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Ann Muldoon was my great great great grandmother. She was selected to emigrate to Australia in 1849 on the Inchinnan, part of the Irish Orphan Girls Scheme.

Ann’s immigration papers record that she was born in Mulick, Co. Fermanagh c.1830. Her parents were Charles and Betsy / Bridget Muldoon. She was living in the Ballyshannon Workhouse when she was selected for emigration,Ann was c. 17 when she left Ballyshannon.

Family papers record that Ann had at least three siblings. She had two sisters, Mary and Catherine, who emigrated to Dundee where they worked in the city’s jute factories. Ann also had one brother, James Muldoon.

I would dearly like to find more information about the Muldoon family of Mulick (Mulleek?). I would also like to know how the Great Famine affected Mulick and the surrounding area. I am finding it difficult finding out any information about Mulick at all. Was it a village or a rural area? 

I would love to know more about the early life of Ann Muldoon. 

Unfortunately, Ann’s life in Australia was a very troubled one. She had significant mental health problems throughout her life, partially caused by the trauma of the Great Famine. After several unsuccessful attempts, Ann committed suicide in 1872. 

Any help in throwing some light on Ann’s family and/or her early life in Mulick would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards
Brian Harris




Tuesday 16th May 2023, 10:24PM

Message Board Replies

  • Muleek (spelling varies) is a cluster of buildings along the modern Mulleek Rd. (Road names were only introduced in that area in the 1960s. In the 1840s your townland alone was sufficient to identify you and get a letter delivered).

     Muleek is scattered across 3 townlands: Leggs, Tirigannon and Ballymagaghran.  There’s nothing much there apart from a ruined church, a Community Centre and there was a National School there which your ancestors might have attended. It was later renamed St Davog’s.

    Some school attendance records exist for that school, but I don’t know how far back they go. They might go back to the 1840s but that would be fairly rare. They are contained in SCH 291, SCH 1435 & SCH 1436 at PRONI. They are not on-line, so a personal visit is required to view them.

    A townland is the basic land unit in Ireland. The whole country is divided into tens of thousands of them.  Mulleek is on the Placenames NI site which has it (Mulleek) and explains it means “middle bay” and is in the civil parish of Belleek.

    The PRONI e-catalaogue has several references to Muleek & Mulleek but most are 20th century and would not mention your family.

    I checked Griffiths Valuation for the 3 townland that Muleek is in. No Muldoons listed in any of them. Very close to Muleek however is Lowerybane townland (previously Lowry Johnston). In 1832 there was a Charles Muldoon farming there, according to the tithe applotment records. Perhaps a connection?:

    Lowerybane is on the shore of the Lough and is about 1 mile east of Belleek village. The family had gone by the time of Griffiths Valuation in 1862 which obviously fits with your information. Lowerybane then was 248 acres of agricultural land with about 5 farms on it. It’s very much the same today with a few more houses. Agriculture and tourism would be the main employers in that area. The modern Boa Island Rd goes through Lowerybane.

    In the 1901 census there were 5 homes in Lowerybane and a population of 23. Mostly farmers with 2 grocers (so there was a shop) and 1 railway worker (the railway from Enniskillen to Bundoran ran through the middle of the townland. Opened 1866).

    That townland is in the RC parish of Carn. Unfortunately it has no records before 1851.

    Muldoon is not a very common name in Fermanagh. In the 1901 census there were just 74. One fairly near to Muleek (a mile or so away) :…

    You could try Enniskillen Library, local studies section for famine information. They may also have a copy of the Ordnance Survey memoirs of the parish c 1836 which would give a general description of it then.  (The OS memoirs are not on-line so you need to either buy a copy or get someone to copy the relevant pages for Belleek parish). The library will surely have a copy. Contact details here:

    If Mary & Catherine Muldoon died in Scotland, their death certificates should record their parents names (if known to the informant). That might clarify the mother’s name including her maiden name. The records should be on the Scotlandspeople site. It should also contain Charles’ occupation. If he was a farmer (as opposed to a labourer) then that might provide a hint that he’s the man listed in the tithe applotment records.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 17th May 2023, 06:58AM
  • Hi Elwyn

    Many, many thanks for your very detailed reply. You have given me lots to go on.

    One fact that really interests me is the Charles Muldoon recorded in the Tithe Applotment Book. Its location by Lough Erne seems to fit a description of Ann Muldoon's birthplace that is in a document written by her eldest son, John Muldoon (who became one of the first aldermen in Casino, New South Wales - a real success story after Ann's difficult life.

    John wrote, 'My mother was born on the Shore of Loch Erin (Erne?) in Ireland, about equal distance from the village of Petego, Beleke and Bellashannon'. I don't think any of the other townlands you mention are actually on Laugh Erne, are they?

    John also says later in the document that his mother never went to school.

    Interestingly, he also says that when Ann was 17, her parents were 'stony broke'. He doesn't mention the Great Famine or any immigration details. Given the detail in the rest of the document, I wonder if there was some family whitewash about the horror of the Famine years. Was that a common reaction?

    Kind regards




    Thursday 18th May 2023, 05:52AM
  • Attached Files


    I am sure that loch Erin is Lough Erne. It is a huge lough and if she comes from that area she couldn’t mean anything else. Erne = Eagle in Irish. In the past there were a lot of Ospreys and White tailed Sea Eagles living there. The spelling Loch is Scottish. Lough is Irish but they both mean the same thing and are pronounced exactly the same too.

    Lowerybane is on the shore of the lough. The other 3 townlands are about a quarter of a mile from the loughshore. So it all rather depends on what is meant by “born on the shore.” Muleek is pretty close to it. And seen from Australia “on the shore of the lough” is probably close enough to accurate.

    Ballyshannon, Belleek and Pettigo are roughly in a straight line.  Muleek is just to the east of Belleek. So she was born close to Belleek and equidistant from Ballyshannon and Pettigo but not equidistant from Belleek. Perhaps there was a little confusion somewhere? (It would be impossible to be equidistant from all 3 as they are in a straight line).

    “Stony broke” suggests the family were labourers not farmers. Farmers didn’t do so badly in the famine years (having a variety of crops, not just potatoes). It was the labourers with only a small patch of ground on which they only grew potatoes who were hit really badly. One crop dependent. There was plenty of food in Ireland during the famine, just most of the population couldn’t afford to buy it. The Government should have done so much more to help the population but that’s another story.  The price of things like oats and barley rose during the famine and Irish farmers were often OK. Labourers starved though. There were soup kitchens and so on but it was grim. (The library should have more local detailed descriptions, and if Ballyshannon’s workhouse minutes have survived they will likely give a week by week account of what local conditions were. The Board of Guardians minutes are in Donegal Library if you ever get a chance to go).

    I have attached a letter from Canada describing emigration from the area around Fermanagh in 1847. It touches on the subject. Don’t know about whitewashing. I don’t know they needed to do that.

    If you are interested in a good description of life in Ireland in the 1840s read Asenath Nicholson’s book “Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger”.  She was an American lady who ran a boarding house in New York which took in loads of Irish emigrants. She got sufficiently interested in the country to visit. In 1846 or 1847. She visited every county but one (Cavan) and gives really vivid descriptions of everyday life. Lack of food in some parts of the country is very evident. But there are lots of other fascinating anecdotes. She was able to visit some of the workhouses for example.

    Elwyn, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Thursday 18th May 2023, 09:45AM

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