Geography

Knockbrack

 

Name (as per O.S.I. Map):

Knockbrack

Ainm/Ainmneacha as Gaeilge (John O’Donavan’s Townland Index 1862):

Cnoc Breac

Meaning of the Name: 

Ainm as Gaeilge:                                       Meaning in English:

Cnoc Breac                                                           Speckled Hill                  

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

Knockbrack – Cnoc Breac – Dappled hill /Scabby land.

Description (John O’Donavan’s Townland index 1862):

It is the property of Mr. Burke, half of which is cultivated. It is bounded on the south by a bye road and on the east by the road from Athenry to Monivea. There stands a triangulation station in its east side 270 feet above sea level, and near its north side a second triangulation station 286 feet above sea level.

Situation (John O’Donavan’s Townland index 1862):

It is situated 2 and a quarter miles south of Monivea, bounded on the north by Poulavullaun and Costello’s Park, on the west by Hundred Acres, on the south by Montpelier and east by Tysaxon and Mountgarret.

1821 Census Data of the area including

Tithe Applotment Book Data (18   ):

1839 O.S.I. Map

Acreage (Richard Griffiths Valuation 1847-1864):

670 Acres; 1 Roods; 4 Square Perches

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

Knockbrack House

Knockbrack House was situated in the centre of Knockbrack. Mattie  Feeney’s house is built right beside the ruins.

The house was built in 1840 and was a two storey house with a basement, which is all that remains today. There were ten to twelve large rooms in the house. At the back of the house was the courtyard. There were servants’ quarters beside the courtyard which is now used as a farm yard.

The owner of the house was Major Hall. He was an officer in the British army. He was landlord of the Knockbrack area. He owned over 1000 acres of land. The estate had a wall built all around it and it had five entrances.  The names of the five gates are: The Grand Gate, the Back Gate, Peggy’s Gate, the Shiney Wall Gate and Dukes Gate. Major Hall was married and he had a daughter called Gladdis and a son who died young from an illness. They were Protestants. The daughter married Sir Norman Strong from Armagh. He and his son were assassinated in the early eighties.

After the War of Independence the Halls left to go to the North of Ireland.  The house was then bought by John Daly, who was a native of Corofin.  John Daly’s brother bought Belville House.  In 1948 the Dalys sold the roof slates and the furniture and demolished Knockbrack House.  The land was divided among the local farmers.      

OLD NAMES IN ATHENRY PARISH

KNOCBRACK: Formerly known as Maiwarra, according to a report in the Tuam Herald about the death of Major Hall.

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Knockbrack by Judy Feeney (2012)

There is a lot of forestation as well as arable land there. This townland was the estate of Major Hall until it was vacated by him about 1921. Thereafter it was divided among local farmers by the state.

Knockbrack – farming

Farming in the area was mixed. Tillage consisted of oats, wheat, barley and occasionally rye. Root crops included potatoes, turnips, swedes and beet for the local beet factory as well as carrots an parsnips. Potatoes and swedes and turnip would be harvested and placed in pits, which were covered in straw, clay and “scraws” – large squares of turf to keep the frost out and preserve the crop through the winter.

The corn was brought into the haggard and made very expertly into stacks on stands to keep it off the ground after which it was thatched to keep water out and therefore prevent rot. These stacks were kept until the corn was threshed later in the year or the following spring.

Knockbrack – Hall Estate

This townland became the estate of a Major Hall in the nineteenth century. It had been occupied by many groups of families in little groups of cottages previously. Some of these cottages were on a site off the main Athenry to Monivea road. Apparently the occupants of these cottages were evicted from their homes, which were demolished and the stone used to build what is known as the China Wall.

Knockbrack – People working together

The people of these townlands worked well together. When planting and harvesting took place they helped each other lending each other horses, carts and cultivation equipment to get their work done. All hands in a neighbourhood were used including children old enough to help. No doubt they were the original version of the co-op movement. No money changed hands.

Knockbrack – Ring Fort, and Church

There was a ring fort in the Back lawn and a lisheen at the other end of the townland. At one time there may have been a little church in one settlement.

Knockbrack – Small Industries

Knockbrack had a family of carpenters and wheelwrights. They made horse, pony and ass carts, horse and pony traps and gipsy caravans. They were the Gardner family who later moved into Athenry and are still in the carpentry trade. The Monaghan family had carpenters among their sons.

Knockbrack – Wildlife

Foxes, hares, pine martins in the forest. Like all farms up to recent years the corncrake could be heard in meadows and cornfields.

 

 

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