Killala Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Corcoran Surname in Griffith's Valuation

Killala Civil Parish falls within Tirawley Barony and had 28 Townlands. Of the 13 Islands that are part of Killala Civil Parish, only one, Bartragh Island is noted as having any structures. The other 12 named Islands like Georges Island, Illangersaun, Green Island, Horse Island, Baunrosbeg and Baunrosmore have single occupiers holding only land.

Killala Roman Catholic Parish covers Killala Civil Parish, and Templemurry Civil Parish is also included in this Catholic Parish. Catholic Church records for this Parish are present on LDS microfilm number 1279204 and cover the years 1852-1880; LDS microfilm number 897365 covers the Killala Church of Ireland Church records for the years 1757-1772.

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted, there was a Roman Catholic Chapel in the Townland of Townplots West, Town of Killala on Chapel Lane and a Church and Graveyard on Church Street in the same town. There were two more graveyards in the Townlands of Abbeylands and Crosspatrick. The Wesleyan Methodist Society had a Chapel on Preachinghouse Street in the Town of Killala within the Townland of Townplots West.

The early 19th century saw considerable grain export through Killala Bay. The Bishop of Killala obtained a patent for a market and fairs in Killala as early as 1613. Sir William Fenton obtained a patent for a market and fairs as early as 1630 for the Townland of Moyne, Killala Civil Parish. (Gillespie, Crawford, 1987, p. 88-89). Killala along with Ballina, Ballinrobe, Ballaghdirreen, Claremorris, Crossmolina, Foxford, Newport, Swinford and Westport were the major market towns of the 19th century in County Mayo. I have created a specific page on Killala in my County Mayo major market towns section.

When the Statistical Survey of County Mayo was conducted in 1802, the Town of Killala was listed as having a market for grain and Moyne was listed as having a market or fairs for cattle. Fairs were being held at the time in the Town of Killala on May 6; and in Moyne on May 18, July 26, October 14 and December 3. (McParlan, 1802, 2007, p. 37,45, 47-51).

The hub of economic activity appears to be in the Townland of Townplots West, Town of Killala where the following are noted in the Griffith's Valuation: Shambles and Potato Market, Tolls and Customs of Fairs and Markets, a workshop, numerous stores, forges, a kiln, Constabulary Force Barracks, the Grand Jury of County Mayo Petty Session's House and the Board of Guardians of Killala Union Dispensary. There was a Board of Guardians of Killala Union Workhouse in the Townland of Killala as well as an Infirmary, a Fairgreen and Tolls and Customs of Fairs in the Townland of Moyne, a Board of Customs Coast Guard Station House in the Townland of Ross, a corn mill in the Townland of Castlereagh, a Timber Yard in the Townland of Townplots West, stores and a Kiln in the Townland of Townplots East, and a fisherman's house is listed in the Townland of Kilgobban. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Killala). Samuel Lewis in his The Topographical Dictionary of Ireland acknowledges the following about Killala Civil Parish fishing, "A Considerable fishery is carried on, in which more than 300 persons are occasionally engaged." (Lewis, 1837;1984, p. 120).

As far as education goes, there was a National Schoolhouse in the Town of Townplots West, Town of Killala on Chapel Lane, and schoolhouses in the Townlands of Killala, Ross and in the Town of Townplots West in the Town of Killala.

A variety of different landlords were represented in Killala Civil Parish, but the primary ones were Sir William Roger Palmer Bt, Charles Kirkwood, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and Earnest Knox. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Killala). In the 1876 "Land Owners in Ireland" (A Return of Owners of Land of One Acre and Upwards), Sir William Roger Palmer Bt is listed as residing in both Dublin and London, and held 80,990 acres in County Mayo. Charles Kirkwood (Capt Charles K Kirkwood) resided at Barbra House, Killala and held just over 944 acres in County Mayo and Ernest Knox (Major Ernest Knox) resided in Castlerea, Killala and held just over 389 acres in County Mayo, Ireland. (Local Govt Board, Ireland; 1876, p. 310,311). The Ecclesiastical Commissioners represented the majority of parcels in the Townlands of Killala and Townlplots West. This Religious governing body held significant parcels of land throughout Ireland. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners were in charge of the financial affairs of the Church of England. They appeared to enlist the local landed gentry and other prominent community members to help enforce the religious diocese agenda.

The population of Killala Civil Parish declined during the peak famine years going from 3,253 in 1841 to 2919 in 1851, but the most significant drop occurred after the famine. By the year 1911 there were only 872 residents remaining in Killala Civil Parish. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).

There were only two Corcorans documented in Killala Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856 and they were both in the Townland of Townplots West in the Town of Killala, Michael Corcoran on Hill Street and Martin Corcoran on George's Street. Townplots West is very centrally located in Killala 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.

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)
Townplots West, Town of Killala, Hill Street 32 (3) Corcoran, Michael Kirkwood, Robert House   1-10-0 none
Townplots West, Town of Killala, George's Street 32 (33) Corcoran, Martin Sills, George House, Yard and Small Garden   0-8-0 none

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