Cork history

Shanakill townland in the Barony of Kinnatalloon, County Cork

Shanakill townland in the Barony of Kinnatalloon, County Cork

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien

 

On the first Sunday of February Tallow point-to-point races are held at a place called Shanakill Cross between Curraglass and Conna, by the banks of the River Bride, in County Cork. This article provides a few historical notices relating to the townland of Shanakill.

The name of Shanakill is usually translated as “old church” but the “kill” element of the name could also be from the Irish “coil” or wood and so the townland name could be translated as “old wood”. Local tradition calls Shanakill as “Seana Chill” which means “old church” and local tradition is usually a good clue to fact – most of the time anyway.[1]

Tallow races

Early Christian times

So far no archaeological discovery of any site which could be called an “old church” has been made in Shanakill. Instead Shanakill Upper is dominated by a ringfort on the land of Edward and Catherine Casey, beside the Shanakill River. This ringfort is 35 meters in diameter and surrounded by a 2 meter high bank topped with large stones. The intervening fosse is well preserved. Within the interior is a possible souterrain showing a semi-circular depression and several flat sandstone blocks resembling capstones.[2]

The majority of ringforts were enclosed farmstead. Yet some excavated ringforts have shown industrial activity of iron working and such like. It also has to be said that the ringforts we see today, sitting quietly in green fields, are but the remains of a much more complex landscape. Just as many of the medieval tower houses stand isolated in green fields with their bawn wall and secondary buildings removed over time, ringforts were possibly once surrounded by other buildings outside with banks, ditches and fences.

Shanakill Lower also has possible Early Christian remains but as this part of the townland contains the better land for tillage purposes much of the remains have been ploughed out over the centuries. Still the 1842 Ordnance Survey map shows a circular enclosure, a possible ringfort, while an aerial photograph shows the crop mark of a large univallate circular enclosure of up to 100 meters in diameter.[3]

Shanakill c.1660

The earliest record for the townland so far discovered in documents is from the so-called “census of Ireland” taken in 1659-60. The census is actually a poll tax return for the country. This record shows Shanakill as part of the parish of Mogeely in the Barony of Kinnatalloon. John Russel was the tituladoe name (chief person) of the townland which had 2 English taxpayers and 17 Irish taxpayers. Shanakill was fifth out of 15 townlands in Mogeely parish in the number of its taxpayers (Lisnabrinn had 62 taxpayers).[4]

Eighteenth century

The eighteen century is presently a “dark age” period for the armchair historian as very few of the surviving manuscripts from that century are online or in printed books. The best source of information in the research of a townland is to be had from the Registry of Deeds in Dublin. Sadly work commitments prevent me from travelling to Dublin and spend a few days at the Registry. The information there is mainly deeds relating to land – a lease agreement – land appropriated as part of a marriage settlement or land secured against a mortgage. The landowner, associated people, tenants or people with a financial interest in the property appear in the various deeds. The deeds therefore provide information towards a history of a townland and also genealogy information.

Tithe Applotment 1830

In 1830 a number people held land in Shanakill for the purposes of paying tithe to the Church of Ireland. These were Henry Peard (48 acres 1 root 9 perches & 43a 3r 17p = £11 1s 4½d in tithe payment), John Gallagher (59a 1r 2p & 20a = £14 6s 3d), Patrick and William Gallagher (104a 2r 36p & 20a = £24 13s 4d), James Halpin (5a 2r = 8s 9½d), Richard Neville (38a 1r 12p & 18a = £6 8s 1d), Martin Brien (29a 0r 17p = £2 9s 2d), Thomas Wall (8a = 11s 2d), William Buckley (3a 2r 28p = 5s 2d), Widow Higgins (61a 2r 17p = £8 13s 2½d), Widow Kenefick (3a 0r 22p = 2s 7½d ), Widow Quirke (10a 2r 32p = 14s 11d), Widow Hillgrove (8a 1r 39p = 16s 10d). This gives a total acreage of 487 acres 2 roots and 31 perches.[5]

It would seem from the amount of tithe paid by the various people in Shanakill in 1830 that the townland was mostly under pasture land as pasture land was exempt from paying tithes.

Census 1841

In the census of 1841 there were 65 people living in Shanakill Lower in 9 houses and 65 people living in Shankill Upper in 10 houses.[6]

Shanakill Lower c.1853

In Griffith’s Valuation the townland of Shanakill Lower was measured as 244 acres no roots and 25 perches of land which was worth £285 16s. Land worth above one pound per acre was considered good agricultural land as Shanakill Lower was and still is. The buildings in the townland were worth £10 5s. The townland was owned by Henry Peard of Carrigeen Hall (townland north of the River Bride and across from Shanakill Lower) and was divided into seven individual plots. Carrigeen Hall was part of the Peard estate since the first half of the seventeenth century and possibly Shanakill was owned by the family from that time. Henry Peard held plot 1 comprising of 47 acres 35 perches (£73 14s).[7]

Patrick Gallagher rented plot 2a of house, offices and land (125 acres 27 perches, worth £137) from Henry Peard. The buildings were worth £4 5s. Patrick Gallagher had two vacant plots of a house and garden; plot 2b (14 perches, worth 4s, house worth 5s) and 2c (11 perches, worth 3s, house worth 4s).[8]

John Gallagher rented plot 3a (house, offices and land) from Henry Peard. The land was 66 acres 2 roots and 15 perches worth £72 12s and buildings worth £3 16s. In turn Henry Grey rented plot 3b, a house (worth 13s), from John Gallagher.[9] On 23rd July 1878 James Gallagher, farmer of Shanakill (aged 75), died.[10] His relationship with Patrick and John Gallagher is as yet unknown. On 28th April 1883 Mary Gallagher, farmer’s widow (aged 75) died.[11]

Plot 4 was house, offices and land rented by James Halpin from Henry Peard. The 2 acres 1 root and 3 perches were worth £2 3s and the buildings were worth £1 2s. In addition to the above there was 2 acres 3 roots of water and waste, worth nothing, in Shanakill Lower.[12]

Shanakill Upper c.1853

The townland of Shanakill Upper was slightly bigger than its lower counterpart at 244 acres 1 root and 35 perches. But the land was of poorer quality and only worth £125 18s. The buildings in the townland were worth £7 19s, less than the buildings in Shanakill Lower even though there were more buildings in Shanakill Upper.

The townland of Shanakill Upper was owned by the same Henry Peard and was divided into fourteen individual plots with Henry Peard holding plot 7, land (49a 1r 6p worth £9 10s), for his own use. Plot 1 was 2 acres 3 roots of land (worth £2 9s) rented by James Halpin from Henry Peard. Plot 2 was 12 acres 9 perches of land (worth £8 18s) rented by John Gallagher from Henry Peard.[13]

Plot 3a in Shanakill Upper comprised of a house, offices (buildings worth £2) and land (54 acres 1 root 34 perches, worth £28) rented by Richard Neville from Henry Peard. In turn Mary McGrath rented plot 3b, house (4s) and garden (14 perches worth 4s), from Richard Neville while Michael O’Keeffe rented plot 3c, house (3s) and garden (25 perches worth 6s), from Richard Neville. Mary Heffernan rented plot 3d from the same Richard Neville, house, office (buildings worth 7s) and land (11 perches worth 3s).[14] On 4th March 1871 Richard Neville (aged 73) died. His wife, Mary Neville, died on 14th January 1878.[15]

Patrick Gallagher rented plot 4, house (10s) and land (30a 2r 33p, worth £18 5s), from Henry Peard while Joshua Donnell rented plot 5 from Henry Peard, house (9s) and land (12a 1r 11p worth £5 15s).[16]

Robert Hillgrove rented plot 6a at Shanakill Upper townland from Henry Peard, comprising of house, office (buildings worth 13s) and land (8a 2s 38p, worth £4 9s). In turn Hugh Cleary rented plot 6b, a house (worth 3s) from Robert Hillgrove.[17] The Hillgrove family lived in the area of Mogeely parish since at least 1755 and possibly for some time before that. In Mogeely graveyard there is a headstone for Mary Hillgrove who died in 1755. On 5th March 1871 Susan Hillgrove, farmer’s wife (aged 58), died. She was the wife of Robert Hillgrove. On 24th March 1877 Robert Hillgrove, widower (aged 73), died. On 22nd May 1884 their son, William Hillgrove, married farmer (aged 32), died. On 8th April 1874 William’s son, Robert Hillgrove, died aged just 4 weeks.[18] The Hillgrove family continued to live and farm at Shanakill into the twentieth century. On 30th January 1965 John Hillgrove, a widower and retired farmer (aged 84), died.[19]

Thomas Quirke rented plot 8 from Henry Peard comprising of house, offices (buildings worth 14s) and land (10a 2r 24p worth £5 14s). On 5th April 1884 Thomas Quirke died as a bachelor small farmer (aged 56).[20]

Timothy Higgins rented plots 9AaB from Henry Peard of house, offices (buildings worth £2 4s) and land (62a 3r 20p worth £42). In turn John Murray rented plot 9b, house (12s) and garden (18 perches worth 5s), from Timothy Higgins.[21] Sometime after 1850 Timothy Higgins was succeeded by Edmond Higgins. On 21st October 1865 Edmond Higgins, bachelor farmer, died.[22]

IMG

Map of Shanakill townland

Census 1851

In the 1851 census there were 62 people living in Shanakill Lower in 9 houses and 36 people in Shanakill Upper in 6 houses. Shanakill Lower had only a slight fall from 1841 but Shanakill Upper was down from 65 people in 1841 and lost 4 houses. The Poor Law valuation was £240 6s (£296 1s in Griffith’s) for Shanakill Lower and £97 4s (£133 17s in Griffith’s) for Shanakill Upper.[23]

Census 1861

In the 1861 census there were 29 people (15 male & 14 female) living in Shanakill Lower in 4 houses and 31 people (14 male & 17 female) in Shanakill Upper in 8 houses. Shanakill Lower had lost 36 people from 1851 and lost 2 houses while Shanakill Upper was down 5 people from 1851 but gained 2 houses. The Poor Law valuation was £278 15s (up £38 on 1851) for Shanakill Lower and £109 10s (up £11 on 1851) for Shanakill Upper.[24] The story of Ireland after the Great Famine is one of decline but down at the level of individual townlands the story is of fall and rise as circumstances change.

Shanakill residents after 1861

After 1860 different people to those recorded in Griffith’s Valuation came to live at Shanakill and are noticed in various manuscripts. On 15th December 1864, Bartholomew Daly of Shanakill, a married pensioner (aged 60), died. On 28th October 1869 Margaret Callaghan, labourer’s widow (aged 72), died. On 1st January 1873 Julia Walsh of Shanakill, servant’s daughter (aged 13), died.[25]

In the 1870s the Fitzgerald family of Shanakill suffered a number of tragedies. On 28th January 1871 Johanna Fitzgerald, labourer’s daughter (aged 8 months), died. Two days later, on 30th January 1871, William Fitzgerald, a labourer’s son (aged 7 months), died. Five years later the Fitzgerald family had another son, also named William Fitzgerald. This child lived one year before dying on 1st May 1877.[26]

The Brien family of Shanakill also suffered a double loss. On 14th February 1878 James Brien, bachelor of Shanakill (aged 19), died. A few days later, on 25th February 1878, Julia Brien, service of Shanakill (aged 15), died.[27]

On 30th November 1875 John Higgins, a married labourer (aged 43), died. On 30th September 1880 Ida Daniels, widow of Shanakill (aged 74), died.[28]

The Healy labouring family of Shanakill also suffered a number of tragedies. On 23rd September 1887 an unnamed Healy child, a son, died after only 5 minutes of life. On 18th October 1889, two daughters, Mary and Bridget, both aged 4 months, died.[29]

On 19th June 1890 Bridget Gallagher, a farmer’s wife of Shanakill Lower (aged 36), died. On 27th December 1893, Ellen Gallagher, a spinster farmer’s daughter (aged 28), died.[30]

People who lived the religious life

The surviving records are not all about recording the deaths of Shanakill residents. Other records add something more to the passing of a life. Sister Thadeus Gallagher (died 1965) joined the Presentation Order in Cork while her sister, Sister Phillip Gallagher joined the Good Shepherd Order in Waterford and died in 1966.[31]

Shanakill lower

Shanakill Lower on race day

Census 1901

In 1901 there were 25 people living in Shanakill Upper and 13 people living in Shanakill Lower. There were five dwelling houses in Shanakill Upper, viz, Edmund Casey (3 people), Patrick O’Brien (10), Sarah Hillgrove (2), Patrick Geary (7) and Mary O’Brien (3).[32] Shanakill lower had two dwelling houses, namely, John Gallagher (5) and Michael Gallagher (8).[33]

The earlier Griffith’s Valuation (1853) often described a holding as “house, offices and land” but gave few clues as to what those offices were. The surviving census returns for 1901 and 1911 give us a view into those “offices”. In 1901 Edmond Casey has two stables and one each of a cow house, calf house, dairy, piggery, foul house, boiling house, barn and potato house. Patrick O’Brien had a stable, cow house and piggery. Sarah Hillgrove had a stable, cow house, piggery, foul house and barn while Patrick Geary had a piggery and foul house. Mary O’Brien had no out houses.[34]

At Shanakill Lower John Gallagher had a stable, cow house, calf house, dairy, piggery, foul house, boiling house, barn and a shed while Michael Gallagher had the same as John Gallagher but no boiling house.[35]

Census 1911

In the 1911 census 32 people lived in Shanakill Upper.[36] Patrick O’Brien, farmer, had six daughters and three sons living in his house along with his wife, Kate O’Brien.[37] John Scannell, labourer, lived with his wife, Kate, and one son and two daughters.[38] Sarah Hillgrove, widow and farmer, lived with her two sons and two daughters.[39] Edmond Casey, farmer, lived with his wife, Ellen and their son, James along with two servants.[40] Patrick Geary, farm labourer, lived with his wife, Nora and their son, two daughters and one grandson.[41]

There were 8 people living In Shanakill Lower. Michael Gallagher, farmer, lived with his daughter and two sons.[42] In another house John Gallagher lived with his wife Katie and two servants.[43]

Shanakill in 1945

Guy’s Postal Directory for 1945 named the principal residents of Shanakill as Mrs. Casey, farmer, Mrs. J. Gallagher, farmer, and John Lane.[44]

Conclusion

It is possible to find extra historical information on Shanakill townland on the internet, in newspapers and in manuscripts in libraries to mention a few places.

 

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[1] Anon, Conna in History and Tradition (Conna Community Council, 1998), p. 398

[2] Denis Power (ed.), Archaeological inventory of County Cork, Vol. II – East & South Cork (Stationery Office, Dublin, 1994), nos. 4636, 5145; Anon, Conna in History and Tradition, p. 368

[3] Denis Power (ed.), Archaeological inventory of County Cork, Vol. II – East & South Cork, nos. 5010, 5472

[4] Seamus Pender (ed.), A census of Ireland circa 1659 (Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin, 2002), p. 234

[5] http://titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie/reels/tab//004239504/004239504_00160.pdf

[6] http://www.dippam.ac.uk/eppi/documents/14544/page/376176

[7] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Lower, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork; Anon, Conna in History and Tradition, pp. 270, 271

[8] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Lower, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork

[9] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Lower, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork

[10] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records (Conna Community Council, 2005), p. 250

[11] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, p. 255

[12] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Lower, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork

[13] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Upper, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork

[14] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Upper, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork

[15] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, pp. 243, 249

[16] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Upper, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork

[17] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Upper, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork

[18] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, pp. 243, 248, 256, 275

[19] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, p. 303

[20] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Upper, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork ; Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, p. 256

[21] Griffith’s Valuation, Shanakill Upper, Parish of Mogeely, Barony of Kinnatalloon, Co. Cork

[22] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, p. 236

[23] http://www.dippam.ac.uk/eppi/documents/14544/page/376176

[24] http://www.dippam.ac.uk/eppi/documents/14544/page/376176

[25] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, pp. 235, 241, 275

[26] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, pp. 243, 248

[27] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, p. 249

[28] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, pp. 252, 276

[29] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, pp. 260, 262

[30] Anon, Conna Parish Death Records, p. 263

[31] Anon, St. Catherine’s Parish: Conna, Ballynoe, Glengoura, a Christian heritage (Conna Community Council, 2000), pp. 74, 75

[32] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000572163/

[33] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000572158/

[34] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000572164/

[35] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000572159/

[36] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/results.jsp?census_year=1911 County Cork, ded Curraglass, townland Shanakill Upper

[37] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Cork/Curraglass/Shanakill_Upper/411843/

[38] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Cork/Curraglass/Shanakill_Upper/411841/

[39] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Cork/Curraglass/Shanakill_Upper/411842/

[40] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Cork/Curraglass/Shanakill_Upper/411844/

[41] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Cork/Curraglass/Shanakill_Upper/411840/

[42] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Cork/Curraglass/Shanakill_Lower/411839/

[43] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Cork/Curraglass/Shanakill_Lower/411838/

[44] Anon, Conna in History and Tradition, p. 393

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5 thoughts on “Shanakill townland in the Barony of Kinnatalloon, County Cork

  1. Pingback: Peard family of North East Cork and district | History Exploration with Niall

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