Irish name: Mucrois
English name: Muckrush
Meaning: pig headland
Area: 303 acres and 2 perches
Field names in this townland: Corrach, meaning wet bog/marsh; Eascaigh, meaning wet, swampy ground; Garraí Glan.
Rabbit Island (Oileán na gCoiníní) and Muckrush Island (Oileán na gCiúróg, the island of the fish baskets) form part of the farms in this townland.
Information from O’Donovan’s Field Name Books
Names: Muckrush, Muc Rois, Muckrush (B. S. Sketch Book), Muckrish (Barony Map), Muckrush (County Map), Muckrish (High Constable, 1838), Muckurus (Inq. Temp. Iac. I.), Mucrush (Local), Muckrish (Rector of Annaghdown).
Description: Proprietor Staunton Esq. Part of which under tillage to the West side and the remainder bog. A river runs to south end which forms the boundary; there is also a ? 9 chains south of this townland. Has its name from being the place where pigs were drowned.
Situation: It is situated 4½ miles south-west of Annaghdown Church [of Ireland]. Bounded on the north by Shankill, on the west by Lough Corrib, and on the east by Barranny.
1841: 6 houses, 35 people (18 male, 17 female)
1851: 5 houses, 36 people (19 male, 17 female)
1861: 6 houses, 31 people (17 male, 14 female)
1871: 5 houses, 36 people (18 male, 18 female)
1881: 5 houses, 37 people (18 male, 19 female)
1891: 5 houses, 32 people (16 male, 16 female)
1901: 5 houses, 25 people (16 male, 9 female)
1911: 5 houses, 23 people (13 male, 10 female)
2011: 8 houses (3 vacant), 11 people (6 male, 5 female)
It remains unclear who occupied the sixth house in 1841 and 1861.
The Tithe Applotment Books record William Forde, M. Moylan, and partners as tenants of 72 acres in Muckrush.
1840 Griffith’s House Books & 1855 Griffith’s Valuation
Griffith’s Valuation shows that Muckrush was held under the Rundale system, with a two-fifths share held by William Forde, one-fifth each by Thomas Farragher and Thomas Finnerty, and one-tenth shares held by James Elwood and John Elwood. The 1840s house book for Muckrush records Patrick Farragher as predecessor to Thomas; they were brothers, and Patrick died in October 1845.
Sale in Encumbered Estates Court, 1879
The townland of Muckrush was offered for sale by auction at the Land Judges Court on 25 November 1879, alongside the lands of Ballylee, Barranny, Shankill, and Woodpark, all then in the possession of Mary Hall and several others. Ballylee, Woodpark, and part of Barranny were purchased by Peter Newell of Woodpark, and Muckrush and Shankill were eventually purchased by John Byrne.
The accompanying sale catalogue records John Forde as occupier of 96 acres, 0 roods and 29 perches in Muckrush, together with 6 acres, 3 roods, and 15 perches on Rabbit Island and a further 1 acre, 28 perches, all at a combined annual rent of £24-17s-6d, held under a lease dated 25 July 1856 between Elizabeth Woodcock and others to William Forde for the term of 31 years. The rent included £4-17s-6d annual drainage rent charged on the holding by the Commissioners of Public Works by deed poll on 23 March 1860.
The remaining lands of Muckrush, at a yearly rent of £37-6s-6d, were held by Thomas Faragher (sic.), who held 76 acres, 4 roods, and 1 perch, Patrick Feenaghty (sic.), who held 74 acres, 3 roods, and 13 perches (at Ballybeg Island), James Elwood, who held 8 acres, 3 roods, and 7 perches, and Bartholomew Elwood, who held 5 acres, 3 roods, and 34 perches. A further 7 acres, 3 roods, and 31 perches at Rabbit Island were held jointly by Bartholomew Elwood and James Elwood. All of the foregoing was held under a lease dated 25 November 1856 between Elizabeth Woodcock and others, and Thomas Faragher and others for 31 years. The rent included £7-6s-6d annual drainage rent charged on the holding by the Commissioners of Public Works by deed poll on 23 March 1860.
Each holding was occupied by the same family in 1901 as in Griffith’s Valuation of 1855.
- Winifred Farragher [née Moran; widow of Thomas], lived with her sons Michael and William, daughter Bridget, grandson Thomas Killilea, and servant Patrick Hynes.
- Honor Finnerty [née Ruane; widow of Patrick, son of Thomas], lived with her son Patrick.
- James Elwood [son of James], lived with his wife Ellen [née Silke], and her nephew John Kyne.
- John Forde [son of William], lived with his wife Julia [née Newell] and their children William, Peter, Ellen, Margaret, Patrick, Thomas, and Bridget.
- Bartholomew Elwood [son of John], a widower, lived with his children John, Mary & William, and brother-in-law Charles Forde.
All five houses were of the second class, with stone walls, thatched roofs, three front windows each, and comprising between two and four rooms each. Each also had a stable, cow house, piggery, barn, and cart house, and all except James Elwood also had a calf house.
We find the same five households in the 1911 Census.
- Patrick Finnerty [house 2 in 1901], his wife Delia [née Newell], married for 7 years, their daughter Norah, and Delia’s sister Julia Newell.
- Michael Farragher [house 1 in 1901], his sister Bridget, and servant Patrick Farragher.
- John Forde [house 4 in 1901], by now a widower, and his children William, Peter, Patrick, Margaret, Thomas, and Delia.
- James Elwood [house 3 in 1901], his wife Ellen [née Silke], married for 38 years, her nephew John Kyne, and his wife Mary [née Kilkelly], married for 1 year.
- Bartholomew Elwood [house 5 in 1901], a widower, and his children John, Mary, William, and Bridget.
Each house was of the second class, with stone walls, thatched roofs, three front windows in each, and comprising between two and four rooms each. Each had a stable, cow house, piggery, barn, and shed, while Patrick Finnerty and James Elwood each had a fowl house, and Michael Farragher and Bartholomew Elwood each had a potato house.
Note: Information in squared brackets has been added by the author and does not appear in the original record.
The village of Muckrush existed as a clachán or cluster of five thatched cottages throughout most of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. Of these five houses, one stands in its original condition and is listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as ‘a very rare, intact, example of the region’s vernacular houses‘. It consists of a detached four-bay single-storey vernacular house, built c. 1800, with a later flat-roofed addition to the rear. The pitched thatched roof is of reed with a raised scolloped ridge. The external walls are constructed from large blocks of stone and are whitewashed. The original small square-headed window openings are retained with two-over-two pane windows. Outbuildings are attached to the east gable. According to the inventory, the house’s setting, ‘directly on the roadside, is somewhat unusual, and the building is the most intact of the structures in the vernacular cluster of Muckrush‘.
Compiled by Paul Greaney.