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A gateway to the history of each of Cavan's 2,000 townlands

Cavan Townlands Website is hosted by Michael McShane and his wife, Catherine Kerr. Although not a native of Cavan, Michael has traced his ancestors back to the townland of Cloggy in the parish of Killashandra. Michael says: “What started in 2009 as research into my family history has since developed into a passionate interest in historical sources for County Cavan, and I now want to share my findings with others who are keen to trace their Cavan ancestors and delve further into the history of Breifne. Catherine brings her experience as a data scientist to compiling and presenting the data we have encountered into an easily accessible layout.” The key to this historical and genealogical research is the townland and this site uses the individual townland as the gateway and organiser of the records and data which are presented here.

New relaunched in April 2021, Michael and Catherine say: "We have completely overhauled which was first launched in 2015. The emphasis has been refocused on each of the 2000 townlands of County Cavan. Every townland is unique and we have created an individual page for each one. The new format is designed to bring together the historical data which we have uniquely researched along with the more generally available data which we have edited and improved on in terms of access and quality.

The main data sources are briefly listed below and most come with supporting articles which provide further background and tips on searching. As time allows, we plan to upload more unique records and articles, so please do return on a regular basis. We are constantly seeking further historical information and any contributions including articles, books, photographs, maps etc are greatly appreciated and all contributors will be fully credited."

A search by townland will produce the following results in one location:

  • Location map and basic townland information along with specific articles relevant to the townland where available.

  • 1609 Bodley plantation map analysis for the townlands of the parishes of Kildallan, Killashandra and Scrabby/Gowna. 137 townlands have been identified and classified. Find out what your townland was called in 1609 and who the land was granted to under the Plantation of Ulster. The name of the newly created estate, or proportion, can be found here and the original maps can be viewed.

  • 1652 Commonwealth survey data and maps for all parishes. After the quashing of the 1641 rebellion, the lands were regranted by Cromwell and the new Proprietor name for each townland is provided here along with estate maps.

  • 1830 Tithe Applotment records for 35 of the 36 civil parishes. Re-indexed, corrected and presented in searchable tabulated form for ease of access. Tenant names are provided in this record of church tax applied to the tenant farmers.

  • 1836 Name Book records for the townlands of 9 parishes first published in The Heart of Breifne 1979-1987. The nine parishes covered are: Bailieborough, Castlerahan, Crosserlough, Denn, Killinkere, Knockbride, Lavey, Munterconnaught and Shercock.

  • 1841 Census of Killashandra. Cross checked, corrected and fully searchable data set. This a unique record of all inhabitants, their name, age, occupation, educational and marriage status and more.

  • 1865 Griffith’s valuation records. Covers the entire of County Cavan. Tenant names are provided.

All included townland records have been referenced to their official Logainm identifier. is the official database of Irish placenames.

There is also an extensive library of maps and books which are specific to County Cavan and this reference set is being enlarged on an on-going basis. The full version of a number of books and articles can be read here.

See the ABOUT section on the website for further information on the above records.

We hope you have found the information we have shared helpful. While you are here, we have a small favour to ask. Ireland Reaching Out is a non-profit organisation that relies on public funding and donations to ensure a completely free family history advisory service to anyone of Irish heritage who needs help connecting with their Irish place of origin. If you would like to support our mission, please click on the donate button and make a contribution. Any amount, big or small, is appreciated and makes a difference. 

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