Cong Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Gahagan (Goaghan, Goghan, Gaughan, Geoghegan) Surname in Griffith's Valuation, County Mayo, Ireland

Cong Civil Parish is primarily in Kilmaine Barony with a small section falling in County Galway's Ross Barony. This Civil Parish is part of Cong and Neale Roman Catholic Parish along with Kilmolara and Ballinchalla. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857, there was a Roman Catholic Chapel present in the Townland of Cong South churches of undocumented affiliation in the Townlands of Cong South (the detached portion) and Lecarrowkilleen. There were Graveyards in the Townlands of Cong South and Lecarrowkilleen. Microfilm records covered this Roman Catholic Parish can be found on microfilm numbers 1279214, 926221 and 926232. They appear to have a late start covering the years 1870-1924.

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted there were 65 Townlands (including the named/occupied Islands in Lough Corrib and Lough Mask. The list of islands in this Civil Parish is quite extensive, the vast majority of them are unoccupied.

A patent to hold markets and fairs was obtained as early as 1605 for the Town of Cong by John King and John Bingley. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 87). When the Statistical Survey of County Mayo was conducted in 1802, I couldn't find any listings for fairs in either Cong or Funshinagh (where a "Fair Green" was documented in the Griffith's Valuation) or any other Townlands in Cong Civil Parish. Samuel Lewis; however, in "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" mentions the presence of fairs at Funshinagh in May and September. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 391).

From a commercial standpoint, Cong had more going on than most Civil Parishes I have evaluated in County Mayo. As I mentioned earlier, when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857 there was a "Fair Green" and also a Forge in the Townland of Funshinagh. The Town of Cong that lies within the Townland of Cong had a Tolls and Customs of Fairs and Markets, a Flour Mill, Kiln, two Corn Mills, Tuck Mill, Constabulary Force Barracks and a Forge within its borders. Cong South had the Petty Sessions House. There was a plantation in the Townland of Ballykine Lower and land that was identified as "wood." I am assuming that this means a forested area. Castletown had Kilns, Cordroon had a Mill and Kilns, Cross West had a Corn Kiln and two forges, Dowagh East had a Corn and Flour Mill and the Guardians of the Poor of Ballinrobe Union Dispensary. There was an old Forge in the Townland of Gortacurra, a Forge in Kildun Beg and a Gate Lodge in Lackafinna. The Commissioners of Public Works had a "Canal in Progress" noted in the following Townlands: Aghalahard, Cong South, Cregaree, Drumsheel Upper, Knockalassa, Nympsfield and Strandhill. There were Herd's Houses in the Townlands of Ballykine Upper, Creevagh Middle, Crevagh South, Cross East, Dowagh West, Dringeen Middle, Gorteenroe, Houndswood North, Kildun More, Knock North, Knock South, Lislaughera, Nymphsfield, Strandhill and Tonaleeaun. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Cong). The large number of Herd's Houses would seem to indicate that there was a fair amount of grazing/pasture area in this Civil Parish.

As far as education goes, there was a National Schoolhouse was present in the Townland of Cross West. The Griffith's Valuation documented two other schoolhouses in Cong Civil Parish in the tiny Townlands of Corgarve and Glebe. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Cong). I haven't read about any "Hedge Schools" in this area.

A vast array of landlords were represented in Cong Civil Parish, perhaps more evenly distributed than other Civil Parishes I have looked at. Jane Finn appears to be the most prevalent followed by numerous other landlords dominating three or four Townlands each such as Alexander C Lambert, James McDonnell, Lady Waller, Harlow Fibbs Baker, Reverend Wm Jamieson and John S Dawson. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Cong).

Hussey De Burgh's "The Landowners of Ireland" which was published in 1878 listed the Landlords of Ireland who held more than 500 acres. I couldn't find Jane Finn, Harlow Fibbs Baker, James McDonnell or Lady Waller in this compilation. Alexander C Lambert, according to this source was appointed treasurer of County Mayo in 1836. His residences are listed as Brookhill Clanmorris County Mayo and Leenane County Galway. He held 1,409 acres in County Mayo and 1,121 acres in County Galway. Reverend William Jameson is listed as having 1,831 acres in County Mayo and 316 acres in County Galway. (De Burgh, 1878; 2007, p. 257, 235).

Keeping in mind that a portion of Cong Civil Parish lies within County Galway, the population of Cong Civil Parish in County Mayo dropped during and after the peak famine years. In 1841 the population in Cong Civil Parish, County Mayo was 5,359, dropping to 3,839 in 1851. (O' Hara, 1982, p. 7).

I didn't find any of the known variations of the Gahagan Surname in the Griffith's Valuation for Cong Civil Parish, but I did find a Thomas Goggin. I am including this surname in my compilation, as it is very similar phonetically to the Gahagan, Goaghan, Goghan, Gaughan, and Geoghegan Surnames I am tracking. Many of the priests appear to be spelling the surnames phonetically in the Catholic Church records so I will be documenting this variation as well. Thomas Goggin had one parcel in the Townland of Houndswood Middle. Houndswood Middle is a Townland in the eastern most part of Cong 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.

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)
Houndswood Middle 1e Goggin, Thomas Dawson, John S. House   0-5-0 none

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