Secret Stones of Annaghdown

Handmade Bricks, Annaghdown

The stone walls and ruins of east Galway are famous all over the world. They record the graft and skill of former generations who knew from the feel and heft of a stone precisely how to place it in a wall that would withstand generations of wind, rain, ivy, livestock and farm machinery.
Annaghdown has some of the most beautiful walls and ruins in Ireland, and they are an important part of our history and heritage. Previous generations, who cleared the land and drew out the fields and laneways of Annaghdown with simple stone walls, have left us a remarkable legacy. Though we are in awe of the world’s great monuments like Newgrange and Stonehenge, the pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, the largest and most significant monument on the face of the earth is the mosaic of farms and farmland that stretches right across the globe: agriculture has literally changed the surface of the planet and is testimony to what can be achieved by even the smallest of communities.

St. Cathaldus’ Church, Corrandrum

St. Cathaldus’ Church, Corrandrum

At the eastern end of the parish of Annaghdown, in the townland of Corrandrum a short distance from the Tuam road, across from the school lies an unobtrusive little known monument. It is a poorly preserved rectangular church of approximately 11th or 12th century date, though it may be even older. Although it is extremely difficult to date with any accuracy, since most of its architectural characteristics have sadly disappeared, there are some features which help in its dating. It is typical of medieval churches rather than Early Christian. Cyclopean type architecture is present – massive blocks used in its construction especially in the lower sections of the walls. No evidence of antae remain – blocks that jut out at the external corners which would give it an even earlier date. Its orientation is east-west with the remnants of a window in its eastern gable where the altar would have been. Its internal measurements are 13.2 m by 6.3 m which is large for a church for this period. However, its measurements are roughly in harmony, that is, 2:1. There are traces of a window and possibly a doorway in its south wall and it would have had a trabeate doorway in its western gable. This was a simple doorway consisting of two upright pillars or cut blocks topped by a stone lintel, sloping inwards towards the top. See O’Flanagan, OS Letters, 1927 Vol. 1, 223. An example of this exists in St. MacDara’s church on MacDara’s Island in Connemara. The original height of the church is impossible to ascertain. There are burials both inside the church and around its perimeter and indeed these occur beneath the existing byroad. They are oriented east-west suggesting Christian burials. It was the practice to wish to be buried in proximity to the local church.

Travel to Galway from Cloonboo and the Annaghdown area before 1870

Travel to Galway from Cloonboo and the Annaghdown area before 1870

In 1812 the Commissioners for Enquiring into the Nature of the Bogs of Ireland published detailed maps of the Bogs, along with reports of how useful they might be for reclaiming for agricultural use. The map of the Cloonboo area shows the bogs and also the roads and houses in the area. Whether the houses are shown in their correct locations is not clear.
A map made by the Ordnance Survey in 1839 shows the houses and roads in their exact locations, with the road in the same orientation as on the bog map.
The N84 Headford Galway Road was not yet in existence, not being built until 1870. The road through the village from north to south was the boreen that goes through Greaney’s bus yard.

Researching a Townland

This is a list of resources for use in researching a townland, as part of our Townlands Project. List of townland volunteers: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1SxtFyKNhJx3w8Jf8Ong3sqT_h2kXJpK0D7UalgvAzKc/edit?usp=sharing Townlands Template If you have a Google account, the easiest way to compile and submit your townland research

Visit to Old Irish Home: Kavanaghs of Gortroe, 1908

Visit to Old Irish Home: Kavanaghs of Gortroe, 1908

Omaha Daily Bee, August 1908: More than fifty-eight years after they left their old home in Ireland, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Cavanagh, 5056 North Twenty-fourth street, will visit it again. They will leave about August 31 on the long journey to the scenes of their childhood. “I don’t expect we’ll see a soul we know,” said Mr. Cavanagh. “All of them are gone by this time, though it’s quite possible I’ll run across some of the boys I used to play with about the quay and wharfs of old Galway, for the people over there are not great to leave their homes and where they are born they generally stay like a tree rooted in the ground. “Of course, the city will be changed. There’ll be tram cars and electric lights and all kinds of modern improvements that we knew naught about when my wife and I left there in the ’50s. And there’ll be steam cars runnning all over the dear old isle and steamships spouting smoke in the harbor where I knew naught but sailing vessels.

Land Agitation in Galway 1920-23

In the early 1920s, with the battle for an independent Irish Republic at full pace, when IRA Volunteers were taking the fight to the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries, the land question was still a major issue in County Galway. Despite various Land Acts, particularly 1903 and 1909, in which loans were provided to tenants to purchase land, there were still many families who remained landless. Although the Acts allowed for land purchase, they did not allow for the distribution of land. Poverty-stricken families looked longingly at large ranches in Galway which supported only livestock and dreamed of having their own plot of land.
The “land question” as it had been labelled for many decades, was still not solved for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the poorer families remained unable to purchase, so the situation arose where more prominent individuals bought up land that came on the market. The result of this meant that there were still many disgruntled landless farmers who felt they had no option but to resort to the tried and trusted methods of land agitation to highlight their plight. Additionally, there was now a national rebellion underway, with Irish freedom within touching distance and people dreamt of a bright future in an Ireland free from English tyranny.

The Coen Family

July 2018 marked the coming together of the Coen family of Anbally for the first time in many years, when the descendants of John Coen and Sarah Spelman gathered at Cloonacauneen Castle. John Coen was born in Anbally in March 1838 to Edward Coen and Mary Glynn. In 1876, he married Sarah Spelman of Cahernahoon, who was born in 1850 to John Spelman and Catherine Fahy (Twomileditch). Their family were as follows.