Regans Town is an account of an extended family group that lived in North Roscommon in the civil parish of Tumna.
The presence of Regan families in the townlands between Cootehall in Roscommon, Leitrim Village, and Carrick on Shannon is recorded in the Census of Elfin in 1749. Following forced evictions and the subsequent land reorganisation by the landlord of the Cootehall Estate, Hugh Barton, in the early 19th century, Regan families became concentrated in the townlands of Laughil, Cleaheen, Kilmacarril, Drumsillagh and Powellshill. Viewing settlement patterns using the Cootehall Estate maps and the historic 6 inch OS maps, some of the socio-economic records for the 1841 and 1851 Census of the Tumna and Ardcarne civil parishes along with some records of the devastating impact of The Famine in the local (the Cootehall Seed Loan Papers) and surrounding area (the Destitute Survey) provides some background context for life in the area at the time.
This context is added to by viewing the educational infrastructure in the area and the records of the Petty Court sessions for the Laughil townland. The information from the Griffith Valuation for the Regan families living in these townlands in 1858 indicates that 12 families lived side by side in an area approximating 190 acres. The concentration of the families was such that the area was referred to locally as Regan’s Town or Regan’s Run and is described as such in local parish records. An attempt is made to trace the 12 families from the Griffith Valuation in 1858 to the 1901 census.
The considerable impacts of post Famine emigration which appears to have ensued principally due to a lack of opportunity, led, over the decades, to the decline of the family name in this area. The family of John Regan and Eliza Friar provides an illustration of how emigration impacted one of the Regan Town families.
Extracts from Regan's Town (A full copy of the research can be downloaded below)
The presence of Regans in the area between Cootehall in Roscommon, Leitrim Village, and Carrick on Shannon is recorded from at least the mid - 18th century. The townland of Laughill was occupied solely by Regan families for almost 100 years. In 'The Parish of Ardcarne; A history' by Henry Tonra, 2001 it is stated taht 'The area from Kathleen Morahan's (in Cleaheen) westwards to the entrance to Powell's Hill peninsula, taking in parts of Cleaheen, Laughil, Kilmacarril and Drumsillagh had many Regan houses in former times and was known as 'Regan's Town' or 'Regan's Run'. The name is found in the baptismal register. Apart from Kathleen, all Regans have now disappeared from this district.
Griffith Valuation 1858
The Griffith Valuation of land and property in Ireland was undertaken between 1848 and 1864 (1858 in this part of Roscommon); it gives a very accurate picture of land tenure and occupancy in post-Famine Ireland. The aim of the valuation was to produce a uniform guide to the relative value of land throughout Ireland in order to decide liability to pay the Poor Rate (for the support of the poor and destitute within each Poor Law union).
The valuation listed the householder's name, the address, the townland, the name of the person from whom the land was leased, a reference number and a description of the property, the number of acres, and the valuation of the property. The valuation was accompanied by a map that located the boundaries of the landholding as referenced on the schedule.
The valuation provides the details for all the occupiers of the Loughill townland, six Regans; the map shows the locations of the land and dwellings. James Regan is recorded as leasing 17 acres of land (along with Peter Regan)*. The other leaseholders in the townland were all Regans, Thomas, Farrell, Edward, and Patrick; a National School-house was also located in the townland.
Laughil Griffith Valuation Map
Griffith Valuation Schedule; Kilmacarill (part of) Loughill 1858
Regans Town 1858
The Griffith Valuation of 1858 shows fourteen Regan households in total in the Tumna Parish, twelve of which are side by side. The numbers in the five townlands are as follows; Loughill (6), Drumsillagh (2), Kilmacarill (2), Powellshill (1) and Cleaheen (1).
Extract from Cootehall Parish Baptismal Records February 1872
Extract from Cootehall Parish Baptismal Records August 1873
When the information for the Regan households living in these townlands in 1858 is combined, it allows an accurate picture of “Regan's Town” to be plotted, see the following map
Regan households in townlands in Tumna Parish: Griffith Valuation 1858
While the term “Reagan's Town” or "Regan's Run" only starts to appear in the Cootehall Parish records from the 1870s, see selected extracts, the naming derivation from the previous decades is apparent.
The information for the Regan families living in the Drumsillagh, Kilmacarril, Loughill, Cleaheen and Powellshill townlands in 1858 indicates that the 12 families occupied over 190 acres. Using the 1861 Census of Population figure of 47 persons for the 6 households in Loughill as an average, there was likely to have been between 90 - 100 Regans living in this area at that time.
As outlined earlier, the boundary between the two households present in Loughill Ref. 3 is not indicated on the original Griffith Valuation Map. The same applies for a further two household groupings in Loughill Ref. 2 and Drumsillagh Ref.1.
Apart from the reference to "Regan's Town" in the ''Parish Of Ardcarne: A History'' by Henry Tonra, 2001, the term was also mentioned in a family history recording made in the 1990s. The recording was of Eileen Larkin* , a great grand-daughter of James Regan of Loughill (approx 1807 - 1885) who is recorded as occupying Ref. No (3AB-Ba) in the Griffith Valuation 1858.
Original Griffith Valuation Map 1858 showing the extent of the land occupied by the 12 Regan families which comprised Regan's Town. The number of households in the five townlands are as follows; Loughill (6), Drumsillagh (2), Kilmacarill (2), Powellshill (1) and Cleaheen (1)
Griffith Valuation Revisions
The Griffith Revision Books contain information on all property in the state from the mid-1850s until the early 1990s. The Roscommon Books have been digitised but, as yet, are only available in the Valuation Office in Dublin. They show changes in land and property ownership since Griffith's Primary Valuation of Ireland. The detail of the Revision Books for the Regan occupancies in the five townlands of Loughill, Drumsillagh, Kilmacarill, Powellshill and Cleaheen are shown in further information. When combined with the Parish and Civil records, they provide a critical layer of information in tracing the family lines from the Griffith Valuation in 1858 to the 1901 Census.
The commencement of the Roman Catholic Parish records in Cootehall (Ardcarne) in 1843 and the Civil Records for the Civil Registration Districts nationally in 1864 allows the compilation of the Regan households in the five townlands around the time of the Griffith Valuation in 1858 to varying degrees of accuracy. None of the lists of children identified in the following table should be taken as complete.
At its most basic level, the Cootehall Parish Birth Records provide the first name and then the parent's name including the mother's full name pre marriage. From around the 1870s, the location of the birth is given by naming the townland. The marriage records provide both parents names and their townland from March 1861. The additional information is critical when the surname is common as with Regan in this area.
While the Irish naming convention* can be also be helpful in establishing different family lines, it can create situations where there are numerous persons with the same name within the same townland e.g. the 1901 Census, there are five John Regans in Loughill. Letters addressed to a John Regan in Loughill had to include the father's name in order to identify the intended recipient** (this means of identification was also used in the Griffith Valuations and the Revision Books). A newspaper report on the Carrick on Shannon Regatta in 1893 lists a John Regan, Loughill as winning three of the races, see over page for copy; unfortunately, it doesn't specify whether it was John Regan (Thomas), John Regan (James) or John Regan (Pat).
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