Cancelled Book-Skehanagh 1855-1970

Griffiths Map - Skehanagh
AskaboutIreland -Griffiths


Located on the boundary of the parishes of Clareabbey and Doora with the Limerick to Ennis rail line and Ennis Western relief road (M85) running through, Skehanagh has an area of 576.6 acres or 233 hectares. It is bordered by the Doora townlands of Bunnow and Kilbreckan to the north and Clareabbey parish townlands of Clareabbey and Clare Commons to the west, Killow to the east and Clarehill and Knockanimana to the south.[1] Skehanagh was the site of the Clarecastle Railway Station.

While the townland’s name was recorded as Skehanagh in the 1911 census of Ireland it was spelled Skehannagh in the 1901 Census of Ireland. The 1901 Census recorded fifty-three people in ten households while the 1911 Census counted forty-five people in ten households.[2][3]The spelling Skehana has been observed in some civil registrations.[4]

In 1855 Lord Inchiquin (Lucius O’Brien, 13th Baron Inchiquin (1800 – 1872) was the immediate lessor of most of the land and was also the largest single occupier of land holding over 216 acres in lot one in fee. The exception being the five acres acquired by the Ennis and Limerick Railway Company. Lord Inchiquin continued to be recorded as the immediate lessor until 1970 on much of the land in Skehanagh.

John Petty (c1828-1880) occupier at 1ot 14a in 1855. It is highly likely that John Petty was an engineer involved in developing the railway. Civil records show that Petty, his wife Teresa Kerin and their family moved to the Crusheen area and Bindon St in Ennis.

A second case study, that of Joseph Downes (c1827-1908) of lots 11b and 12 shows that Joseph was recorded as the occupier of these lots 1869-1912. Joseph Downes is listed in the 1901 census as head of the household, farmer, widower, living with his daughter Sarah, her husband and children Joseph’s civil death records him as a pensioner (army pensioner).[5] Historic military records show that Joseph had left the army in 1866 and was a Crimea War veteran seeing action at Alma and Inkerman.[6] His army records indicates that he was a native of Broadford and civil records show he married Margaret O’Donoghue (c1848-1882) of Tulla in 1868. It’s likely that Joseph was stationed in the military barracks in Clarecastle before he left the army. The couple appears to have moved to Skehanagh after their marriage as recorded in the cancelled books. Their five daughters Mary Teresa (1869), Sarah Anne (1870) Margaret (1872) and twins Catherine and Ellen (1876) were baptised in Clarecastle[7]. It appears that Sarah Anne and her family migrated to Australia after her father’s death. Her older sister Mary Theresa also migrated to Australia.

Inheritance patterns observed in Skehanagh are similar to those noted in other rural townlands of the parish. For example, the Griffey family at lot 8 and Lyons family at lot are present through all the cancelled books 1855-1970. The Kerin family at lots 4 & 5 give their name to a local landmark Kerin’s Cross.

The 1896-1910 Cancelled book shows significant changes to lot numbering and incorporation of two of the islands in the Fergus into Skehanagh; the island used by the military barracks (now Thomand Villas) and Lyons’ island opposite the Quay. The changes to islands are listed separately to allow for continuity of occupiers and to demonstrate changes 1855-1970.

[1] ( (accessed 11 Feb 2023).

[2] (accessed 11 Feb 2023).

[3] (accessed 11 Feb 2023).

[4] ( (accessed 13 Feb 2023).

[5] civil death record for Joseph Downes.

[6] (accessed 27 Feb 2023) UK, Royal Hospital Chelsea Pensioner Admissions and Discharges, 1715-1925 and UK, Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1949.

[7] civil records for the Downes family.


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