Kilgeever Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Brennan Surname in Griffith's Valuation

There were no individuals with the Brennan Surname documented in Kilgeever Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1855.

Kilgeever Civil Parish falls within Murrisk Barony and included 106 Townlands when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1855. Two different Roman Catholic Parishes were formed to cover Kilgeever Civil Parish, Clare Island, formed in 1851 and Kilgeever Catholic Parish formed in 1850. (Mitchell, 1988, p. 89). Kilgeever Catholic Parish is currently referred to as Louisburgh Catholic Parish. (Smith, 1997, p.45). The LDS Microfilm number 926220 includes Clare Island Roman Catholic Parish and covers the years 1850-1881 and microfilm numbers 926224 and 1279212 covers Louisburgh Roman Catholic Parish for years 1844-1922.

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Kilgeever Civil Parish in 1855, there were Roman Catholic Chapels in the Townlands of Devlin South, Lecarrow and the Town of Louisburgh that lies within the Townland of Clooncarrabaun. Churches of undocumented affiliation were also documented in the Townlands of Roonah and Glebe. Graveyards were present in the Townlands of Glebe, Kilgeever and Lecarrow. Samuel Lewis in his "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland mentions a Chapel at "Goulagh" as well as "Lewisburgh". I am unsure where Goulagh is. He also describes "Gilgavower" as being an alternative name for Kilgeever. (Lewis, 1837, 2005, Vo. II, p. 97).

Occupied, named islands that were included in Griffth's Valuation are part of the 106 Townlands that were noted in Griffith's Valuation. There are 6 named islands documented in the General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland that I could not find in Griffith's Valuation: Carrickavea, Carrickbooria, Dooneen, Inishdegilbeg, Kinatevdilla and Mweelawn Island, thus are not included in my townland list, but are worth mentioning.

The Town of Louisburgh within the Townland of Clooncarrabaun appears to be the hub of most of the economic activity in Kilgeever Civil Parish. I have created a specific page on Louisburgh in my County Mayo Market Towns Section. The Earl of Atamont for the Town of Louisburgh obtained a patent for fairs as early as 1795. Four fairs were still being held by the year 1817. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 89). When the Statistical Survey of County Mayo was conducted in 1802, the Town of Louisburgh was listed as having fairs on June 24, August 4, September 29 and October 30 as well as a market for cattle. (McParlan, 1802; 2007, p. 46-51).

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Kilgeever Civl Parish in 1855, the Town of Louisburgh was home to the "Tolls and Customs of Fairs and Markets" and the Marquis of Sligo was the landlord in charge of overseeing its operation. The Town of Louisburg was part of the Townlands of both Clooncarrabaun and Glebe, but Glebe was home to just the Church and Graveyard while the Clooncarrabaun section of Louisburgh housed the Guardians of Westport Union Dispensary, Grand Jury of County Mayo Courthouse, a Kiln, Forge, Corn Mill as well as the above mentioned Tolls and Customs of Fairs and Markets. Numerous Townlands had a forge including: Aillemore, Bridge Village (a town within Bellakip), Caher, Carrowmore, Glen and Kinnadoohy. The Townland of Tully had a Corn and Tuck Mill, the Town of Feenune Middle in Feenune had a Mill and the following Townlands had Herd's Houses: Ballyheer, Bundorragha, Carrowclaggan, Carrowmore, Cloonaghmanagh, Corryaughany, Dadreen, Derrylahan, Glenkeen, Killadoon, Laghta Oughter, Lettereeragh, Maum, Oldhead, Sixnoggins, Tawninlough, Tawnynoran, Tonatleva and Uggool. The large number of Herd's Houses would seem to indicate a fair amount of grazing/pasture in this Civil Parish. Finally there was a farmhouse in the Townland of Balloor, a Lighthouse and Stores in Ballytoohy More, and a Constabulary Barrack in the Townland of Tooreen. Two Salmon Fisheries were noted, one on Roonah Lough and Carrownisky River and the other on Doolough, Fenlough and Bundorragha River. The Marquis of Sligo was the landlord for both fisheries. Two other observations that I found of interest was Grania Wael's Castle in the Townland of Glen and the "Society for Protecting the Rights of Conscience" who had property in this Civil Parish. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilgeever).

Sandhills were noted in the Townlands of Carrowmore, Dooaghtry, Doovilra, Kinnadoohy, Lackakeely and Roonkeel, and lakes were noted in the Townlands of Cross, Devlin North, Dooghmakeon and Roonah. I am still not sure of the significance or commercial value of the sandhills. I only saw one bog parcel noted in the entire Civil Parish of Kilgeever. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilgeever). According to "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Kilgeever Civil Parish had a "large quantity of mountain and bog." (Lewis, 1837; 2005, Vol II, p. 97).

As far as education goes, a Board of Education National Schoolhouse was present in the Townland of Askillaun; and National Schoolhouses were present in Clooncarrabaun (in the town of Louisburgh) and Killadoon when Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1855. There was an Irish Church Mission Society Schoolhouse in the Townland of Bunowen and a schoolhouse in the Townland of Roonah as well. In the 1837 "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" Samuel Lewis describes "11 public, 3 private and a Sunday School" in Kilgeever Civil Parish. (Lewis, 1837; 2005, Vol II, p. 97).

In the book "Antiquities of West Mayo" by Christiaan Corlett I found the following two entries describing Kilgeever Civil Parish most telling:

"It has been estimated that in the parish of Kilgeever alone the population fell from 2200 families in 1846 to 600 families in 1900." "The situation for so many remained so bad that in July 1863 the entire small farming population of Kilgeever parish presented itself to the Westport workhouse and requested to be admitted, although only 95 out of 600 could be accommodated." (Corlett, 2001, p. 93-99).

The Marquis of Sligo was the dominant Landlord in Kilgeever Civil Parish, followed by the Earl of Lucan (who held numerous small townlands and islands) and an assortment of others such as the Hon. E H Alderson Bt, Robert Rutledge (who only held 3 Townlands, but all 5 Towns in Bellakip) and the Law Life Assurance Company who held several large Townlands). (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilgeever).

The Marquis of Sligo (also known as George John Browne, the 3rd Marques) resided in Westport House and held 114,881 acres in County Mayo was well as land in County Waterford. The Earl of Lucan (George Charles Bingham, the 3rd Earl) resided in Castlebar House in County Mayo and held 60,570 acres. He also held land in Dublin. Robert Rutledge was much less prevalent than either the Marquis of Sligo or the Earl of Lucan but he was the only Landlord for Bellakip and the 5 Towns within it, Cregganroe and Kilgeever that was a sizable Townland. Robert Rutledge resided in Bloomfield, Hollymount in County Mayo and held 2949 acres. I was unable to find Hon. E.H. Alderson Bt in "Landowners in Ireland, a Return of Owners of Land of One Acre and Upwards) that was presented by the Local Govt Board in 1876. (Local Govt Board, 1876, p. 310, 312). He was, however, the primary landlord for 9 different Townlands in Kilgeever Civil Parish including: Ballytoohy Moore, Bunnamohaun, Capnagower, Fawnglass, Glen, Kill, Lecarrow, Maum and Strake. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilgeever).

The Law Life Assurance Company was the primary landlord in two larger Townlands: Caher and Carrowmore. I will be including this company in my section on the Landlords of County Mayo. They acquired significant property in County Mayo when the Encumbered Estates Court was in operation and their ruthless business practices didn't go unnoticed in the years following the famine.

In the History of Mayo by J. F. Quinn, the following describes the eviction tactics of the Marquis of Sligo and the Earl of Lucan:

"Monsignor D'Alton says: Village after Village was blotted out, and for miles around the solitude was unbroken by the voice of man." "Lord Sligo cleared the whole countryside along Clew Bay so as to furnish his brother-in-law Mr. Wilbraham, with ample lands, and from his house at Old Head this relative could look around on the ruins of many a village, and except for his family and his servants, he was alone." (Quinn, 1996, Vol. II, Chap 22, p. 245).

The population of Kilgeever Civil Parish plummeted during the peak famine years going from 12,573 in 1841 to 6,892 in 1851. By the year 1910, there were only 4,602 people remaining in this Civil Parish. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7