Castleisland on Record

Michael O’Donohoe made great use of statistical material in his research.  He consulted Griffith’s invaluable records, the Census of Ireland (1659, 1901 and 1911), data from the register of electors and records of rates.


Today, with much of this material accessible online, it is important to acknowledge that sourcing information was far more time consuming during the not-too-distant period in which Michael conducted his research.


Michael O'Donohoe was working on the precipice of the revolution in technology
Michael O’Donohoe worked on the precipice of a revolution in communication


Locate and consult


Michael’s task was to locate and actually consult records: telephone calls, postage, fares, copies and prints had to be paid for.


Waiting for the post
Waiting for the post … it could take weeks to get the results we now expect in an instant


Rates records


Michael’s selection of rates records sits comfortably between Griffith’s Valuation of 1853 and the Census of Ireland of 1901.  The records date to 1885, the year in which the Land Act (Ashbourne) was passed during the Land War


Irish National Land League (2)
Membership card for The Irish National Land League, Castleisland branch, dated November 1880. It was issued to Rev A Murphy, CC. Its slogans: Ireland for the Irish; Down with Landlordism; Union is Strength; Keep a firm grip of your homesteads; The Land for the People. Image courtesy Johnnie Roche.


Genealogical tool


The printed records are a useful genealogical tool for they provide names of townland occupiers.  Here and there, the rate collector made notes and alterations by hand, for example in Knocknagoshel West, John O’Connor was amended to Judith O’Connor and in the village of Scartaglin, John Moran was corrected to John Horan.


crossed out Thomas O'Connor has been amended to another occupant
Manual update: in this instance Thomas O’Connor has been crossed out


The scribbled comments in a column set aside for ‘observations’ are pithy.  Again in Knocknagoshel West, a word next to the name of Denis Cahill states ‘evicted’ and Elizabeth Long is described as ‘pauper’.


Elsewhere observations are useful; we learn that Jeremiah Brosnan, Knocknagoshel West, is a ‘cooper’.


Rate payers of Tullig, 1885
Rate payers of Tullig, 1885


In the village of Brosna, alongside Simon Carmody’s name, is a note, ‘8pm 22 July 1885’.  It gives a good indication of time, but also summons up the interaction between rate-payer and rate collector as they went about their business in a century that moves ever further away from us.