Sonnagh East

Sonnagh East (Leagan Gaeilge – Sonnach Thoir): The townland of Sonnagh East is situated five kilometres east of the town of Glenamaddy in north east County Galway. The dictionary translation of sonnach is stockade. Thoir is the Irish for east. Fr Conway interpreted the townland name in the early 1900s as a wall, castle, or fortress. O’Donovan asserted in the Field Name Books in the 1830s that ‘Sionach’ signified a mound or rampart. Other forms of the townland name are Sionach, Sunnagh West and Shinnagh.
Distinctive Features:
• The Ringfort located in Sonnagh East is registered with the National Monuments Service and features in the National Monuments Service Archaeological Survey Database.
• A cluster of twenty two houses fitting the definition of a traditional clachan called Sunnagh Village straddles the boundary between Sonnagh West and Sonnagh East.
1656-58 Down Survey: The Down Survey name of Sonnagh East is given as Shyanagh and the owners as Keadagh Kelly and Alaxander Beatach who were both Catholics and Silvester Hehir who was a Protestant. The online Down Survey website posting doesn’t state if any of the townland was forfeited under the Cromwellian Act of Settlement.

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 ‘Sunnagh’ who paid the tithe (tax) levied to support the Established Church (Church of Ireland) were James Dowd and Harry Mitchell. Protestant occupiers of agricultural holdings were exempt from this tax.
1838 O’Donovan’s Field Name Books: O’Donovan described Sonnagh East in the Field Name Books as follows – “About 1/2 of this townland is bog situated in the eastern portion and two small portions in the western portion of this townland. There is a church yard at the S. boundary. The remainder of the land is tillage and pasture. A road passes from N.W. to S.E. through the townland.”
1856 Griffith’s Valuation: The townland of Sonnagh East covered an area of 231 acres 2 roods 21 perches and the total rateable valuation of the land and buildings combined amounted to £50 16s 0d. At the time of Griffith’s Valuation there were eight occupiers in the townland of Sonnagh East – Burke (2), Mitchell (4) and Keenahan (2). The landlord was Patrick Reilly.
Adjoining Townlands: The following townlands share a border with Sonnagh East – Ballyhard, Sonnagh West, Lisnageeragh (Ballynakill Parish)and Keeloges West (Ballynakill Parish).

Census Records: Population and Household data for the townland of Sonnagh East:

Census Years 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 2011
Population 61 40 43 54 55 39 26 18  3
Households 9 9 8 11 11 10 6 4  2

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

Historical Notes on the Parish of Glenamaddy. Fr Walter Conway