"where the grass gets greener"
The Culture and Heritage group
Roger and Marie-Helene Biondi, Letterfore, two members of the Corrib Ramblers Group, discovered an old settlement while walking the “Derroura Trail” in December 2008.
Nowadays you can access this old settlement from the forestry road, you have to climb a bit up from the road where you spot an area so green that it shows that animals have been grazing here in the past, and there you are, discovering old stone walls perpendicular to the forestry road and covered with a thick coat of bright green moss, to your right a lovely tiny forest (probably not there originally) and in front of you, the ruins of houses (a sketch could be drawn to try to establish how many houses could have constituted that village). More walls can be seen here and there, probably delimiting fields and vegetables corners. Once you have reached the top house, you can see a lane on your right bordered by a stone-wall on each side, which could have been the main access to the village during olden times.
Batchelor Dudley Mc Donagh lived there until about 1968, when he left the house and stayed at his nephew’s place – Bartley Mc Donagh, for the rest of his life until 1972.
There were two houses at the end. In one of them lived Dudley Mc Donagh, brother of Bartley’s father Jimmy Mc Donagh (a local rate collector who was later replaced on Jimmy’s retirement by John Clancy, Glann).
In the second house Tom Mc Donagh uncle of Dudley lived with his wife Mary and their son Jim. When Jim was a teenager they moved to Leiter. Jim Mc Donagh and his wife Ciss are the parents of John, Willy, Mary, Ann and David Mc Donagh, Bunakill.
The Land Commission divided the land in this area where the settlement is, and the Costello family built another house with a shed attached in 1930 with a grant of £80 (which was big money at the time). The Costello family – parents, son and daughter lived in the area until the early sixties when they moved to Roscommon. The daughter died in 2008, the son lives in Roscommon and their mother is now in her nineties. Dudley did not want to avail of the grant offered. He was content to live as he always lived. He travelled into Oughterard regularly to get his tobacco.
In this settlement there are the remains of a hen house, a piggery and stables.
There are so many of these deserted villages in this area – so if you have information or photos on such villages we would be delighted to hear from you.
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Costello: The Glann Estate of Martin’s of Ross does not show Letterkeeghaun village as being part of their property when recording land rentals in 1813. However, the list drawn up by Robert Martin for May, 1812 shows that a William Costello paid £5-7-3 in land rental for that month and the same amount for November, 1812. Land rental taken in May, 1813 for the following townlands is recorded as follows: Faravane (Farravaun) – £116-17-6 East Curraghduff – £35-0-0 West Curraghduff – £45-10-0 Cousane (Coosaun) – £27-10-0 Shanavough(Shannawagh) – £30-0-0 Jim Fahy December 12th 2013
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