Ballintober Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Brennan Surname in Griffith's Valuation, County Mayo, Ireland

Ballintober Civil Parish was within Carra Barony and was part of Burriscarra and Ballintober Roman Catholic Parish. Available records for this parish cover the years 1839-1903, which is earlier than many other County Mayo Catholic Parish records. Burriscarra Civil Parish and Touaghty Civil Parish are also part of this Catholic Parish. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857, there was only one Roman Catholic Chapel, in the Townland of Killavally West and Graveyards were present in the Townlands of Ballintober, Bellaburke and Kilbree Upper. Samuel Lewis in "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" describes the Roman Catholic Chapel as being at Killavalla. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 118).

Ballintober Civil Parish contained 66 Townlands (if you include the named, occupied islands) when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857. The vast majority of towns in this Civil Parish were quite small. I couldn't find any patent applications for fairs or markets for any of the Townlands in this Civil Parish and there were no "Fair Greens" or "Tolls and Customs of Fairs" in Ballintober Civil Parish when the Valuation took place. Ballintober Civil Parish is only 8 miles from Ballinrobe, one of County Mayo's premier 19th Century Market Towns.

There wasn't a lot of industry documented in Ballintober Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted. The Townlands of Kilbree Lower and Killavalla East each had a Corn Mill and the Townlands of Ballintober, Bohaun South and Cappacharnaun each had a Pound. The Townlands of Glasgort and Killavally West each had a Forge and there were Herd's Houses in the Townlands of Ballintober, Baunoges, Bellaburke, Bird Island, Carn, Castleburke, Cogaula, Creevagh, Croaghrimcarra, Drumneen, Kilbree Lower, Kilbree Upper, Killavally East, Killawullaun Mountain, Knockmoyleen and Pollawaddy. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ballintober). The number of Herd's Houses would seem to indicate a fair amount of pasture/grazing area in this Civil Parish.

As far as education goes, there was a Schoolhouse in the tiny Townland of Attavally located in the Northeastern part of Ballintober Civil Parish and National Schoolhouses in the Townland of Gortbaun, (a fairly small town near the northernmost tip of Ballintober Civil Parish) and in Killavally West (one of the larger Townlands in this Civil Parish). (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ballintober). I haven't seen anything documented about any "Hedge" Schools in Ballintober Civil Parish, but I have seen a few notations about a well-known priest hunter being active in the area.

Sir Robert Lynch Blosse Bart was far and away the predominant landlord in Ballintober Civil Parish followed by General Henry Moore, Malachy Tuohy, Viscount Avonmore and a smattering of others.

Ballintober Civil Parish saw a dramatic drop in its population during and after the peak famine years. In 1841 the population was 7,219 plunging to 3,438 in 1851. By the year 1911, the population of Ballintober Parish was down to 2,457. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).

The Brennan Surname was present in four Townlands of Ballintober Parish in the Griffith's Valuation. John Brennan was found in Cappacharnaun, a medium sized town in the northernost part of the Civil Parish. Richard and John Brennan were present in the somewhat larger Townland of Devleash East which is just east of Devleash West in the more central part of the parish. Michael and William Brennan were present in the Townland of Drumneen which is directly north of Devleash West. The last Brennan in Ballintober Civil Parish was in Kiltarsaghaun. The map reference number for his parcel was a bit unusual, listed as 1i-2. I believe he might be a worker on a farm (a) and have his house i-2 on that farm. I am not sure why there are two i's unless both have a house on the same location on the farm? One other interesting observation was the lake known as Lough Brennan noted in the Townland of Moat.

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)
Cappacharnaun 4c Brennan, John Avonmore, Viscount Land, House and Offices 20-3-13 3-5-0 2 others
Devleash East 1b Brennan, Richard Avonmore, Viscount Land, House and Office 103-1-30 5-0-0 8 others including John Brennan
Devleash East 1e Brennan, John same Land, House and Office same 5-0-0 8 others including Richard Brennan
Drumneen 4a Brennan, Michael Avonmore, Viscount Land, House and Office 24-2-18 3-4-0 with William Brennan and one other
Drumneen 4b Brennan, William same Land, House and Office same 3-4-0 with Michael Brennan and one other
Kiltarsaghaun 1i (2) Brennan, Thomas Tuohy, Malachy Land and House 809-1-31 3-10-0 with the whole town of 35 others

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