The Milltown Heritage Group hosted a book launch in the Community Centre on 20 November 2022. The event was very well attended and all the copies of the recently published book were sold. The author, David Connolly who spoke at the event about his grandfather Martin, has kindly agreed to provide free access to a digital copy of the book, for anyone who wants to read it on their device. Click below to read:
The Brady’s of Killeshandra
You can read David’s earlier book on the Brady’s of Killeshandra here: Click to read
We would like to thank Billy for contributing this magnificent transcription of Master O’Briens Copy Books. The transcription is taken from two old school copy books containing many local stories and songs recorded by Master Francis O’Brien, Principal in Larah (Co. Cavan) Boys’ National School from 1925 to 1962. Some of the stories were written by students of the school as part of The Schools Collection between 1937 and 1939. The copy books were passed to local historian Anna Sexton by Father Owen Collins.
We present below an edited transcription of the 1821 Census of Castlerahan (Castleraghan) Parish, courtesy of the author, James L. Brady. This transcription and analysis of the census returns of the parish of Castlerahan was a project which was carried out in 2007 in fulfilment of the requirements for the NUI Diploma in Genealogy/Family History by the author. We would like to thank James for contributing this important work which presents the information held in the census returns in a useful format which adds greatly to our knowledge of the parish during this era. This work was added to in 2008 when the author prepared a similar study on the parish of Lurgan which can be viewed here.
We present below an edited transcription of the 1821 Census of Lurgan Parish, courtesy of the author, James L. Brady. This transcription of the census returns of the parish of Lurgan, which was carried out in 2008, predates the transcribed version on the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) website. The author’s local knowledge and understanding of the geography and history of this region provides a highly reliable interpretation of the original census returns and should be used in place of the NAI version which is known for it’s poor indexation and transcription issues.
This article, by John P. Wilson, first appeared in Breifne 1963 (Vol.2 No. 6, pp 238-247). We would like to thank Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne for permitting us to re-publish the piece here. This is a very comprehensive analysis of the 1821 census return for the parish of Dromloman which extracts the salient points contained within the vast quantity of information which can be gleaned from the records. A very useful table is provided towards the end which lists the surnames of each townland.
1821 Census Parish of Drumloman by John P. Wilson
The 1821 census was “taken under Act 55 George II c.120 by enumerators appointed by local magistrates acting under the direction of the Chief Secretary. This act was passed owing to the unsatisfactory results obtained under the previous one”.
A copy of the census is available for fourteen parishes of Co. Cavan, Drumloman is one of these parishes. The census is of the civil parish of Drumloman. The modern Catholic parish of Drumloman North, better known as the parish of Mullahoran, is completely covered in the census. Drumloman South is now joined with the Catholic parish of Ballymachugh. This was done about the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1865 Dr. Kilduff. Catholic Bishop of Ardagh, took Clonlohan, Killykeen, Muckram, Clonoose Mor and Clonoose Beag from Drumloman North and added them to Drumloman South. Fifteen of the townlands, therefore, listed below now belong to the Catholic parish of Ballymachugh and Drumloman South.
The enumerator’s (or copyist’s?) work is in some respects unsatisfactory. He omits the names of two townlands and the names of a number of householders; he enters the names of four householders in Caronagh Lower twice; he makes no mention of licensed premises in the parish; he lists 51 householders as farmers but neglects to give the area of their farms in the appropriate column; he doesn’t give any totals and he doesn’t give his own name. On the credit side it must be said that his entries are clear and legible.
On the top of the page of the manuscript the name of the townland is given. The double page of the manuscript has seven divisions. (1) Here an arbitrary number is given to each house. (2) In this column the number of storeys in each house is given. (3) Here the name of the householder is given and the names of all the occupants of the house and their relationship to the householder. (4) Gives the age of each person listed. In column (5) the occupation (if any) of the person is given. (6) Where the householder is a farmer the number of acres held is given in this column. One large column (7) is left for observations. It is noteworthy that the religion of the different families is not given.
In the forty townlands covered in this census we find the spellings of five townlands completely different from those used nowadays. The census taker’s rendering does not even approximate to the current pronunciation which in turn is not always the same as current spelling. His spelling of surnames is at times peculiar, at times inconsistent, and at other times he tries to reproduce popular pronunciation. His spelling of Kane as Cain suggests that the magistrates appointed a man who was familiar with the Bible.
Of the 1,706 houses listed none had more than one storey. Not even Mark Kerre whom he listed as Esq., had a two-storey house. The condition of the houses is not commented on. In one case a family is said to be “nearly destitute of any covering”. It is not clear whether he refers to housing or clothing.
As well as the householder’s name and those of his/her blood and marriage relations, servants’ names are given. Craftsmen working in the house are listed and lodgers are mentioned. 146 widows and 80 widowers are given as householders (roughly 13% of the total). There are few bachelor householders.
One remarkable feature of this column is the early marriage age for girls which can be deduced from a study of the ages given for parents and children. If the ages given are reasonably accurate then some girls were married at 13 years : 14, 15 and 16 were common marrying ages. The average age of marrying for eleven wives taken at random from different townlands (allowing one year only until the birth of the first child) was not quite 19 1/2 years. Eleven husbands averaged 25 years at marriage.
One priest and two teachers are mentioned. The priest, Rev. John Egan, lived in Dundevan where he possessed a house with 12 acres of land. The two teachers named were Peter Keegan of Kilgola and Peter Smyth of Clonkiffer. The recording of schools and schoolteachers is unsatisfactory. He gives teachers for Kilgola and Clonkiffer but does not mention their schools or attendances; elsewhere he gives the names of the schools but does not mention the teachers. Fortunately we have more complete evidence concerning schools about this time from other sources. The occupation of 718 householders is given as farming. This amounts to 42% (approximately) of all householders. Some farmers were also weavers; there are labourers; labourers and weavers. There are some pensioners listed; some of these were labourers or farmers as well. There were two flaxdressers, four carpenters, two wheelwrights and four coopers. There were two millers, one spinner and sewer whose daughter was a mantuamaker (sic); seven taylors (sic); two blacksmiths; one nailor; one land-surveyor; five shoemakers; one stuccoman and plaist- (illegible) probably plasterer. There were apprentice weavers and shoemakers and an apprentice blacksmith. There is no mention of publicans although they existed. There were three professional beggars.
The enumerator fails to record the size of 51 farms of a total of 718. Of the 667 acreages given only 49 were of 20 acres and over; 502 were of 10 acres and under and 244 of these were of 5 acres and under. Subdivision of the land was common and kept the size of holdings small. In the townland of Kilgola (population 341) out of 71 householders listed only thirteen held land. Of these two had two acres each. One had 3 ½ acres, one 4 acres, one 4 ½ acres, two had six acres and one had eight acres.
It is regrettable that very little use is made of this column. An occasional personal remark (cf. Mr. Spinks’ remark in the Kilbride volume) would have been refreshing. The following extracts refer to the schools. There is evidence that the record is incomplete and it is very probably not accurate,
(1) Pollabawn: ‘In this town there is a school containing school containing 35 males and 15 females.
(2) Mullyhorn : “In this town there is a popish chapel and school containing 35 males and 15 females”.
(3) Killydriam : “In this town there is a school containing 36 males and 14 females”.
(4) Drumhowna : “In this town there is a chapel and school containing 50 males and 10 females”.
(5) Carigakilliu : “In this town there is a school containing 40 males and 26 females”.
The ages of children under one year are given in this column. Reference is made to previous marriages and family, of husband or wife. There is mention of a foundling child and of a woman’s husband being “absent from her”. Twinns (sic) get honourable mention also. If a house is not occupied the word “waste” is written opposite the house number in this column. The total population of Drumloman parish was 7,028. The population of the area now covered by the Catholic parish of Drumloman North (Mullahoran) was 4,638.
1901 and 1911 Census records added to each townland homepage. This means you can now view all the available census and census-substitute records on our 1821-1911 database in one location
21st February 2022
1911 Census records now added to our database and re-indexed to townlands and parishes. This brings the number of individual records of Census and Census-substitute records 1821-1911 now available to search on this website to 345,000.
Towns of Cavan – Earliest census records. Each town now has its own homepage and we have included the 1821 census records (where available), Tithe Applotment Book records c. 1832, 1841 census records (where available) and Griffith’s valuation 1857. The 1901 and 1911 census records were added on 20th March.
This article, by Rev. Terence P. Cunningham, BD., D.C.L., first appeared in Breifne 1960 (Vol.1 No. 3 pp 192-208). We would like to thank Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne for permitting us to re-publish the piece here. This is a very comprehensive analysis of the 1821 census return for the parish of Lavey which extracts the salient points contained within the vast quantity of information which can be gleaned from the records. A very useful table is provided towards the end which lists the surnames of each townland.
Notes on the 1821 Census of Lavey Parish by Rev. Terence P. Cunningham
A MS copy of the returns of the 1821 census of the parish of Lavey is one of the comparatively few records of that census preserved in the P.R.O., Dublin. In making some investigations into the history of that parish, I examined this MS and came to the conclusion that some notes which I put together by way of comment on entries in it in the light of contemporary or near- contemporary sources might be of interest to readers as showing the detailed if somewhat limited picture of a co. Cavan parish in the early nineteenth century that can be built up from these valuable records.
The MS for Lavey parish is evidently a copy of the actual census of the parish which had been made by the enumerator, Mr. William Heaslip. It is in almost perfect state of preservation. Any criticism of it one could offer would be directed at defects inherent in the original arbitrary or phonetic spelling, omission of returns on religion and on landlords and leases, paucity and unimportance of its general observations, neglect to sum-up totals of returns for townlands and for the whole parish. Yet these faults are insignificant in comparison with the value of its contents. The type of information contained in it may be deduced from an outline of the method by which the returns are presented. The parish is divided into townlands numbered consecutively; in each the houses (occupied and unoccupied) are likewise numbered consecutively and some general observations on the area included; for each occupied house the householder’s name and the names of those living with him and their relationship to him are given, and if he is a farmer, the number of acres he holds is recorded to the nearest quarter acre ; for each name is also given the age and occupation (if any) of the person concerned.
The parish of Lavey of the census is of course, the civil parish, as it is in subsequent census abstracts. This unit corresponds in all but one particular to the modern Catholic parish- the discrepancy is that the civil parish does not include the townland of Lisnananagh. Since the civil unit is no longer of importance, I have included in the following totals and remarks on the parish the returns of Lisnananagh which are taken from the Laragh-Drung MS volume, and I have adjusted the figures given in abstracts of subsequent censuses so as to have one basic area-the modern Catholic parish-all through.
Thirty-six townlands are enumerated but this figure includes separate counting of the upper and lower divisions of four townlands. In reality therefore only thirty-two of the modern townland names are recorded. To-day there are thirty five townlands in the parish. Lisnananagh of the Laragh-Drung MS volume is one of the missing three and has been supplied from that volume. The other two missing names are those of Knocknagillagh and Greaghnagee. However a comparison of householders and holdings of the census with those of the Griffith Valuation Book and with some pencil entries in the Tithe Applotment Book reveals that in the census Knocknagillagh is included in Lattagloghan Lower and Greaghnagee in Lattagloghan Upper. The census of the parish is therefore complete. Concerning the names of the townlands, it may be noted that the census is the earliest of extant documents which I have examined that records Drummanduff and Drummanbane separately, that gives the modern name of Corrawillin and that drops the denomination Pollarea. Moreover, Garryowen is distinguished from Killygrogan although it is stated to be a sub-division of that townland-the same is true of Corracarrow in relation to Lisaderg and of Drumestagh in relation to Stravicnabo.
A count of the number of names enumerated gives a total population of 4488. For comparison purposes the population in the following censuses may be of interest-1831 : 6305; 1841 : 5975; 1851 : 4134; 1861 : 3533; 1901 : 2374. An analysis of the 1821 census on the basis of age shows that 207 persons (just under 5%) were aged 60 years or more, and 1398 (over 31%) were children of eleven years or under. It shows, too, that marriages were frequent and at a comparatively early age. Thus there are only 45 unmarried householders recorded and of these only 18 were over 30 years old. Again, by one method of computation, the average age for marriage in the parish was 25 years for the husband and 21 for the wife, although there is evidence of some very early marriages.
The total number of houses returned is 850 of which 23 are stated to be in ruins or uninhabited. In 1841 there were 1027 inhabited houses in the parish. This gives an increase of over 24% on the 1821 total in the twenty-year period-a rate of increase much higher than in the country as a whole. On a point of detail, a very high increase in the number of houses between 1821 and 1841 took place in the townlands of Killygrogan, Moher, Beaghy, Killyconnan and Corrawillin, probably because of a more marked sub-division of farms in these areas than in others.
Like the 1841 census abstracts, the 1821 return makes a classification of the houses but the only basis used was the number of storeys in the house. How uninformative this classification was appears in the fact that only one house -that of Patrick Smith, farmer and publican, of Drumgora is returned as two storeyed. Yet in the 1841 classification 5 houses in the parish are given as first-class, 189 second-class, 570 third-class and the remainder fourth-class.
Twenty-one houses contained more than one family but in only one case did the number of persons housed under one roof reach remarkable proportions.
An analysis of family names in the parish shows that the most common patronymics were Smith, O’Reilly, Cusack, Tierney and Brady. More than one in every five persons bore the name of Smith the actual number of Smiths recorded is about 900, representing 188 families. Smith families are found in nearly every townland but their greatest concentration occurs in Beaghy Upper, Drumgora, Mullymagowan and Lisaderg in each of which well over half the population bears the name. The only other family-name prominent throughout the parish is O’Reilly (or Reily, as the enumerator invariably writes It). Sixty-two families (288 persons) are so named and are found particularly in Moher, Lateever and Lattagloghan Upper, but in no case is their concentration as marked as that of the Smiths. There are thirty-one families named Cusack: these reside mostly in the upper division of the parish. The Brady families number twenty-eight : their prominence is most marked in Gorinakillew and Lateever. Although the total number of Tierney families is also thirty-one, they are heavily concentrated in Lavey townland (12 families, 61 persons) where their preponderance in numbers and size of holdings is possibly an indication that their ancestors were erenaghs of the parish church, but there is no confirmation of this conjecture in earlier documents. Besides the local grouping of family names mentioned above, there is a noteworthy aggregation of the family-name of Connolly in Aghadreenagh, of Lee in Corragho, of Fitzpatrick in Cargagh and of Gilchreest in Kilnavar. In an appendix to these notes I have summarized the names and numbers of families in each townland.
One of the few valuable observations made by the enumerator provides some information on this topic, but it gives rise to its own difficulty. The complete entry, occurring at the end of townland no. 10 (i.e. Killyconnan), is transcribed below.
I think it can be shown that this observation is misplaced- it should have been put opposite the first entries for Grellagh Upper, i.e. under the cross-line not under the top-line on the page. There is no evidence of a chapel in Killyconnan (at least in modern times) until the present Lower Lavey church was built there in the early thirties of the last century; on the other hand, there is abundant evidence that there was a chapel in Grellagh Upper shortly after the date of the census. There is thus a very strong presumption that the chapel to which the observation refers was in Grellagh not Killyconnan. No further observation is made by the enumerator on other chapels or churches. It is certain however (and the above observation implies it) that there was another chapel in Lavey at that time. This chapel was situated in Knocknagillagh and, according to Lewis, was built in 1820, but it is probable that there was one on the same site before then. The Church of Ireland building in Lavey townland is not mentioned although, again according to Lewis, it was built in 1817 and replaced the very old church covered with straw whose site can still be traced near the southern corner of the old graveyard.
Two priests are recorded, each designated “parish priest.” The Reverend Thos. Reily, aged 60, resided in Corrawillin with Bernard Reily, a young farmer with a young family. His relationship to the householder is not stated but it is not unlikely that he was an uncle. Beyond this his identity remains obscure. Bernard Reily’s house, without doubt, was on the site of the house and shop now owned by Mr. James Tierney. The Reverend Owen Reily, aged 36, the other priest of the parish, lived in Lavey townland with Patrick Fay, a married man with a small farm and a total household of seven persons. Tradition has it that this priest was a brother of a Mr. James O’Reilly who lived on Lavey road in the thirties and later decades of the century, that these O’Reillys came from the neighbourhood of Moybolge, and that Fr. Owen became parish priest of Denn where he died. The location of Fay’s house is conjectural; it is the first house in the census of the townland but the enumerator could have begun his survey at any one of many points.”
No minister of any other religion is returned. However it is known from other sources. that the non-resident vicar of Lavey in the then Established Church was the Reverend Thomas Sneyde. Moreover, in the census, Samuel Lowry, a farmer residing in Cuttragh, is described as “clerk of the church of this parish” and Patrick Smith, a young farmer of Lavey townland, is designated “sexton.”
Three schools are recorded. In “Killyconnan” chapel there was a school attended by 32 schoolchildren. As pointed out above, this school was in the old chapel in Grellagh Upper. The old people in Lavey to-day recall having known in their youth men who had attended school there. The name of the school-master is not given; probably he was the Thomas Murphy, schoolmaster, aged 20, who resided with Andrew Mulligan in the neighbouring townland of Cargagh. The other two schools mentioned were in the upper division of the parish : 42 school- children attended a school on the land of Abraham Pratt in Stravicnabo, and 30 attended one on Cusack’s land in Drummanduff.
Six men are designated schoolmasters. Besides Thomas Murphy already mentioned, Thomas Cusack, aged 22, lived with his father in Stravicnabo; Patrick Smith, aged 31, was married and lived in Drummanduff; Owen Gilroy, aged 26, lived with his brother in Lattaglohan Upper;  Hugh Lee, aged 60, father of a large family, was a farmer in Mullymagowan; Thomas Smith, aged 28, lived with his father in Bogesky. It seems clear therefore that the census does not record all the schools of the parish and it is very likely that the schools in Moher and Beaghy which were in operation in 1824 were in existence in 1821. For one thing the total number of children in attendance is less than one-third the total recorded for 1824 and less than one-sixth the total of children between the ages 6-11 in the parish. Moreover a barn or poor cabin which had to serve as a schoolhouse in those days could have been easily over- looked by an enumerator.
The census does not mention the roads in the parish. However entries for the townland of Knockanoark yield indirect information on this point. James Morrison, who lodged in Bernard Fitzpatrick’s, and James Plunkett, who lived in an adjacent house, are both described as mail-coach helpers.” These houses were situated at Lavey Strand. The mail-coach road from Dublin to Enniskillen, therefore, passed through Lavey in 1821 as it did in 1836. In the previous century the coach route was through Ballyjamesduff and Crosskeys. One may conjecture that the prominence in county administration of the Burrowes family of Stradone House (an entrance to which was in Lisnananagh) brought about the change in route.
There is one observation which may be considered under this heading. In the townland of Cargagh, the enumerator remarks : “there is the remains of 7 old Batteries in this Townland.” I have no doubt that the reference is to what is described in the O.S. Map of 1836 as ” Cromwell’s Camp.” The site of this lies about one hundred yards to the south of the summit of Cargagh hill overlooking the Lavey-Crosskeys road and commanding a splendid view towards the south-west and south. To- day there is only one earthwork on the site. It is a small unimposing circular bank (about 16 yds, in diameter and 2 to 3 feet high) enclosing a flat circular mound (about 6 yds. diameter). The local inhabitants recall that about two generations ago there were a number of similar earthworks on the same site but that all except the remaining one were levelled for cultivation purposes. At any rate the O.S. Map of 1836 marks six earthworks on this spot and it is not improbable that a seventh had been levelled in the previous fifteen years. These, I take it, were the old batteries ” that caught the enumerator’s eye.
What exactly these earthworks were and how they are to be explained are questions whose solution must await further investigation preferably by archaeologist. The hypothesis that they were defences against raids from the Kingdom of Meath in the days of the supremacy of Tara has been advanced and is not improbable, but local tradition in Lavey ascribes a much more recent origin to them, one, as might be guessed, associated with Cromwell. According to this tradition, Cromwell camped there with his army on his way to join Sir Charles Coote’s forces beyond Stradone and, finding the route through Lavey Strand blocked by floods, set out by way of Mullymagowan where an engagement was fought with the local men led by ” Cruther” Smith. Certainly not all of this tradition can be accepted. Neither Cromwell nor Coote led armies into Co. Cavan during the Cromwellian wars. Yet it is recorded in a contemporary source that a Cromwellian army under Colonel Venables invaded Co. Cavan in 1651 to subdue the O’Reilly fortress at Ballynacargy. This army came from Ballimore, Co. Westmeath, and its route to Ballynacargy very probably passed through Finea and Lavey, so that it could have camped on Cargagh hill. If the traditional explanation as thus modified be correct, the earthworks are possibly sites of army camps or the resting places of siege-batteries, and some relevance may attach to an inscription on a tombstone in the old graveyard in Lavey which bears witness that Lieutenant-Colonel Owen Smith known “by y name of Cocollen [?] Liev” fought and died on King Charles’s side in the war of 1641.
OCCUPATIONS OF THE PEOPLE
(a) Farming. The great majority of householders are returned as farmers. In all, there are 625 farmers listed; a number of them have some additional occupation like weaving or one of the trades mentioned below. Of the farms, 10% do not exceed three acres, 21% are under five acres, 70% under ten acres and 94% under twenty acres. A small number of farmers have more than one farm, while one or two non-parishioners hold land in the parish. There are some large-size farms in the upper division of the parish especially in Killygrogan and Stravicnabo, and isolated large holdings in Moher, Lattagloghan Lower, Knockanoark and Bogesky. As a rule the area of bog available is given for an entire townland not for individual holdings; in this respect Mullymagowan is particularly fortunate and six other townlands to a lesser degree, but there are some surprising omissions, if one may judge from the O.S. Map of 1836.
(b) Labouring. About 150 men are designated labourers. Some of these are farmers’ sons or hired outdoor servants, but 117 of them are householders. Of the labourers who are householders only two are stated to have another occupation. The enumerator evidently distinguished between labourers, house- servants (of whom there are 290 recorded), and those with some trade or occupation such as weaving.
(c) Flax-Working. This was a common occupation then. The decline in home-spinning and home weaving did not begin until more than a decade after the census was taken. Most farmers grew some flax. Not a few farmers were linen-weavers themselves and many farmers’ sons and middle-aged men were similarly occupied. A total of 97 men (including 27 farmers) are returned as linen-weavers or simply as weavers. Moreover, most households included one, two or more spinners. These were all women-housewives, daughters of the householder, and even hired spinners. 582 women are returned as thus occupied. In addition ten men are described as flax-dressers. Concerning spinning and weaving, I have taken it that when the enumerator uses these terms without qualification he refers to flax-spinning and linen-weaving, not to the spinning and weaving of wool. However four men (including one farmer) in Cuttragh and one woman in Cargagh are specifically returned as woollen weavers and wool-spinner respectively. The weaving of cotton was not an occupation in Lavey in 1821 as it was in Kilnacreevy in Denn parish at that time. Nor is there any mention of dyeing.
Evidently not all the yarn which was spun in the parish was woven there for three men are designated yarn buyers. When the weaving was completed, the linen was sold in the market or perhaps used for home-made clothes. This may explain the remarkable number of tailors returned in the census -fifteen tailors and two apprentice tailors. One tailor, living in Leiter, is described as a travelling-tailor. In addition, one clothier, five seamstresses and one mantle maker were occupied in the parish.
d) Tradesmen. A great variety of trades are returned. Six carpenters, three masons, two coopers, six wheelwrights, two shoemakers, eight pumpmakers, two journeymen, one cow- jobber, five egg-dealers and one dealer in feathers give a picture of a self-sufficient community. There are unusual occupations too – a dancing-master (Aghadreenagh), a bone setter (Lattagloghan) and a broom-maker (Lattagloghan), but some others are not so unusual-twenty persons or thereabouts are put down as begging. It is surprising to see no mention of thatching as an occupation.
Four blacksmiths are recorded. The forges were in Leiter (where the smith was Thomas Cassells, a farmer of nineteen acres) in Knockanoark (the smith was named Edward Newman), in Beaghy Upper (Patrick McConnan), and in Drummanduff (Michael Brady who had an apprentice named Owen Brady- possibly his nephew). There were also two whitesmiths in the parish, one in Cuttragh (with an apprentice) and the other in Knockanoark.
Five publicans are mentioned. I have referred already to Patrick Smith who was a farmer and publican in Drumgora. The other publicans were Bernard Fitzpatrick of Knockanoark, James Smith of Lattagloghan Lower, Nicholas Smith of Drummanduff, and Matthew O’Reilly of Drummanbane.
There is evidence of three mills in the parish. Presumably these were corn-mills, but one of them was evidently a saw-mill too. This mill was in Drummanduff where Peter McCabe is described as sawer and miller.” The other mills were in Leiter and Drumnaveagh. In Leiter, Hugh Mac Guinness (or Maginnes as the enumerator records it) is returned as a sixty-year old miller whose eldest of three sons is an apprentice-miller; he is not a farmer and the probabilities are that he merely worked the mill for the landlord. The name of the kiln-man is also given- John Flood, a married man with a family. This Leiter mill stood a little to the north of the spot known as Leiter Big Tree on the site where there now stands the ruin of an extensive mill, but the mill of 1821 was much smaller, judging by the 1836 Map, than the one whose ruin now remains. The Drumnaveagh mill was owned or worked by James Mulligan who was also a farmer with a large family. This mill was situated near the spot where the ruins of Jenning’s place now stand. There is no record in the census of mills in Lattagloghan, Corrawillin, Killyconnan or Beaghy although there was a mill in each of these townlands later in the century.
Eight men of middle-age, three of them with small farms, are described as pensioners. One may conjecture that the basis of the pension was army service. If so, these men would probably have seen service in the Napoleonic Wars. One is tempted to see another probable result of the same wars in the large number of widows recorded in the census, but I have not comparative figures available to decide whether the number is in fact disproportionate taking account of the ages of the widows and the current mortality-rate of men.
1 The final entry in the volume reads : “388 pages in the Book that Mr. Wm. Haiselip took of the parish of Lavy.” Since the volume contains only 104 pages (or 207 counting the pages of observation columns), the “book” obviously refers to the original census report. Mr. Heaslip can probably be identified with the William Heaslip of Killynanum, parish of Denn, whose name appears in the MS volume for that parish.
2 In MSS of the census for other parishes these totals are summed-up. The figures given below for population, houses, family names, occupations, etc., are the writer’s own computations.
3 A fairly typical example of the method used will be found below in a transcription of part of the page on parish chapels.
4 Grellagh, Beaghy, Lattagloghan and Killygrogan (upper division called Garryowen).
5 The first record which gives the names of these two townlands is, as far as I know, the O.S. Map of 1836 and of course the Name Books of that survey
6 In seventeenth century maps and documents the area is designated Nadromyne or simply Druman,
7 The earlier denomination of Correderalis must, I think, be identified at least in part with the modern Corrawillin.
8 Pollarea in earlier records was a distinct townland; in 1821 as today it is included in the townland of Cargagh.
9 Garryowen is no longer a distinct townland although the name still remains: Corracarrow and Drumeslagh preserve their separate identities.
10 This figure is suspect. It was corrected in the First Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, Ireland, to read 6023 in 1834. I have not been able to get the population of Lisnananagh in either 1831 or 1834-the figures for these years are therefore for the civil parish.
11 One man, James Gaffney of Cargagh, is stated to be 100 years old. His parents probably were alive at the time of the Battle of the Boyne !
12 The age of eleven is chosen because apparently at that age children began to work as spinners, house-servants, etc. Indeed, not a few girls under this age are described as flax-spinners.
13 I found the average age of parents whose first child was aged one year or under. This worked out at just over 27 for the man and just under 23 for the woman in a total of thirty-six marriages. The average marriage would have taken place about two years previously, i.e. 25 for the husband, 21 for the wife.
14 Evidently some girls had married at 17 or 16 or even 15.
15 The actual increase for these townlands was 17 to 46, 49 to 80, 37 to 63, 13 to 28, 8 to 15 respectively.
16 Patrick Smith was aged 24 and had a farm of seven acres. Unlike the other publicans in the parish who had three or more house-servants or the help of a family, he had no help whatsoever according to the census. A tentative deduction is that his house had just been built. The site of the house is probably on the Dublin road at a place popularly known as the “old stables.
17 “Fourth-class : mud cabins of only one room; third-class : mud cottage with from 2-4 rooms and windows; second-class : a good farm house from 5-9 rooms and windows; first-class : all better houses” (1841 Census Report, Introd., pp. xiv, xv).
18 Bernard Smith’s household in Beaghy Upper consisted of the Smith parents with eight children, James Lynch (house-servant), Cornelius Maguire with a wife and two children, and two visitors — seventeen persons in a single-storeyed house. Mr. Smith had a farm of twenty acres.
19 Smith is the angelicized form of the Gaelic name O’Gowan which occurs frequently in seventeenth century and earlier documents.
20 Mr. John Tierney of Lavey townland informs me that in the old rent-books one area of the townland was designated “Lavey-Tierney as distinct from the bishop’s (Bereford’s) Lavey. In old lists of Lavey townlands, Lavey is indeed subdivided. Thus the Tithe Applotment Book gives Church Lavey and Lavey Isle: the “Commonwealth” Survey gives Lawy and Esse. In the Jacobean Inquisitions there is mention of Gallonyrorke-apparently a part of Lavey townland.
21 This date for the construction of Lower Lavey church accords with local tradition and is confirmed not only by Lewis but also by a letter written in 1861 on the occasion of the opening of Upper Lavey church. The letter was written by the Rev. Terence O’Reilly, P.P., Cootehill, to Mr. Philip Smith of Carrickvilla and was published in The Meath People, 19 October, 1861. In the course of the letter Fr. O’Reilly states: “It is about thirty one years since an assessment was made for the erection of a chapel in the upper division of Lavey, I left the following January and, the lower chapel being in the course of erection, the collection dropped …
22 It is mentioned in 1824 (Second Report of the Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry, pp. 6, 314-5), in 1834 (First Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, Ireland, p. 40a) and in 1836 (O.S. Map and Name Book). The chapel was situated in the western sector of Grellagh (Gaffney’s) cross- roads.
23 On intrinsic evidence alone one can conclude that a mistake was made (else why was the observation deferred to the last entry for Killyconnan and placed opposite a household to which no land was attached ?) The author of the mistake would appear to be the copyist not the enumerator.
24 Topographical Dict. of Ireland, ii, p. 247.
25 Loc. cit.
26 N. Carisle, Topographical Dict. of Ireland, London, 1810, s. v. Lowey.
27 The householder’s age is given as 23. His young son is named Thomas.
28 Rev. Owen O’Reilly was parish priest of Denn from 1835 (at the latest) to about 1848. He is buried in Moybolge Journal of the Breithne Antiquarian Society. vol. II, no. 2, p. 217). 28. In the forties and fifties of the last century the parish priest of Lavey lived about one furlong to the west of Lavey fort, but the house there would not be the first house in any systematic census of the townland.
29 N. Carisle, op. cit (for 1806), and the Report on Public Instruction (for 1835).
30 1824 well thirty of the chapels in the diocese of Kilmore were being used as schools it was not the practice then to reserve the Eucharist in parish chapels. The school in Grellagh was in existence in 1824 when 85 pupils attended and paid the master about $10 per year, and still in existence in 1836 when ” 60 scholars including 9 Protestants attended and paid the teacher from 1/3 to 3/- per quarter (O.S. Name Book).
31 In 1824 the master was Charles McKiernan. In the MS of the 1821 census for Denn parish, a Charles Kiernan was master of the school in Drumavaddy chapel. In 1835 Charles “Kernan was teaching in Lonnogs day-school (Second Report on Public Instr.).
32 He is probably the Owen Kilroy who was teaching in “a miserable hut” in Ranrenagh (Denn parish) in 1824, and in Garryowen hedge school in 1835.
33 Thomas Cusack taught in a barn in Moher and Pat Smith in a poor cabin in Beaghy, Cl. Report on Irish Education Inquiry, pp. 314-5.
34 O.S. Map and Name Book. The up coach stopped at Lavey Strand at 9.55 a.m, and the down-coach at 3.0 p.m. (Post Ollice Annual Directory, 1835. p. 389).
35 Cf. Taylor and Skinner, Maps of the Roads of Ireland, 1777, pp. 45-6, 249.
36 The eastern rim of the circular bank is broken for a distance of about three yards with a corresponding levelling of the small valley between the bank and the mound; the western rim is somewhat similarly broken.
37 Cf. P. O’Connell in Breifne, vol. I, no. 1, p. 10.
38 “Aphorismical Discovery of Treasonable Faction,” published in Gilbert’s Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 1641-52, vol. II, pt. 1, nn. 784, 790.
39 Venables had with him 2000 foot, 500 horse and some ordnance. The advance took place probably in the summer of 1651, for in September of that year Primate Hugh O’Reilly urged the Ulster commanders at Belturbet to relieve Ballynacargy. This they did, pursuing Venables and much of the bagage was taken and caried to the Irish campe” (Gilbert, op. cit., n. 793).
40 Coote at that time had marched to Athlone (Ibid., n. 784).
41 The type of settled army camp used at that period may be gathered from Mgr. Massari’s description of Owen Roe O’Neill’s camps at Lismore, Co. Cavan, in 1646 : “built and covered with sods, some three arms in length, others five or six” (The Catholic Bulletin, iii, p. 180).
42 Evidently this refers to the Confederate and Cromwellian Wars not to 1641 alone.
43 Excluding income from occupations of a farmer’s family, I counted 67 farmers who are stated to have also another occupation or source of income.
44 Plantation or Irish measure, if one may judge from the Tithe Applotment Book.
45 John O’Reilly of Derrygarru held sixty acres in Killygrogan, his herds- man being Philip O’Reilly.
46 Some of these farms, v.g. in Killygrogan and Moher, were on leases for 999 years granted by landlord Annesley in 1783. The tenants were popularly known as the “ninety-nines.”
47 The area of bog given in the census is as follows: Mullymagowan 25 acres; Drummanduff 14 acres; Kilnavar 14 acres; Carricknaveddan 12 acres: Lavey 10 acres; Cargagh 6 acres: Drumgora 2 acres. On the O.S. Map there are large areas of bog in Aghadroenagh, Killygrogan and Moher. Apart from stating the area of bog, the census gives no indication of the amount of unprofitable or waste land. If we assume that the acres allotted in the census to farms and bog is correct and do not include waste land, we must, on the basis of the area assigned in the Tithe Applotment Book, conclude that about 800 acres of land were reclaimed between 1821 and 1834.
48 CA. O’Brien, The Economic History of Ireland from the Union to the Famine, Pp. 315-34.
49 This deduction from the census is confirmed in the O.S. Name Book in which the produce of almost all the townlands is given as “oats, flax and potatoes”
50 Apart from the weavers who are also farmers, seven weavers are house-holders,
51 I am not sure what occupation is denoted by this term. There was a process called “dressing” which in this context referred to the stiffening or finishing of the woven product, but since the enumerator speaks of dressing flax not linen, I think it likely that he referred to ” hackling.”
52 Fergus Lee, aged 36, farmer (8 acres) and clothier, resided with his family in Lavey townland. In the O.S. Name Book, a cloth-press is recorded in Beaghy and a clothier in Mullymagowan.
53 I take this occupation to be the same as broguemaking.
54 Three whole families have this means of subsistence. In each case they are housed by neighbours–one lodged with Mary Denneney in Corrawillin, another family with Thomas Donohoe in the same townland and the third with Patrick Smith in Bogesky,
55 His house was located where Mr. Patrick Fitzpatrick of Lavey Strand now lives.
56 Although James Smith is stated to be also a farmer, the number of acres he held is not given. The previous entry is of the household of Thomas Donohoe who has a farm of 47 acres.
57 Nicholas Smith is likewise a farmer and publican the size of whose farm is not stated
58 He had a farm of 25 acres in this townland and 17 acres in Drummanduff. The public house stood at the New Inn crossroads.
59 Leiter was part of the Moyne Hall estate in the plantation arrangement. In the eighteen thirties it was held on a lease for life by Mr. William Burrowes and in the eighteen fifties the landlord was L. C. Marley. Hugh Maginnes did not remain in charge of the mill for many years : in 1834 the miller seems to have been Robert McGloin (or McGloon) and in 1857 the miller was John Matchet.
60 The O.S. Name Book (1836) records corn-mills in Leiter and Lattagloghan and a tuck-mill in Beaghy; the Grifith Valuation Book (1857) records corn-mills in Corrawillin, Killyconnan and Lattagloghan and a flour-mill in Leiter (Matchet’s).
61 There are just over one hundred widows in the parish, all of them house- holders and almost all of them with families. Of householders who had married, therefore, one in every eight was a widow at the time of the census.
APPENDIX. FAMILY NAMES IN THE TOWNLANDS
The spelling of the MS is retained. Doubtful readings and variant spellings are indicated in square brackets. The figure in curved brackets gives the number of families of a particular name in the townland; where no figure is given, only one family of the name is returned.
This article by Declan Cooney NT on the 1821 census of the Parish of Munterconnaught first appeared in Breifne 1998 (Vol. 9 No. 35, pp 877-883). We would like to thank Declan and Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne for allowing us to re-publish this article here as it adds greatly to our understanding of this important and quite unique set of records.
1821 Census, of the Parish of Munterconnaught by Declan Cooney
The census of 1821 was taken under Act 55 George III, c. 120, by enumerators appointed by local magistrates acting under the direction of the Chief Secretary. The records of this census survive only for four counties – Cavan, Fermanagh, Meath and Offaly (then referred to as King’s County). In Co. Cavan, the parishes covered are Annagelliff, Ballymachugh, Castlerahan, Castleterra, Crosserlough, Denn, Drumlumman, Drung and Larah, Kilbride, Kilmore, Killeshandra, Kinawley, Lavey, Lurgan, Mullagh and Munterconnaught. It is with the last-named parish that we are concerned here.
The returns for the parish of Munterconnaught have thirteen townlands listed whereas both the ‘Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes contain fourteen townlands. The townland of Knockaraheen, on the county boundary with Meath, is not included as such in the census returns. However, it appears that the householders of Knockaraheen were included by the enumerator in the returns for the neighbouring townland of Lurganboy. This becomes clear when the surnames listed in the census returns for Lurganboy are compared with those listed for Lurganboy and Knockaraheen in the Tithe Applotment Books (1825).
For the purposes of the census, the parish was divided into townlands which were numbered consecutively. The double page of the return was divided into seven columns. The first column shows the consecutive numbers arbitrarily given to each house, including uninhabited houses. The second column gives the number of storeys in each house. The third column gives the name of the householder and the names of any other occupants of the house, together with their relationship to the householder. The fourth column gives the age of each person listed. The fifth column gives the occupation, if any, of each person listed. The sixth column gives the number of acres held, where the householder is a fanner. The seventh column contains the enumerator’s own observations. At the end of the manuscript, which also includes the returns for the parish of Lurgan, are written the words ‘Finished by Wm. Walker, Cavan, 28th October 1821.’ We do not know, however, if William Walker was the enumerator or a copyist.
The returns for the parish or for individual townlands are not totalled. No information is given regarding religious affiliation. Townland names are rendered more or less phonetically and spelling is generally inconsistent, especially in relation to surnames (e.g. Flynn/Flinn/Flyn). It is noteworthy that the Irish prefixes 0 and Mac are generally dropped. Surnames such as O’Reilly, O’Neill, McGovern, are rendered as Reilly, Neill, Goveran. The handwriting is, for the most part, clear and legible.
Columns 1 and 2 The total number of inhabited houses was 416. There were also twenty uninhabited houses, one of which was described as ‘farmer’s waste’. Eleven houses are returned as two-storeyed. This was quite a high figure when one considers that of the 1,706 houses listed in the parish of Drumloman (Mullahoran/Ballymachugh) none had more than one storey. The two-storeyed houses in Munterconnaught were occupied by Rev. Robert Sergeant, Church of Ireland curate, Eighter; Hugh Brady, farmer, Corronagh; Jaines Blakley, gentleman farmer and captain of yeomen, Crohan; Margaret Blealdey, farmer and flax spinner, Ryefield; Petter Flynn, farmer, Ryefield. Matthew Porter, farmer, Ryefield; John Porter, farmer and miller, Ryefield; Phillip Reilly, farmer, Beherna; William Porter, farmer, Ballydurrow and John Reilly, farmer, Island. There was also an uninhabited two-storeyed house in the townland of Knocktemple.
Column 3 This column includes the names of the householders and the other occupants of the house. The relationship to the householder was specified. The names of servants, visitors, lodgers and ‘inmates’ were given also. The total population of the parish of Munterconnaught was 2,499.
Column 4 Even allowing for probable inaccuracies in the ages returned, the most striking feature of this column is the evidence it provides of the limited life expectancy during the early 19th century. Of a total poopulation of 2, 499, only 27, or just over 1% were over the age of 70. In the townland of Eighter, only five people out of 247 were over that age of 65. The oldest person living in the area was Mary Reilly, said to be aged 90, a widow and spinner who lived in Corronagh. Few householders were unmarried and marriages took place at a comparatively early age. The number of widows was relatively high. Margaret Clinton, aged 25, a bonnet-maker who lived in Island townland, was a widow with two children aged seven and five.
Column 5 As one would expect in a rural parish with no village, agriculture was the main occupation. A total of 182 persons were returned as farmers; 457 persons as labourers. Some of the latter were farmers’ sons who worked on the family farm. The importance of flax in the locality can be gauged from the fact that the largest single occupational group were the flax – spinners, of whom there were 631. All of these were women and some were as young as twelve years of age. In addition, there were sixteen weavers, seven tailors, flax dressers, hacklers, a seamstress, a .bonnet maker and a knitter. A total of 209 persons were returned as servants; these included house servants as well as outdoor servants and their employers were the strong farmers of the locality. Some of these servants were no more than twelve or thirteen years old. As one would expect, various trades and crafts are returned, including seven blacksmiths and a journeyman smith. Some of these tradesmen combined their trades with farming; these included George Garaty, a blacksmith from Eighter and Stephen Lee, a wheelwright who also lived in Eighter. Other crafts returned included shoe – makers, broguemakers, carpenters, a land surveyor, a cooper and a number of apprentices. Surprisingly, no masons were returned. There were also some unusual occupations. Peter Waters of Beherna was described as a ‘labourer and rat catcher’; Michael Flinn, aged 54, of Corronagh was the ‘ferry man of Loughramor’ ; Michael Tuite of Eigther was a taylor and ladies habit maker’; John Smith of Ryefield was a ‘kiln man’ – a mill and kiln were owned by John Porter in the same townland. The enumerator, in his observations on the townland of Knocktemple, refers to a catholic chapel and burial ground in this townland’. He also refers to the ‘ruins of an Old Church’. The Church of Ireland curate of Lurgan parish, Rev. Robert Sergeant (or Sargent) had 80 acres in the townland of Eigther. He employed a housekeeper, a kitchen maid and three servants. Rev. John Reilly, the parish priest, aged 50, also lived in Eighter, where he held 7 acres. It was noted that he also held 9 acres in Cornahilt in the parish and Barony of Casderahan. He employed a housekeeper and two servants. John Martin, aged 58, kept a school in Eighter with eleven boys and eight girls. Richard Traynor, aged 18, a schoolmaster living in Carrick, may have been attached to Martin’s school. John Condon kept a school in Knocktemple with sixteen boys and four girls. In Ryefield, John Condon aged 26 ‘has a school, 30 boys and 25 girls in this townland’.
Column 6 Most of the farms were small and subdivision appears to have been a common practice. The enumerator does not give the sizes of some farms and no account is taken of areas of bog. Among the larger holdings were those of Rev. Robert Sergeant, Eighter (80 acres); James Blaldey, Crohan (150 acres); Mathew Porter, Ryefield, (80 acres); Phillip Reilly, Beherna (60 acres); William Porter, Ballydurrow (60 acres) and Hugh Brady, Corronagh (63 acres).
Column 7 The enumerator’s observations are few and largely uninformative. The references to clergy and schools are recorded here, as are references to people of some standing in the area e.g. James Blakley of Crohan is described as a ‘gentleman farmer and a captain of yeomen;’ Joseph Whitely of Eighter is described as ‘farmer and constable;’ Mathew 0’Reilly of Knocknagarton is described as a gentleman farmer,’ as is Phillip 0′ Reilly of Beherna. Unusual occupations are also recorded in this column, as are references to twins, or persons being widowed. Three townlands, Ballydurrow, Knocknaveigh and Crossafehin have no observations recorded. No mention is made of licensed premises and no publicans are recorded, compared with five publicans mentioned in the returns for the parish of Lavey. The enumerator does not refer to any antiquities in the area.
No. of Inhabited houses
Names and Numbers of Families
40 (Also 1 forge, 1 school and 1 uninhabited house)
The enumerator’s spelling of townland names has been retained. Where necessary, the modern spelling is given in square brackets. The figures given are the writer’s own computations. The enumerator’s spelling of surnames has been retained. In some cases, the modern version of the surname is given in square brackets. A question mark denotes a surname which is not clearly legible.
1 National Archives of Ireland, CEN 1821/13.
2 See also Seamus Lynch, “The Census of 1821”, in Munterconnaught: A History 1847 – 1997, pp. 123 – 124.
3 Ibid., pp. 127- 132.
4 John P. Wilson, ‘1821 Census, Parish of Drumloman’, Breifne xi, No. 6 (1963), pp. 238 – 247.
5 By 1841, the population had increased to 3,167. The 1851 census shows that following the famine, it had dropped to 2,206 – a decrease of over 30% in ten years.
6 The ‘chapel’ was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was built at right angles to the present St. Bartholomew’s Church, which was built in 1847. The present Church of Ireland in Knocktemple dates form 1832.
7 Rev. Terence P. Cunningham, “Notes on the 1821 Census of Lavey Parish”, Breifne, i, No. 3 (1960), pp. 192 – 208