Cruachán aka CROGHAN derives its name from Croghan Hill in this parish*. This ancient Gaelic placename for a small round hill (located on the northern approach to the village) was applied to both the village and townland in which it sits.
Sráidbhaile Chruacháin aka Croghan Village (in the parish of KILLUKEN, barony of BOYLE, county of ROSCOMMON, and the province of CONNAUGHT, 4 miles from Elphin, on the road to Boyle) was not established until the late 18th century.
Before Cromwell, Croghan was no more than a townland with one ringfort. In 1641, it was owned by a Catholic, Liam Ó Maolaodha aka William O'Mulloy “the great O'Mulloy, of Ughterhera, in the county of Roscommon, knight of the shire and governor of that county.”
Between 1641 and 1653 Ireland was devastated by Oliver Cromwell's English reconquest of the island. Consequently, Croghan was awarded to Capt. Owen Lloyd of Co. Leitrim (d.1664) for services to the crown. (In the Census of 1659, Croghan had a total of 16 inhabitants - all English).
It wasn't until the Lloyds of Norfolk inherited the estate that any true development of Croghan began. Resident in England, they had yet to build an estate mansion & demesne here. At first, the Lloyds built 3 Georgian residences for gentlemen tenants:
- Croghan (later replaced by Croghan House),
- Fairview (still extant) and
- The Hermitage (still extant).
By the time of the 1749 Census of Croghan, a Lloyd widow was present. Croghan had no market. Trading in Croghan at this time was: P. Donnellan, merchant (his thatched shop was on the site of St Michael's RC Church) and W. Goodfellow, a weaver.
Weaving was the chief trade for men during this time; the women spinning flax. The linens manufactured in Croghan were mostly of the coarse and narrow kinds; drugget, frieze, and flannel. [see Flaxgrower's List 1796].
In 1796, following the relaxation of Penal Laws for Catholics, Donnellan's shop became Croghan RC Chapel (a thatched building, demolished c.1859). A surge in the building of Georgian farmhouses in the district, for local Protestant gentry, followed.
In 1811, Guy Lloyd of Hackford Vale, Norfolk, succeeded to his father's estates but did not come to reside in Ireland. Pat Browne Esq. was Croghan's resident gentleman/ magistrate (with Kirkwood and McDermott Esqrs. nearby).
By 1816, Croghan had its own parish school (Hibernian Sunday School Society), and Croghan Fair was already well-established. Croghan's bi-annual cattle fairs (June and October) drew crowds from all across the west, in particular for its famous Croghan Shorthorn.
In 1826, Croghan Dispensary was established. By then, Croghan also had its own RIC Police Station, and a small courtroom where Petty Sessions were held every Tuesday, and a village pound (for animals found wandering on the road). Guy Lloyd's eldest son and namesake, having come of age, took up residence in Croghan as his father's representative. (Pat Browne Esq. had by then removed to his family seat at Cloonfad). In 1828, Guy Lloyd Esq. Jr. (1803-1860) married Susannah McCann in Norfolk and appears on record in Co. Roscommon as a Grand Panel jury member.
By 1830 the estate mansion, Croghan House, had been built as a residence for Guy Lloyd Esq. Jr. (1803-1860) and Croghan village had taken shape. Twenty houses had been erected, all on one side of the road (facing east towards the big house). This unusual one-sided village plan was due to Lloyd not wanting the smell from its outhouses and other activities wafting anywhere near his mansion. Lloyd also encouraged improvements along the roadside of other townlands leading into the village.
"If" said Mr Weld in 1832, "a position be taken on an eminence near the village, which extends an extensive view, on looking eastward along the road leading to the Shannon, the whole country as far as the eye can reach in that direction appears studded with whitened cottages. These are the erection of Mr Lloyd: in other words, he insists upon improvements being made by his tenants and grants a considerable allowance for the purpose out of their rents."
In 1833 Croghan Loan Fund was established by Mr Lloyd, with a capital of £500. Under the encouragement of Guy Lloyd Jr Croghan quickly became a progressive agricultural centre. He served as High Sherriff of Co. Roscommon in 1833.
In 1837, Croghan was mapped by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland for the first time and Samuel Lewis described Croghan in his Topographical Survey of Ireland. In 1842, Guy Lloyd Jr inherited his father's estates in Ireland and England.
In 1845, Great Famine hit Croghan badly as it did most everywhere in Co. Roscommon and by 1850 the Catholic Clergy had turned on Lloyd. In 1856, Croghan made news across the Empire when Lloyd fired 20 of his Croghan labourers for not showing up to work on a Catholic Feast day.
In 1858, the Catholic Parish of Croghan was formed (amalgamating the parishes of Tumna South, Killukin, Killummod and the eastern parts of Kilcola and Eastersnow). Guy Lloyd Jr. laid the foundation stone for Croghan's St Michael's RC Church in 1859. Lloyd died before the completion of the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity (near Croghan House) in 1861.
Croghan is still flourishing. It has a 6-teacher National school, three new housing estates, and a very active community, Tidy Towns committee etc. The Shannon Gaels GAA Club have a fine facility with a sports ground and meeting rooms. On the site of the old creamery stands a lovely community centre.
Shannon Gaels G.A.A. club, 1884-1984 : Croghan/Drumlion : a history / by Thomas Mullaney.
*Not to be confused with the great hill of Rathcroghan near Tulsk.
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|Croghan Village ORIENTATION
|Landed Estates: Croghan