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Adrigoolebeg-eadar guail beag in Irish- , and meaning “between the small fork” or “between the small shoulders”, is situated on the eastern end of Garrafrauns village and shares its name with two other Adrigooles in the area, namelyAdrigoolemore, just off the Dublin road end of Dunmore and of course Adrigoole graveyards, our local cemeteries. Bordering Garrafrauns, Gortnagoyne, Gortnalea, Shanballymore and Quinaltagh, Griffith, in his valuation documents of 1855 listed it as having an area of 161 acres, 1 rood and 7 perches and valued it at 47 pounds, and 5 shillings. Sir George Shee was the landlord at that time and 15 families lived there. The Tithe Applotment Books (1820’s-1830’s) record that James Dolan and Hugh Martin together contributed 3pounds, 7 shillings and 11 pence to the established church.( Church of Ireland).

Earliest population records from 1841 show that 72 people lived there. That had increased to 88 in 1852, so obviously there was movement of people to the village during the Great Famine.. The population reached its peak in 1871 when 90 people lived there but sadly since then, the trend has been downwards. In 1901, 12 families totalling 52 are listed; this increased to 56 in 1911. Now , in 2010, there  are 6 houses there, -4 are occupied, one is closed due to the long term hospitalisation of the owner; and the other one is used as a holiday home and is actually for sale. Of the family names listed in the 1911 census, only Mullins and Clarke have survived. Two families, Martyn’s and Godfrey’s, were relocated by the Land Commission: Martyn’s moved to Cappagh and Godfrey’s were moved to a “new take” in Roscommon.

The people of Adrigoolebeg lived off the land and the census records of farmbuildings and outoffices bear this out. These consisted of cowhouses, piggeries and barns. In 1901 these totalled 22; in 1911 there were 24. As in all other villages in the area , the Adrigoole farmers had names on their fields. Katie Corley gave the following from her farm:The Moineen, The Lios, The Garden, The Bog, The Field Downside, Gorteen a Llin. (leen) Flax was grown in this area as well as in Cappagh and Gorteen a Lin means The small tilled Field of the Flax.

Johnny Mullin: The Garra Baun

Costello’s: The Corahaun(End Field), Sratheen (Wet place), Claiseen(Hollow on top of a hill).

Miskell’s: Flannagans’ Field.

The roadway to the west of Corleys’ house is called  Poirse na h Aitinne (The Gorse or Furze porch or small roadway.) This porch led to the houses of Miskell’s, Dolan’s, (3families), Connell’s (3families), Godfrey’s, Fitzgerald’s, and Greene’s(2 families).

The sandy terrain of Adrigoolebeg became very important to the local economy when in the early 1950’s Tom Costello opened a sandpit owned by his brother , Paddy. Johnny Mullin was also selling sand and in 1961 he sold his sandpits to Farragher Contractors of Tuam. Soon the village was alive to the sound of machinery and lorries as they dug into the sandhills,graded the sand, made blocks, and delivered sand  and concrete all over Galway and into parts of Mayo and Roscommon. This was a marvellous step forward in the building business and was a huge boost to the local economy in the early 60’s, when emigration was rampant, employment was scarce and money even more so. This business has been a wonderful source of employment ever since and the red trucks with the CMC cream-coloured logo are a familiar sight as they travel the highways and byways on a daily basis.Long may they continue to do so.

It wasn’t always work , though, in Adrigoole, and many of you will be aware that it was once the location of a famus dance-hall. This was in a house once owned by the Walsh family.

(It was situated on the road at the back of Johnny Mullin’s house).When the Walsh home was vacated some local people got together, renovated it and began to use it as a dance-hall. Some of the people involved in this enterprise (I suppose they could be called “impressarios” of the 40’s) were John Donelon, John (Bull) Keane, Johnny-Burke Collins, Michael Greene, Michael Greaney, Michael Ryan,( All Gortnagoyne/ Knockatee), John Greene and Patrick Clarke from Adrigoole. They held dances there and the music was provided by local musicians like Henry Mannion and Michael Ryan.


Plays were also staged there and the memories of Sean O’ Casey’s “Shadow of a Gunman” have already been recorded by Kevin Kilgarriff, R.I.P.. Milltown playwright, M.J.Molloy, was a frequent visitor to the home of Pat Fitzgerald in the 1950’s and it is quite certain that their conversations and discussions were used and woven through the storylines of some of Molloy’s plays.

I also include here a story written by the late Margaret Miskell and which was originally published in Dunmore Newsletter in 1999, entitled “Fond memories of my father’s high barn”.


My father, Michael Mullin of Adrigoole, Garrafrauns, had a two-storey high barn which he built himself with stone and cement. The stone and sand he had in his own land and with plenty of time he built all his own outhouses. The high barn was two-storey high, very lengthy and spacious. A wooden floor separated the top from the bottom. In the top room he kept oats and barley. He threshed the sheaves of oats and barley himself with his own wooden flail. He then put the oats and barley in big bags. When a windy day came he took out the bags and with the aid of a strong wind, it cleaned the grain from the chaff and he bagged it clean into the bags again, which he sold at the market to the farmers for sowing in springtime.Some he would take into the miller to mill into oatmeal for home-use for the family.



He also stored his old spinning wheel in another corner together with cards to card the sheep’s wool for spinning into thread for knitting home-made jumpers. He had a large tool-table on which he displayed all his tools. He also stored his high bicycle in the top room. Now, in the bottom, he kept cattle only. On one side of the building there were stairs, about ten steps, made from cement, leading up to the door on the top floor. There were two big windows on this floor. There was no electricity in those days so there was no light except paraffin oil lamps called storm lanterns.


I have a very memorable experience of those stairs during my teenage years! My father was strict on my bringing-up. I was the oldest of the family. I had to get permission if I was going outside the locality to dances. However, I took the chance to get there and he heard of it. He knew I had to take my bicycle to get there so he took it and stored it in the back room off the kitchen, and told me:”Lady,your bicycle is taken up so you can’t travel far without it!” Suddenly, I thought of his high bicycle, stored on the top floor in the high barn. On Sunday evenings I would steal it from the top loft, bring it down the stone steps-which was not easy-, leave it in a carthouse at the rear of the building and use it to go with the other girls. I got back. I had it and enjoyed it! The trouble started when I got back as I had to clean it up well with the sheaves of oats, but my father never detected it! In later years I told him and he couldn’t believe I had used his high bicycle. He said :”I always knew you were wild but I never thought you were a tomboy until now”!


Of course there were only a few people like priests and doctors who owned cars. Everybody walked or if you were lucky you’d own a bike. Looking back on my young days, we had hard times but everybody seemed so friendly and happy. There was no trouble on the streets, no vandalism, and everybody could go about safely. The only fear we had was Fairies and Ghosts!