Category Archives: Mayo

Oughavale (Aughaval) Graveyard Photographs, Westport, Co. Mayo

These photographs are not here because I have transcribed the stones, no, this time they are here just to show you the size of this graveyard and a bit of the difference between the old and new sections.  The numbers of stones we have in the new area compared to the older area.  It’s so hard to imagine that the older section was probably once as ‘populated’ with stones as the new section.

Also, there is a bleakness about this graveyard. I have a book which deals with the Clew Bay archaeological Train and in that book it says that this graveyard is unusual because it has Protestant and Catholic burials. That statement is incorrect, you will find Catholics buried in most Protestant graveyards and it is always very hard to try and explain this to people.

Bunlahinch Clapperbridge, Co. Mayo

The Bunlahinch Clapperbridge is located about 7k southwest of Louisburgh on the Bunleemshough river.  Needless to say I happened across it one day as I wandered along the road wondering where it would take me.  There is nothing in the Ordnance Survey maps to tell you what to expect.  I was fascinated

The Clapperbridge is a footbridge designed to cross wide flat streams and rivers,  Water can rise up easily over it and can wash away through the holes between the stone piers without doing any damage to the bridge.  The structure of a Clapperbridge consists of stones or pillars which are spanned by flat stone slabs or planks.  I’ve tired catching shots of the stones and planks and the structure of the Clapperbridge, also one shot just of the water to show how clean it is.

This particular bridge was most likely built in the late 1840s or ’50s by the Irish Church Mission, a Protestant community led by Hugh Gordon.  Hugh Gordon was known as a ‘jumper’, that is a person who changed his religion.

Round Tower, Meelick, Co. Mayo

This page has gravestones but I did not stop to record stones, instead, I was driving home from Mayo and spotted a signpost which mentioned a Round Tower.

There are two ‘cemeteries’ across the road from one another and it was out of the modern cemetery that I met my first person of the surname Lyons that side of the Shannon. We chatted away she and I and she invited me to tea, but, I just wanted to take photos and get back on the road home, it was still a long drive I had in front of me.

Meelick, Mayo. My first Round Tower outside of the ones I am familiar with in Laois and Kilkenny. Also, a cemetery (I did not see sign of a Church remnant, though I am sure there has to be one here. Also, on the side of the Church was a surprise and once again, it is such a pity that I have not mastered the knack of photogrammetry.

The photographs here are not of stones as I said above, they do though show you some of the stones that are in Meelick – just examples.

Children’s Burial Grounds, Co. Mayo

An introduction to a survey of these, and other forgotten burial grounds, in the West. R. B. Aldridge.

Particular attention does not seem to have been given to the recording and mapping of what are known as “Children’s Burial Grounds,” primarily used for the burying of unbaptised children.

Probably in most cases unbaptised or stillborn children were not permitted to be buried in consecrated ground, so that special plots outside the normal burial grounds were very necessary. In more recent years these sites have continued to be used as C.B.G’s; certainly in many cases burials have taken place within the last twenty years, and even up to as late as 1964 in one case.

Obviously in penal times, famines, and before the building of many R.C. Chapels and graveyards during the past 170 years, the distances from isolated villages and farms to a consecrated burial ground were often too great or too difficult for normal use. In many cases I have used the term C.B.G., when it is most probable that the site was also used for adult burials in the past.

In some cases there were sites of ancient churches or graveyards, or of ruined abbeys etc., that could be used; in others a convenient rath, or portion of one, was set aside for burials, or a small piece of ground outside a village fenced in; these latter sites not being consecrated ground were used probably for the burial of unbaptised children only. A rath being considered as pagan in origin, was an obvious choice for the burial of the unbaptised. There are no suitable raths in much of the bogland of the west, and though adults might have been taken long distances to consecrated ground, small local enclosures were made for unbaptised children to be buried in. These were often used for the burials of adults also. All the above can be considered as “Communal burial” as opposed to “Private burial places.” O’Sullivan deals with the customs connected with children’s burials in many parts of the country, and gives a list of some sites, viz gardens, fields, hedges, bushes, a cliff ledge (Donegal), high water mark, outside a church wall, or to the north side of the graveyard. The first five sites can be looked on as “Private burial grounds.” The others are “Communal,” such as the one at Inver, on the east side of the Broadhaven at high tide mark, (Mayo 10), and another near Ballycroy, marked “Druid’s Circle” on the map (Mayo 44). Near the village of Cross is “Toberaningaun Lisheen (Children’s Burial Ground)” with a spring well in the centre of it; in this is a grave and headstone to Private Hopkins, R.I.R., dated 1919 (Mayo 121).

(a) a prehistoric tomb
(b) a very slightly elevated flat rectangular or circular piece of ground.
(c) a small plot inside the vallum of a rath.
(d) a small plot outside a rath.
(e) a small piece cut off from the inside perimeter of a rath.
(f) a mound 5 or 6 feet high.
(g) marked by a cairn of stones.
(h) in an old graveyard with remains of a building, used only as a C.B.G. now.
(i) inside the foundations of an old church or abbey building.
(j) with the reputed site of a vanished church nearby.
(k) extensively used burial places, probably village burial grounds before the building of any nearby chapels, and now C.B.G.’s only.

Irish Folk Medicine: Colours and Blood

Continuation of Irish Folk Medicine: Transference Cures.


Colours are important in the practice of folk medicine. We all know of the virtues of red flannel. It is widely used to relieve backache. It may also be used to treat whooping cough. In this case it is applied to the chest of the sufferer; and, to have the full effect, it should be put on by the godfather of the patient. A piece of red thread may be tied around a sprain. This is especially useful if nine knots are tied on the thread. Some of you will have seen pieces of red cloth tied on the tails of cattle. This is done to protect them against dangerous fairies or against the evil eye, or against elf shot. Blackleg may be prevented by putting a stitch of red thread through the dewlap of the animal and leaving it in position. In Indo-European mythology red is a colour which resists or expels demons, and clearly these practices are part of this belief.

Yellow is also an important colour, and the use of yellow things to treat jaundice is widespread. The important thing to realise is that jaundice is a dramatic symptom, and in the great majority of cases it clears up satisfactorily. There is a shrewd distinction between the black jaundice which is not curable – it may be due to cancer of the pancreas – and the yellow jaundice which is curable. There is an old legend that if a jaundiced patient sees a yellowhammer, the bird will die and the patient will get better. In Sweden a roasted yellowhammer is eaten by the patient. Here all sorts of yellow flowers are used. Charlock, buttercups, corn marigold and the flowers of the yellow iris. Official medicine also used yellow flowers until the end of the eighteenth century, but, in addition, the patient was also given an emetic and was also purged, bled, and sweated. These measures were most uncomfortable, and probably made the patient worse. This heroic treatment was based on the theory that jaundice was due to obstruction of something somewhere, and the treatment was designed to relieve all obstructions. Here I would include the use of yellow flowers to treat liver fluke infestation in sheep. In addition to the others, yellow wall flowers, and the yellow head of the buachallan may be used. 

Blood is also used in folk medicine, and is another example of pre-christian magic medicine. The best known form of this is the use of Keogh’s blood for treatment of the shingles. A family named Keogh living near Two Mile House, Co. Kildare has this cure, which consists of rubbing some of the blood of the healer on the blisters. People come from all the neighbouring counties to have this cure made.

I have heard of a patient who was admitted to the Co. Hospital in Castlebar to have an infected arm amputated. Whilst there he was told of a woman who had the cure, so he left the hospital and went to her in the mountains of West Mayo. The lady was eighty years old, and said she was too old to make the cure but he persuaded her to try. She took some blood from her arm, mixed it with unsalted butter and dressed the hand with it. The hand healed quickly.

In a primitive society, blood would be thought of as the seat of life. The use of blood was forbidden in the Anglo-Saxon Penitentials. The intention may have been, in the beginning, that the healer shared some of his own life with the sufferer and in this way restored him to health. ‘ 

Continuation of Irish Folk Medicine: Introduction. ; Transference Cures

Published in Teathbha, The Journal of the Longford Historical Society.

Vol II. No. 1. July 1980


Emigration and Education Statistics, 1931, Co. Mayo

Description from Thom’s Directory of Ireland of Ireland, 1931


Mayo a maritime county in the province of Connaught, is bounded on the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by counties Sligo and Roscommon and on the south by county Galway. Its greatest length from the boundary near Ballyhaunis to near Erris Head is about 66 miles and its greatest breadth from Killary Harbour to Downpatrick Head is 54 miles.


The county takes its name from the village of Mayo in the south-eastern part of the county, “Magh-eo” (the plain of the Yew trees) , the habitation and burial place of St. Coleman. The barony of Erris was formerly known as Irros Domnann. The peninsula of Murrisk south of Clew Bay , was known as Upper Umall, and north of the Bay was Lower Umall, embracing the barony of Burrishoole; these two districts were the patrimony of the O’Malleys. The barony of Tirawley was the land of the Awleys, as its name implies. The baronies of Erris, Carra and part of Tirawley was anciently known as Hy-Fiachrach of the Moy, the southern part being in county Galway. The plain north-east of Cong known as Moytura was the scene of a battle in which the De Dannans defeated the Firbolgs and thus captured Ireland. This plain is still possessed of ancient burial places, sepulchral structures and cromlechs.


In Murrisk, rising above Killary Harbour, is Muilrea (2,688’) the highest Mountain in Connaught. The next highest point is Nephin (2,646’) a prominent cone west of Lough Conn. Croagh Patrick (2,510’) the scene of many of the labours of St. Patrick, is, in many ways, the most celebrated mountain in Ireland. Viewed from a distance it presents a striking appearance, and from its summit there are many magnificent views, especially seawards over Clew Bay and its numberless islands.

There are several peaks in the county rising to over 2000 feet, amongst them being Bengorm (2,303’) and Ben Creggan (2,283’) in Murrisk, Birreencorragh (2,295’), Light Daughybaun (2,369’), Nephin Beg (2,065’) and Glennamorrig (2,067) in the Nephin district. The Partry Mountains near the Galway border have lofty summits in Devil’s Mother (2,131’) and Maumtrasna (2,207’). In Achill Island, rising from the sea in very precipitous cliffs are Croaghaun (2,192’) and Slievemore (2,204)

The Bays and Harbours include Killala Bay, which lies between Mayo and Sligo. Broad Haven Bay north of Erris Head has many narrow inlets, Blacksod Bay, a very large stretch of water north of Achill Island resolves itself into many smaller bays and inlets. Clew Bay also covers a large area containing very many islands, as well as the smaller bays of Westport and Newport. Killary Harbour is a long narrow inlet between Galway and Mayo.

Headlands: Benwee is at the west entrance to Killala Bay, and near it is Downpatrick Head. Erris Head is at the north west of the county. Achill Head is a long spur running into the Atlantic on the west of Achill Island. Emlagh Head is at the exteme north west of Murrisk.

The Rivers include the Moy which enters from Sligo and forms the boundary with that county for several miles. The River Deel flows in a winding course from Birreencorragh mountain into Lough Conn. The Crumpaun rising in the same mountain flows into Lough Beltra. The Erriff flows through some fine scenery into Killary Harbour. The Aille rises in the Partry Mountains, and runs underground for two miles before it enters Lough Mask. The Robe passes by Hollymount and Ballinrobe and enters Lough Mask. The Black River flowing into Lough Corrib forms the boundary between Mayo and county Galway for 4 miles. The Owenmore and Owenduff have large drainage areas on their way to Tullaghan Bay. The Cong River joins Loughs Mask and Corrib.

The Lakes in the county are practically unlimited in number. Lough Conn, a fine lake is 9 miles long and 2 ½ in breadth, and joins up with Lough Cullin on the south. Lough Carra is 6 miles long. Sawleen Lake, a small lake near Castlebar, flows into Lough Lannoch (otherwise known as Castlebar Lake) one of the chain of lakes which reaches from Castlebar to Islandeady Lake. Near Newport is Lough Beltra, 2 ½ miles long. Lough Carrowmore 4 miles long lies near Belmullet. In the Murrisk peninsula and near Ballyhaunis are several stretches of small and beautiful lakes.

Achill Island is the largest island around he Irish coast. It is triangular in shape with a 15 mile base, and the ground is generally much above sea level. Clare Island, 3 miles from Achill, in Clew Bay is about 6 square miles in extent. In the same district are Inishturk and Inishbofin, and they are considerable in size. In Clew Bay there is a multitude of islands. Iniskea North and South are north of Achill. Inishglora is noted for the remains of a monastery founded by St. Brendan. The west and north of Belmullet is called The Mullet, which is almost but not quite an island.





Total Pop.

146,137 146,975 293,112

179,595 186,733 366,328

194,198 194,689 388,887

133,264 141,235 274,499

125,636 129,160 254,796

120,877 125,153 246,030

119,421 125,791 245,212

107,498 111,536 219,034

97,564 101,602 199,166

96,345 95,832 192,177

86,749 85,912 172,690


There were 35,347 families in the county according to the 1926 Census for Ireland, the average number in each family being 4.7 The number of ‘inhabited houses’ was 35,345, with an average of 4.9 persons to each house. The Special Inmates of Public institutions are omitted from these figures.

There were in the county 31,801 ‘Occupiers’ or ‘Heads of Families’ who were in occupation of less than five rooms, this was 89.9% of the total for the whole county. Of these 1,556, or 4.4% occupied one room; 9,651 or 27.3% occupied two rooms; 16,754 or 47.4%, occupied three rooms; and 3,840 or 10.8% were in occupation of four rooms.

There were 497 tenements in the county, in which the room had only one occupant at that time; 712 cases where the room had two, three or four occupants; 270 cases in which there were five, six or seven occupants and 77 cases where the occupants of one room exceeded 7 in number, including 36 cases where 8 persons, 26 cases where 9 persons, 11 cases where ten persons and 4 cases where eleven persons occupied the same room.


In 1911, there were in the county 154,165 people aged 9 years and upwards; of these 121,100 or 78.5% could read and write; 4,912 or 3.2% could read only; and 28,153 or 18.3% were illiterate. As that census was the first for which the age for consideration had been raised from 5 years to 9 years, no comparison can be made with figures from earlier censuses. But – the percentage of those of five years and upwards who were unable to read and write in 1891 was 32.0%. By 1901 this figure was listed as 25.1% and in 1911 had fallen to 20.7%.

IRISH SPEAKING (1861-1911)

of people
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911

Irish only
32,228 16,509 8,908 4,234 2,529 1,518

Irish & English
124,148 122,452 139,930 106,131 97,235 87,083

Irish Total
156,376 138,961 147,738 110,365 99,764 88,601
% of
61.4 56.5 60.2 50.4 50.1 46.1

RELIGIONS, 1871-1926(% of population)

1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926

Roman Catholic
96.9 97.1 97.5 97.66 97.86 98.56

Church of Ireland
2.5 2.3 2.0 1.90 1.76 1.19

0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.27 0.16

0.1 0.1 0.1 0.9 0.07 0.03

0.1 0.1 0.1 0.05 0.04 0.05

EMIGRATION (1861-1911)

1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
29,317 27,496 24,705 42,368 40,703 29,961

Presbyterian (Seceders) Synod, 1833: Congregation Index

Roman Catholic Parishes, 1836: Parish Index

This page features a list of over 1,300 record parishes from the Roman Catholic Parishes index of 1836.

Official Authorities, 1834, Co. Mayo

1821 : 293,112
1831 : 376,956

John Browne, Esq., (cousin to the Marquess of Sligo), 2 Mansfield street, London and Mount Brown, Co. Mayo
Dominick Browne, Esq., Brookes Club House, London and Castlemacgarret, Co. Mayo.

Lord Lieutenant
The Most Noble, The Marquess of Sligo, Westport House, Co. Mayo; Brownstown Lodge, Co. Kildare and Mansfield street, London.

High Sheriff
John Gardiner, Esq., of Farmhill, Kilala

Custos Rotulorum
The Most Noble, the Marquess of Sligo.

Deputy Lieutenants
The Lord Clanmorris, Newbrook
Sir Samuel O’Malley, Bart., Kilbryde House
Sir Richard A. O’Donnel, Bart., Newport House
Andrew Crean Lynch, Esq., Hollybrook
Lieut.-Colonel Dominick Browne, Brownehall
Valentine Blake, Esq., Towerhill
Colonel George Jackson, Anniscoe
George Henry Moore, Esq., Moorehill
Patrick Kirwan, Esq., Dalgan Park
Thomas Spencer Lindsay, Esq., Hollymount
Major Owen O’Malley, Spencer Park
Dominick Browne, Esq., M. P., Castlemacgarret
John Knox, Esq., Castlerea
George Ormsby, Esq., Gortner-Abbey
James Browne, Esq., Claremount
John Ferderick Knox, Esq., Mountfalcon
Charles Kirwan,, Esq.
Henry Knox, Exq., Netley, Ballina


Surname Name & title Address
St. George
St. George
Thomas Major-General, Sir, K.C.B.
John Esq.
John Rev.
William Esq.
Arthur Esq.
Edward Gonne Esq.
Edward Esq.
Charles Esq.
Henry Esq.
Henry Esq.
Isodore Esq.
Maurice Esq.
Richard Esq.
Valentine O’Connor Esq.
Francis Lynch Rev. Sir, Bart
Joseph Esq.
Palmer Esq.
Walter Jas. Esq.
Anthony Elwood Esq.
?? Lieutenant-Colonel
Arthur Esq.
Dominick Esq., M.P.
Henry Captain
Henry Esq.
Hugh John Henry Esq.
James Esq.
John Esq., M.P.
Michael Esq.
Peter Esq.
Samuel Lindsay Esq.
Theobald Esq.
John Baron Kilmaine
Alexander Esq.
George Esq.
Thomas Esq.
Michael Major
Cecil Rev.
Francis Esq.
Charles Henry Esq.
James Esq.
Martin Esq.
Edward Esq.
Arthur Baron Clanmorris
John Esq.
John Esq.
John, jun. Esq.
John Esq.
Charles Lionel William Esq.
Wm. Mark Esq.
Gonville Honorable
John Esq.
John Esq.
Lord Bingham
James Esq.
James Knox Esq.
Francis Arthur Knox Esq
Augustus Viscount Dillon
Charles Esq.
Fitzgerald Esq.
George M. Esq.
Peter Marquess of Sligo,
Edward, jun. Esq.
Edward, sen. Esq.
Patrick C. Esq.
James Henry Esq.
George Colonel
George Vaughan Esq.
Oliver Esq.
Oliver C. Esq.
Henry Esq.
Courtney Esq.
Robert Esq.
Thomas Esq.
Patrick Esq.
Annesley Esq.
Annesley, jun. Esq.
George Esq.
John Esq.
John Esq.
John Frederick Esq.
Alexander Clendening Esq.
Francis Rev.
Joseph Esq.
Thomas S. Esq.
Andrew Crean Esq.
John Esq.
Geoffrey Esq.
Hamilton Rev.
Joseph Esq.
Mathias Esq.
Robert William Esq.
George Henry Esq.
John Esq.
Connell Esq.
Lewis Esq.
Richard Annesly Sir, Bart
Andrew Clarke Esq.
Owen Esq.
Samuel Sir, Bart
St. Clair Esq.
William Esq.
George Esq.
William Esq.
homas Esq.
Henry Rev.
John Esq.
Robert Esq.
John Esq.
Thos. Esq.
Arthur Esq.
John Esq.
George Esq.
Joseph Rev.
George Sir, Bart
Richard Mansergh Esq.
Stepney Esq.
James Thomas Simon Esq.
Jerard Edward Esq.
John Esq.
Henry Esq.
George **
Not listed
Chaffpool, Ballymote
Not listed
Rehins, The Neal
Dalgan-park, Shrule
Merlin park, Tuam
Fisherhill, Castlebar
Lakeview, Ballyglass
Towerhill, Ballyglass
Garracloon Lodge, Ballymote
Towerhill, Ballyglass
Athevallie, Balla
Greenhill, Westport
The Grove, Castlebar
Annefield, Hollymount
Brownehall, Balla
Glencorrib, Cong
Castlemacgarrett, Clare
Rehins, Castlebar
Rehin, Castlebar
Claremount, Clare
Mount-Browne, Westport
Woodstock, Ballyhaunis
Claremount, Clare
Turin Castle, Kilmaine
Woodville, Westport
Neale Park, Ballinrobe*
Thomastown, Ballyglass
Castlehill, Crossmolina
The Glebe, Cong
Prospect, Claremorris
Rathgranaher, Hollymount
Creagh, Ballinrobe
Houndswood, Cong
Carragmore, Foxford
Newbrook, Ballyglass
Tonroe, Ballycastle
Dromore West, Co. Sligo
Ballinagibbon, Cong
Salgin, Shrule
Logatrim, Balla
Murrisk, Westport
The Park, Castlebar
Cluna Castle, Hollymount
Clooncormack House, Hollymount
Beleek, Ballina
Loughglen, Ballaghadereen
Trafalgar, Westport
Belclare, Westport
Westport House, Westport
Belleek Castle, Ballina
Beleek Castle, Ballina
Broadlands Park, Ballina
Enniscoe, Crossmolina
Enniscoe, Crossmolina
Enniscoe, Crossmolina
Fortlawn, Crossmolina
Rosslevin Castle, Foxford
Dalgan Park, Headford
Rappa Castle, Ballina
Bushfield, Hollymount
Greenwood, Crossmolina
Mountfalcon, Ballina
Bloomfield, Hollymount
Brookhill, Clare
Hollymount House, Hollymount
Hollybrook, Hollymount
Partry, Ballinrobe
Curramore, Ballinrobe
Caranacon, Ballyglass
Moorehall, Ballyglass
Clonboy, Ballyhaunis
Not listed
Rossland, Newport
Newport House, Newport
Newcastle, Foxford
Spencer Park, Castlebar
Kilboyne House, Castlebar
Hawthorn Lodge, Castlebar
Glenmore, Crossmolina
Gortner Abbey, Crossmolina
Knockglass, Crossmolina
The Glebe, Castlebar
Summerhill, Killala
Ballybrooney, Killala
Clonmore, Ballaghadereen
Not listed
Tougher, Hollymount
Saxony, Ballaghadereen
Dunmore, Co. Galway
Headford Castle, Headford, Co. Galway
Delphi, Westport
Loughglynn-house, Ballaghadereen
Brocca, Newport
Not listed

Militia, North Mayo Staff, stationed at Ballina
Colonel: George Jackson, Esq.
Adjutant : Major Oliver Jackson
Agents: Armit & Co.

South Mayo Staff, stationed at Westport
Colonel : The Marquess of Sligo
Adjutant : Captain Fitzgerald Higgins
Agents : Cane & Co.

Clerk of the Crown: John William Browne, Esq., 16 Kildare street, Dublin
Clerk of the Peace: Thomas Gildea, Esq. Ballinrobe
Treasurer : William Orme, Esq., Glanmore, Crosmolina
Secretaries to the Grand Jury: A Clendining, and A. Lambert, Esqrs. Westport
Sub-Sheriff: James O’Malley, Esq., Castlebar
Returning Officer: Edmond J. Nolan, Esq., 2 Inn’s quay (?Dublin)
Coroners: Thomas Knox, Esq., Ballina ; Joseph Bourke, Esq., Greenhill, Westport ; John Atkinson, Esq., Ballina ; James Gale, Esq., Ballinrobe .

County Gaol, Castlebar
Inspector: Rev. James Hamilton
Chaplain: Rev. Henry Paisley
Roman Catholic Chaplain (R.C.) Rev. R. Gibbon
Presbyterian Chaplain: Rev. John Hamilton
Physician : William Hamilton, M.D.
Apothecary: Mr. John Finglas
Governor: Mr. John M. Rogers

Distributor of Stamps : J. Larminie, Castlebar.
County Infirmary : Surgeon : George Howse, M. D.

Commissioners of Affadavits
John Atkinson, Ch.K.C.E., and special bail, K.E., Ballina
Robert Blakeney, Ch.K.C.E., and special bail, K.C., Castlebar
B. Cassidy, Ch. K.C.E., and special bail, C. Claremorris
James Conry, K.C., and special bail, Castlebar
Thomas Conyngham, Ch. K.C.E., and special bail, Claremorris
Andrew Edmondson, Ch. E.
A. J. Fowler, Ch. K.C.E., Castlebar
James Gale, C. Ballinrobe
Thomas Gibbons, Ch. K.C.E.
James Higgins, Ch. K.C..E., and special bail, K.E., Ballina
Thomas Knox, Ch. C.E., Stonehall
John McAndrew, Ch. K.C.E., and special bail, K.C.E., Westport