Killashandra Census 1841 – Chloropleths

Killashandra Census 1841 – Chloropleths

Here we visualise some of the data from the 1841 census of Killashandra. Hover over a townland to display its name. Click on a townland to get more details on its status in 1841.

Note that we have not included the urban populations of Killashandra Town and Arvagh Town in these chloropleths. Populations for surrounding townlands may be thin as the data are recorded with respect to the town and not to the townland.

Population Density

For each townland, we show the the total population who were present divided by the area of the townland in hectares.

Life Expectancy

Households were asked to name all the occupants who had died since the last census, including their year of death and age at which they died. The chloropleth shows the average age of death for the deceased population in each townland.

Literacy Levels

The chloropleth shows a literacy score for the present population, aged 12 years and over, in each townland. Households were asked to enter for each occupant “Read”, “Read and Write” or “Cannot Read”. The actual responses were much more numerous than these three possibilities, but we derived one of the three possible values from the given response. (A small proportion – 1% – of values could not be ascertained and were designated “Unknown” and omitted from the analysis). We assigned a score of 1 to “Read”, 2 to “Read and Write” and 0 to “Cannot Read” and calculated the average score for the designated population.

School Attendance

The chloropleth shows the percentage of children who were attending school from the population who were present and aged between 4 and 12. Households were asked to enter the occupation of each occupant, or in the case of children, to say whether they attended school.

1976 Breifne article by Rev. Gerard Alwill on the 1841 Killeshandra census

1976 Breifne article by Rev. Gerard Alwill on the 1841 Killeshandra census

Thanks to Brendan Scott, editor Breifne Journal, and Rev. Gerard Alwill for allowing us to reproduce this detailed study and analysis which throws great light on the contents of the 1841 census records.


The 1841 Census  was  held on  the night of 6 June  of that year. Return sheets were to be filled in that night by the  head of  each household. This  study  of the  parish of  Killeshandra was  based  on micro-film copies of the  return sheets. Most  of the return sheets have been preserved  in  good condition.  From these it is possible to construct  an accurate account of social conditions in the parish during the years before the famine. In general  we have  very  little information on social conditions in Co. Cavan for these pre-famine years. I hope that this study will make  some  small contribution in that regard.

Read more