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Garrafrauns is a small rural area situated in the parish of Dunmore, in north Galway. This half-parish borders the counties of Roscommon and Mayo and includes the villages of Gortnagoyne, Adrigoolebeg, Darrary North, Darrary South, Ardcloon, Carranthomas, Corohan, Cloonfane, Kilmacnella, Cloonbrusk, Cloondergan, Quinaltagh, Shanballymore and Gortnalea. Garrafrauns is about 4 miles west of Dunmore, on the Claremorris road and our neighbouring towns are Cloonfad, Irishtown and Milltown. The villages of Kilmacnella, Cloonbrusk and Carranthomas belong to Milltown parish but their inhabitants are very much part of everyday life in our community.

The village of Garrafrauns is nestled right in the centre of this half-parish and with its church, school, post-office, 3 public houses, garage and community centre is typical of most rural communities. The presence of the dolmen, Cloch Breac, together with several ringforts is evidence that the area was inhabited more than 5,000 years ago. Census figures from 1841 record a total of 118 people living in the village; this had dropped to 84 by 1851 and sadly the trend was downward for the following 100 years, dropping to 64 by 1951. Thankfully it would seem to be on the up again as the number of inhabitants is now in the high 80’s.


Griffith’s Valuation Records show Garrafrauns as having an area of 201 acres, and a valuation of over £35. The tenants from that list are Daniel Heverin, Matthew Kilgarriff, Thomas Gilligan, Martin Hession, Maurice Hession, Edward Healy, John Healy, Martin Grogan, Brian Kilgarriff, John Cooke and Michael Connally. Some change in house and land ownership occurred over the following 50 years as the 1901 census returns includes all the above names (excluding Gilligan and Cooke) but included new families like Mullarkey, Quinn, Reddington, Timoney, Dooley, Boyle and Gowlan.  Few of the surnames of that era survive in Garrafrauns now-Reddington, Dooley, Grogan and Healy are still there and are direct descendants of the aforementioned families. So now in 2010 our village is also home to families bearing the surnames Kelly (2), Lennon, Miskell, Nicklin, Manhire, Costello, Nestor, Mannion, Keaveney, Rattigan, McGrath, Canny, Keane, McWalter, McConnon, Lally, Kilgarriff and Grace.


Typical of every other village in the area, the people of Garrafrauns lived off the land but had at least one tradesperson in the household whose work supplemented the family income. The Heverin’s were millers, Reddington’s were stonemasons, Michael Healy was a carpenter, his son Michael a postman; another son, Peter had a hackney car; Hession’s were in the building business as were Kilgarriff’s; Kathleen McWalter was a milliner and shopkeeper and her husband James a carpenter; Tim Boyle was another carpenter. Jack Dooley was a bricklayer and his work can be seen in the parish church in Dunmore. Tom Patton repaired bicycles at Lally’s and Pat and Johnny Boyle were carters for the County Council. Peggy Grogan was a dressmaker. James Connolly from Knockatee had a butcher stall in O’Donnells’ garden until the 1950’s. Oliver Hession also had one in the same place during the 60’s and Paddy Greene ran one at the crossroads.


We must also mention our Community Centre – a focal point in this half-parish. In the early 60’s a group of local volunteers got together with a view to provide a centre, which would cater for the social and entertainment needs of the area. The church provided a site and the project was entirely funded by voluntary contributions and fundraising of every description-not a penny was received in grant- aid from local or central government. All the work was carried out on a voluntary basis. This centre is a wonderful asset to all and is used on a regular basis-it is surely a fitting tribute to the spirit and courage of this community.