Report on the State of Destitution in and about Croghan

1st February 1847
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This letter, from Mr T. J. Mulvanny in Longford, describes the state of destitution in and around Croghan, and Public Works Relief.

More accounts of the RELIEF of DISTRESS IN IRELAND can be viewed online here.

Mr T. Mulvany to Mr. Mulvany

Richmond Harbour, Frebruary 21, 1847.

Since I wrote last I have been a good deal through Roscommon, in the direciton of Strokestown, Elphin, Croghan and Boyle. The people are generally very badly off in that direction; their whole dependances appears to be "the Pyblic Works," and they pay no attention to the land, although they all admit that they are live to the necessity of putting down their crops if they are to expect anything to live on next year, but say they cannot afford to give up the pay on the works, and seem generally to have a vague expectation that the Government will crop the land, or as they term it, "give them some encouragement" to do it themselves. I find they are not much in the habit of putting down the crops before March, so that the present neglected state of the land is not so alarming yet; but they have ony six weeks before them at most, and little or no preparation has been made yet.

In one place near Croghan I met a small farmer who holds 15 acres from Lord Lorton*. Of this quantity he has only about 1 and a half or 2 acres cropped with wheat and rye, the rest nearly all pasture, as he had been in the habit of feeding cows. In reply to my query why he had not broken some of his fine lea land and put down oats, he said that he ought to have done so, but was waiting to see what encouragement they would get; that it was now too late, as the lea should have been turned up during the winter, and consequently he has to go some miles off to pay a high rent for two acres of con-acre oats.

The farm adjoining this man's land consists of 38 acres of good land, nearly all under corn crops last year, but nothing whatever done to is since the corn was cut. The house is not bad, and there are five stacks of corn and three cocks of hay in the haggard; and yet the two fine young men who rent this farm (their father being dead) have been and are still employed on the Relief Works, to the utter neglect of their farm, and probably to the exclusion of really distressed parties. The conduct of the Relief Comittees is very much complained against. I have the foregoing statement from the man I alluded to above, and therefore suppose it to be correct; - if so, it is certainly shameful.

The employment on some of the roads in that part of the county has just been suspended, I supposed by order of the Board. This has caused great consternations among the men employed. On Friday, I met a large body of them, or rather two or three bodies of 10 or 12 each, going off across the country between Boyle and Carrick. They told me they had just been thrown out of work on the roads and were going to Mr Mulloy, of Oakport, to get "some redress".

I hear it remarked in some places that the practice of giving out soup without any solid food, as they do at some of the soup kitchens, tends greatly to increase the dysentry which is so prevalent. Fever and other sickness have become very prevalent in this neighbourhood (Cloondra) within the last week.

*The Viscount Lorton's estate near Croghan was in the parish of ESTERSNOW (probably either the townland of Ardkeenagh, Estersnow, or Knockroe).