Parochial Survey of KILLUKIN (BOYLE)


By the Rev. William Rigby, Archdeacon of Elphin, Rector [from "A Statistical Account, Or Parochial Survey of Ireland" By William Shaw Mason Volume 2 pp 320-331]

Killukin (barony of Boyle) is situate on the great road from Dublin to Sligo. Its townlands are twenty-one. The high roads which intersect the parish are, that leading from Carrick-on-Shannon to Frenchpark through Croghan; and that leading from Carrick-on-Shannon to Elphin. The scenery of the parish is that of a number of gentle hills, mostly round and detatched. Fine springs of water abound almost everywhere. The parish is generally destitute of trees or plantations. 

There are no mountains, but many hills, which are all pasturable, or even arable. There is some bog with moor adjoining on the road from Carrick (on Shannon) to Croghan, on the left hand; and beyond Croghan, a small bog on the right hand.  There are no woods or thickets, nor any remarkably peculiar plants. There are som marshy lands, that are flooded in winter, but which in summer are used as meadow or pasture. There is but one small river, the Killukin river, which falls into the Shannon a little below Carrick-on-Shannon.


Croghan is the only place deserving the name village. The gentlemen's seats (in 1816) are:

Hermitage - the seat of Thomas Kirkwood, Esq.;  

Fairview  the seat of Molloy McDermott, Esq.; and

Croghan that of Patrick Brown Esq. These threee are all near Croghan; Mr Kirkwood's and Mr Molloy McDermott's houses are a little beyond Croghan and nearly opposite each other, on different sides of the road. 


 No ruins of monasteries or religious houses, or of castles or round towers are to be met with. There are about 50 Danish forts or raths; but no monuments of note or inscriptions, save for Cloch Com - a long stone set up obliquely, said to have been thrown there from the top of Shimore, Co Leitrim by the Giant Fiionn Mac Cumhaill, the print of whose 5 fingers is to be seen in it. 


The population is 1,790 (904 males, 886 females) of which about 120 are Protestants.

Those who are of a mostly decent orderly description, have very generally become members of the Armenian Methodist Society. The cause of this appears to have arisen from past neglectful conduct, and ignorance in spiritual things of too many of the Established Clergy, which has driven the people to look for instruction elsewhere than at church, and disposed them to throw themselves into the arms of any who came to them, as teachers of religion, with and appearance of zeal ... if the occasions they have had for complaint shall continue; - if they shall yet have to remark the neglect, and secular or vicious lives, and spiritual ignorance, or absence frome their cures, of their appointed ministers, who receive their tithes, it is to be foreseen that and entire and formal separation of the Methodists from the National Church will before very long take place ...

Weaving is the chief trade to which men are brought up here, and the women's chief employment is in manufacturing or spinning flax. The linens that are made here are mostly of the coarse and narrow kinds. [see Flaxgrower's List 1796].

Generally there is a want of employment for the poor (especially labourers) in this country, except for the busy times of year in the spirng or harvest; at other times many are forced to remain idle, who will be willing to work; hence it follows, that the inhabitants are mostly poor; their food is generally potatoes.  They are subject peculiarly to scrofulous complaints (tuberculosis or TB like bacteria) occasioned it is thought by their low diet. Their dwellings are usually very indifferent and dirty, and even devoid of necessaries. Many sleep on the damp floor. Their clothing for day or night is often very scanty; with respect to dress however, there is within these few years past a considerable improvement in their condition and appearance; this is especially observable in the females. They are much given to drunkenness, and the clandestine stills in the country put whiskey easily withing their reach. There are not any extraordinary instances of longevity in this parish. 



The people of this (parish) appear a laborious race, patient of hardships, and very kind, according to their ability, to the distressed and the wandering poor; hardly ever refusing to such, food of whatever kind they have themselves, or a night's lodging in their houses; they are enterprising, and will undertake a journey even to England, for work, and to earn something for their families: they are also ready to enlist into militia or army, when impelled by poverty: they seem to possess a natural shrewdness, (often ill directed); nor can they be much depended on for truth or honesty at present, through their ignorance of moral duties; they also appear very quarrelsome and litigious among themselves. 

Begging is very common among them; and it is melancholy to see whole families brought up in the habit. Under the present unenlightened and unimproved circumstances of the lower classes in the part of the country, a respect for the laws, or a steady attachment to the constitution under which they live, can hardly be looked for in them, and will not be found at present existing in them generally. 

Hitherto the Irish language has been much spoken here by the aboriginal inhabitants, but it is now much declining, chiefly owing to the rising generation, learning as they are so generally, to read English at little country schools, which are becoming very common. 

The most remarkable customs retained among the people are those of repairing to cdertain wells in the neighbourhood (of which there are several present in the parish of Killukin itself) to perform what they call stations, on certain days of the year. The priests are becoming adverse to these public meetings, becasue fo the irregularities they immediately occasion. Any traditionary information among its people are very scanty. 


The children have no employment, except occasionally when they can help their parents at the time of planting, or getting the potato crop, or making turf; at other times they have nothing to do if they are not sent to school; which latter indeed both parents and children appear remarkably desirous of at the present period.  There are numerous small schools through the country, where almost as many as desire can learn to read and write, and acquire some knowledge of accounts. 

There are no public or endowed schools in the parish. In the parish school, where the plan of the Hibernian Sunday School Society has been partially adopted (so far as the introduction of their spelling books, and the classing of the children) there are at present about 90 children; the common or lowest price for teaching in the country is from 3s.9d. a quarter for accountants, to 1s7d for spellers or readers. There is no public library, nor any collection of Irish or other manuscripts in the parish. 


Killukin is a rectory entire, and is the corps of the archdeaconry, being under the patronage of the Lord Bishop of Elphin, who resides at Elphin House. There is but one parish church, viz. that of Killuken; and there are two roman Catholic Chapels, one at Lodge and the other at Croghan. The glebe of Killuken contains 13 acres, but has no glebe house. The articles tythable by custom are corn, meadow, flax, wool, and lambs; there is also a small charge that may be demanded for every married couple, and for every milch cow, and brood mare


The highest acreable rent of the best land, supposing it to have been set within the last 3 years, is about 3 guineas; of the middling about 50 shillings; and of the poorest about 40s. The mode of agriculture is chiefly by digging with a very clumsy, long, and narrow spade, here called a lay; the plough is not much used, partly (they say) because of the wetness of the ground (being very clayey soil without gravel) and partly from the poverty of the petty tillage farmers, who are unable to keep working cattle, or to provide themsleves with proper implements of husbandry; the labour of course of raising crops here, when the plough is not used, is exceeding great and very tedious. There are large pasture farms held by gentelmen graziers

There is no market except at Carrick on Shannon and it is on the Leitrim side of the bridge. Thursday is the market day. There are 5 fairs held in the year, viz. two at Croghan, and threee in Carrick, on the Roscommon side; the fairs of Croghan are held in June and October; and those of Carrick in May, August and November. 


The chief article of trade in this country is butter, large quantities of which, in the season, are sent off to Dublin: by it the farmers chiefly make up their rents. There is also a good deal of yarn sold in the market and sent to Dublin. The chief manufacture is linen of the coarser kind. Drugget, frize, and coarse flannel are also manufactured her for the use of the neighbourhood.      

The navigation between Carrick-on-Shannon and Dublin would be open (via Shannon Harbour) if some obstructions to the navigation of the Shannon from Drumsna to Carrick-on-Shannon would be removed; this, it is expected, will be done this summer.  


John Farrell Esq.    (Torimartin, Carroward, Knockacarra, Ardlavagh, Knockadalteen, Skregg)

Guy Lloyd Esq.  (Ardmore, Derrylow, 'Castelinto & Rusheen', Enagh)

John Keogh Esq. (Ballyculleen, Taulagh, Mullaghmore)

The St. George family  (Mackadella, Knockadanum aka 'Souls Hill' a field of battle in Cromwell's time, Cortobber)

The See of Elphin (Killukin, Curdrehid)  

Francis O'Beirne Esq.(Logboy aka Gordonstown)

John Caddell Esq.    (Drumlion)

[Killukin Townlands not listed in 1816 - Ballindrehid, Croghan, Deerpark, Derrylow, Drishoge, DrummercoolGlebe, Lodge, Rock, Toormore Lugnashammer, )

Source: A Statistical Account, Or Parochial Survey of Ireland" By William Shaw Mason Volume 2 pp 320-331