Text - Mary Kyne & Hyperlinks - Antoinette Lydon
Gowlaun is in the civil parish of Kilcummin. The civil Parish corresponds with the following Church of Ireland parish of Kilcummin, Galway West. In general, the civil parish and the Church of Ireland parish are the same as is the case in the Kilcummin Oughterard area.
The Irish form of the name is Gobhlán – a little fork
Other forms of name.
Goulaun Boundary Surveyor
Goulan beg Dr. Sadlier leases of 1833
The land in Gowlaun is very wet and mountainous. It contains 275 acres about 40 acres of arable, the remainder rocky and mountain pasture together with a small portion of bog towards its Northern extremity.
Situate in the northern extremity of the parish. Bounded on the N. by Gortaroola and Farrawaun, E. by Gortaroola, Ballygally and Bauragurtheny, W. by Curraghdhuff East and Bauratleava and S. by Letterfore townlands.
Gowlaun borders the following other townlands:
- Ballygally to the east
- Barnagorteeny to the south
- Barratleva to the west
- Curraghduff East to the north
- Farravaun to the north
- Gorterwulla to the east
- Letterfore to the west
Thomas B. Martin of Ballynahinch Castle.
Martin (Ballynahinch) – A branch of the Anglo Norman family of Martin, one of the Tribes of Galway, was granted the O’Flaherty lands in the Connemara region in the mid 17th century. This family were a junior branch of the Martins of Ross and under the Acts of Settlement were granted vast estates in counties Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Clare and Sligo. By a patent dated 1698 they were confirmed in the possession of their Connemara estate known as the Manor of Claremount by King William. The Westport Estate Papers document the sale of over 27,000 acres in the baronies of Moycullen and Ballynahinch by the trustees for the sale of Colonel John Browne’s estate to John Edwards for Richard Martin in 1699. The early generations of Martins lived at Birch Hall and Dangan, in the townland of Oranhill, parish of Rahoon, near Galway city. Richard Martin, better known as ‘Humanity Dick’, was the first member of the family to be reared as a Protestant. He was a famous duellist and founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Ballynahinch Castle was built in the centre of his estate. His son Thomas Martin died in 1847 during the Famine and Thomas’s only daughter and heir, Mary Laetita, inherited a heavily encumbered estate. She married her cousin, Arthur Gonne Bell, and died in New York in 1850. The Martin estates were offered for sale in two sections in 1849. Their property close to Galway town included Dangan, Corcullen, Bushypark and Killeen. Their Connemara estate was acquired by the Law Life Assurance Society in 1852, to whom it was heavily mortgaged. In 1853 the estate of almost 200,000 acres was surveyed by Thomas Colville Scott for a prospective buyer. Richard Martin, second son of Richard ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin of Ballynahinch, is recorded as holding five townlands in the parish of Killannin, barony of Moycullen, county Galway, at the time of Griffith’s Valuation although he emigrated to Canada in 1833. He was also recorded as the occupier of Clareville, a Martin home in the village of Oughterard. Many of his descendants still reside in Canada.
Martin (Ross) – The Martin family were established beside Ross Lake in the barony of Moycullen, county Galway, from the late 16th century, where they purchased land from the O’Flahertys. They were Royalist supporters and were dispossessed of their property in the city of Galway by the Cromwellians. Robert Martin received a grant of 2,909 acres in the barony of Moycullen, by patent dated 21 Aug 1677. Jasper Martin of Ross, who died in 1700, had two sons Jasper and Richard, from whom descend the two branches of the family settled at Ross and Ballynahinch. Nicholas Martin, who died in 1811, married Elizabeth O’Hara, daughter of Robert O’Hara of Lenaboy, and according to Burke’s ”Landed Gentry”, a grandniece of James O’Hara, 2nd Baron Tyrawley. Their grandson, James Martin of Ross, had sixteen children from his two marriages. His daughter, Maud, married H. Callwell and they were the parents of the author, J. M. Callwell. The youngest daughter of James Martin was Violet Florence Martin of the well-known literary team Somerville and Ross. The Martins of Ross owned 5,767 acres in county Galway in the 1870s. They advertised the sale of their estate in the Landed Estates’ Court in May 1885.
Information from the Down Survey Website:
The Down Survey website will tell you who owned this townland in 1641 (pre Cromwell) and in 1671 (post Cromwell).
No information available for Gowlaum.
The Tithe Applotment Books
About the Records
Tithes were a tax on agricultural produce which was payable by the occupiers of agricultural land. They were the main source of income for the parish clergy of the Church of Ireland (the largest Protestant church and the church established by law). However, in many parishes a large part of the tithes were ‘appropriate’, which meant that they were payable to a bishop, cathedral chapter or other ecclesiastical recipient, or were ‘impropriate’, which generally meant that they were payable to a local landowner. The parishes used in the Tithe Applotment Books are civil or Church of Ireland parishes, which often differ in name and territory from Catholic parishes, Acts of Parliament of 1823 and 1832 provided for the conversion of tithes into a fixed charge on land, and specified the average price of wheat or oats in the parish in the seven years before 1821 as the basis on which the tithes would be calculated. They also extended the application of tithes to pasture, where previously they had been levied only on tillage.
This change in the law resulted in the valuation of individual holdings in almost all parishes containing agricultural land, in order to assess the portion of the tithes for which each occupier of land would be liable. The apportionment was recorded for each Church of Ireland parish in a Tithe Composition Applotment Book. The information was collected and the amounts were calculated by two Parochial Commissioners, one of whom was appointed by the cess-payers of the parish and the other by the relevant Diocese of the Church of Ireland. This procedure was carried out in over 2,500 parishes between the years 1823 and 1837.
The Tithe Applotment Books are in a variety of formats, from a few pages sewn together to elaborately bound volumes. In most cases they are written in manuscript throughout, although some consist of manuscript entries on printed questionnaires. The information in the books is broadly uniform and generally includes at least the name of occupier; the size of holding, the valuation and the tithe payable. In some cases more detailed information is provided. Some volumes have maps and most have certificates and correspondence attached.
The sub-divisions of the parish were recorded. Some of these subdivisions, such as ploughlands, ceased to be in official use after the six-inch survey of the Ordnance Survey was completed in the 1840s. Only productive land was subject to tithe, and the books usually distinguish between this tithable land and untithable land such as roads or mountains. Tithable land was in some cases classified by quality, and a money value was given to each class. In some cases the proportion of tithe payable to the rector, vicar or lay proprietor of the tithes was set out. The column for observations was sometimes completed, with information about commonage, for example.
There are a number of other points that should be noted. The acreages given in the Tithe Applotment Books are in Irish or Plantation measure, which is 1.62 times larger than statute measure. Only occupiers of land at the time of the tithe composition are recorded, so not all heads of households living in a parish at the time are included. Only rural areas are systematically covered, although inhabitants of towns who held plots of cultivable land are included. The equivalent tax in urban areas, Minister’s Money, has left few records.
The Tithe Applotment Books are an important source of information for a wide variety of researchers of pre-Famine Ireland. They provide the first surviving national list of the occupiers of land, and are used by genealogists as a partial substitute for returns of the 1821 and 1831 censuses of population, which were destroyed in 1922. They also record information on the quality of land, and provide information on pre-Ordnance Survey territorial divisions, some of which were not recognised after the 1840s.
The National Archives hold the original Tithe Applotment Books only for the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland. The books for the six counties of Northern Ireland are held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast. (http://titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie/search/tab/aboutmore.jsp)
No information available for Gowlaun
Griffiths Valuation 1850’s
In Griffith’s Valuation the area is 275 acres 25 perches – the tenants had 71 acres 3 roods and 30 perches while Henry Hodgson owned 203 acres and 35 perches with a land value of £8 4s 0d. Value of Building is 5s 0d , and the total value is £8 9s 0d.
Occupiers of the Land
Thomas Mc Donagh, Francis Roche, John Clancy, Rd. Mc Donagh (Patt), Cecilia Mc Donagh, Rd. Mc Donagh (Jas), Thomas Griffin, Edward Sullivan, Peter Mc Donagh, Patrick Frazer, Michael Corcoran and Henry Hodgson (In Fee)
Landlord – Immediate Lessor was Henry Hodgson
Ownership of Land and Property: All of the occupants just owned land valued at 7 shillings each except Michael Corcoran who had a house and land and the house was valued at 5 shillings.
Out Offices and Land Out houses
The out office was a farm building, a cow house, piggery or barn. The land was very poor and sterile and people were always poverty-stricken. At this time most tenants were trying to eke out a living on 5acres or less and a farmers needed at least 15.3 acres to survive.
Poor Law Union Ireland
In Ireland the Poor Relief Act of 1838 divided into districts or “unions” in which the local taxable inhabitants were to be financially responsible for all paupers in the area. In 1898 the Poor Law Union was adopted as the basic administrative division in place of the civil parish and barony. Further subdivision into 828 registration districts and 3,751 district electoral divisions followed. Townlands were not arranged according to these divisions with parish and barony retained as a means to make comparisons with records gathered before 1898.
The 1838 Act
The main provisions of the 1838 Act were:
- The extension of the existing Poor Law Commissioners’ powers to Ireland, with the appointment of Assistant Commissioners who were to implement the Act in Ireland.
- The division of the country into Poor Law Unions based on Irish electoral divisions which were themselves made up from townlands.
- The creation of a Board of Guardians for each Union, two-thirds of whom were to be elected, the other third to be appointed ex officio.
- The setting up of a workhouse in each Union.
- The collection of a local poor-rate to finance the system.
- Assistance for emigration.
Initially, 130 Unions were created, based upon 2,049 electoral divisions. The divisions were composed of townlands, a peculiarly Irish unit, traditionally of 120 Irish acres in area. (Between 1848 and 1850, an additional 33 Unions were created by subdividing and reorganizing the boundaries of some existing Unions, particularly in the west of the country.
Boards of Guardians were elected annually on 25th March. Only rate-payers were eligible for election, which effectively disenfranchised most of the native Irish who were usually tenants at this time. Rate-payers were allowed between one and six votes depending on the size of a valuation of their property.
A town land is one of the smallest land divisions in Ireland. They range in size from a few acres to thousands of acres. Many are Gaelic in origin, but some came into existence after the Norman invasion 1169. Gowlaun is a townland.
1841 – 3 houses with 714people
1851 – 1 house with 2 people
1861 – 1 houses with 1 person
1871 – No houses with nobody living in the town land
1881 – 4 houses (4 inhabited) with 26 people (16 males / 10 females). There were 4 outbuildings. Total Valuation of Houses & Lands £7 15s 0d.
1891 – 1 house (1 inhabited) with 9 people (4 males / 5 females). There were 2 Outbuildings. Total Valuation of Houses & Lands £7 15s 0d.
This is a return of the members of the family, visitors, boarders or servants who slept or abode in their house on the night of Sunday March 31st 1901 in Gowlaun.
There is 1 house listed in the Townland of Gowlaun. The people were all Roman Catholics and they were born in County Galway. There were 2 in total of farm buildings and out offices which included, a stable and a cow house.
Class of House: The class of house depended on the materials used in the roof, walls, number of rooms and number of front windows. A 1st class house was considered the highest standard.
Walls of the houses: The walls were of stone, brick, concrete or of mud, wood or other perishable material. The house in Gowlaun was built of stone, brick or concrete. It wasn’t a mud cabin.
Landholder of the property unless otherwise stated was the lawful owner.
Roofs were of slate, iron, tiles, thatch, wood or other perishable material. The roofs of houses were of thatch, wood or perishable material. Most likely this house was thatched as there was ample reeds for thatching in the lakes.
House Occupancy: The house was occupied by one family.
House & Building Returns
Out Offices & Farm Steadings
The person listed as Head of the Family was also listed as the lawful Landholder of the property.
House 1: Martin Joyce aged 40 a farmer married to Ann aged 40 was head of the family. Living with them were their adult children Michael 19, Stephen 17, Winifred 15 – farmer’s sons and daughter, Pat 12, Thomas 4, John 1, Kate 13, Ann 11, Honour 6 – scholars and Martin’s mother Anne aged 84 who was a widow. Anne aged 84 spoke Irish and the rest of the family spoke Irish and English. They lived in a class 3 house with 2 front windows. They occupied 2 rooms and had a stable and a cow house.
This is a return of the Members of family in Gowlaun, their visitors, boarders and servants who slept or abode in the house on the night of Sunday the 2nd of April 1911.
Description of the Houses
The house in Gowlaun was listed as a private dwelling and was built of concrete or stone. The roofs of the houses were of wood, thatch or other perishable material. Most likely this house was thatched. The head of the family was listed as the landholder. One family lived in the property. The Class of the house depended on the material used in the roof, walls, number of rooms and number of front windows. Most of the houses came under “2’ in the census form meaning that there could be 2, 3, or 4, rooms in the house.
House & Building Returns
Out Offices & Farm Steadings
House1: Marin Joyce a farmer and head of the family aged 53 lived with his wife Anne aged 53 and his children Anne 19, Patrick 17, Nora 15, Thomas 14, John 11 and Bridget 9. The family could read and write and they spoke Irish and English. They were married 30 years and 10 children were born alive and 10 were still living. 8 persons occupied 2 rooms. They lived in a class 3 house with 2 front windows. They had a cow house and a piggery.
Church records of births, deaths and marriages:
Church records of births, deaths and marriages are available online at http://www.rootsireland.ie. To search these records, you will need to know the ‘church parish’ rather than the ‘civil parish’. (The civil parish is the pre-reformation parish and was frequently used as a unit of administration in the past.)
Gowlaun is in the civil parish of Kilcummin.
This civil parish corresponds with the following Roman Catholic parish or parishes.
- Clonbern & Kilkerrin in Galway East.
- Carraroe in Galway West.
- Kilannin in Galway West.
- Kilcummin/Oughterard in Galway West.
- Rosmuc in Galway West.
Church of Ireland parish:
This civil parish corresponds with the following Church of Ireland parish.
- Kilcummin in Galway West.
In general, the civil parish and the Church of Ireland parish are the same, but, this is not always the case.
It is located at 53° 27′ 49″ N, 9° 23′ 36″ W.
Original OS map of this area
Ireland was first mapped in the 1840s. These original maps are available online.
Original OS maps at the Ordnance Survey of Ireland website
Below is a link to the Ordnance Survey of Ireland website. It displays the original OS map that was created in the 1840s.
Information from Google Maps:
You can use this link to find this townland on Google Maps.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Gowlaun,+Co.+Galway,+Irelandfirstname.lastname@example.org,-9.4086141,15z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x485bc5e78509e0bb:0xeb01cab6c94ec8a1 Information from the National Monuments Service:
You can use this link to view a map of archaeological features. This link brings you to a website wherein you will have to search for your townland.
Galway Library Website
Please note that some information on the above site is incorrect and refers to Golan, also in the Civil Parish of Kilcummin.
Additional Information from “A Valley Remembers Glann’
An Gabhlan, The forked area.
Area 275 acres.
This large townland lies west of Ballygally on the Glann hill bordering Farravaun and Curraghduff East to the west. The land in the upper area is mainly open mountainous type with good arable meadows with fine examples of superb field stone walls.
In 1641 the area was lorded over by Thady McDonagh.
In the 1850s the only family that lived in Gowlan was that of Michael Corcoran. Henry Hodgson was the landlord or Lessor of the land. Many of the people who rented in Gorterwulla had land rented in Gowlan also. The holdings seem to have been small.
Michael Corcoran rent was 15 shillings with the other rents at 7 shillings. Some of Michael Corcoran’s family lived there in the late 1880s—Pat and Annie Corcoran and their sister. Pat emigrated and joined the Police in Liverpool. He married a Sullivan girl from Glann. Patsy Joyce’s grandfather Martin bought the Corcoran lands for £100 and the set up home in Gowlaun. The Joyces were always great stone wall builders. It is a testament to their skill that the wonderful walls erected many years ago are standing tall and straight to this day.
At the time 1911 census there was one family living in Gowlaun, Martin and Anne Joyce and their children: Anne, Patrick, Nora, Thomas, John and Bridget. They had five other children Kate, Winifred and Honour Michael and Stephen. Thomas stayed at home and married Julia Thornton from Cornamona. They had seven children, Patsy, Mary, Nancy, Michael, Francis, John and Stephen. Stephen was sadly killed by lightening on January 27th1962 as he went to fetch a kettle of water for tea while working with the Forestry Service. The accident happened on Curraun Hill where it meets Curraun More and Cappanlaurabaun townlands. His brothers Patsy and Francis live in Gowlaun.