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The Breifne Historical
Society

Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne,
the Breifne Historical Society, deals with the local history of Counties Cavan and North Leitrim.

Visit the web site of
Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne

Life in the 1800's


The First Report of Commissioners Poor Laws (Ireland) 1836

gives an insight into the living conditions of the people of the area.


As in other parts of Ireland, poverty prevailed. While there were some stone-wall houses most people lived in poor mud-wall buildings. Their diet would have consisted of potatoes and buttermilk. They had very small plots of land on which they had to pay annual rent of between ten shillings and one pound per annum.


About 400 men in the parish were described as “labourers”. They would have earned about ten pennies for the day’s work. Large numbers of men would migrate throughout Ireland and England looking for work during the harvest season. Emigration to America did not really become a major factor until the Famine struck.

The pre-Famine population of the parish was between 8,000 and 9,000, with 1,000 children attending schools.


Limited education was available through the “hedge-schools”. The Commissioners report of 1826/27 lists 8 hedge schools in the parish. The report states the location of the school, the name and religion of the teacher, the number of pupils in the school and it comments on the condition of the school building. Most schools were attended by a mixture of Protestant and Catholic pupils.






























Another Commission in 1835 reported that there were then 13 schools in the parish, with a total of 871 pupils attending. The largest of these was the school of Cormack McPartlon with 86 pupils on the roll.


A century later, in 1946, the population of the parish had dropped to 2,071 and in 1954 there were only 261 pupils enrolled in the local schools. Today the number of pupils attending the three local primary schools is about 115.


Townland

Teacher

Religion

Pupils

Building

Derrinweir

Thomas Maguire

Protestant

32

Stone and Lime

Coolegrane

Peter Cassidy

Catholic

99

A miserable building

Killydiskert

Brian Kealeher


70

A building of clay and rushes

Drumkeerin

Mary Ovens

Protestant

48

Lime and stone cabin

Muddurah

Michael Christy

Catholic

61

A wretched cabin

Carracormick

Patrick Corkran

Catholic

68

A cabin with accomodations

Cloonamorgan

Bartley McGlesk in

Catholic

34

A rented cabin

Doughlargy

Cormack McPartlan

Catholic

67

An old cow house