Ballyhean Civil Parish Characteristics, County Mayo, Ireland

Ballyhean Civil Parish falls within Carra Barony and is part of Castlebar (also known as Aglish, Ballyheane and Breaghwy) Roman Catholic Parish. Aglish Civil Parish and Breaghwy Civil Parish are also part of this Catholic Parish. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in Ballyhean Civil Parish (a.k.a. Ballyhane) in 1857, there was a Roman Catholic Chapel in the Townland of Cloonaghmore, a Chapel in Errew and a Church of undocumented religious affiliation in the Townland of Cunnaker. There were no Graveyards noted in the Valuation for this Civil Parish and there were 51 Townlands.

Sir Thomas Bourke applied for and obtained a patent for markets and fairs for Ballyhean (Ballyhane) as early as 1616. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 85). Castlebar, one of County Mayo's premier market towns in the 19th century was only 4 1/2 miles from Ballyhean Civil Parish. When the Statistical Survey of County Mayo was conducted in 1802, Ballyhean is listed as having a fair on July 5. (McParlan, 1802; 2007, p. 49). Samuel Lewis, in "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" also mentions a fair date in August. (Lewis, 1837; 2005, Volume 1,p. 136-137). When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Ballyhean Civil Parish 20 years later, the Townland of Cloonaghmore is listed as having a "Fair Green" and a "Tolls and Customs of Fairs." This Civil Parish had relatively little to speak of from a commercial perspective. There was a Constabulary Barracks and a Pound in the Townland of Cornaveagh (which is immediately north of Cloonaghmore) and a Corn Mill, Tuck Mill and Pond in the Townland of Cunnaker. Herd's Houses were present in the Townlands of Aghadrinagh, Carrowclogher, Cloonconragh East, Cornamarrow, Derryool, Gortnasmuttaun, Killadeer, Knockanerrew, Lisnaponra South, Magheranagay and Park Boy. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ballyhean). The large number of Herd's Houses would seem to indicate that there was a significant amount of pasture/grazing area in this Civil Parish.

As far as education goes, there was a National Schoolhouse in the Townland of Cloonaghmore and a Schoolhouse in the Townland of Errew. Samuel Lewis in his "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" mentions a school at Drumrathcahill in addition to two pay schools. (Lewis, 1837; 2005, Volume 1, p. 137).

There were numerous landlords represented in Ballyhean Civil Parish when the Grffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857 including the Earl of Lucan, The Lawlife Assurance Company, John C Larminie, Reverend H. N. Ormsby and Edward C. Burke to name a few. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ballyhean).

Ballyhean Civil Parish saw a marked population decline during and after the peak famine period dropping from 4,032 in 1841 to 1,987 in 1851. By the year 1911, the population of Ballyhean Civil Parish was down to 1,253. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).