Ballyovey Civil Parish Characteristics, County Mayo, Ireland

Ballyovey Civil Parish is located in Carra Barony and is part of Partry Roman Catholic Parish. It was part of Ballyovey Civil Parish in 1869 (Mitchell, 1988, p. 87). Tourmakeady Roman Catholic Parish is also listed as covering this area from 1869-1880. (Smith, 1997, p. 42). Microfilm number 1279206 covers the years 1862-1903 in Tourmakeady Roman Catholic Parish. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Ballyovey Civil Parish in 1857, there were Roman Catholic Chapels in the Townlands of Gorteenmore and Knockaleanore and a church of undocumented affiliation in the Townland of Cappaghduff East. There was a Graveyard in the Townland of Kilkeeran and a Burial Ground in the Townland of Gorteenmore. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ballyovey).

Ballyovey Civil Parish was only 6 1/2 miles from the Town of Ballinrobe, a major market Town in County Mayo in the 19th century. I couldn't find any specific patent applications for fairs or markets in any of the Townlands of Ballyovey Civil Parish. There was one for Loughmask, obtained by Sir Thomas Bourke in 1812, but this may not be in Ballyovey Civil Parish. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 88-89). There are a large number of Islands in Lough Mask that are part of this Civil Parish, but it may not be referring to the same Lough Mask. The Statistical Survey of County Mayo that was conducted in 1802 showed a fair in Loughmask on September 20. (McParlan, 1802; 2007, p. 50). There were no "Fair Greens" or "Tolls and Customs of Fairs" in any of the Townlands of Ballyovey Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857. There was a Constabulary Barrack in the Townlands of Cappaghduff East and Ballybanerroon Beg and a Pound in Newtown. There was a Tuck Mill in the Townland of Cloonee, a Forge in Newtown and Srah, a Boathouse in the Townland of Cappaghduff East and Herd's Houses in the Townlands of Derradda, Derrew, Derryveeny and Furnace. This would seem to indicate that there was a significant amount of pasture/grazing area in this Civil Parish. Samuel Lewis described "extensive tracts of bog" in this Civil Parish (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 161), but I didn't see any designated "bog" parcels in Ballyovey Civil Parish in the Valuation.

As far as education goes, there was a Board of National Education, National Schoolhouse in the Townland of Srah, and Schoolhouses in the Townlands of Ballybanerroon Beg, Cappaghduff East, Tawnagh and Treanlaur. Samuel Lewis mentions six pay schools in his 1837 "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland." (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 161). Hedge Schools were known to be present in the Tourmakeady area. A parish priest by the name of Patrick Lavelle is well documented for his political involvement in this Civil Parish. He defended the right of Irish Catholics to have their children taught by Catholic teachers and not pressured to attend the Protestant Schools. He took a stand against Lord Plunket, the Bishop of Tuam in the Courts and in the media. Lord Plunket died in 1862 (I doubt the local Catholics shed any tears on his demise), and eventually his familiy's influence in the area declined as well. (Quinn, Vol 2, Chap 23, p. 262-165).

Sir Robert Lynch Blosse Bart was the most prevalent Landlord in Ballyovey Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857, followed by James Knox Gildea, the Lord Bishop of Tuam and an assortment of others. Lord Plunkett, the Protestant Bishop of Tuam was described in the following manner in the book "History of Mayo" by J. F. Quinn " a zealous bigot, who sought to purchase Catholic sourls for money and food, and when persuasion failed he often evicted them." (Quinn, Volume 2, Chap 23, p. 261). The Bishop of Tuam's main focus for converting the Catholics to Protestantism took place in and around the Tourmakeady area near Lough Mask. He was responsible for the creation of the National School in the area. The book "History of Mayo" mentions the presence of only Hedge Schools in this area up until it was founded. (Quinn, Vol 2, Chap 3, p. 262).

This Civil Parish stretches across all of Carra Barony and borders County Galway in its southern section. Ballyovey Civil Parish saw a significant decline in its population during and after the peak famine years. There were 4,505 people living in Ballyovey Civil Parish in 1841, dropping to 3,073 in 1851. By the year 1911 the population had dropped further to 2,351. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).