Shannagh Beg

Shannagh Beg (Leagan Gaeilge – Seanach Beag): The townland of Shannagh Beg is situated two kilometres south west of the town of Glenamaddy in north-east County Galway. John O’Donovan didn’t translate Shannaghbeg in the Field Name Books in the 1830s but considering that he translated Shannaghmore as the great old field, it is safe to assume that his translation of Shannaghbeg would have been the small old field. Achadh and ach were Irish words used in the past to describe land, or a field. However, townland residents dispute that account and assert that the historic Irish form of the townland name is ‘Sean Áith Beag’ which translates as the ‘Small Old Limekiln”. Áith is an old Irish word for limekiln and it apparently evolved over time into ach which is not phonetically dissimilar, sean means old and beag means small/little. Limestone is close to the surface in Shannaghbeg and would have provided an accessible, bountiful supply of raw material for the creation of lime. Another form of the townland name is Shannaugh Beg.
Distinctive Features:
• The townland was noted for limekilns but their locations are not historically mapped.
• In 1840 there were twenty one houses scattered through the townland with a small cluster located south of the Glenamaddy to Clonbern road in the centre of the townland.
• Brian and Luke Comer, founders and leaders of the very successful international construction, property development and investment company called ‘The Comer Group’ were born and raised in Shannagh Beg.

1656-58 Down Survey: The Down Survey name of the townland is given as Common and the owner as Sir Henry Slingsby.

1823 – 1838 Tithe Applotment Books: Surviving documentation of the Tithe Applotment Books is in poor condition making it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to decipher the names of landholders. In so far as it can be ascertained the Catholic landholders in the townland of Shannagh Beg who paid the tithe (tax) levied to support the Established Church (Church of Ireland) were Pat Divelly and Thomas Grady. Protestant occupiers of agricultural holdings were exempt from this tax.
1838 O’Donovan’s Field Name Books: O’Donovan’s description for Shannagh Beg is not published online.
1856 Griffith’s Valuation: The townland covers an area of 298 acres 2 roods 3 perches and the total rateable valuation of the land and buildings combined amounted to £85 5s 0d.
At the time of Griffith’s Valuation there were twenty two occupiers in the townland of Shannagh Beg – Burke (2), Devilly (2), Fleming, Grady (2), Hussey (3), Kilmartin, Kilroy, Lannon, Lowry, Lyons, McDermott, Rattigan, Reilly, Ward (3), and Mannion. The landlord was Sir George Shee.
Adjoining Townlands: The following townlands share a border with Shannagh Beg – Scotland, Gortnagier West, Kiltullagh, Creggaun and Shannagh More.

Census Records: Population and Household data for the townland of Shannagh Beg:

Census Years 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 2011
Population 96 113 116 58 87 93 96 75 27
Households 21 18 18 10 17 17 15 14 8

Glenamaddy and the Irish Folklore Collections:

The article posted on this website under the ‘Heritage > Folklore’ tab provides an overview of the folklore material submitted by Glenamaddy parishioners to the National Folklore Commission, now known as the Irish Folklore Collections. It also explains the background to the 1937 Schools’ Collection (Bailiúchán na Scol) project which has good representation from a parish perspective

The Irish Folklore Collections housed in the Folklore Department of University College Dublin contain a treasure trove of folklore material, some of which is accessible online. Both the Main Manuscript Collection and the Schools’ Collection contain a considerable number of submissions from collectors and informants who resided in the parish of Glenamaddy. The quick reference directories featured in the ‘Parish > Townlands’ section of this website complement the user-friendly search features of the dú website and are helpful in tracking Schools’ Collection submissions associated with townlands. Submissions are categorised under – School, Teacher, Language, Volume Number, Page Number, Collector, Collector’s Townland, Informant and Informant’s Townland. Where applicable, Schools’ Collection directories showing online townland-related submissions appear at the end of the following townland posts on this website – Ballinapeaka, Ballinastack, Barna, Boyounagh More (Middletown), Bushtwon, Cashel, Classaghroe, Cloonacross, Clooncon East, Clooncon West, Cloonkeen, Cultiafadda, Eskeromullacaun (Esker), Felimspark, Glenamaddy, Gortaganny, Gortnagier, Kiltullagh, Knockauns, Lisheenaheltia, Loughpark, Meelick, Scotland, Shannagh More, Stonetown and Woodfield.

Parish folklore submissions contained in the Schools’ Collection are also accessible online via the following links:-

Árd Aoibhinn National School – Part 1 –

Árd Aoibhinn National School – Part 2 

Glenamaddy Girls’ National School

Glenamaddy Boys’ National School – Part 1

Glenamaddy Boys’ National School – Part 2 

Gort na Léime National School – Part 1   

Gort na Léime National School – Part 2 

Lisheenaheltia Girls’ National School 

Lisheenaheltia Boys’ National School    

Glenamaddy submissions which form part of the Main Manuscript Collection are not posted online but may be examined in the reading room of the Folklore Department in U.C.D., Belfield, Dublin 4. Typed versions of some of the parish contributions contained in the Main Manuscript Collection are published under the ‘Heritage > Folklore’ tab on this website.   

Quick Reference Directory of Glenamaddy folklore submissions in the Main Manuscript Collection:-

Author: Pat Keaveny


Townlands in County Galway

1840 Historic Ordnance Survey Map

Place Name Books of Galway

The Down Survey of Ireland

The Tithe Applotment Books, 1823-1837

Griffith Valuation – Ask About Ireland

Central Statistics Office

National Archives: Census Reports 1901/1911

Essex University: Historic Population Census Reports

Historic Environment Viewfinder