Lusmagh Fields so Green

Click on the picture to hear Johnny McEvoy sing "The Lusmagh Fields so Green."

The Planting of Lusmagh

Offaly, ("Ua bhFáilge" meaning the territory of the Falveys), was planted by Queen Mary and became known as "King's County," the adjoining County of Laois becoming known as "Queen's County."

This plantation added some English names to the area, including Parsons, who gave their name to Parson's Town, now known as Birr.

Other foreign names, such as Berminghams, had been introduced in Norman times (12th Century).

Under the Cromwellian plantation, (in 1654), Lusmagh was granted to 4 Cromwellian soldiers. (Cromwell paid his army by confiscating land held by Catholics and regranting it to his soldiers, most of whom resold it to speculators, who became the new land-owners of Ireland).

After the Restoration of the Stuarts, part of Lusmagh, including Cloghan Castle, was granted by Charles II to Irish chieftain Garrett Moore, the Moores having lost their traditional lands in County Laois.

The O'Moores were good landlords and tried their best to alleviate the suffering of their tenants in the Great Famine of 1845 to 1847. As a result of the Famine, the Moores became bankrupt and had to sell the lands.

The lands of Lusmagh were then  bought by Dr Robert Graves, (discoverer of Grave's Disease, Exopthalmic Goitre), whose widow evicted about 100 tenants.

The 19th century was an unhappy and rebelious time for the inhabitants of Lusmagh.

Despite all the plantations, the population remained predominantly Catholic and Irish. Native Irish surnames like Madden, Mahon, Rourke and Killeen predominated. My father said the displaced Irish slipped back in after the plantations were completed.

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