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

Doonfeeny Civil Parish falls within Tirawley Barony and is part of Ballycastle Roman Catholic Parish that was formed in 1864. (Mitchell, 1988, p. 88). Kilbride Civil Parish is also part of this Roman Catholic Parish. Catholic Parish records for Doonfeeny Civil Parish are found on microfilm number 1279204. These records cover the years 1853-1880. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Doonfeeny Civil Parish in 1856, there were Roman Catholic Chapels present in the Townlands of Belderg More and in the portion of the Town of Ballycastle within Carrowkibbock Upper. There was one Graveyard and a Church of undocumented affiliation in the Town of Ballycastle within the Townland of Ballycastle. A Presbyterian Church was also present in the Townland of Ballinglen. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Doonfeeny).

I couldn't find any patent applications for markets and fairs for any Townlands in Doonfeeny Civil Parish. Despite the fact that no patents were obtained, 6 fairs were being held in the Town of Ballycastle and a market was added by 1852 as well. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 84-85). The Town of Ballycastle is incorporated into the Townlands of Ballycastle, Carrowkibbock Upper and Carrownisky. I didn't see any listings for fairs in the Town of Ballycastle or any other Townlands in Doonfeeny Civil Parish in the Statistical Survey of County Mayo that was conducted in 1802. When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856, the hub of commercial activity was primarily centered around the Town of Ballycastle. I didn't see a "Fair Green" but there was a "Tolls and Customs of Fairs and Markets in the Town of Ballycastle (in Carrownisky). There also was a Grand Jury of County Mayo Petty Sessions House, a Constabulary Barracks, The Board of Guardians of Killala Union Dispensary, Revenue Police Barracks, a Pound, several Stores, a Kiln, Ruins and Shambles. There was a Forge and Ruins in the Carrowkibbock Townland portion of the Town of Ballycastle and there was a Corn Mill, Kiln, Tuck Mill in the Townland of Ballycastle, and ruins in the Town of Ballycastle within its borders. Other Townlands with items of economic interest were Ballinglen with a Corn Mill and Kiln (The Edinburgh Agricultural Society has a parcel here), Ballyglass had a Board of Customs Watch House as did Belderg Beg and Killerduff, and the Townland of Sralagagh West had a Turbary. Herd's Houses were present in the Townlands of Doonfeeny Lower and Upper, Geevraun, Glenora and Killerduff, which would seem to indicate pasture/grazing area was present in this Civil Parish. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Doonfeeny).

As far as education goes, there was a National Male Schoolhouse in the Town of Ballycastle within the Townland of Ballycastle, a Presbyterian Schoolhouse in the Townland of Ballinglen, a National Schoolhouse in the Townland of Berlderg More and a Church Education Society Schoolhouse and National Female Schoolhouse in the Town of Ballycastle within the Townland of Carrownisky. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Doonfeeny).

According to "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" by Samuel Lewis, this Civil Parish had a large bog area (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 574). but I was unable to find any designated "Bog" parcels in the Griffith's Valuation. One thing that I found of interest was an occupied parcel designated as "seaweed" in the Townland of Killerduff. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Doonfeeny).

There were numerous landlords represented in Doonfeeny Civil Parish, but the primary ones were Col A. Knox Gore, The Earl of Arran, Daniel Madden, Joseph F. Meade, Zachary Mudge, and Reverend Francis Little. The Earl of Arran (also known as Philip York Gore, the 4th Earl) was listed as having his residence at Castle Gore in County Mayo, owning 29,644 acres in County Mayo and 6883 acres in County Donegal. (De Burgh, 1878; 2007, p. 11). He was listed as an absentee landlord for Tirawley Barony in the 1802 Statistical Survey of County Mayo in 1802. (McParlan, 1802; 2007, p. 100). I couldn't find a specific listing for Colonel A. Knox Gore, Daniel Madden, Zachary Mudge or Revered Francis Little in De Burgh's "The Landlords of Ireland" (1878). This resource covers landlords with over 500 acres or property valued at more than 500 pounds. (De Burgh, 1878; 2007).

Doonfeeny Civil Parish saw a significant population decline during and after the peak famine years. In 1841 the population was listed at 1,819, dropping to 2,720 in 1851. By the year 1911 the population in Doonfeeny Civil Parish had dropped still further to 1,747. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).

There were two different variations of the Gahagan Surname noted in the Griffith's Valuation when it was conducted in 1856. Martin Geoghegan in Belderg More and Henry Goghan in the Townland of Ballyknock.

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)
Ballyknock 2 Goghan, Henry Little, Rev. Francis Land and House 3-3-18 1-10-0 none
Belderg More 2a Geoghegan, Martin Townsend, R.W. Land and House 244-3-1 4-15-0 7 others

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