Thursday 1 September 2022

RCB Library's latest acquisition of parish material comes from County Galway

The RCB Library's Archive of the Month for September is an exploration of Parish No.1218, a collection of material from the east county Galway parish of Ahascragh and the Library's most recent acquisition of parish material.

This month's online archive aims to provide an insight into the wealth of information available within parish collections and the potential they have as a source for local history and human-interest stories. Click on the link above to read the full Archive of the Month article.

Ahascragh parish church, Co Galway

The article focuses on the evolution of St Catherine’s Church, Ahascragh, by drawing on vestry minute books, account books, drawings and plans as well as the Church of Ireland Gazette (1856-2010 archives free to view here).

Early 19th century parish records describe how the parish and the wider locality was run and document the local people who were involved with its administration. The big landowning families of the time were often heavily involved with their nearest Church of Ireland parish, and this was no different for the village of Ahascragh and the families of the Barons Clonbrock (Dillon) and Mahons of Castlegar.

These names made frequent appearances in all records relating to Ahascragh from baptismal registers, church ground plans, and the register of vestrymen throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

The collection also contains a register with a record of timber given to tenants in the 19th century, which shows how records from estates could double up as parish records.

An unusual document included in the collection is a copy of a typescript account from the late Ethel L. Dillon, daughter of Luke Dillon, the 4th Baron Clonbrock. In this account, she describes the aftermath of the burning of Ahascragh Church on the night of 9th July 1922 by a group of unknown persons suspected to be Anti-Treaty republicans. The account reveals how this tragedy affected a local Protestant family during the Irish Civil War. The building was subsequently reconstructed and it continues to be open for regular public services.