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

Oughaval Civil Parish falls within Murrisk Barony and is part of Aughaval Roman Catholic Parish. You will sometimes also hear this Parish referred to as Westport, Lecanvey and Drummin. The records for this Civil Parish began reasonably early (1823) in comparison to other Catholic Parishes in County Mayo. There are 91 Townlands in Oughaval Civil Parish if you include the named, occupied islands that are listed on Griffith's Valuation. The Townlands of Cahernamart, Carrowbeg, Knockranny and Killaghoor each include sections of the Town of Westport within their borders. The Town of Westport was one of County Mayo's premier seaport and market towns in the early 19th century. It is located on the southeastern tip of Clew Bay. In the late 1700's many families from Northern Ireland came to Westport with a host of new trades and skills including Presbyterian Weavers. The Textile Industry was firmly established by the early 1790's in the Town of Westport. The town took a big economic hit around 1815, but despite the hardships caused by the famine and decline of the textile industry, was still a growing market town as noted in J.F. Quinn's book "The History of County Mayo", Volume 2, Chapter 21 describes. A notation from Slater's Directory for 1846 describes Westport in the following way:

"Westport is an important and thriving seaport and market town, 156 miles from Dublin, 28 miles from Ballina, 10 from Castlebar and 7 from Newport."

I am doing a special section on the market towns of County Mayo and I will have more specific details on Westport included there.

Aughaval Roman Catholic Parish has its Catholic Churches in the following Townlands: Cahernamart (there is also a Sisters of Charity Convent here), Cahernamart in the Town of Westport on South Mall, Drummin East, Thornhill and Westport Demesne. There was a "Guardians of the Poor of Westport Union" Workhouse Graveyard in the Townland of Carrowbaun, and Graveyards in Carrowkeel, Churchfield, Drummin East and Glaspatrick. There was a Methodist Meeting house in the Townland of Cahernamart, Town of Westport on South Mall and there is a Presbyterian Meeting House on Castlebar Street in the Town of Westport that lies within the Townland of Knockranny.

As far as education goes, there were Board of Education National Schoolhouses in the Townlands of Bellataleen, Cuilmore, Glenbaun, Killadangan, Kilsallagh Lower, Teevenacroaghy and a National Schoolhouse in Farnaght. There was a parochial schoolhouse on Newport Street in the Town of Westport within the Townland of Carrowbeg and a St. Patrick's National School in Westport Quay that is part of the Townland of Cloonmonad.

From an economic standpoint, the Towns of Westport and Westport Quay are the primary areas of commercial activity. The Townland of Cahernamart probably contains the largest section of the Town of Westport. The following notations were made in Griffith's Valuation for Cahernamart: charitable institution, Flour Mill and the Guardians of Westport Union Workhouse. In the Town of Westport (part of Cahernamart) there was a brewery, a provision factory, numerous stores, a constabulary force barrack, infantry barracks, limekiln and quarry, warehouse, plantation, six plus corn stores, a corn mill, distillery, a market house and weight house, tolls and customs of town, and a ball court. The part of Westport that lies within Knockranny had a hotel, courthouse and bridewell. The portion of Westport within The Townland of Carrowbeg had corn stores, and the Guardians of the Westport Union Dispensary. Westport Quay, a Town within Cloonmonad had a Constabulary Force Barracks, a Customs House and Yard, a corn store and a Widow's Asylum. The Townlands of Ardmore, Bellataleen and Drummin East had corn mills, Belclare had Flour, Corn and Bleach mills, Churchfield had a Smithy and Murrisk Demesne had a pound. A patent was obtained as early as 1781 to the Earl of Altamont for four fairs in the Town of Westport, and The Marquis of Sligo obtained a patent for a daily market there in 1825.

I didn't see any designated bog areas, lakes or rivers in Oughaval Civil Parish in the Griffith's Valuation. According to Bernard O'Hara's book "Mayo Aspects of Its Heritage", the population for the Civil Parish of Oughaval went from 13,441 in 1841 to 13,282 in 1851, followed by a large plummet in 1881 to 7,944.

The First Lord Altamont was the man responsible for the early development of the Town of Westport, but Lord Sligo, who acquired large parcels of land in this area, was the dominant figure in Oughaval and most prevalent landlord when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1855. There was a wide array of landlords listed for Oughaval Civil Parish but aside from the Marquis of Sligo, the Earl of Lucan, Sir Wm Roger Palmer, Bart and John C Garvey were the most frequently represented.

There were Brennans present in three different Townlands of Oughaval Civil Parish when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1855. John Brennan was noted in the Townland of Cahernamart, in the Town of Westport on Shop Street and appears to be a landlord for Patrick Kelly on Peter Street as well, John Brennan was present in the Townland of Killaghoor and Christopher Brennan had 3 parcels in the Townland of Kilsallagh Lower. Cahernamart and Killaghoor are right next to each other in the far eastern part of Oughaval Civil Parish but Kilsallah Lower where Christopher Brennan has his parcels is distantly located in the western tip of the 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, Rood and Perches - a-r-p Total Valuation in pounds, shillings and pence Shared with (other occupiers)
Cahernamart (in the Town of Westport on Shop Street) 3 Brennan, John Gibbons, Patrick House, Office, Yard and Small Garden   10-0-0 none
Cahernamart (in the Town of Westport on Peter Street) 2 Kelly, Patrick Brennan, John House and Small Yard      
Killaghoor 11 Brennan, John McDonnell, Matthias Land 1-3-9 1-0-0 none
Kilsallagh Lower 12a Brennan, Christopher Ludden, John House and Land 8-3-21 2-16-0 none
Kilsallagh Lower 14 Brennan, Christopher same Land 77-3-7 1-2-0 4 others
Kilsallagh Lower 16 Brennan, Christopher same Land 161-3-23 1-0-0 (total for all 21 parcels) 21 others

Griffiths Valuation- askaboutireland.ie website