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

There were no individuals with the Gahagan, Goaghan, Goghan, Gaughan or Geoghegan Surnames documented in the Kilconduff Civil Parish Griffith's Valuation when it was conducted in 1856; there was however a Martin Goggin and a James Gavhagan in the Town of Swinford. There were numerous Gahaghans in this Civil Parish, but this is the first I have seen this surname, Gavhagan. I am including the records for both of these individual surnames as phonetically they are very close to the Gagahan, Gaughan surname and its variations. I have noted that many of the priests have written the surnames phonetically in the church records which can cause considerable confusion when it comes to differentiating surnames like these.

Kilconduff Civil Parish falls within Gallen Barony and contained 45 Townlands (including Swinford, one of the major market towns in County Mayo in the 19th century) when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856. Kilconduff Civil Parish is part of Kilconduff and Meelick Roman Catholic Parish (that was formed in 1808). (Mitchell, 1988, p. 88). It is also referred to as Swinford Roman Catholic Parish. Catholic Church records for this parish can be found on microfilm number 1279233 and 926020 and cover the years 1808 to 1915. This is quite early in comparison to most other parishes. Meelick Civil Parish is also part of this Roman Catholic Parish.

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Kilconduff Civil Parish in 1856, there was one Roman Catholic Chapel in the Town of Swinford (within the Townland of Swinford) on Chapel Street. There was also a Church of undocumented affiliation and a burial ground on the same street. There was another burial ground in the Townland of Rathscanlan. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilconduff).

According to the Statistical Survey of County Mayo that was conducted in 1802, the Town of Swinford had a Market for Grain and a Market or Fair for Cattle, and fairs were held on May 20, July 2 and December 18. (McParlan, 1802; 2007, p. 37, 45, 47-51). I couldn't find any patent applications for fairs or markets for any of the Townlands of Kilconduff Civil Parish, but by the end of the 18th century fairs were being held on four different dates in the Town of Swinford. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 90).

The Town of Swinford was the hub of most of the commercial activity in Kilconduff Civil Parish. The Griffith's Valuation showed a "Tolls and Customs of Fairs and Markets" on Circular Road in the Town of Swinford, and I noted a fairgreen in Rathscanlan (just north of Swinford) on the 1838 survey map. The Town of Swinford also had the Grand Jury of County Mayo Bridewell and Courthouse, Revenue Police Barracks, Constabulary Force Police Barracks, Guardians of the Poor of Swineford Union Model Farm, Workhouse and Plantation, a Dispensary, and a Pound. There were also numerous parcels listed as "building ground." Other Townlands with parcels of economic interest were Ballindrehid with the Crookaleen Lodge; there were Corn Mills in the Townlands of Ballyglass, Carrowbeg and Lagcurragh, a Mill in Knockranny and a Forge in Drumshinnagh. A Ferry was noted in the Townland of Cloonlumney (perhaps a means of transport over the River Moy?) and there were Herd's Houses in the Townlands of Cuillaun, Esker and Tonroe. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilconduff).

As far as education goes, there was a National Schoolhouse in the Townland of Brackloon and a Board of Education National Schoolhouse on Chapel Street in the Town of Swinford.

Kilconduff Civil Parish appears to have a significant amount of mountainous terrain and more bog-designated parcels than I have seen thus far in other Civil Parishes. The River Moy and Cloonaghboy Lough are documented in this area.

The Brabazon family had a lot to do with the development of Swinford; they acquired land in this area due to the "Cromwellian Settlement." Captain H. Brabazon was heavily represented in the larger Townlands of this Civil Parish, including the Town of Swinford. Other Landlords that dominated two or more Townlands were William O'Donnell, Robert Rutledge, Watson Rutledge, Edward Baxter, Joseph Kirkwood, William Graham and Richard D'arcy. One of the Townlands that Watson Rutledge represented, the Townland of Curryaun listed four different subdenominations of that Townland: Culdhuv, Curranabreena, Curryaunbeg and Portlogga. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilconduff).

Hussey De Burgh created a very thorough compilation of "The Landowners of Ireland". It was compiled in 1878 and included all landlords in Ireland holding more than 500 acres or having land valued at over 500 pounds. I couldn't find a listing for Capt. Hugh Brabazon, but there was a listing for Captain John P Brabazon who resided in Swinford County Mayo and held 6857 acres in County Mayo. They do not appear to be the same, but I mention him because of his residence and large amount of acreage. There were no listings in De Burgh's compilation for William O'Donnell, Watson Rutledge or Richard D'Arcy. Robert Rutledge was listed as residing in Bloomfield, Hollymount and held 2949 acres in County Mayo. Edward Baxter (listed as Edward Dundee Baxter) held 2151 acres in County Mayo and William Graham (William J) held 700 acres in County Mayo. (De Burgh, 1878; 2007, p. 26, 50, 189, 398).

Compared to other Civil Parishes in County Mayo, Kilconduff Civil Parish had a relatively small drop in population between 1841(7,072) and 1851 (6,909), which would be reflective of the peak famine years. In 1911 there were 6,466 people living in the Kilconduff area. What was dramatic for this Civil Parish was the drop that occurred between 1911 and 1979. By 1979 there were only 2,954 people residing in Kilconduff Civil Parish, a drop from 1911 of more than 3500! (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).

As I noted above, there were no individuals with the Gahagan, Goaghan, Goghan, Gaughan or Geoghegan Surname documented in the Griffith's Valuation for Kilconduff Civil Parish. Martin Goggin was present in the Town of Swinford on Chapel Lane and James Gavhagan was also in the Town of Swinford on Barrack Street. (James had parcel number 19-8 and Thomas Brennan had parcel 19-7).

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)
Swinford (Town of Swinford) Chapel Lane 19-39 Goggin, Martin Neilan, Mary Anne House   0-5-0 none
Swinford (Town of Swinford) Barrack Street 19-8 Gavhagan, James Dempsey, Ellen House and Yard   2-0-0 none

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