Tiaquin and Newcastle by Des Rohan (1992)


SOURCE: Fás Teamwork Scheme (1991-1993)

Sponsor: Athenry Project Society

Scheme Supervisor: Mrs. Marie Fahy



                                                                                                    Tiaquin House in ruins


The last landlord in Tiaquin was Thomas Richardson. He didn’t reside there much. He used to travel from Dublin by train, occasionally, arriving at Tiaquin in a postcar.

I remember the Halls of Knockbrack – Major Hall, his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter Gladys.   They used to travel in an open back-to-back trap.   The rear seat was for the footman whose job was to open gates (The Grand Gate).   Gladys married an Orangeman, Sir Norman Strong of Tynan Abbey – a “big house” in County Armagh.   I used to see them both passing in their gig.   He and his son were victims of assassination in 197?.   He was Speaker at Stormont during Brookesborough’s days as P.M.

The Dalys of Dunsandle were keen huntsmen.  Their large estate stretched down as far as Clough.  They owned over 37,000 acres.  

The Clarkes of Graigue Abbey used attend Mass at Newcastle.  They had a special pew at the top of the Church on the women’s side.   Bertie Clarke would always arrive late.  The Clarkes are buried in Templemoyle (their plot is railed in).

Coincidentally, two other landlord families near Athenry had associations with Northen Unionists.  Edward Carson’s mother was Isabella Lambert of Castle Ellen and the mother of James Chichester-Clarke, N.I. Premier was a Miss Lopdell (Raheen).

The Ffrenchs of Monivea held over 10,000 acres of land bordering Tiaquin.


The people attended Newcastle R.C. Church.   Our turn for the stations came around every six years or thereabouts.   Preparations began some weeks beforehand – cleaning, painting and decorating within.   Outside sheds were whitewashed and gates got their new coat of paint.   Local women arrived on the evening before the big day with contributions of sweet cake, treacle cake and eggs – no fancy biscuits nor canned fruit then.   Next morning the large kitchen table was raised with a chair under each end.   It was covered with a white linen cloth.   A crucifix and candles were placed on top of this.   It was to be the altar.   Neighbours arrived well on time – it was always a morning station, usually at 10 a.m.   Then the two priests arrived; one said Mass in the kitchen while the other heard confessions by the open fire in the parlour.

After Mass the dues were collected and the next station house was named.   The priests were first to have   breakfast accompanied by the wise men of the locality.   After school the children arrived for their share.   That night there would be a dance, plenty of good Irish music, sets, songs and recitations.   It is noteworthy that nearly everyone contributed to the entertainment.  Many could play the accordion or fiddle or could sing a ballad just as good.   It was all Irish music and song.   Gaelic culture was still cherished in those days.

A Mass Path

There was a Mass Path from the stile at the North end of Nerwcastle Church ground leading to Shudane.   It was known as the “Siúlach”.   There was an old stone walled Church in our land (Burns Newcastle) now Tom Rohan’s). The path leading up to it from the road was called “Boithrin an tSéipéil”.


After the Church ceremony there would be a wedding reception in the bride’s house.   Afterwards the function was held at the groom’s home that night.

Dowries were paid by the bride’s father to the bridegroom’s father.   It was usually a cash payment, but sometimes cattle were exchanged.

It was the practice for the bride’s father and a friend to visit the groom’s future “place” to see if it was up to standard for eventual approval of the marriage.


One custom attached to wakes was smoking of a duidin (clay pipe).   Tobacco would be cut. The pipes would be filled and left on a “sciob” – a tray made from sally rods.  The visiting people would each pick up a pipe and smoke it.   Snuff would also be supplied.  It would be left on a plate on the remains and a pinch taken by anybody who wanted it.   A barrel of porter and some whiskey would be available.


There is a cilleachan (babies burial ground) in Lachanova (on left below hill).   There is another one at Clough – at least it is designated in Ordinance Survey Map.

Catholic Faith

Churching of mothers took place, after Sunday Mass usually.   The mother would hold a lighted candle in her hand while the priest recited prayers.

Christening: The child would be baptized quite soon after birth.

Confirmation:   In my time Confirmation was held at Athenry.  Preparation was strict at school.   One practice was for the priest at the altar to examine the pupil at the back of the Church.  Questions on catechism and the Bible were asked and answers would have to be loudly delivered.

Children were examined on their religion at school by a diocesan priest (Tuam) annually.   Catechism was taught in the Church after Sunday Mass.


Schools in our area:    Old School, Newcastle, in Church grounds.   It had an upstairs room for girls – boys were downstairs.

It later became a Hall where dances were held, plays performed, night classes conducted.  During the Emergency and for some time after, it was used by the LDF (FCA).

The New school at Newcastle was built in 190?  It stood on the grounds of the present one.

Tiaguin N.S. was opened in 1925/26

 Local Songs


  1. “The Molly Maguires” was a song about the Newcastle Gaelic Football team. The  late Josie Kenny, used to sing it:

            ‘No crime of dishonour shall sully

             The ranks of the Molly Maguires’

  1. Another song was “The Gurteen Races”    Ned Burke of Tample sings it still.  Some lines are:

              ‘When you’re at Walsh’s forge

                You’re pretty near the races’.

  1. A song about local heroes who took part in the 1916 rebellion.

 Teachers who taught in Newcastle and Tiaquin national Schools:

 Newcastle School:                  Johnny Heavey

                                                Mrs. Jane Heavey (nee Monaghan, Athenry)

                                                Johnny Whelan (from Loughrea)

                                                Mrs. J. Whelan (nee King from Rahard)

                                                Martin Treacy (native of Newcastle, he lived in Castleturvan)

                                                Mrs. Gerard Murphy (from Blaine, Athenry, married in Tiaguin)

                                                Mr. Thomas Rohan

                                                Mr. Paddy Joyce

                                                Miss Tully (from Newbridge? Mrs. T. Hardiman)

                                                Mrs. Patricia Joyce

                                                Mrs. Annie Grady (nee Finnerty, Killaclogher)

                                                Martin T. Kelly

                                                Mrs. Teresa Burns

                                                Mrs. T. Ruane

                                                Mrs. J. Eames (nee F. Healy, Moylough)


Tiaquin N.S.       Mr. Thomas Rohan

                              Mr. Michael Greaney

                              Miss Kathleen Mitchell

                              Miss Flemming (later Mrs. Boyle)

                              Mr. Faherty

                              Mr. O’Shea

                              Mr. Doohan

                              Miss Griffith

                              Mr. M. McDonogh

                              Mr. Flanagan

                              Mr. Kennedy

                              Mr. M. T. Kelly


Time off for Harvesting

It was usually boys who took these working ‘holidays’-week or two picking the potatoes, gathering in the corn or pulling the root crops (turnips, mangolds and later, sugar beet.   Before the summer holidays spreading ‘slits’

(seed potatoes) and saving the turf were chores performed.

 Hedge Schools— school probably at Cormacoo in Quinns ‘holding’ – now O’Grady’s garden.


 Field Names       


Garrai na Binne (Garden of the Gables)

In Keane’s field by Connor’s hayshed – Creg Leathan (broad)

In Michael Grady’s land – Turachan – a bleacher – lea or fallow land

In Keogh’s land toward P.J. Lyon’s near bog – Ceapa Ard (High Peak)

In Frank Rohan’s, Derro – Ceap an Bhaird (probably Ward’s hill)

Hetcheen Hill  -from the Irish Aiteann – gorse

In Frank Rohan’s – Garrai Chaitlin (Kathleen’s garden)

It is a piece of greenery way back at end of Derrough.

Poll an tSaighdiura (Soldier’s Hollow)-Its to the left of the ‘Bog Road’ from Tiaquin to Bearna Gaoithe

Cimin – It is an area including Newcastle School’s new pitch

Clais an Chnoic (drain, hollow or pool) – in Tom Rohan’s field, second field up above the house.

Curraban (the white moor/march)  – It is in Earls/Lynch field.

Goirtin Driseach (thorny field) – in Wall/s, Tiaquin

Cnocan na Feith  (Hill of the honeysuckle, reeds)  It is on the right hand side of the road between Morris’ boreen and Carnog – in Joe Corbetts.

Berdoon’s (Verdun’s) – a field in Shudane by Gannon’s and Murphy’s

The Hutfield – in Frank Rohan’s by Tony Rohan’s house.  The Peelers had a watch–out hut there to protect the landlord during land agitation.

The Clais – (pool, hollow) – in K. Rohan’s

 Other local names

Bearna Gaoithe (The gap of the wind)

Lichlea (Lic liath: (the grey flagstone)

Tobar Searbh (bitter well/spring in field opposite Joe Corbett’s house

Camog (winding road between Morris’ boreen and Loughnane’s)

Loch Taidhg (Tadhy’s lake – probably called after Tadhg O’Kelly chief of Tiaquin

Loch Dubh (dark lake – a small treacherous lake noted for its eels

Loch a’ Choirneil (The Colonel’s lake called after Colonel Burke of Tiaquin House)

Loch Chionnaith (Kenney’s lake below Paddy Joe Lyon’s land. Probably named for one of the Kenneys of Killacllogher Castle.

Tobar Geal – (The Bright Spring Well (Corandoo, Doonane)

Tobar Choinne??/Sally’s Well in J.J. Cunningham’s , Newcastle


 Derrough (Doire or Doireach – Oak Worded)



Lachtanora – The Stone (Monument) of Honour

Lenamore – (Leana Mor – the big meadow land)

Baile an Phoill – (The Townland of the Hollow, where Jordans, Lachtonora live)

Baile na gCraig – (The Townland of the Rocks, where Paddy Monaghan lives)

Aghafada – the long field at Eamon Gullanes

Dickers? Gate – name of one of the gates leading (near Walls) into landlord’s house, Tiaquin.

Shudane – names for the ancients Gaelic territory of the Sodhain or Sogain chief of which rulers were the O Mainin.

Cappamoyle – the bare/bald hilltop

Clonkeen – the pleasant meadow

Ballyboggan – the townland of the soft land/bog

Graigue – a village

Tysaxon (Ti Sacsain) – the Saxons House


Knockbrack – the speckled/dotted Hill

Tamplemoyle – the bald/roofless Church

Cora – a weir/dam

Tearmannach – refuge/protection


 Every house had an orchard nearby. Apple tree varieties included Brambly, Grenadier and Beauty of Bath.

Blackcurrants, gooseberries and raspberri3es were commonly grown. Some orchards had plums and pears.

The local landlord had a large walled in orchard. Several families had beehives (Keoghs, Walls)

The vegetable garden – cabbage, rhubarb, carrots, parsnips and, of course, ridges of potatoes were cultivated.


 The crops (corn) sown were wheat, rye, barley and oats.  The mowing was carried out by sickle or scythe, horse-drawn mowing machine, later by selfbinder, now by combine harvester.

In the olden times the method of threshing was by flail (suiste). This was a suitable way of dealing with straw for thatching purpose.  Very often a scythe worker would be hired e.g. Mike Moffat or Larry Larkin. To sharpen the scythe he would put a good ‘faobhar’ on it. Winnowing was another method of threshing – a sieve or riddle was used.  Later came the winnowing machine (worked manually by turning a handle to activate the wooden mitred) blades to separate the chaff from the grain.   The chaff was blown out at the back, the heavier grain falling down and collected in bags.

The threshing machine was owned by an agricultural co-op.  The make was the Amaco.  Pat Rabbitte, Paddy Joe’s grandfather owned an ‘Amaco’ threshing machine. Hassests of Lichlea owned a horse drawn threshing machine as did Kevin Rohan ‘The Ivy’. 

 Others who carried out threshing were Paddy Connor, Cormacoo and Peter Hardiman, Clough.


The soil in Tiaquin-Newcastle is mainly of good limestone quality.  However, there are areas of bog around.   These are in Derrough, Cormacoo, Shudane, Cuorabane, Lenamore, Corrandoo and Cuddoo/Colemanstown.

Farmers brought loads of hay to Galway on horse and cart. They also carried fleeces of wool into Lydon’s Woolen Mills.  On the return journey they might have a load of seaweed to use as fertilizer.

Many a man thatched his own house. Scallops would be pared and pointed during the long winter nights and thatching straw would be ‘drawn’ and put into bundles. However there were some professional thatchers available on hire e.g. Andy McDonogh, Taigdh Moran.

BlacksmithsTolls were paid at Athenry fair.   One collector was Paddy Doherty, Athenry.

Jimmy Molloy Senior had a forge in Newcastle.  His son, Jimmy, carried on the craft up until the early 60’s.  Other blacksmiths were Maddens, Athenry; Walshs, Gurteen; Reillys, Monivea and Dollys, Garbally.

Incidentally, there was a forge at one time near Burke’s, Newcastle shop.   It was also owned by Maddens.   Pat Madden was the blacksmith.


 Tolls were paid at Athenry fair.   One collector was Paddy Doherty, Athenry. 

The best part of the town for selling was around Fitzsimons, Northgate Street. Buyers ‘jobbers’ came from all over Ireland especially from the North.  At a Horse Fair the go between the buyer and seller was known as a ‘knacker’. There was a big fair at Abbeyknockmoy on the 1st of November for ewe hoggets.

Luck penny (half crown or 5 shillings at the least) was given when the deal was clinched.   There wasn’t a Fair Green in Athenry as traders would lose business. Bargaining was carried on by hitting the open hand. Payment was in cash.

Breeds of cattle on sale were Kerry Blue, Shorthorn, and Aberdeen Angus.

Hiring Fairs were the forerunners of the Employment Exchange.  The spailpíní arrived in Athenry for Spring work. The Hiring Fairs were held on Saturday evening and Sunday morning after Mass.   The fine strong young men lined the wall – usually around Daly’s (now Burkes) – dressed in báinín coat and trousers, woolen sweater and cap.  They carried their possessions with them consisting of a bag or a suitcase of clothes and a spade.   They were native Irish speakers and decent people all.  They would sleep in beds of straw or in an outhouse if there was no room in the house. The names of some of them were Larkin, Joyce, Sweeney, O’Toole, Fitzpatrick, Sullivan, and Lee.

Old Landmarks

Shortcuts: ‘An Siulach’ (mentioned before)

Bridges:       ‘Droicheaidin’ at Cimin, Bodkins Bridge, Carnog,

     1               Dauvin Bridge, Clough

Turns:           Carnóg

Hills:             Ceapa a’Bhaird, Lachtonora, Mullach Hill toward Monivea


One might find an egg placed under a heap of topdressing or under a ploughed furrow in Spring.

Flitch of bacon thrown into a field over the wall (to get the neighbour’s good luck).

One should not bring a light or milk out from a house on May Day.

Iron object such as a horseshoe placed under the dash churn while churning.

Meeting a red-haired woman first thing in the morning was not supposed to be good.

It there was churning in progress in a house, every visitor ‘took a turn’ at churning.

On Bonfire Night (23/6) a lighted sod or twig taken from the fire was thrown into a meadow on the way home.

Local Shops

Jordans, Newcastle; Catherine Jordan (Pa Jordan’s mother) owned a small shop.

Willie Corbett: beside the Church.

Whelan’s now Burkes, Newcastle.

Burkes (where Brian Hardiman has farmyard now) sold groceries (‘grinders’ was a tasty bread curled up like the number eight), tobacco and paraffin oil.

Keoghs, Lenamore

Frank Rohans, Tiaquin Cross – later Sean Eignors and then Kevin Rohans. Great place for a game of cards.

Coens, Tample now Mannions

 Traveling Shops that used to come to Newcastle

Conlan, Athenry                                                         

Corbetts, Athenry                                           

Lallys, Attymon                                                          

 Traveling Shops that used to come to Tiaquin

 Burkes, Abbeyknockmoy                                

Warren,  Abbeyknockmoy                              

Mannion, Barnaderg                                       

 The ‘Tea Man’ used to deliver Lipton/s tea.  If you were not at home he would leave the tea on the window stool (payment later).



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