Geography

Graig Abbey

Graig Abbey is the smallest townland in Athenry parish and contains 4A 1R 25P. It is in Tiaquin Barony and the Gaigabbey Electoral area. Up to the middle of the 19th century, the area was in Abbert Parish.

Graig Abbey South is in Kilconnell Barony; it is in Graig Abbey Electoral area and contains 547A. 0R 7P. This townland was also in the Parish of Abbert, Union of Athenry.

Laughlin O’Kelly owned part of this area up to the plantations of Connaught in the mid 1600s when it was granted to John Bodkin. Knowledge of subsequent ownership is scarce. Until the beginning of the 18th century the area was owned by the Earl of Clancarty and part leased to James Clarke.

In 1858 Jas Clarke owned 152 and a half acres.

Patrick Holland owned 147 acres called Mira.

Patrick Coen owned 21 acres called Big Bog.

Patrick Connell acres 24 called Big Bog

Graig Abbey house was built in 1850 by Mr. Clarke. In 1908 the Earl of Clancarty owned house, offices and land of 125A 1R 1P, which was occupied by Mary Clarke. Mrs. Clarke also owned the gate lodge and land of 259A 5R 17P plus extra land of 28A 1R 26P. A Mr. O’Malley owned 44A 5R 5P, which was leased to Mrs. Clarke. Ryans, Brennans and Burkes owned a small portion also. Major Glarke was succeeded by his son Bertie who sold the estate in 1926.         

By 1926 the estate had succumbed to division and sales. Major Fairfax Eames bought 89A 1R 10P, herd’s house and offices valued at £4 and also the big house and offices valued at £15.

Other smaller owners at this time were Burke, Morris, Burns and Conners. Further division of the original estate took place in 1927 when a lot of 161A 2R 58P was divided between Ryans, Melias, Lougrnane, Cannon and Grealish, Mrs. White, Fahy, Cannon, Kendregan (John) a«d Parker, Coffey, Burke, Laffey, Kindregan (Patricia).,

Valuation of each of these lots was from £2-10-0 to £2-16-0 and each person got 11 and a half acres.

Mr. Eames was a protestant who set about repairing the house and stables He employed six or seven staff on a full time basis. The Ulster Bank acquired the property in 1957 and put it on the market.

It was bought in 1958 by ex R.I.C. Sergeant Thomas Browne and his wife Mary Browne for £1,500. After Thomas Browne died in 1951. Mrs. Mary, Browne put it on the market and Patrick Walshe bought it for £3000 the same year. The Brownes were. R.Cs.                

Martin Treacy, who lived in Castieturvin house and was headmaster in Coldwood School, was Mary Browne’s brother who lived on a farm between Newcastle and Tiaquin.

GRAIG ABBEY

Graig Abbey means the village of the Abbey.  The area was first called Graig but when the Abbey was built it was known as Graig Abbey.  An Abbey is a house where an order of monks live.  If you visit Graig House you can see the ruins of the Abbey standing beside it.  Graig Abbey house was first owned by a Major Clarke who was an officer in the British army.  Major Olarke left the house to his son Bertie, who in turn sold it to a Mr. Bames.  Mr. Eames lived there for a number of years and then it came into the possession of Mr. Browne who in turn sold it to Mr. Walsh who lives there to this day.  Like all other big houses Graig Abbey at one time had hundreds of acres of land but most of this was divided among the tenents in the earsy 1900s.  Graig Abbey Village is a nice village to live in as it has good fishing rivers flowing through: it also has such very nice woodlands which support a large variety of wildlife.  The Galway Blazers come to Graig Abbey each year for fox hunting and caused a great amount of excitement in the area.

Meaning of Townland Name in The Athenry Journal-Vol. 1, No. 3, P. 27/30.1995

Graigabbey – Graig na Mainistreach –Monastic village.

1821 Census Data of the area including

Tithe Applotment Book Data (18   ):

1839 O.S.I. Map

1852 Griffiths Valuation Data:

O.S.I. Map (19   ) Showing Archaeological Sites:

1901 Census Data:

1911 Census Data:

1924-Names on Voters Lists for national Elections (Galway Co. Co.)

2005 Google Map

Villages within the Townland

Famous People of the Townland

2011 Census Population Data (D.E.D._______________________ )

Names of Children from National School Register

OLD NAMES IN ATHENRY PARISH

GRAIGABBEY: This area was also known as Graige.  The land was owned by Loughlin O’Daly.

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Graig Abbey Area by Judy Feeney (2012)

The area consisted of small holdings of land. The lands of Graigeabbey were mostly woods and two fields were known as the Front Lawn and Back Lawn. There was one large field for growing crops that was Gort a Graig. There was a large orchard and garden for fruit and vegetables . The large field by the gate was called the Lodge Garden. There was a tree-lined road that was called the Beech Walk, which ran along the wall of a field known as the Dew Park and the orchard.

There was one other small estate across the road known as Binn. Adjoining that farm was the village of Bengarra. Five families had small holdings there. The land was mostly good arable land. This land was part of purchase made by Halls of Knockbrack.

Graig Abbey Estate

The estate was small with a main residence, gate house and cottage at the other end of the estate that was said to be a school for children of the estate at one time. The land was mainly forest and some arable land and bog with rivers running through it.

It was ideal for wildlife. There were foxes, badgers, otters, stoats and rabbits in every field and lawn. The rivers had brown trout and eels, which we caught as children with homemade fishing rods. There were songbirds and crows of all kinds including hawks who made raids on young chickens and turkey chicks. Occasionally a heron would come to the area but it does not seem to have rested there.

When we were children we were told if the otter in the river caught us he would not let go our legs. No doubt we did not go near the river just in case he did.

Graig Abbey – The Big Wind

In the mid 1940s a very strong wind of hurricane force struck the area. Dozens of mature beech and oak trees were uprooted. They blocked the road from the bridge of Graig to the main gate and further on. The front lawn was strewn with giant uprooted trees. Luckily, nobody was injured.

Graig Abbey River

The river, which flowed beyond the main gates, was divided with strong walling to make a sheep-washing area. The actual sheep-washing pond was filled by blocking off one half of the river with removable planks and putting a sluice in the walled area to let foul water flow away after each flock of sheep was washed and replaced to refill the pond for the next flock.

This washing takes place before shearing. Sheep dipping takes place after the sheep were shorn to prevent the bluebottle fly from laying its eggs and causing infestation with the resultant maggots, which could severe wounding and even death to the sheep. This dipping took place in a sheep dipping tank at the rear of Graig Abbey House.