Turas Siar


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Some of our many past events



The Kennedy reunion came about when Jane made contact with Turas Siar a number of months ago looking for information on her ancestors who sailed on Tuke’s Emigration Ship in 1883. I replied to her immediately I had found information for her and there were other participants in contact with her as well.


We continued to email each other and I sent her all the information I could find. Finally back in March/April of this year she made a decision to make a trip to where her ancestors lived on the Mullet Peninsula near Binghamstown, she was toured around by another colleague of ours and shown where some of her ancestors are buried in Cross Graveyard. This happened on Tuesday 29th July and then at 7pm the Kennedy reunion that she had waited so long for finally arrived.


I had on display photos Jane had emailed to me over the past months, put them in frames displayed them on tables etc. she was very emotional with everything and couldn’t thank us enough, we too in turn are grateful to everyone who turned up that evening to make it such a special occasion especially for Jane and her husband Paul. The surprise of the evening was the appearance of The Blacksod Bay Blue Grass Band who were superb and we thank them for coming.

A speciat melodeon gathering took place at Turas Siar last Sunday 1st December 2013 at 2pm. Alan Morrisroe and Paddy Joe Tigue two of the best old time melodeon players were here. There were recordings going on in the afternoon.here. Several local accordion musicians were here Liam McGonigle,Belmulet,,Jason and Michael Keane, Cross, Binghamstown, Dara O’Toole (Dara Pat Stephen) Lettermore, Connemara and Paddy Harry Keane, Faulmore. Refreshments were served.


Everybody enjoyed the day and then went onto Una’s pub in Blacksod for more music. On behalf of Turas Siar we would like to thank sincerely everybody that came last Sunday and made it such a successful day.


A remembrance gathering of the 90th anniversary of the Elly Bay Drowning was very successful on Thursday 31st October 2013. The Western People were here and many interviews were conducted and pictures taken.


We at Turas Siar would like to thank everybody who helped to make the night a remembrance occasion.


That day at noon oh what a gloom was cast over Mullaghroe
No tiding came from the angry mane
To the waves dashed to and fro
The breeze it struck, the boat had shook
It sank twas sad to say
They closed their eyes to earth and sighed at fatal Elly Bay


For Riley, Barrett and Ruane and earth they bid a due

For well known round Belmullet town

Yes, and well respected too

Their manner and their mainier

had always brought them friends

Till that fatal day at Elly Bay,

those men now met their end.


They met their end their troubled friends

Go mourning by the shore

And the face of those three fishermen

in earth will meet no more

They’ve lost their lives, their widowed wives,

Their children were but small

They weeped and wept and won’t forget

Till God does on them call

A huge gathering was held here at Turas Siar on October 23rd when over 30 people from Canada came to us and everyone enjoyed themselves. They went onto Ionad Deirble in Eachleam and a tour afterwards and then onto Blacksod for dinner and then finished at Una”s at night.

A lovely evening was held at Turas Siar on Monday 7th October when Paddy Joe Tighe, Alan Morrisroe and Seamus O’ Mongáin along with a couple of native Irish speaking neighbours came together for what turned out to be a very enjoyable evening by all. The old house dance melodeon music was recorded as well a few great songs sung by Paddy Joe Tighe.


Pap and Kathryn

A gathering was held at Turas Siar on 17th September 2013 with Tallets/Tolletts/Gammels/Gambles. This was very successful and gave both families  a chance to meet and catch up. There were plenty of photos taken on the day and this is just a sample.

Many thanks to all whom came to this gathering.

Pap and Kathryn

Old Native Crafts

A Gifted Pair of Hands




Here has been left to us, one of the finest examples of basket making ever seen in Erris. Pat Shevlin was one of the last people in the Barony of Erris who kept alive the old tradition of basket and creel making with native sally rods.
He was a master craftsman and attended many fais and heritage day exhibitions, he also gave many demonstrations all over Connaught, including his own native Erris.

We are lucky to have one of Pat’s demonstrations which in future can be viewed at the centre. Sadly Pat passed away on Wednesday, 19th January, 2011 R.I.P. BAIL Ó DHIA AR DO DHÁ LÁIMHI gcuimhne air an bhfear deirneach sa gceanntar seo a bhíodh ag déanamh párdógaí, cléibh, ciseáin agus bascéid le slataí óidir.
Bhí cáil ar a chuid oibre agus aithne mhór air fhéin ar fud Chonnacht. Ba mhinic é ag tabhairt taspeántais agus tá ceann de na h-ócáidí seo againn ar fís. D’fhág Pat Shevlin, Sáilín, An Áird Mhóir in aice leis an nGeata Mór slán ag an tsaoil seo ar an 19ú Eanáir 2011. Ní bhéidh a leithidí go brách aríst.

Origin of Place Names






It is easy to understand the origin of the place names in my area because they come from the Irish Language. Most of the place names come from the lie of the land, the topography of the landscape and also famous people who have lived in a particular area, for instance Cartron Gilbert, Monrach Ruaidaráin and Newtown Cormack. There are place names like Blacksod, Clogher, Mullaghroe and Elly all taking their names from the topography of the area. Falmore, Glosh, Surgeview all get their names from the lie of the land or as the people viewed it. The original irish versions of these place names, most of these go back to the beginning of when people first started to settle here i.e. 3rd and 4th century A.D. Minor place names within the larger areas, all happened in the course of time. Different people coming into the area brought place names from their own areas with them and evidence of that is still here today.



One of the greatest Erris legends is the story of Dónall Dual Bhuí, the yellow-
haired giant and his wife Muinchinn who lived in Dún Domhnainn. The O Caithniadhs remained lords of Erris until the latter part of the 13th century, but shortly before the Normans came to Erris the O Conchubhair (O’Connor), who lived in Dún Domhnainn.

County – There are 32 counties in Ireland, varying greatly in size and population.

Barony – Up to the end of the nineteenth century, counties were subdivided into baronies, although they were not much used for administrative purposes and thus figure little in the records relevant to genealogical research. There were about 325 baronies in the country.

Townland – The townland was and is the smallest officially recognised geographical unit in rural Ireland, varying in size from a few acres to several thousand. There are more than 65,000 recorded in the 1851 townlands index.



The Norman Barony of Erris comprised of the parishes of Kilcommon (the largest in Ireland) and adjoining Kilmore – The Mullet and offshore islands. Union of Belmullet – The Poor Law Union were established in the 1840’s. Belmullet Union consisted of the parishes of Kilcommon and Kilmore and were the subject of Griffiths Valuation of 1855. At that time, Ballycroy was placed in the Newport Union. Kilcommon was divided into districts – Kilcommon West (present Belmullet RC parish with Muingeroon and townlands east of the Muhnin/Owenmore River, i.e. Geesala and Doohoma), Kilcommon East (rest of Kilcommon and Kiltane) and Ballycroy. These districts became the current Catholic parishes of Kilcommon, Belmullet, Kiltane and Ballycroy with boundaries fixed in 1873.



The barony of Erris occupies the north-west corner of Co. Mayo. Broadhaven from the north and Blacksod Bay from the south penetrate to meet at the isthmus of Belmullet and cut off from the rest of the Mullet peninsula to the west. On the east, Erris adjoins the barony of Tirawley. Patrick Knight, writes: ‘Erris means western peninsula and strictly speaking should be confined to the portion within the isthmus of the Mullet, … the natives call all beyond that ‘the mountains’.



  • KILMORE – AN CHILL MHÓR – ‘the big church’
  • In the Strafford Inq. 1635 Killmore 1 cartron, Killbegg 1 cartron.
  • Killmore in 1600c – Connaught Map
  • Kilmore Erris Tithe App. Book in 1834
  • Killmore Parish – Major Bingham 1838

The west extremity of the barony of Erris. It is surrounded by the sea with the exception of a narrow neck (about 17 chains) immediately north of the townland of Belmullet.



  • FALLMORE = The Big Enclos

  • Faulmore – Tithe App. Book 1834

  • Fal means any enclosed field – J. O’Donovan 1838

  • Fál mór ‘great enclosure’ J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Area – 680a 2e 4p

  • Landlord – Major Bingham 1838

There is a large group of houses near the western extremity, known by the same name as the townland. The most historical feature of Falmore itself is of course St. Deirbhile’s Well. Within the village of Falmore is a small village known as Cartron Gilbert which would be Cartúr Ghilbeirt meaning a quarter of divided land.



  • Cartrongilbert – Cartúr Ghilbeirt

  • Gilberts – Inq. – 1617

  • Gelbert’s Cartron – 1617

  • Carrowgilbert, ¼ cartron called – Strafford Inq. – 1635

  • Conter – Hib. Del. Mayo – 1672c

  • Cartron Gilbert 1 cartron – 1748

  • Cartron Gilbert BS – 1830

  • Carthern Gilbert – Tithe App. Book – 1838

  • Cartron Gilbert – Major Bingham

  • Cartrongilbert – J. O’Donovan – 1838

Area – 248a 2r 10p of which 87 a are cultivated the remainder is chiefly cut-out bog.



It is widely believed that on St. Deirbhile’s arrival to Falmore, a man who had pursued her along her journey, caught up with her. This was a man she had left her homeplace to get away from and when she asked him what was his fascination with her, he replied ‘It’s your lovely eyes’, ‘I want your eyes’. At that moment it is said she put her fingers into both of her eyes. Her eyes fell out and immediately on touching the ground, a well of spring water appeared at that spot. On seeing all this, he immediately turned and ran away. To this day people with eye problems come from all over to visit this well. A few people have been miraculously cured here. Those suffering from other ailments are known to have been cured here as well. St. Deirbhile herself is believed to have died in the seventh century.



St Deirbhile came to this area in the sixth century, from her native County Meath. She was of noble lineage and her father was Cormac MacDaithi. St Deirbhile accompanied by St Geidh from Inis Geidhe and St Muirdeach from Ballina, travelled to the Synod of Bishope in Ballysadare, to meet with St Colmcille in 585 AD (Annals of Connacht). Situated at Fál Mór is an old church and graveyard which are dedicated to the saint, whose remains are interred here according to tradition, buried alongside her within a wall, is the mother of the famous Dean Lyons who died in the 19th century. St Deirbhile’s Church is one of the most ancient in Ireland, built in excellent granite stone and is now a national monument and dates back to the Early Christian period. The ruins as they appear today were probably built in the twelfth century replacing or incorporating an earlier structure. Folklore has it that if you can pass through the small east window three times, heaven is your reward. Another says that passing seven times means you will not die by drowning. According to tradition she rests at nearby Fál Mór and water from her well is said to have curative properties for eye complaints.



  • SURGEVIEW or NAKIL – ‘the bottom land of the lace of the burial mounds’ – Achill (et) Erriskey – Inq – 1607
  • Naghell – 1618 – Akehill ats Nakill – 1623
  • Nakell the ½ – Strafford Inq. 1635
  • Nakill – BSD 202 – 1666
  • Nakill – 1685 – Hib. Del.
  • Cloyn Hakill lands of Nakell, Clocher and Divilane – Henry Gamble of Nakell – 1755
  • Surgeview – Tithe App. Book – 1834
  • Nakil or Surgeview J. O’Donovan – 1838 – Naicil ‘the eagle cliff – J. O’Donovan – 1838
  • Area – 221a 2r 24p of which 99a is cultivated the remainder is blowing sand hills, the coast is rocky.
  • 1855 – Landlord – Major Bingham

It is believed that Surgeview got its name from looking out from land at the surging sea, whereas (Tóin na hOlltaí has several meanings in Irish. One being referred to in olden times as a piece of flat land where wild straw had grown – something similar to reeds which grow in wet marshy land today. The tip of Surgeview is more commonly known by local people as Gob Ghamil – Gammels Point.



  • Glosh Signal Tower/Leitir Beag – ‘small hillside’ Knockliteragh one quarter called – Fiants Eliz– 1594
  • Letterbeg – 1830 – Bald
  • Leitir Bheag ‘small letter or spewy hill side’
  • J. O’Donovan – 1838
  • Area – 179a 2r 25p of which 60a are sand hills, the remainder is arable ground and pasture.
  • 1838 – Property of Major Bingham

Leiterbeg now known as Glosh/Glais. In the late 18th century there was a stream of lookout towers built along the west coast of Ireland and here in Glosh was one of them. Most of the stone structure is still standing today. These towers were used in ancient times to look out at sea and keep watch for fear of enemies or invasion. If danger was imminent, a fire would be lit on top of the tower sending a signal to the next nearest one and this was the quickest way of sending a message of warning.

Most of the time white lime would be added to the fire to brighten the light so that it would be seen at a much greater distance.

The area of land that covers Glosh/Surgeview was commonage up to the late 1920’s early 1930s



  • BLACKSOD BAY – ‘the bay of An Fód Dubh’

  • Blacksod Harbour – Taylor’s Map – 1793

  • Blacksod Bay – Arrowsmith – 1811

  • Blacksod Bay – Bald – 1830

  • Cuan an Fhóid Duibh ‘harbour of the black sod’

  • J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Average breadth about 5 miles. An extensive and well-known bay …

It has probably derived its name from the black and boggy appearance of its shores’. This is an inlet which separates the Mullet peninsular from the mainland. There are three small islands in this bay, the largest being Inishbiggle which lies in the mouth of Blacksod Bay between Achill Island and Ballycroy. Claggan to the north near Belmullet which is now joined to the mainland by a causeway. Blacksod lighthouse was completed in 1866 at a cost of £2,440. The stone for the lighthouse was carved out of the rocks underneath where the lighthouse now stands. It is 63 metres high and has two floors with 43 steps to the top where the light is. Coastguard stations were started in Ireland in 1820. They started in Donegal. The one in Blacksod was commissioned in 1822. Later on with the formation of the Irish Free State, one part of it was used as a Garda barracks, which is still in use as a station today. The middle part of it was used as Blacksod post office for many years.



  • Termon – Browne’s Map 2 – 1584

  • Fiants Eliz. – 1595

  • Tharmonhere – Hib. Del. – 1685

  • Tarmon – Bald – 1830

  • Tearmann ‘a sanctuary’ – J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Area – 1022a 1r 25p of which 344a are cut out bog and boggy pasture, 250a are blowing sands.

  • 1855 – Landlord The property of W.H. Carter Esq., held forever by J. Caldwell.

The lands of a church or monastic settlement within which rights of sanctuary prevailed.

A school house was opened by the Department of Education in 1832. Henry ‘Crossach’ Keane, the strongest man in Ireland lived here.

He walked from Termon to Belfast to sell woollen products made by the weavers. He is buried in the old graveyard in Falmore. The strand on the Blacksod side is shingle and sand, with the exception of a reef of rocks which stand out about a quarter of a mile.



  • AUGHLEAM – An Eachléam – a place of the horse leap or horse jump

  • Agheleyme – Inq. 181 – 1617

  • Aghleame – 1750 – Aughleame – 1881

  • Aughleam – Bald – 1830 –

  • Aughleme – Tithe App. Book – 1834

  • Each léim ‘steed leap’ J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Ech-leim – J. O’Donovan 1838

  • Aghleam – J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Area – 732a 2r 3p of which 462a are sand hills and rabbit warren

  • 1855 – Landlord – Property of Major Bingham

The school and school yard were situated where Teach John Joe’s and Conroy’s house stands today and believe it or not hurling was the field game played by the boys there at the time. There is a heritage centre in Aughleam, Ionad Deirbhile. It documents stories of St. Deirbhile and the Holy Well.



  • CARTRON – ‘the cartron’ – A quarter of land – Cartronkuile – Inq. – 1617

  • Carthern D. Bingham Tithe App. Book – 1834 Cartron, that part of the Denomination of Clogher called – Reg. Deeds Lib. 1829

  • Cartún – J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Cartron – J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Area – 76a 1r 5p of which 4a are bog of marsh

  • Landlords: – 1838 Major Bingham, W.H. Carter/Miss Nash

The Anglo-Norman settlers introduced terms derived from their own language – cartron signifies a quarter and is derived from the French quarteron, it was applied to a parcel of land varying in amount from 30 acres to 160 acres. This town land is the only town land in this area which has a street. Most of the houses in this village are built on no-man’s land which made it easy in times past for families to come and go as they wished. It had its own landlord back in those days known as Miss Nash (Elizabeth Eleanor). The ring fort or souterrain is to be found on the highest part of this village. In the 19th century there was a weaver who lived here. There was a night school going into the village where a local school master used his own house to educate adults. There was also a grocery shop and a shebeen.



  • CLOGHER – An Clochar – ‘the stony place’

  • Clogher Inq. – 1617

  • Clogher, 1 cartron of – Strafford Inq. – 1635

  • Clougher 1 cart. – 2 Qrs. of Newtown – 1661

  • Clougher – Hib. Del Mayo – 1672c

  • Clogher, cartron of land of – Reg. Deeds Lib. 54, 10 – 1727

  • Area – 395a 1r 11p of which 133a are deep bog.

  • 1855 – Landlord: The property of Major Bingham

It is believed that the first convent in the area was built here possibly in the 18th century which also in Irish means Clogher. Over one hundred houses existed in this town land during the famine. The only post office in this area is still in existence today and still in the Rowan family just as it was way back then. This was the home of one of the most prominent landlord of that era, Mr. James Rouane. The Dunbarr family ran two forges in Clogher; they also had one in Termon. They were amongst the finest blacksmiths of that time. In Clogher there were two shops.



  • NEWTOWN – An Baile Nua – ‘the new townland’

  • The castle, town and lands of Newtown – 1617

  • Newtowne, the 2 qrs of – Strafford Inq. – 1635

  • Newtowne 7 cartron – Clougher 1 cart.

  • 2 Qrs. of Newtown – 1661 – Newtowne – Hib. Del Mayo –

  • 1672c – Newtowne – Browne’s Lands 1 – 1708 Newtown Court – Mackenzie – 1776

  • Newtown Cormack – Tithe App. Book – 1834

  • Area – 494a 3r 7p of which 270a are sand hills and rabbit warren.

  • 1855 – Landlord – The property of Major Bingham

The most historical fact about this town is the ruins of the old court house which was the only court house in this area in the 18th century. When the new road was built to Blacksod in the 19th century, it was decided to go right through the ruins of the old court house and only bits of the main walls survive to this day. In the earlier part of the 20th century a stone quarry was opened in Newtown. All the stone from this quarry was to prepare the main road. It was crushed and broken and put out on the road to prepare it for tarring. This was in the 1930’s early 1940’s. The only lake in this area was here in Newtown. This is about 60 metres across it also has a very large area of rabbit warren or more commonly known as sandbanks.



  • DIVILAN – Sligo/Mayo map – 1586c – Develand – Connaught map (NLI) – 1600c

  • Davilan 1 – MacKenzie 42 – 1776

  • DUVILLAN MORE – ‘black island, bit’ – J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Area – 155a 1r 4p situated in the Atlantic Ocean. An island nearly a mile long from north east to south west. Forms part of Killmore parish.

  • 1855 – Landlord – Major Bingham

This town land is actually part of Clogher but was given this name by the local people living here. It is believed that a very wealthy man had a two storey house here about one hundred and fifty years ago and according to local history, owned the whole town land and he was known only as Mickel, some of his ancient building is still here. The famous giant of the 18th and 19th century ‘Henrí Crossach’ Keane was born and lived in this town land before moving and living for short periods in other places in the locality.



  • MULLAGHROE – ‘the red summit’

  • Mullaghroe – Bald – 1830 –

  • Mullaghroe – Tithe App. Book – 1834

  • Mullaghroe – J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Mullach ruadh ‘red summit’ – J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Area 336a 1r 9p of which 25a are bog

  • 1855 – Landlord – W.H. Carter Esq., – let forever to Tollet.

There are two villages of Mullaghroe, North and South. At one time it was just Mullaghroe, this was before land division. There are two very small lakes out near the edge of the shore in this town land, an area which is known as Bastapool, in Irish it was known as Baile an Ghainni which translates ‘village of the sand’. In 1912 water from one of these small lakes was piped along the shore to supply water to the whaling station at Elly Point, this was done by gravity feed a distance of about ¾ of a mile, all this area is known as Mullaghroe North today. The last known forest in the region is believed to have grown here. The shebeen referred to earlier was also in Mullaghroe South.



  • Tiraun, Edmund Barrett of – Division Connaught 2 (Knox) 349 – 1574 –

  • Torran – Browne’s Map 2 – 1584

  • Turran – Sligo/Mayo

  • Map – 1586c – Toran – Fiants Eliz. – 1593. The castle and bawne of Thoran and 1 qr adjoining Redmond and Moyler Murry Barrett of the same, slain in rebellion of Thoran – 1605.

  • Area – 436a 3r 10p of which 140a are sand hills.

  • 1855 – Landlord W.H. Carter ‘held forever by Caldwell Esq’ – ‘Site of Redmond Barrett’s Castle’.

The first meaning of the translation of the name is believed to be from an ancient tree that grew here many centuries ago. The second meaning is, after the daughter of a famous chieftain who lived here once upon a time. He had an only daughter Ann; he left all his land to her and was referred to afterwards as ‘Tir Áine’ meaning Ann’s country. Some old walls of a church appear here nearly buried in the sands, they are said to have belonged to a nunnery, of which we can learn no account’ (Mon. Hib. 509, 1786).



In 1910 the whaling station was taken from Inishkea to Elly Point and was up and running by 1912. It employed many local people. Whale ships more locally known as whalers went as far as Rockall which is over 400 miles north-west of Blacksod Bay where they believed the larger whale was more in abundance. Very little trace of this industry is evident here today.



  • DIVISH – ‘black ridge’ – Duibhis

  • Davish, lands of Glanturk and – Reg. Deeds Lib. 397, 367 – 1787

  • Divish – Bald – 1830

  • Divish – Tithe App. Book – 1834

  • Devish – Major Bingham – 1838

  • Dubh ais – J. O’Donovan – 1838

  • Area – 60a 1r 36p mostly cultivated within 3 ½ chains of the coast

  • 1855 – Landlord – W.H. Carter

Divish is a small townland and is crossed from north east to south west by a little lake. It is within the town land of Elly. As in the case of most place names, this also seems to have more than one meaning. One refers to a stream or drain which runs out of Divish from a black marshy ground.



  • Area – 703a 1r 32p of which 144a are sand hills

  • 1855 – Landlord – Major Bingham

The name Elly – ‘The plain of Oileach is on the east of the Mullet between Ely Bay and Ardelly Point, facing Blacksod Bay. Oileach is a stone house or fortress. It is believed to have got its name from the ancient tribe Oileach. They were chieftains of ancient times long before Normans or Vikings came to this country.

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