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

There were no individuals with the Brennan Surname documented in Kilmolara Civil Parish when Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857.

Kilmolara Civil Parish falls within Kilmaine Barony and is part of Cong and The Neal Roman Catholic Parish (formed in 1870). (Mitchell, 1988, p. 88). Two other Civil Parishes are also part of this Catholic Parish, Cong and Ballinchalla. Kilmolara Civil Parish is on the small side with only 19 Townlands. The only Roman Catholic Chapel documented in Kilmolara Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857 was in Village of the Neale that lies within the Townland of Ballyshingadaun. The only graveyard was in the Townland of Carrownakilly. Church records for Cong and The Neal Roman Catholic Parish are found on LDS Church Microfilm numbers: 1279214, 926232 and 926221 and cover the years 1870-1924.

The hub of economic activity is clearly in the Townland of Ballyshingadaun in the Village of The Neale. The Fair Green, Tolls and Customs of Fairs, an orchard and a pound are all present in this town. Herd's Houses were present in the Townlands of Ballyargadaun, Carrowkeel, Coolisduff, Creevagh North, Village of the Neale in Balllyshingadaun and Tobernashee. The significant number of Herd's Houses would seem to indicate a fair amount of grazing/pasture area. There were no kilns, corn mills or other signs of economic viability in any other towns of this parish. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilmolara).

Josiah Brown obtained a patent to hold fairs in the Town of Neale as early as 1612. (O'Hara, 1987, p. 89). The Statistical Survey of County Mayo that was conducted in 1802 describes a cattle fair in Neal as well as fairs on February 5, May 6, August 4 and November 5. (McParlan, 1802; 2007, p. 45, 47-51). This viable market town is often referred to as "The Neale".

As far as education goes, the only school was an Irish Church Mission Society Schoolhouse in the Village of the Neale (within Ballyshinagadaun). Samuel Lewis describes both a public and a private school in Kilmolara Civil Parish in his "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland." (Lewis, 1837; 2005, p. 181).

There were no "bog" areas, lakes or rivers documented in the Griffith's Valuation for Kilmolara Civil Parish; however, Samuel Lewis noted that Kilmolara Civil Parish is located next to Lough Mask in his "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland." (Lewis, 1837; 2005, p. 181).

Lord Kilmaine was far and away the most dominant landlord in Kilmolara Civil Parish covering 15 different Townlands when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1857. Reverend William Cromie was a distant second with three Townlands and part of another and Patrick Blake represented the Townland of Coolisduff. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilmolara).

Lord Kilmaine (also known as Francis William Browne, the 4th Baron) is listed as residing in The Neal Park, Ballinrobe; held 11,564 acres in County Mayo as well as land in four other counties in Ireland. Reverend William Douglas Cromie held 640 acres of land in County Mayo. I didn't see a Mayo address listed, only Douglas on the Isle of Man. (Local Govt Board, Ireland 1876; 1978, p. 308, 310). I will be adding pages on both Lord Kilmaine and Rev. William Cromie to my Landlords of County Mayo section in the near future. I was unable to find information on Patrick Blake at this time. There was a Patrick Blake who held land in County Galway but none listed for County Mayo in the above noted resource.

According to Bernard O'Hara in the book "Mayo Aspects of Its Heritage," the population of Kilmolara dropped from 1296 in 1841 down to 864 in 1851. By the year 1881 the population had increased to 957, but as of 1979 the numbers had dropped down to 312. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 8).