When I was a child, playing on the road at Ballymacoolaghan, a motor-car full of people pulled up. Down rolled the window and the driver asked me where was this. I said "Ballymacoolaghan Village," and they all laughed. It was not for information they made their enquiry, but to hear me say this. Locally this place was then known simply as "The Village." Well, the village is gone. There are only 3 houses left in Ballymacoolaghan, all but one really outside the village. I now hear the place called "The Old Village."
Originally, in medieval times, a townland ("Baile Fearann") was a plot occupied by a single family or household. Other lands went by other denominations: cow-land, woodland, bogland, marshland, meadowland, waste-land, etc. This was all changed finally by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, in the 19th century, which subsumed all the traditional classifications into one definitive name "townland."
The ancient organisation was occupation of a townland by a family, with pasture-land, woodland, bogland, etc., in the surrounding area. A house-hold typically had about 30 members, headed by the Cenn Fine, or family head. People marrying into the household, whether male or female, took the surname of the household, so a particular family name was associated with a place. Those marrying out, of course, took the family name of the place they went to. This has not been the case for centuries. Surnames are taken from the male of any marriage. Households became single family units, but villages ("clacháin") became clusters of houses. The original family names of a townland are no longer known without deep research.
We know, of course, the family name of Ballymacoolaghan, because it is built into the name (Baile Mheg Úllacháin) -- The Home of Mac Coolaghan. Coolaghans are named as occupiers in ancient manuscripts, but the name has disappeared from the parish for centuries.
In the following contrived "poem," I recount some of the townland names, with some local names added (every field, and maybe every stone, within a townland had a name).
Townland Names of LusmaghGortachallow, marshy field,
Lavaghbeg and Gortnacrannagh,
Townland names of Lusmagh.
Kilmeelaghan and Cloghan More,
Caplevane, the elm plot;
Macnahanny and Glenduff.
Ballynasrah and Gloster;
Corgarve North, Fulough.
Names to turn the memory back,
To set the heart on fire.
Local names and more.
The islands on the Shannon.
Townlands of Lusmagh D.E.D. per 1911 Census
Click townland name for census details
- Cloghan Beg
- Cloghan Demesne
- Corgrave North
- Corgrave South
- Lavagh Beg
Note: "D.E.D." stands for "District Electoral Division" (now called Electoral Division), the smallest administrative area for which statistics are kept, an area once of significance in electoral organisation, returning one representative to the Poor Law Union. Lusmagh was part of Parsonstown (now called Birr) Poor Law Union.
Townlands of Lusmagh Parish:
Source: Irish Times: Irish Ancestors