Kilmovee Civil Parish and the Incidence of the Brennan Surname in Griffith's Valuation, County Mayo, Ireland

Kilmovee Civil Parish falls within Costello Barony and is part of Kilmovee Roman Catholic that was formed in 1823. (Mitchell, 1988, p. 89). Church records for this parish are covered on LDS microfilm numbers 1279230 (items 7-9) and 926017. Item 7 of Microfilm number 1279230 covers Baptisms 1854-1913 and 1855-1881; Item 8 covers Baptisms at Kilkelly and Glann Chapel 1854-1910 and Item 9 covers Marriages 1854-1925. Microfilm 926107 covers Baptisms and Baptism Transcripts 1854-1881 and Marriages 1854-1880.

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Kilmovee Civil Parish in 1856, Roman Catholic Chapels were documented in the Townlands of Ballyglass, Glentavraun, and Kilmovee and Graveyards were present in the Townlands of Magheraboy, Rusheens West and Kilkelly. There is a notation in Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Ireland that stated that there was also a chapel in Glen. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 189). Glen is not listed as a Townland in Griffith's Valuation, but Glentavraun is. I am unsure if they are the same or if there is a Town by the name of Glen. The LDS film notes also mention a Glann Chapel in their microfilm description.

Kilmovee has 39 Townlands and is only 5 miles from Ballaghaderreen, one of County Mayo's major market towns of the 19th Century. A "Tolls and Customs of Fairs and Markets and Profits of Beam and scales" was noted in Griffith's Valuation in the Townland of Kilkelly. Kilkeely sits in the western most part of Kilmovee Civil Parish and also is the home of the Grand Jury of County Mayo Petit Sessions Court House, a Dispensary, Constabulary Force Police Barracks and a Graveyard. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilmovee). I couldn't find any patent applications for fairs or markets for Kilkelly, but the Statistical Survey of Mayo, 1802 states that Kilkelly had a Market or Fair for Cattle. (McParlan, 1802;2007, p. 46). I couldn't find any fairs listed for Kilkelly in the 1857 Thom's Irish and Official Directory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, but one of my favorite resources "A Various County Essays in Mayo History 1500-1900" describes fairs being listed in an earlier Thom's Directory from 1845 in January, February, March, May, June, August, September and November. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 88).

As far as education goes, there was a National Schoolhouse in the Townlands of Ballyglass and Tavraun. Ballyglass is in the eastern portion of Kilmovee Civil Parish and Tavraun is quite centrally located. There was a Schoolhouse in the Townland of Kilkelly as well. Samuel Lewis described four different private schools in his "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland." (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 189).

There were 9 documented "bog" parcels noted in Griffith's Valuation for Kilmovee Civil Parish, no specific lakes or rivers, but "water" was listed under property type in four different parcels. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilmovee). Samuel Lewis described 8500 acres of bog in Kilmovee Civil Parish. (Lewis, 1837; 1984, p. 189).

From an economic standpoint, Kilkelly, as mentioned earlier was one of the more commercially viable Townlands in this Civil Parish. The Townland of Ballyglass had a corn mill and pound and there were corn mills in Glentavraun, Gowlaun, Leveelick, Shammerbaun and Tavraun. The Townland of Shammerbaun had a kiln, Glentavraun had a Forge and the Townlands of Culliagh and Kilcashel had plantations. The Townland of Leveelick is listed as having an "Eel-weir." (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilmovee). I didn't see a river noted as running through this Civil Parish or specifically in Leveelick. It is my understanding that an eel weir is a trap created by constructing rock walls that narrow to a "V" and form a trap to catch fish and eels where the walls come together. This is the first eel weir that I have seen listed in County Mayo.

Viscount Dillon was the primary landlord in 24 of the 39 Townlands of Kilmovee Civil Parish. Richard Townsend and Christopher Taaffe were represented with four Townlands each. Francis R. O'Grady was only dominant in three Townlands, but Glentavraun and Tavraun were on the larger side. In 1876, the Local Government Board of Ireland compiled the "Return of Owners of Land of One Acre and Upwards." In this compilation, Viscount Dillon was documented as residing in Loughglynn House, Castlerea and held 83,749 acres in County Mayo. (Local Govt Board, 1876, p. 308). In a compilation of "Mayo Estates 1838-1876" found in "A Various Country Essays in Mayo History, the only Landlord with more land in County Mayo than Viscount Dillon was the Marquess of Sligo. (Gillespie; McCabe, 1987, p. 110). Richard Townsend did not have a listing in the Local Government Board publication and neither did Christopher Taaffe. Richard W Townsend was the primary landlord in Ballinrumpa, Ranagissaun and Rusheens East and West. Rev. Christopher Taaffe was the primary landlord in the Townlands of Derrynaleck, Gowlaun, Kilkelly and Knockbrack. There was a listing for a Richard J O'Grady who resided in Tavrane, Kilkelly and held 1,236 acres. I would assume that this is likely to be our Francis R O'Grady because of the Townland he resides in. (Local Govt Board, 1876, p. 311). Francis R. O'Grady was dominant in the Townlands of Glentavraun (a larger Townland), Tavraun and Carrowbeg. He also was the landlord for several parcels in Cloonfeaghra. Viscount Dillon dominated the Townlands of Aghadiffin, Ballyglass, Carrownlacka, almost half the parcels in Cashellahenny, Cloooncarha, Cloonfaulus, Cloonfeaghra, Cloonierin, Cloonnamna, Corgariff, Culliagh, Derragh, Kilcashel, Killaclare, Leveelick, Magheraboy, Raherolus, Shammerbaun, Shammerdoo, Sheheen, Sonvolaun, Sraheens, Tullyganny, Uggool, Urlaur and he had a parcel in Glentavraun. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Kilmovee). I was quite surprised that he wasn't the Landlord for any parcels in Kilkelly, the most economically viable Townland in this Civil Parish.

The fluctuations in the population of Kilmovee Civil Parish before, during and after the peak famine years were quite different that most other parishes I have looked at in County Mayo. The population of Kilmovee Civil Parish in 1841 was 5,844. It increased to 5,882 in 1851, 6,515 in 1861, 6,807 in 1871 and then began to fall dropping to 6,701 in 1881, 5,521 in 1911 and by the year 1979 there were only 1,692 people living in Kilmovee Civil Parish! (O'Hara, 1982, p. 8).

There were Brennans present in three different Townlands in Kilmovee Civil Parish, William Brennan in Gowlaun, Ambrose Brennan in Kilkelly and Mary Brennan in Magheraboy. Gowlaun and Kilkelly are adjacent to each other in the westernmost part of the Civil Parish and Magheraboy is in the easternmost part of Kilmovee Civil Parish.

A note for my Irish Research: There are Coffey's in Magheraboy as well. Patrick Coffey had parcels 27 and 28; Timothy Coffey had parcel 29, Mary Brennan had parcel 30 and Martin Coffey had parcel number 47.

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)
Gowlaun 3 Brennan, William Taaffe, Rep Christopher Land 175-3-19 0-1-0 16 others
Gowlaun 4c Brennan, William same Land and House 99-2-35 0-13-0 9 others
Kilkelly 7;24 Brannan, Ambrose Taaffe, Rep Christopher House   0-15-0 none
Magheraboy 30 Brennan, Mary Dillon, Viscount Land, House and Offices 18-2-12 7-0-0 none

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