Kilcommon-Erris Civil Parish Characteristics, County Mayo, Ireland

Kilcommon-Erris falls in Erris Barony and has 161 Townlands if you include the named occupied islands that are listed in Griffith's Valuation. The Civil Parish map of County Mayo shows two Kilcommon Civil Parishes, one in Erris Barony (this one) and one in Kilmaine Barony. Kilcommon Erris is a really large Civil Parish with a rugged coastline, mountainous section and supposedly large amounts of bog area (these weren't documented in Griffith's Valuation as they have been in other Civil Parishes I have examined).

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Kilcommon-Erris Civil Parish in 1855, there were numerous Roman Catholic Churches scattered throughout the parish. Roman Catholic Chapels were found in the Townlands of Aghoos, Ballybeg, Belmullet (in the Town of Belmullet), Bunnahowen, Curraunboy and Tallagh. There were Irish Church Mission Society Churches in the Townlands of Bangor, Castlehill, Kilcommon or Pollatomish and a Church of undocumented affiliation in the Townland of Belmullet. Wesleyan Methodist Chapels were present in the Townlands of Belmullet (Town of Belmullet on Ballyglass Street) and Rosdoagh. Graveyards were present in the Townlands of Fahy, Kilcommon (or Pollatomish) and Kilteany and there was a burying ground in the Townland of Bunnahowen.

Kilcommon-Erris Civil Parish is quite large and is covered by four Roman Catholic Parishes: Kilcommon-Erris, Belmullet, Kiltane and Ballycroy. The Catholic Church records for these parishes are present on microfilm number 1279205. I have also noted that there is a film on Ballycroy, County Mayo Ireland families (with Civil Registration births) covering the years 1856-1880 on microfilm number 1145946 (item 8). Gweesalia and Bangor Augoose are more obsolete names that I have heard associated with Kilcommon-Erris Civil Parish.

The Town of Belmullet (within the Townland of Belmullet) is a larger Town that is the primary hub of government and economic activity for Kilcommon-Erris Civil Parish. I have created a specific page on Belmullet in my County Mayo Market Towns section that has some additional details on this Town. Belmullet housed the Revenue Police Barracks, a Pound, Constabulary Force Barracks, the Grand Jury of County Mayo Courthouse, Bridewell, Stores, a Dispensary, and a Forge. The Townland of Bangor had a Revenue Police Barrack as well as a Forge and a "Fair Green." (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilcommon-Erris).

I couldn't find any patent applications for fairs for Bangor or any other Townlands in this Civil Parish, but fairs were held in spite of this. According to Samuel Lewis in his "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland," fairs were held in the Town of Belmullet and fairs for cattle, sheep, Pigs and yarn are held at Bangor. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 66). I didn't see any listings for these fairs in the Statistical Survey of County Mayo that was conducted in 1802.

Kilcommon Civil Parish had numerous Shooting Lodges noted in Griffith's Valuation in the Townlands of Altnabrocky, Bellacorick, Bellaveeny, Gortleatilla and Srahnamanragh. The Townland of Ballybeg had a Tuck Mill, Bellacorick had a Constabulary Force Barracks as did Gortleatilla and Knockmoyleen, Carrownaglogh had a Board of Customs Watch and Boathouse, and two Fish and Salt Stores, Salmon Fisheries were present in the Townlands of Goolamore and Tullaghan Bay, Kilgalligan had a Boat House and Station House, Lagduff Beg had a Revenue Police Barracks, Lenarevagh and a pound, Muingnahalloona had a Farmhouse, Porturlin had a Boat House and Watch House and Tullaghanbaun had a Board of Customs Watchhouse. Herd's Houses were present in the Townlands of Atticonaun, Bangor, Bellagarvaun, Briska, Bunnahowen, Castlehill, Doolough, Doona, Drumsleed, Fahy, Glenturk Beg, Largan More, Lettera, Muingmore, Owenglass, Roy, Sheean, Srah, Srahnakilly and Tarsaghaun More. The large number of Herd's Houses would seem to indicate a significant amount of pasture/grazing area in this Civil Parish. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilcommon-Erris). I found it interesting how many Constabulary Force Barracks were present in this more remote parish. Why did they see a need for them here?

As far as education goes, National Schoolhouses are present in the Townlands of Attavally, Bunalty, Town of Belmullet, Inver, and Sheskin and the Board of Education has National Schoolhouses in Carrowteige, Drumgollagh, Kilcommon, Srahnamanragh and Tallagh. The Griffith's Valuation for this Civil Parish also shows the Irish Church Mission Society having schoolhouses in Bangor, Carrownaglogh, Castlehill, Town of Belmullet on William Street, and Gortmellia. The Achill Mission has a schoolhouse on the Island of Inishbiggle and there is a Church Education Society Schoolhouse in Kilcommon (Pollatomish).

Many different Landlords were documented in Kilcommon Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted, but William Henry Carter (in chancery), Henry Bingham (in chancery), George Clive, Rep Alick Ritchey and the Trustee's of Achill Mission were a few of the more prevalent landlords noted.

I was able to find most of the above-mentioned landlords in Hussey Deburgh's Compilation "The Landowners of Ireland." An 1878 publication that documents the landlords of Ireland holding more than 500 acres or having land valued at more than 500 pounds. I couldn't find a specific listing for William Henry Carter (listed as In Chancery in the Griffith's Valuation), but there was a Henry Tilson Shean Carter that resided in Belmullet, County Mayo (this area) who held 40, 698 acres in County Mayo. I am uncertain if this is the same Carter or just a coincidental location. Henry Bingham (also listed in Chancery) held 2,311 acres in County Mayo. His residence was listed as London. George Clive had Ballycroy, County Mayo listed among his residences. He held 35,229 acres in County Mayo and 4,869 acres in County Tipperary. The Trustees of Achill Mission held 19,155 acres in County Mayo. Rep Alick Ritchey who dominated only 7 Townlands in Kilcommon-Erris was not listed in this resource. (De Burgh, 1878; 2007, p. 2,34,74,86).

The population of Kilcommon-Erris Barony plummeted during the peak famine years. There were 17,000 people in this Civil Parish in 1841, dropping to 12,253 in 1851. This drop of almost 5000 in those 10 years leveled off and by the year 1911 there were 12,266. (O'Hara, 1982, p.7). Most Civil Parish populations in County Mayo seemed to continue their decline in this period after the peak of the famine.