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Towns and Villages along the way - Clonbrock / Fohenagh

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The place - name Fohenagh is derived from the Irish word fothannan meaning thistle  - the village of the thistles. The Normans described the area as “ all waste and no man inhabited it.’’

Clonbrock and the Dillon family was amongst the first of the Anglo- Norman families to settle in Connaught.

In 1580 Thomas Dillon, Chief Justice of Connaught, purchased 3,000 acres of land   from Teige O Kelly .

At the time of  Griffeths Valuation in 1870 the Clonbrock estate in Ahascragh, Co. Galway amounted to 28,000 acres of land

Clonbrock House, now, in ruin as a result of a fire in 1984, was built by Robert Dillon, afterwards Ist. Lord Clonbrock and completed in 1788. It was designed by William Leeson replacing the old castle which remained intact until 1807 when it was destroyed by fire that resulted from a fireworks display on the estate to celebrate the birth of the 2nd. Lord Clonbrock’s son and heir.

Clonbrock estate was one of the best managed in the country,  largely due to the fact that the Dillons were the most resident of all Irish landlords and were hardly known in London. Fortunately the estate papers were bought by the National Library 1977 and the collection illustrates the very best management practice of any large estate in the nineteenth and twentieth century Ireland.

During Famine times Lord Clonbrock was described as one of the more considerate landlords maintaining a good tenant relations on his estates.

All this was to change however with Lord Clonbrock’s refusal to sell his land under the terms of the Land Act of 1903. The United Irish League started extreme agitation on the estate and forced him to sell. Six years later, and by 1914 most of the lands was in the hands of his tenants.

Robert Dillon died in 1925 without issue and the title became extinct and the mansion passed on to his sister Ethel Dillon. She in turn passed it on to her grand- nephew, Sir Luke Dillon Mahon and he sold the remainder of the estate in the 1970’s.

Photographic studio owned by Luke Gerald Dillon, 4th. Baron of Clonbrock and his wife Augusta who were keen photographers and built a studio and dark room at Clonbrock. They left a lasting legacy containing a collection of portraits of three generations of the Dillon family of  Clonbrock. The collection was acquired by the National Library of Ireland in 1977 and contains a collection of all aspects of life on the estate as well as photographs of the house itself, the servants, tenants and estate workers and community events involving the family.   

Thomas Coen was born in 1779 near Clonbrock House in a place known as the Island and as “ Coen Park’’ He was the very first name on the register of the newly built Maynooth College built for the education of Catholic priests in Ireland. He later became Catholic Bishop of Clonfert and became embroiled in controversy when John Wesley Methodist and the Evangelical Movement targeted Catholic children, setting up a school at Killure, in order to bring about their conversion to Protestantism.

 

Points of interest: Clonbrock to Killure

 

11Clonbrock and the Dillon family was  amongst the first of the Anglo- Norman families to settle in Connaught in 1580 on a 3,000 acre farm and by 1870 the Clonbrock estate in Ahascragh, Co. Galway amounted to 28,000 acres of land.

 

During Famine times, the Dillons were described as one of the most considerate in the country.

 

The estate papers were bought by the National Library in 1977 and the mansion was accidently burned in 1983.

 

2 Photographic studio owned by Luke Gerald Dillon, 4th. Baron of Clonbrock and his wife Augusta who were keen photographers and built a studio and dark room at Clonbrock. They left a lasting legacy containing a collection of portraits of three generations of the Dillon family of  Clonbrock. The collection was acquired by the National Library of Ireland in 1977 and contains a collection of all aspects of life on the estate as well as photographs of the house itself, the servants, tenants and estate workers and community events involving the family.   

 

3 Thomas Coen was born in 1779 near Clonbrock House. He was the very first name on the register of the newly built Maynooth College built for the education of Catholic priests in Ireland. He later became Catholic Bishop of Clonfert and became embroiled in controversy when John Wesley Methodist and the Evangelical Movement targeted Catholic children, setting up a school at Killure, in order to bring about their conversion to Protestantism.

Description of trail : Clonbrock to Ballygar

The final stage of the Hymany Way takes 4.5 hrs to complete. As this walk cover rough wet, boggy terrain, it is essential that walkers have approptiate footwear and rainwear.

After leaving Clonbrock, the walker will travel 200m of a busy road before entering bog roads and tracks.  Once leaving the bog, a return to the road requires the walker to exercise caution once more, until the turn-off to Loonaghton bog appears. Now, the way-marked route negotiates raised bog, quiet country roads and low lying land before it crosses the river Shiven  at Tri Hill bridge.  In the final stretch, the walker encounters quiet roads and bog roads until arriving in Ballygar where the walker meets the next phase: the Suck Valley Way.

 

Clonbrock to Killure

This 9.5 km stretch is relatively easy as the walker travels along the avenue that leads to the partially in ruin Clonbrock Mansion he arrives at the Coilte Forest and if he is lucky he may see  the fallow deer. On leaving the forest the next 1km of his journey is along quit country roads with the exception of 200m of a relatively busy section of the Secondary road where caution must be used and  the relatively wide grass margins used.

The last leg of this journey is on a path leading to cut away bog and on arriving in Killure the walker may continue on his journey or else travel 5 km into Ballinasloe or 3 km to Ahascragh.

Points of interest: Clonbrock to Ballygar

1 Father James Finnerty 1614-1683 was a native of Tuam and he served in the diocese of Elphin.  Fr. Finnerty is buried in Chapelfinnerty Graveyard. That area bears his name and is known as Chapelfinnerty.

The fact that he had a price on his did not prevent this very saintly and healing cleric ministered to both Protestant and Catholic alike during the height of the Cromwellian persecution when government policy was to “Hell or to Connacht’’

2  Castle Ffrench house was the former residence of Ffrench family and was built in 1779 – same year as family (Catholic) were advanced to the peerage. Family originally one of the 14 tribes of Galway – moved there from Wexford in 1425. Charles became Chief Magistrate in 1444 and other family members John, Robuck and Edmond were elected mayors of Galway at different times. John purchased CastleFfrench from an O’Kelly Chieftain in 1636. He was soon dispossessed by Cromwell but re-purchased it in 1671.

3 Gowla bog trackway was uncovered during Bord na Mona archaeological programme in recent times. Theses tackways were constructed over marshy wetlands  to join one piece of high ground to another. The trackways have a wide date range from the Bronze Age right through to the 15 century AD.

4 Bohill  Emigration records recounts that on one horific day all the entire community  of one entire village left  during the famine 1845 to 1850. 

5 Ballinlass Evictions took place 13th March 1846 when all the 76 families comprising 300 people of the were evicted by the landlord, Mrs Gerard, and their homes raised to the ground. Their unfortunate plight was raised by Lord Londenderry in the House of Commons.

6 General Edward Lawrence Logan was grandson of Lawrence Lohan, from Tri Hill, Ballinamore Bridge who emigrated to America in famine times. At immigration the name Lohan somehow  became Logan.

Lawrence Lohan’s, grandson, Edward Lawrence Logan, A. B., L.L.B. was born on 20 th. January 1875, in South Boston and attended Boston Latin School and Harvard University studying law.

On joining the army, he had a distinguished military career, rising to the rank of general in 1921, and saw combat in the Spanish- American War.

The former Boston Airport and the airport was renamed General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport at a public ceremony  in 1956.

7 A 93-foot stone tower was built by Denis Kellys  in 1860 in Killeroran Graveyard but so much was the expenditure at that time that the entire  O Kelly estate was offered for sale by the courts, under the encoumbered Estates Act.

8 Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore was born in Ballygar Dec. 25th.1829. After spending some time in Canada he moved to Boston becoming leader of the Suffolk, Boston Brigade and later the Salem bands. Such was his stature in the musical field that was regarded as “The Father of the American Band’’

Gilmore served in the Union Army during the Civil War and wrote the lyrics to the song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home ‘’

During the inauguration of President James Buchanan 1857, the Salem Brigade Band led the parade conducted by Patrick Gilmore.

In 1869 he organised a giant musical festival in Boston “ The National Peace Jubilee‘’ attended by President Ulysses S.Grant, followed by the “World Peace Jubilee’’ in 1872 at which Austrian Waltz King Johann Strauss participated.

The last twenty years of his life he spent travelling the world and in died at St. Louis 24th. Sept. 1892 and is buried at Old Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York.

Description of trail

Clonbrock to Ballygar

The final stage of the Hymany Way takes 4.5 hrs to complete. As this walk cover rough wet, boggy terrain, it is essential that walkers have approptiate footwear and rainwear.

After leaving Clonbrock, the walker will travel 200m of a busy road before entering bog roads and tracks.  Once leaving the bog, a return to the road requires the walker to exercise caution once more, until the turn-off to Loonaghton bog appears. Now, the way-marked route negotiates raised bog, quiet country roads and low lying land before it crosses the river Shiven  at Tri Hill bridge.  In the final stretch, the walker encounters quiet roads and bog roads until arriving in Ballygar where the walker meets the next phase: the Suck Valley Way.

Clonbrock to Killure

This 9.5 km stretch is relatively easy as the walker travels along the avenue that leads to the partially in ruin Clonbrock Mansion he arrives at the Coilte Forest and if he is lucky he may see  the fallow deer. On leaving the forest the next 1km of his journey is along quit country roads with the exception of 200m of a relatively busy section of the Secondary road where caution must be used and  the relatively wide grass margins used.

The last leg of this journey is on a path leading to cut away bog and on arriving in Killure the walker may continue on his journey or else travel 5 km into Ballinasloe or 3 km to Ahascragh.

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