Wyvernfriend Diary

my diary as it occurs to me

Location: Dublin, Ireland

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

From Colm Toibin and Diarmaid Ferriter's The Irish Famine a Documentary:


The following was written on 27 December 1846 by W. Millikin, a relief commissioner, from the relief district of Moycullen in Galway, denying the claim made by a local priest that there was widespread starvation in his parish.

With reference to your letter no.13 directing me to enquire into the real destitution now prevaling in the Barony of Moycullen in consequence of a strong application having been made to his excellency the Lord Lieutenant by Rev. Myr Phew, Roman Catholic curate from Lettermullen. I have the honour to report that on my return from Connemara I visited the locality, found Mr Phew at the village of Moucullen having been removed from his other charge some months since... as the Barony of Moycullen is considered one of the richest in this part of Galway, on account of the rich crops of wheat that are raised, and as I could not perceive any visible distress or destitution and the locality being so near this, had it existed to the extent described by him, it would have been laid before the Committee at Oughterard or Galway. I therefore continued my inquiries to other channels, the constabulary, proprietors, etc., and am happy to state after taking every pains to ascertain the truth - that less destitution exists in that parish than any other in this district and less probability of the evil returning next season for they have more wheat sown thatn anywhere else. The Reverend Gentleman is notorious for making himself conspicuous and is exceedingly fond of writing to the higher authorities. He was removed from Lettermullen for sending in an exagaggerated account of the starving state of the population at that place. This I had from one of the proprietors and confirmed by an English clergyman and I have witnessed so much of the kind at the relief committees, [with] the Catholic Clergy trying to monopolise the whole of the labour on the public works for their own flocks and recommending persons not in a state of absolute destitution. The only thing that can be stated in mitigation [is] that unless the people get money, the priests will be equally paupers as their stipends depend almost entirely from that source... (National Archives of Ireland, Relief Commission Papers 7/11/04)

From page 108:

Moycullen had a population of 7,343 in 1841 and 6,610 at a maximum were given food in any one day.

Personal notes on this
Moycullen is approximately 7 miles from Galway and 13 from Oughterard however as one of the largest parishes in Ireland so parts would be much closer to one or the other, some would be close to Spiddal in the West. It's mostly landlocked with several lakes and rivers which probably provided food for people. The arrival of the Clifden Railway moved the village about a mile. A few placenames Sraid na mBaintreach (widows street, where 7 widows had house) indicate loss of some but not all dwellers. As indicated above the crops were wheat, and some areas suggest oat growing. Some later schemes improved and disimproved the land further as it removed the floodplain that the Corrib had created in parts.

See it's the place I'm from, it's home.


Blogger An Extraordinary woman in a mediocre life said...

very interesting blog

9:24 a.m.  

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