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

Kilmeena Civil Parish falls within Burrishoole Barony and is part of Kilmeena Roman Catholic Parish. The Civil Parish of Kilmaclasser is also part of this Catholic Parish. I was unable to find Church records for this Catholic Parish in LDS microfilm; however, one film Microfilm number 0979699, according to the LDS Description may have some marriage registers, Diocese of Tuam, for Kilmeena 1823-1825 in item five. This film is listed on the LDS site as carrying parochial marriage registers for the Diocese of Tuam for the years 1820-1829 (early by most standards) and may be worth a look due to the limited nature of records for this area. It also has parochial registers of Burriscarra, Ballintubber, Achill and Burrishoole in County Mayo.

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1855, there was a Roman Catholic Chapel in the Townland of Moyna and a church of unnamed denomination in Buckfield as well. There were graveyards in the Townlands of Inishdaff, Kilmeena and Rusheen.

Kilmeena Civil Parish had 112 Townlands if you include the named, occupied islands of Clew Bay. From an economic standpoint, if you were to just look at the Griffith's Valuation, there was very little to speak of. The Board of Customs had Coast Guard Station Watch and Boathouses in the Townlands of Inishgowla and Inishlyre. There was another Coast Guard Station house in the Townland of Westport Demesne as well. The Town of Buckfield had a Pound, but I couldn't find any corn mills, kilns or a forge in Kilmeena Civil Parish. The Ballast Board occupied a lighthouse and a light keepers house on the Island of Inishgort; there was a Plantation in the Townland of Roosdooaun and a Bathing lodge in the Townland of Rusheen. Herd's Houses were present in the Townlands of Carrowbeg, Collan More, Creggaunnahorna, Cross, Drumard, Gortawarla, Knockasproha, Knockballagh, Knocknaboley, Knockychottaun, Moyna, Roekilmeena, Rossow, Rusheen, Slaugar, and Tonaraha West. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilmeena). The large number of Herd's Houses would seem to indicate a fair amount of grazing/pasture area.

I couldn't find a designated "fair green" or a requested patent for fairs and markets for Kilmeena Civil Parish; however, its close proximity to the Townlands of Newport and Westport (significant market towns) provide a source of market goods.

There were no designated "bog" parcels noted in the Griffith's Valuation for Kilmeena Civil Parish but there were numerous lakes and an unnamed river present in numerous Townlands. As far as education goes, there were National Schoolhouses in the Townlands of Moyna, Rosdooaun and Tonaraha West and a Church Education Society Schoolhouse in the Townland of Rusheen. Samuel Lewis describes 2 public schools and 11 private schools in his 1837 "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 179).

The Marquis of Sligo was the predominant Landlord representing over 44 Townlands and many of the unnamed Islands. The Law Life Insurance Company followed him, being the representative landlord for over 21 Townlands and a smattering of other landlords covered the area such as Judith O'Donnell, Sir Rd O'Donnell Bt, Rep Chas McDonnell and Dominick Blake. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilmeena). I will be creating a page on both the Marquis of Sligo and the Law Life Insurance Company in the Landlords of County Mayo section of my Website in the very near future.

The Marquis of Sligo resided in Westport House, Westport and held 114,881 acres in County Mayo in 1876. The Law Life Insurance Company was not specifically listed in the Land Owners in Ireland (Return of Owners of Land of one Acre and Upwards), but this company is heavily represented not only in 22 Townlands of Kilmeena Civil Parish but in numerous other Civil Parishes such as Aglish and Ballyhean as well. Sir Rd O'Donnell Bt is listed as residing in Kingstown with 7,488 acres. I am not sure at this time if Kingstown refers to County Galway, Dublin or where, but it does not appear to be a Townland in County Mayo. I was unable to find listings at this time for Judith O'Donnell, Rep Chas McDonnell or Dominick Blake. (Local Govt Board, Ireland 1876; 1988, p. 311, 312).

According to Bernard O' Hara's book "Mayo Aspects of Its Heritage," the population of Kilmeena dropped from 7876 in 1841, to 5108 in 1851, to about 2742 in 1881, a rather drastic drop to say the least. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 8).

There was only one individual with the Brennan surname noted in the Kilmeena Civil Parish Griffith's Valuation, John Brennan in the Townland of Drumard. John shares a herd's house and land with Denis Sheridan. They are landlords for a home on an unoccupied parcel in the same Townland as well.

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)
Drumard 9a Brennan, John McDonnell, Rep Charles (in Chancery) Herd's House and Land 54-1-14 10-2-0 one other
Drumard 9b unoccupied Brennan, John & Sheridan, Denis House   0-5-0