Parish of Inishmacsaint, County Fermanagh
Statistical Report by Lieutenant P. Taylor. November 1834
Name and Derivation
In the north eastern extremity of the parish, and about 10 chains from the shore, a beautifully carina-shaped island named Inishmacsaint
contains still the ruins of a very ancient Roman Catholic chapel and a very large sandstone cross, but whether the island gave name to the parish or the latter derives its nomina benedicta from the former is a question unfortunately, if of vital importance, enveloped in the deepest obscurity. The very best local authorities for its derivation have been consulted in vain. Innis ?island?, mac ?the son of? may be construed the "island of the saint", but this has no reference to the parish. Colgan calls it Inismuighesamh "island of the beautiful plain", but this bears no analogy, either in feature or form. However, that it was attached to the monastic establishment on the island as its benefice, and acknowledged both its temporal and spiritual jurisdiction, may be presumed from their present connection, but is also strongly confirmed by aboriginal tradition.
Its locality, however, is clearly defined, occupying a north western position in the county of Fermanagh, and situated in the south western division of the barony of Magheraboy. On the north it is bounded by the beautifully picturesque Lough
Erne and its tranquil stream, south by the parish of Devenish and north eastern shore of Lough Melvin, on the west by the counties of Leitrim and Donegal, and east by the lunated extremity of the parish of Devenish. [It] measures in extreme length and breadth from east to west 19 and from north to south 4 statute miles. It also composes within its boundaries the islands contiguous to the southern shore of Lough Erne, viz. Pushen, Owl, Goat, Inishmacsaint, Rabbit, Legg, Muckinish and Rosscor, and on the north eastern margin of Lough Melvin, Rosscut and Gormish Islands. A townland named Aughamuldoney in the parish of Devenish with a small island in Lough Melvin have intruded their areas within its western portion, surrounded by the townlands of Garryross, Tullymore, Diernamen, Brolagh, Killymore, [?] Mugilnagirugh, Cornadalum, Knockarevan and Lough Melvin, amounting to 745 acres which, added to the area of the townlands, including islands, gives a grand total of 37,724 statute acres and produces a quota to the county cess on an average of the last 3 years of [blank] pounds. I could not get rate of county cess.
For the purpose of clearer illustration, the natural features of the parish may be subdivided into eastern, central and western portions. The eastern, extending from the townland of Magheragher to the base of the mountains, is one continuous succession of beautifully undulating hill and vale, terminating in the townlands of Largalinny and Lenaghan in ridges of abruptly elevated cliffs and precipices, and in Bohiviny and Portnaclogduff by the graduated ascent and commencement of the lofty range of Black Slee and Shean mountains. The hills of conical or more generally dome-shaped form, giving name to their localities or townlands, are of considerable magnitude. Their acclivity, however, is gradual and admit of cultivation to the summit, composed of precisely the same materials as the lofty Boho and Shean mountains. It is evident they formed, anterior to the catastrophe which produced the present order of things, a part of those majestic mountains, but are now cut off from and form no connection with that extensive chain.
The central division is composed of a wild, romantic, mountainous, heathy district composing the townlands of Largalinny, Lenaghan, Blackslee, Shean, Bolusky, Tiernagher and Drumbag, forming an irregularly connected range with the Boho mountains. Vast ridges of impending cliffs and precipices, stretching east and west in parallel lines, form bold and conspicuous features on the very summit of the mountains. A magnificent limestone cliff of 864 feet above the level of the lake, extending from the townland of Shean to Glenalong, preserves its altitude for the space of several miles and presents from its summit the most beautiful panoramic view of Lough Erne, its numerous islands and distant surrounding scenery that can possibly be submitted to the most impassioned imagination.
Its western portion commences from the townlands of Glen, Drumbad and Glenalong. The altitude of the mountain by a gradual and uniform depression descends from this line to the level of the plain below, formed into irregularly-tabulated surfaces and long, parallel ridges terminating in extensive bog, and joins the boundary of the county Donegal
Altitude of Hills
Altitudes of the more elevated hills and mountains giving names to the townlands in the parish of Inishmacsaint: Glenwinny, 447.20 feet above the level of the sea, Caldrum 414.80 feet, Largalinny 727.60 feet, Lenaghan 707.80 feet, Bonyhone 410.20 feet, Portnaclogduff 439.90 feet, Carral 662.40 feet, Blackslee 1,026.30 feet, Shean 1,030.20 feet, Bolusky 1,063.90 feet, Maho South 1,033.10 feet, Legg 964.90 feet, Tieragher More 875.10 feet, Drumbad 1,009.10 feet, Glenalong 792.50 feet, Glen 577.20 feet, Killybeg 583.50 feet, Callagheen 404.20, Brolagh or Aghamuldoony 393.70 feet.
An extensive table on the summit of the mountain contains lakes Menamean, Glenarewen, Navar and Scork. Lough Afad, Menawelkin, Carrick and Bonyhone occupy less elevated and more easterly situations. Several small lakes of minor importance are interspersed throughout the mountains, giving beauty and interest to the surrounding sombre scene.
Lake Glenarewan, 816 feet above the level of the sea and only 10 chains from the precipice which bounds the northern shore of Lough Erne, is supplied by its own springs and discharges its superabundant waters through a subterranean channel in the cliff, capable of being converted into a valuable water power in its course to Lough Erne.
Lakes Menamean, Nafar and Scork give rise by their junction to the River Sillees which, descending in an easterly direction through the mountains, forms a beautiful cataract in the townland of Corral and, flowing through Lough Carrick and Bonyhone, augmented by tributaries from Nafad and Menawelkin, meanders through the townlands of Caldrum, Tonagh and Glenlevin at nearly a dead level; and, flowing through the town of Derrygonnelly, penetrates the parish of Devenish, augmented in winter by the accumulations of its mountain tributaries and, ebbing in summer to an insignificant stream and preserving its serpentine course still easterly, enters Lough Erne about 3 miles above the town of Enniskillen. Thus, whilst Sillees pursues its silently serpentine course easterly, Erne propels in dignified majesty its superabundant volume in nearly the same parallel, and in quite an opposite, direction.
Numerous streamlets, rising from lakes, marshes and springs in the mountainous division of the parish, flow south westerly and, uniting in the town land of Leglehid, form the River Ruagagh which, flowing through the town of Garrison, enters the north eastern point of Lough Melvin, enlarging and diminishing its volume by the influence of rain.
Lough Erne, forming the northern boundary of the parish, is navigable by barges and small craft throughout its whole extent, and presents by the magnitude of its waters, richly cultivated islands, sublime and diversified scenery, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. River Erne, flowing almost imperceptibly to the west, disgorges the superabundant waters of its lake over the corrugated falls and romantic scenery of Belleek and, subdividing the town of Ballyshannon, enters the bay of Donegal.
Lough Melvin, forming the south western boundary of the parish, presents, by the bold and lofty scenery of Sheanbrack, a portion of the Leitrim mountains, another of those very beautiful landscapes which so frequently embellish and adorn this supremely gifted country. It also is navigable throughout its whole extent, and still there is not a single manufactory, or establishment for trade or commerce implanted upon its banks.
Numerous streamlets, descending from the mountain in the western division of the parish, converge in their course westerly and discharge their accumulations on the northern shore of Lough Melvin, but none of importance or demand further detail. Springs of the purest transparency and solubrity everywhere abound in the parish, and sulphas and ferri chalybates are frequently discovered throughout the mountains.
In the eastern portion of the parish turbary is scarce, a great inconvenience and deprivation to the tenantry. In the townlands of Derrygonnelly, Sandhill, Tonagh and Glenlivin it is in abundance. It almost covers the central district, but from its remote situation is of very little value, except to the tenantry located in its glens. The western division possesses it in vast abundance. In the eastern division it is free to the tenantry, but none is permitted to be transported for sale. Large trunks of oak and fir trees are imbedded throughout the bogs. The perpendicular stumps and roots are frequently observable, but neither the direction or numbers of the trunks are sufficiently abundant to ground an opinion on the cause of their prostration. The substratum is composed of the debris of the rock in the immediate vicinity, a blue, tenacious, marly clay abounding with very minute shells and distinct vegetable impressions in the proximity of limestone, and a white marly clay near the sand; and frequently the bog rests upon the solid, sandstone rock. Tumuli of sandstone emerge in the centre of the Tonagh bog and the surrounding substratum appears everywhere composed of the same formation.
The vast extent of underwood, together with the remains of native forest which are still extant in the eastern division of the parish and the large trunks of oak and fir trees abounding in the bogs, all indicate in almost recent times a district clothed with timber of the most useful, ornamental and valuable description. Along the sloping base of the cliff on the south western shore of Lough Erne the remains of an extensive forest of oak, alder, birch, thorn, holly and mountain ash is still extant. A considerable portion of a natural forest composed of the same trees is also conspicuous in the townlands of Carrick and Correll, and a similar indication still remains in the townland of Minrin and Bonyhone.
The north eastern extremity of the parish, bounded by the shore of Lough Erne, is very beautifully formed into bays, peninsulas, promontories and creeks by the waters of the lake flowing in and around its shores. Further west, it forms one continuous straight line of coast tor an extent of several miles. Pushen Island, the most eastern belonging to the parish, is very small, covering a surface of 6 acres and rising to 78 feet above the level of the lake, is partially cultivated, producing good crops of potatoes and oats.
Owl Island, devoid of every recognised figure and form, elevating its northern extremity 205 feet above the lake and sloping northerly to the level of its shore, is also partially cultivated and covered with underwood. [It] measures 22 acres and produces similar crops.
Goat Island forms itself into a narrow strip of bog, closely covered with underwood and heath; is remarkable only by the immense quantity of bilberries which grow upon its surface. Its area is 3 acres and altitude 164 feet.
Inishmacsaint Island has been described; it measures 56 acres and the trigonometrical station stands 240 feet above the level of the lake.
Rabbit Island assumes a long, elliptical form, is densely covered with alder and birch trees and underwood of holly, thorn and brambles. A very small surface of its stony, unproductive soil is cultivated on its southern surface. Its area amounts to 18 acres and altitude to 203 feet.
Heron island is also impenetrably covered with wood and jungle implanted on bog, a circumstance somewhat singular in this and Goat Island. Its content in acres is only 1 and elevation 154 feet.
Muckinish, richly clothed with verdure and well stocked with sheep pasturing upon a limestone soil, measures 13 acres and the trigonometrical point stands 196 feet above the lake.
Rossan Island is also converted into pasturage and contains 11 acres and an elevation of 177 feet.
Rosscut and Greagh Islands on the north eastern shore of Lough Melvin are also attached to island of Inishmacsaint. Both are densely covered with timber of the alder, birch, ash and oak species. The former measures 34 acres and rises 95 feet above the lake; the latter 12 acres and 93 feet.
Nothing can exceed the vicissitudes of climate which prevail in this district, the thermometer ranging 20 degrees in 24 hours, A succession of several days of fine weather is almost invariably followed by an equal space of storm and rain, doubtedlessly influenced by the proximity of the surrounding mountains. The parish, however, is extremely healthy, the inhabitants living to a great age. The crops in the lowlands, implanted upon a lime and sandstone soil, are early, but in the mountains the difference of temperature is so great and fructification so very slow as to endanger the entire crop, unless prematurely cut down to ripen in the sheaf. The prevailing winds are west and south west. The latter, generally accompanied with rain, storm and hurricane, set in from the north and north west. The easterly wind is piercingly cold, the southern genial and salubrious.
The yew, the juniper, scented woodruff and harebell exist in the rocky cliffs and escarpments, the wild strawberry and raspberry in the side of the glens, the cranberry and bilberry abound in the heath, and the whin is permitted to expand its almost inexterminable radiculae over large surfaces of the soil. Rushes proclaim aloud, by their vast superabundance, care and solicitude in their preservation, whilst drainage and the scythe have been found sufficient for their total extermination; and the bramble and thorn have established undoubted proprietory to very considerable areas of this naturally fertile district. The gramina are indigenous to the soil, very few instances of the introduction of rye grass being anywhere observable.
Salmon, trout, perch, pike, bream and eel are abundant in Lough Erne and Lough Melvin. In the latter the gilleroo trout, remarkable only for its gizzard, is occasionally caught. Trout, perch and eel abound in the mountain and smaller lakes. 40 years ago deer inhabited the mountains, but have long since wholly disappeared. [Marginal note: What'?]. Hares are still numerous in the mountainy limestone verdure, and wily Reynard is often seen bounding his early way up the ravines and gorges of the mountains; and the badger's inodorous exuvia offends the olfactories in the deep recesses of the caves. Grouse, plover, snipe and woodcock abound in the season and are strictly preserved. The heron is daily stilting through the lakes. The mallard, widgeon and teal are innumerable in winter, and the crowing of the pheasant in the jungle is heard responding to the martial challenge of the cottage chauntycleer; but of all the varieties of game which arouse and invigorate the sportsman, partridge is the least abundant, the smallness of the enclosures affording facility for their destruction, almost extinction. Every other variety of avis peculiar to the climate, from the lonely kingfisher in the ravines and streamlets of the mountain to the semi-domestic chirper of the thatch, are in profuse abundance.
Notes on Geology
Lieutenant Stotherd having repeatedly expressed his desire that no geological report should be written, it is here omitted.
Towns: Derrygonnelly, Churchill and Garrison
Derrygonnelly, Churchill and Garrison are the only villages in the parish, the two first in the eastern, the latter in the western division. Derrygonnelly, Derrygoinnill in the patent dated 1630 in the 5th year of King Charles I, is situated on the River Sillees on the confines of the parish of Devenish and subdivides the distance from Garrison to Enniskillen: 10 miles east of the former and 9 west of the latter; and is north west of [word crossed out]. 10 years ago it consisted of 2 or 3 cabins. Now it numbers 22 houses and several others of increasing superiority are in process of erection. It possesses a monthly fair, weekly market and petty session house erected by General Archdale, which is crowded with litigants, sometimes once a week and always every, fortnight.
Churchill, 2 miles north west of Derrygonnelly, a dilapidated village tumbling every year more and more into ruins, is still the only post office town in the parish. The mail coach running formerly through it, and the old parish church now condemned and sold giving name to its locality, rendered it the centre of communication, but it never was and, may safely be predicted, never will attain to the rank of a medium country village.
Garrison, a small village, derives its name from a circumstance of King William halting his army after the battle of Aughrim and erecting a barrack in the neighbourhood, the trace of which and a portion of Barrack Street is still perceptible. [It] is situated on the River Ruagagh, 10 miles west of Derrygonnelly and close to the south eastern margin of Lough Melvin, and opening a communication with the county of Leitrim; comprises about 10 well-built houses within its jurisdiction. It also is endowed with the privilege of a monthly fair and has besides the benefit of a church and Roman Catholic chapel.
A very fair specimen of the habits of the towns may be deduced from the multifarious avocations of the people: Derrygonnelly contains about 20 families, 6 of whom are shopkeepers and 12 spirit dealers.
The Reverend H. Hamilton, a gentleman of profound erudition and very superior taste, has lately erected a very, handsome rectory in the townland of Binmore, and a church of equal elegance and beauty in the immediate vicinity, consecrated on the 6th day of August 1831, capable of accommodating 400 persons. There is also a church in the townland of Slavin capable of containing 150, the earliest parochial record of which in 1760 states that assessments were made for the salary of a clerk for the chapels of ease of Slavin and Finnen, in which divine service was performed on alternate Sundays and continued till about 20 years past, when a separate curate was appointed to the church at Slavin. There is another small church in Garrison accommodating about 200 parishioners, and several Methodist meeting houses throughout the parish, whose doctrine has widely spread itself over the minds of the Protestant population. There are also 2 Roman Catholic chapels, one in Derrygonnelly, the other near Garrison, with a resident rector and curate to superintend their spiritual affairs. With the exception of the Protestant and Roman Catholic clergymen and the commandant of the constabulary, there is not another resident gentleman within the boundaries of the parish.
There is not a bleach green or manufactory within the parish. Corn and flax mills of very primitive construction are sufficiently numerous to work up the produce of the season. Whatever superabundance may remain is transported to the neighbouring markets.
2 principal roads traverse the parish longitudinally from east to west. By-roads are sufficiently numerous for every accommodation.
The new mail coach road, constructed within the last few years along the margin of Lough Erne through very delightful scenery from Enniskillen to its junction with the old road in the townland of Maho, has much improved its locality and facilitated the transport of produce to the neighbouring markets. Its eastern position in the vicinity of Ely Lodge and Binmore rectory is of the finest order, but in the townland of Maho it has not only been constructed upon unsound principles but suffered to remain in the very worst repair. The southern line extending from Garrison to Derrygonnelly and on the Enniskillen, as well as the crossroad connecting Belleek and Garrison and every other old road traversing the parish, are of the very worst class and order. One crossroad, connecting Derrygonnelly with Binmore church and the new mail coach road, has lately been framed upon modem principles, and a new line of road is proceeding from Derrygonnelly to Kiltyclogher in the county of Leitrim, on the same improved system, which will open a very desirable communication through a wild and semi-civilised district. All these roads are made and maintained by the grand jury and levied in the county cess. Bridges participate in the character and antiquity of the roads and may be classed accordingly.
The continuation of a road lately constructed, which traverses the townlands of Scandela and Mullykivit in the parish of Devenish and Drumskimbly in the parish of Inishmacsaint, is above all things desirable through the townlands of Caldrum, Tonagh, Driniaray, Dresdernan and on westerly through the centre of the parish to a junction with the central line leading through the townland of Faussive to Bundoran and Ballyshannon.
General Appearance and Scenery.
Nothing can surpass in grandeur, sublimity and beauty the richly diversified scenery of this extensive parish, either in contemplating the majestic range of mountains elevating their lofty, sombre summits to the sky, the mural escarpments and castellated forms of the more humble but equally interesting chain of limestone heights in everlasting verdure, the awfully impending, perpendicular precipices and cliffs, exhibiting in their form and structure the organisation of the universe, the enchanting form and variety of the alpine lakes upon the summit of the mountains, the beautiful tranquillity of the undulating vale, the silvery, oceanic expanse of Lough Erne and Melvin, their islands, peninsulas and promontories, altogether combine in imparting vitality and animation to scenery of the very highest range and order.
In the ancient annals of Fermanagh an extensive district, extending from near the town of Enniskillen to Belleek and embracing still more westerly the tract of country bounded by the River Erne and Lough Melvin, comprising several modern parishes, is assigned under the denomination of Toor�� to O'Flannagan, the chief of a powerful clan contemporary with McClanchy, O'Rourke, O'Donnell, McGuire, all independent chieftains of the surrounding country. Port Tooraa, the haven of his fleet, is a locality well recognised in present times, and numbers of aborigines of the same name are still located over his extensive territory. Along the south western shore of Lough Erne a very beautiful and interesting strath of richly fertile soil, although now subdivided into townlands, is still known by no other name than Fweealt, an appellation highly appropriate, a magnificent rock 900 feet above its plain impending its southern boundary.
In the immediate vicinity of Derrygonnelly are the ruins of an old chapel of ease, in remote time the private chapel of the Dunbars and Montgomerys, the churchyard still forming the cemetery of the family and surrounding population. The western gable of the ruin contains a doorway of very superior masonry, surmounted with the family coat of arms, a drawing of which is appended to this report.
In a beautifully sequestered and romantic situation in the townland of Aughmore, doubtlessly selected by its capability of inspiring emotions of the purest piety and devotion by the sublimity of the surrounding scene, are the ruins of a very ancient Roman Catholic chapel erected by O'Flanagan, Lord of Tooraa, in 1498, with the head of the patron saint surmounting the eastern window; unquestionably the scene in days of Roman ascendancy of vast congregations, now the centre of a small Protestant community.
On the eastern extremity of the island of Inishmacsaint are the ruins of a Roman Catholic monastery of great antiquity and a very large stone cross, formerly the scene of Roman devotion but long since abandoned by its spiritual ministers and with the island converted into a valuable stock farm for the English market. Colgan, the Franciscan who wrote in the 16th century, says "S[anctus] Ninnidh extruxit nobile monasterium in insula stagne Ernensis in Ultonia, vulgo Inis Mhuighe Samh dicta, in quo multos in pietate ac literis singulariqne vitae continentia et innocentia egregia institutos praeclaros habuit discipulos."
In the townland of Tully, and about 10 chains from the shore, are the ruins of an old castle, the original mansion of the Hume family, impressing the mind from a distance with a view of a relique of antiquity; but on close examination is destitute of those formations which constitute that character. Tradition assigns its erection to John Hume in 1640, the early proprietor of an extensive grant of this district, and its destruction in the rebellion of 1641, when the castle was surrendered upon promise of fair quarter, on which the inmates were first stripped and all murdered without mercy.
Gentlemen's seats in this country, are frequently termed "castles", and hence the imposing name to the ruin on Tully Point. The Marquis of Ely is now the proprietor.
The formation of a small, artificial island near the eastern margin of Lough Carrick is assigned by tradition to Baron O'Flannagan, Lord of Tooraa, the ancient chieftain of the district, as a place of refuge for the females of his family during his depredatory incursions on McClanchy, the chieftain of Dartree, and other surrounding clans. Another artificial island, in the centre of a small lake in the townland of Rooskey, has tradition for its authority as another place of retreat in lawless times, when rapine and murder stalked the land, for the defence of the baron's family; but the seat of his local legislation was in Ballyflanagan, an artificial island in the centre of a small lake in the western division of Fweealt, now the townland of Carrigolagh. The lake has subsequently been drained and oak poles 30 feet long extracted from the circle of the island, fractured pieces of glass tumblers, wine glasses and porcelain, knives, forks and spoons, a great abundance of oyster shells, together with swords and other implements of war, have been dug up from the spot in recent times.
Circular raths or forts are numerous throughout the parish, very frequently one in each townland, but as their construction was unquestionably anterior to the subdivision by townlands the connection is not very evident. Tradition erects them by the aborigines for the protection of their persons and valuable cattle.
The only magistrate resident within the parish is the Revd H. Hamilton, a gentleman as much respected and beloved by all classes, Protestant and Roman Catholic, for the benevolence of his disposition and unbounded charity, as he is distinguished for his piety and learning. In the discharge of his magisterial duties he is supported by the Revd G. Read and John Brien Esquire of Castletown, deputy lieutenant of the county. Both resident magistrates are in the parish of Devenish. There are 2 other magistrates, agents of greater landed proprietors, but neither of them resident.
The petty sessions are held once a fortnight in Derrygonnelly. Cases of litigation are unimportant, chiefly referring to trespass, master and servant etc., but unfortunately for the character and morality of the parish, very atrocious crimes are occasionally committed. Waylay and murder stain the reputation of this division of the county, but wholly unconnected with either party or political combination. Illicit distillation is carried on in the very remote and mountainous districts, and to the fullest extent of the capabilities and resources of its tenantry. In amount, however, it must be very small.
The constabulary force is strong and effective, very judiciously distributed and commanded by an active, energetic, intelligent officer. [Table] Derrygonnelly: 1 officer, 1 constable, 6 subconstables; Garrison: 1 constable, 5 subconstables; Belleek: 1 constable, 5 subconstables; Monea: 1 constable, 4 subconstables.
The tenantry in general are remarkably healthy, and instances of longevity are by no means uncommon. The salubrity of the climate may, to a certain extent, be ascribed to the prevalent westerly winds wafting their genial influence from the contiguous Atlantic Ocean, most assuredly not to the care and conservative habits of the people. Febris intermittens is altogether unknown; febris comunnis is occasionally reported. Pleuritis and rheumatisms are more frequent and phthisis ever and anon marks its devoted victims, but these cases may frequently be traced to an hereditary taint.
Derrygonnelly contains very recently a resident surgeon and Churchill has the benefit of an established dispensary. Both contribute largely to the prevention of disease and preservation of the health of the community. Cholera, that devastating scourge of Asiatic and European continents, has hitherto suspended its fatality from this highly favoured soil.
[Dispensary table: complaints, number of patients and those cured, remarks as to how supported]: average number of patients, rheumatism and consumption, 60, cured 60; supported by the county and landed proprietors.
The parochial schoolhouse is situated in the centre of the most populous Protestant neighbourhood. Many other schools, Protestant and Roman Catholic, are diffused throughout the parish, some supported by public, others by private subscription. The only system not patronised is the Board of National Education. The people, full of intelligence and sound, good sense, are fully sensible and alive to the benefit and value of a good education, which has certainly conduced much to the extension of morality and general good conduct, although much, very much, still remains to be done.
There is no established asylum within the parish for the poor, aged and infirm. Indeed, very few paupers are to be met with. The benevolent contributions of the charitable and collections upon the Lord's Day are the only sources of relief. The collections at the church of Binmore, on an average of the last 3 years, amount to 30 pounds 12s 2d, and the numbers on the poor list 74. The collection at Slavin church amounts from 1s to 5s weekly and the poor to 20; and at Garrison 17 pounds 6s 8d and the poor 75.
Protestantism, subdividing into Methodism and Presbyterianism, distinguish one class, and Romanism the other of this widely-spread community. The proportion of the former in the census of 1831 amounted to, the latter to: [insert note: I cannot ascertain the proportion]. The Protestant divines derive their incomes from glebe land and tithe; the Roman Catholic are supported by the people, deriving their incomes from the fees established by the laws and discipline of their church.
Habits of the People
Would that it were possible, in sincerity and truth, to characterise the community as a people of sober, cleanly, frugal and industrious habits. An apathy and indifference to the accumulation of wealth seem to pervade almost the whole population, apparently happy and contented in their condition and nearly upon equality with each other. They evince no ambition or desire of independence. A distant view of the farmhouses, gardens, orchards and planted hedgerows, which so much adorn and beautify the country, present great improvement and superiority to many other parishes, and induce a supposition of much neatness and care; but on a close examination of the premises the same indifference to cleanliness and comfort alike, without and within the dwellings, universally prevails, from the humble cottier in his cabin to the yeoman farmer of 100 acres with valuable flocks upon his glens.
Several recent farm buildings are constructed of sandstone in a very improved and substantial manner, some slated but more generally thatched, and much improvement in this respect is in daily progress, more particularly in the townlands leased at will. Potatoes and milk constitute the diet of the peasantry. Several years ago oatmeal and animal food formed no small portion of their daily meals, but both have long since, and still continue, luxuries very far beyond their present humble resources. There are no particular amusements or recreations with the exception of fairs, neither does any particular uniform in dress or costume prevail, as in Connaught or Leinster.
Nothing but the means of transport prevents a simultaneous emigration of the labouring class to Australia or the Canadas. Let the emigration advocates come forward, and the superabundant population, if an evil, will soon disappear. Very few indeed proceed from hence to England in the harvest season.
[Table contains the following headings: name of townland where situated, religion and sex of pupils, remarks as to how supported, when established]
Meagheraher, 25 males, 25 females, 50 total; 1d per week and his support. Cosbystown, 21 males, 20 females, 41 total; 1d per week and his support. Drumenenaghbeg, 24 females, 24 total; under the patronage of the Marchioness of Ely. Wheathill Glebe, 22 males, 19 females, 41 total; under the Hibernian Society, patron Revd H. Hamilton. Aughameclan, 12 males, 13 females, 25 total; 1d per week and his support. Coveall, 16 males, 14 females, 30 total; 1d per week and his support. Killymore, 15 males, 15 females, 30 total; 1s 6d per quarter for each [pupil]. Killybeg, 18 males, 7 females, 25 total; 1s 6d per quarter for each [pupil]. Knockarevan, 12 males, 12 females, 24 total; 1s 6d per quarter for each [pupil]. Fanssive, 12 males, 14 females, 26 total 1d per week and his support. Drimnasrene, 12 males, 10 females, 22 total; 1d per week and his support. Drumbadmeen, 17 males, 20 females, 35 [sic] total; 1d per week, under the Hibernian Society. Ferrinmontercassidy, 20 males, 20 females, 40 total; 1d per week and his support. Leryan, 17 males, 18 females, 35 total; 1s 6d per quarter for each [pupil]. Blackslee, 20 males, 15 females, 35 total; 1d per week and his support. Glen East, 20 males, 20 females, 40 total; 1d per week and his support.
Average number of patients on the dispensary books 60, supported by the county and landed proprietors. It has been stated to me that the Marquis of Ely's agent gave it as his opinion that the surgeon of the dispensary ought not to give the information sought for in this return. The above information was received from the nurse of the dispensary.
Name Inishmacsaint, diocese Clogher, province Ulster, a rectory, no union, patron the Marquis of Ely, incumbent the Revd H. Hamilton; extent of glebe 536 acres, tithes belonging to the Revd H. Hamilton.
20 years ago the manufacture of linen was carried to considerable extent and produced an adequate remuneration. The sound of the shuttle was heard in every dwelling and contributed largely to the payment of the rent. This branch of trade, the only one within the parish, has now become almost extinct.
Fairs and Markets
Monthly fairs, the bane and demoralisation of nine-tenths of the Irish population, are held in Derrygonnelly on the 24th of each month, in Garrison on the 18th, in Belleek on the 10th and in Monea on the 13th, for the sale of horses, cows, sheep and pigs. Annual or half-yearly assemblies would be quite sufficient for the wants and necessities of the country, and would lead to habits of sobriety, industry and accumulation. Immense crowds attend, having no direct agricultural object whatever, and however valuable the time or favourable the season, it is prostituted at the shrine of these perpetual fairs and gatherings of the people. Milk cows sell for 4 pounds to 5 pounds 10s, horses from 8 pounds to 14 pounds, sheep from 30s to 35s and pigs at about 2d ha'penny per pound.
Proprietors and Leases
The parish may be subdivided amongst 3 great landed proprietors, the Marquis of Ely, General Archdale and Colonel Montgomery, neither of whom are resident, but the mansions of the 2 former are in close proximity, the latter in the county of Tyrone. From the marquis no information whatever connected with his estate in the parish has been communicated; from General Archdale and Colonel Montgomery the following valuable details were most readily afforded. The Archdale patent [was] granted in 1630, in the 5th year of King Charles I, constituting the manor of Drumra and establishing a court leet and a court baron within its jurisdiction. The size of the farms varies from 20 to 150 acres. There are 8 farms above 100 acres, 10 above 50, 30 above 20 and 50 above 10, the general duration of lease 3 lives or 31 years; and the rent per acre of good land from 15 to 20s, second quality of land 17s per acre and mountain from 1s to 2s 6d per acre.
The Dunbar patent (Colonel Montgomery) [was] granted in 1614 in the 13th year of King James I, constituting the manor of Dunbar and establishing a court baron within its jurisdiction. The size of the farms upon the estate of Colonel Montgomery, a gentleman possessing vast, practical knowledge on every subject connected with the interests of the county and kingdom, vary from 15 to 50 acres. There are 3 farms above 100 acres, 10 above 50, 5 above 20 and 10 above 10 acres, the general duration of lease 3 lives and the value per acre of good land from 20 to 30s, Irish plantation measure; of second class land 15 to 20s and of inferior or mountain from 1 to 5s per acre. The colonel 'grants no new leases but to very improving tenants with large farms, but encourages and pays tenants at will for improvements made with his approbation. Old leases are universally sublet to a numerous impoverished peasantry, destitute of capital to sustain the power of the soil, having no perspective consideration whatever beyond present subsistence and who, with the utmost difficulty, contrive to pay their rents. Most new lettings are at will of the landlord, and on these townlands improvement is everywhere permissible.
Farms and Husbandry
The cultivated farms are invariably subdivided into innumerable small enclosures, to suit the system of agriculture almost universally pursued throughout this parish and the surrounding counties: the complete exhaustion of one half of the farm by a succession of crops without manure, whilst the other half is deriving from the elements those powers of fructification which will enable it to sustain a similar course of devastation. The succession of crops are as follows: potatoes upon pasture with manure, the second year potatoes, the third, fourth and fifth oats, until the productive powers of the soil are annihilated; and this pauperising system is not only universal in this district but almost in every other of this highly gifted but deplorably fated country.
The practice of burning soil for manure is another ruinous substitute for the accumulations of the stable yard and byre. The soil is composed of the comminuted particles of the lime and sandstone rocks, the very best combination, forming a naturally rich, productive soil. The ditches and drains, particularly in the bogs, abound with marle affording valuable manure, yet seldom used although its productive powers are universally known. Culture is chiefly manual, by spade. The implements of husbandry are of modern construction but the primitive slide and wooden wheel car are still in use. County cess and tithe are the local taxes of the district.
Very extensive tracts of the parish have been converted into grazing farms, indebted entirely to the richness of the limestone soils for their powers of pasturation. No improvement has ever been attempted by the introduction of artificial grasses, the soil remaining and ever will remain "sedet, eternumque sedebit" in its primitive state. Vast tracts of mountain are capable of being converted from an almost desolate waste, by the application of industry and the common principles of drainage, into profitable pasture and valuable arable soil. The chief impediment to so desirable an object is the ruinous system of long leases, depriving the landlord of the power of carrying his designs into execution, and the want of capital on the part of the tenantry to sustain the fertility of the soil, and also their total disregard of the most common principles of agriculture.
Cattle of very superior quality are grazed under the stock farming system, but not bred upon the spot. Purchased at different fairs, they are transported to these pastures for a season and then exported to the English market.
Bogs and Drainage
The bogs in the populous portions of the parish are too valuable as fuel to admit of their conversion to any other purpose. Charcoal for the use of forges is made of peat upon the mountains. The oak and fir trees found imbedded in the bogs are cut in roofing timber and more highly valued than the finest northern or American deal. No care whatever is devoted to the draining, cleaning or improving of the land, and plantation or the formation of nurseries are equally unthought of.
There is not a parish in the kingdom more capable of improvement than Inishmacsaint. Its valuable carboniferous quarries of limestone, abounding in every direction, afford the immediate means of enriching and fructifying the soil. Its undulating surface presents the utmost facility for drainage. The graduated ascent from the summit of the mountain render the reclaiming of bog and waste land a simple operation. Lough Erne washing its northern and Lough Melvin its south western boundaries furnish a cheap and ready transport for its produce. In short, the only desideratum wanting to render it a prosperous and wealthy parish is a persevering spirit of industry and steady habits of accumulation on the part of its intelligent and hardy tenantry.
[Signed] P. Taylor. Lieutenant Royal Engineers, 13th November 1834.