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Cloondargan/Cluain Deargáin/Cloondalgan

Dergan;s lawn or meadow. It was the property of Lord Athenry of Dalagan House, Milltown, Co. Galway. It contained 710 acres including about 103 acres of bog and 28 acres of planting.

The land was divided into 9 acre lots each surrounded by a Claigh Mόr. The ditch was wide enough on top for a horse and rider to travel on, to survey the stock. A hedge of white thorn was grown alongside each claigh to keep the stock in. Women were paid 3 pence a day when required to maintain the hedges. Lord Athenry had a manor on the land now owned by Connell’s. The landlord was Revington. His agents were McDonagh’s(Dunmore). Mattie Mannion was their bailiff. Rents were collected at Mannion’s house by McDonagh. In 1850 there were approximately 100 households.

There was a large wood in Cloondargan which was cut down by the landlord and carted to Tuam station under the supervision of the ‘wood ranger’-Martin Flanagan.

The village was once self-sufficient. Around the 1850’s  Brennan’s were carpenters and joiners.

 The stonemason was Dan Gleeson(reputed builder of Garrafrauns church.).

Pattons had a mill, on the border of Mountdelvin.

 Steeds were shoemakers.

 Slamon’s were weavers and bone setters. They spun yarn for weaving into blankets etc.

 Pat Ronayne was a tailor.

The Blacksmith was Jack Raftery.

The Butcher Thomas (Kruger) Noone.

 Patsy Canny was a musician.

 A cooper who made churns and barrels was Higgins ( who was married 4 times).

Lord Athenry

The site where Connell’s house now stands was once the home of Lord Athenry. The place at the time was completely surrounded by an oak forest.

The house(de Berminghams) was the same style as DunmoreCastle and Blakes of Dunmacreena – cut stone etc. The front faced south. To the west there was a large orchard. To the north a paddock, a lawn full of flower beds, a wall and fish pond. To the east was a coach house, cobbled yards and two paved driveways. The main entrance N.E. known as Blue Gate was beyond the coach house. To the S.E. was a bell tower and beyond that a haggard. The stones upon which cocks of hay were built are still standing. The old walls and foundation are still evident.

Crucάn Bάn

On Sunday’s the local lads used to gather on ´Cruacan Bán‘ ( a hill on James Connell’s land). The young lads would attempt to lift a stone there, and if they succeeded they were deemed eligible to travel to England to work.

Turnip seed came from England to relieve the famine. A Kirrane family got it and sowed it. They had to keep vigil every night to prevent turnips being stolen. The watcher used to blow across the top of a bottle to summon help.At the time of the famine water cress grew in abundance in a dyke there and people came from all over to eat the cress. A woman came there one day and after eating the cress she sat on a stile by Canny’s to rest and died there.

Boundary Stone

The villages of Shanballymore, Cloondargan, and Benmore meet at a rock behind O’Connor’s house. A little 

Teampaillin, site of an early Church and Children's burial GroundTeampaillin, site of an early Church and Children's burial Ground

laneway between O’Connor’s and Keadin’s land once led down to the rock. The 

rock has markings on it which indicates the division of the three villages. It lies just at the edge of a little stream but years ago it was said that it was situated in the middle of it. It was probably a much wider river at that time.



There is nothing really known about the graveyard, not even by the National Graves Commission.

 Known as Teampaillίn, its appearance seems barrow type. A small church occupied its centre at one time. It was generally an infants burial ground with some paupers graves also. Stones from the old church were removed to mark graves. It was walled and surrounded by beech trees. The initials of those buried in the graves were carved into tree trunks, but in 1945 (when timber was scarce) the trees were cut down and sold to Toghers(Tuam. Clay from Cloondargan graveyard was supposed to have been brought to bless Addergoole graveyard.


In Cloondargan in 1841 the land fed 329 people. From 1841 there was a continuous decline in population due to starvation, disease and emigration. Evictions were common countrywide and Cloondargan was no exception.

The following is an account recorded in the Tuam Herald March 1887:

The landlord, Mr Reving of Bray, evicted Michael Clarke, Michael  Commons, Pat Connelly, widow McWalter, Nicholas Crehan and two families of McHughs.

Present were Fr. Diskin c.c Dunmore, Brown,(agent for the landlord) and Finn and Ward(two sheriff;s bailiffs from Tuam. Thirty two men with batons and fifty three rifles guarded the bailiffs. Police from Tuam unable to get cars to transport them to Cloondargan were obliged to walk 15 miles each way and were allowed five shillings each.


The following is an extract from a book called ‘The Case of Ireland Stated’: A Plea for my People and my Race. By M.F. Cusack. Published in 1880.

Irish Priests and the Land Agitation.  
The following letter is an important evidence 
of the extraordinary difficulties our poor people 
have in obtaining justice ; and it must be re- 
membered that these are not exceptional cases. 
How can Ireland be other than disturbed and 
discontented when legal redress is rendered 
almost unobtainable ? If our poor people satis- 
fied the exorbitant demands of their landlords 
by weary and exceptional toil in England, year 
after year, surely in a year of famine a little 
mercy might have been shown them. And 
certainly they do not deserve the reproach of 
unwillingness to pay their rents or of laziness : — 
" Dunmore, March 19. 
" Dear Sir, — Owing to the great distress of the year, I 
am obliged  to appeal to you on behalf of 
the Cloondargan tenants. To those not familiar with the 
history of the case a few words of explanation may be ne- 
cessary. The Cloondargan estate was bought by Mr. 
Revington, of Limerick, in 1868, the rental at the time 
was 215 1 8s id. One of his first acts was to raise it to 
366 OS , in some individual cases doubling, in others 
trebling, the former rents. These enormous rents the poor 
serfs, for the luxury of a home in Ireland, continued to pay 
till November last, when the failure of their crops, the de- 
pression in the price of stock, and, for them, worst of all, 
the dulness of trade in England, rendered the payment of 
these rents utterly and entirely impossible. Their land is 
very probably the worst in all Ireland ; it never yielded an 
equivalent for the rent, which they always earned in Eng- 
land, and out of 5 1 tenants on the entire estate, only two 
could make the rent off the land. Ejectment processes 
were served ; to which the tenants, after some fruitless efforts 
at an arrangement, entered defences. Till about this time 
it was thought that a tenant disturbed for non-payment of 
rent had no redress, but a clause seemingly hidden away in 
the Land Act was discovered, under which tenants who 
consider their rents exorbitant have claims for disturbance, 
even though evicted for non-payment of such rents. Under 
this clause Thomas Rice Henn, Esq., Q.C., Recorder of 
Galway, granted a stay of the execution of the decrees in 
cases of all the tenants who would have filed claims for 
compensation on or before the 9th of February last. Thirty- 
eight claims, the first to be tried under the clause, were 
filed, and it is to enable the poor people to successfully 
maintain these claims I make this appeal to the public. 
Every claim must be tried on its individual merits. It is 
estimated that the purely legal expenses, not to speak of 
many incidental expenses, will amount to at least ;i^5o, to- 
wards which the people themselves are not able to subscribe 
even a single penny. Forty-one of them are on the relief 
list, and every single tenant on the estate, except four, would 
require relief if we had it to give. There are three families, 
with eight or nine members in each, who have nothing to 
subsist on from one Tuesday to another except the small 
pittance of Indian meal doled out to them by the committee. 
*'I, therefore, am reluctantly obliged to entreat the public 
to come to the assistance of these poor people. They are 
abjectly poor; no words could convey any idea of their 
poverty. Their cases will be tried on the 19th of April, just 
a month from the present time. On the issue of these cases 
their very existence depends. If they are beaten, nothing 
remains for them but the workhouse. They will not be 
able to emigrate, and beaten they must be without the ne- 
cessary funds. The importance to the tenants of Ireland 
generally of the principle involved cannot be exaggerated. 
To contribute something is a great work of charity — the 
smallest contribution will be gratefully and thankfully re- 
ceived, and as the time is so short it is particularly true that 
he who gives quickly gives twice. My apology for this 
appeal is, that owing to the prevailing distress an appeal to 
the people of the parish only would be a cruel mockery. 
All contributions will be received and thankfully acknow-ledged by, yours very sincerely,  
"Patrick Levingstone, C.C." 


The 1901 census shows that there were 162 people in Cloondargan on  the night of Sunday March 31st.

 The enumerator was Daniel O’Connell .There were 37 houses, which gives an average of 5 persons per house. The oldest person was Honora Canny aged 88 years and the youngest was Michael Cunningham aged 1 month. About half of the people could read and write while others could only read. A higher percentage of women were unable to read and write.There were 56 children living in 27 houses. Those over 6 and under 14 were entered as scholars.Today in the village there are approximately 18 houses inhabited by 50 people.