 total for both of his parcels none
Knockduff 3 Brennan, William same Land 19-0-22 same none

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