Drum parish in the 1830s

1837
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A snapshot of pre-famine local history, as described by Samuel Lewis in the "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" 1837.

DRUM, or DRUMMONAHAN, a parish in the barony of CARRA, county of MAYO, and province of CONNAUGHT, 4 miles (S.) from Castlebar town, on the small coach road to Hollymount; containing 3497 inhabitants.

  • A battle took place here, during the disturbances of 1798, between the English troops and a party of French who had landed at Kilcummin, and taken possession of the mansion and demesne of Ballinafad.

The land is of good quality, and principally under tillage, but the system of agriculture is unimproved, and spade husbandry generally prevalent. There is a proportionate quantity of bog, and limestone is quarried both for building and for burning into lime. There are indications of iron ore, but none has been worked. Great tracts of valuable grazing land might be obtained by draining the neighbouring bogs, and deepening the channel of the river. Besides the fairs at Balcarra, others are held at Donomona on May 26th and Oct. 17th.

  • Ballinafad, the seat of Maurice Blake, Esq., is situated in a large and richly planted demesne; and
  • Bridgemount, the residence of Joseph Acton, Esq., is also in the parish.

The parish is in the diocese of Tuam, and is a rectory, entirely appropriate to the vicars choral of the cathedral of Christ-Church, Dublin;

  • the tithes amount to £160. The glebe-house was built in 1821, by aid of a gift of £337 and a loan of £120 from the late Board of First Fruits; the glebe comprises 17 acres.
  • The church, which serves also for the appropriate parishes of Towaghty and Ballintobber, is a handsome edifice, in the Grecian style, erected by a loan of £923 from the same Board in 1830.
  • The duty is performed by the curate of the adjoining parish of Balla.

In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Balla; the chapel, a large slated building, is at Belcarra.

A school at Belcarra, in which are about 40 boys and 40 girls, is endowed with a house and two acres of land, given to it by the late Col. Cuffe; and there are two private schools in that village, in which are about 130 boys and 40 girls.

At Geesedon, on the river Miranda, which abounds with pike, are an ancient burial-ground and the ruins of an old castle; and at Donomona are the remains of a castle, which was the ancient family seat of the Blakes, now of Ballinafad.

SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)

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