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Ballynaclosha, formerly Raver or Tullydonnell Tichburn, is a small townland of 140 statute acres on the County Louth Border on the main Newtownhamilton/Dundalk road (A29).It is bounded on the North by Tullydonnell Gage, on the east and south by County Louth and on the west by Glassdrumman. Ehe Tithe Applotment Books record the area of the townland as 86 acres 1 rood and 29 perches (Plantation Irish measure).

Name of Townland

Baile na Cluaise, "The townland of the ear". But more likely Baile na Cláise, "The townland of the ditch" (1).

John Donaldson, in his 'Account of the Barony of Upper Fews" (1838), says that "There are three townlands of the name of Tullydonnell which take their name from their former proprietors - to wit, Tullydonnell Nixon, Tullydonnell Gage and Tullydonnell Tichburn or Ballinaclosh." (Note 16 p.103) The reference to Raver is to be found in Father LP Murray's "The History of the Parish of Creggan in the 17th and 18th Centuries" published in The Journal of the County Louth Archeological Society (Vol VIII 1934 No 2 p128)

It is the only townland of that name in Ireland.

Ordnanace Survey Name Books: Creggan Parish (2)

BALLYNACLOSHA (OSNB ii 5) This townland is separated from Creggan in S. by the river on its eastern side. The village called Ballsmill is partly in this td. about 5 miles from Dundalk. There is a very good corn mill here and a handsome dwelling on the opposite side of the road in the td. of Glassdrummond. It is nearly all under tillage.

It contains 140..0..37 of which 2..1..8 is uncultivated and Bog.


Griffiths Valuation records that with the exception of 28 acres belonging to Rev. Norman Johnston, the townland was owned by James Eastwood. It had a National School House, a Free School House, a corn-mill (John Johnston) and a forge (Thomas McNally). Of the 13 land holdings, 10 were of under 10 acres, two were between 10 and 20 acres and one was of 20 or more acres.

Census of Ireland 1901

The Census enumerated 40 people in 13 households; a ratio of 3.1 people per household. The households occupied a total of 37 rooms; a ratio of 2.8 rooms per household and 0.9 persons per room. Two of the households occupied 5 rooms, two has 4 rooms, eight had 2 rooms and one had a single room. Five (38.5%) of the houses were thatched. Anne Howells ran the Post Office in her 5-room private dwelling.

Native Irish Speakers

Of the 13 households enumerated in the Census five contained at least one native Irish speaker. Since theirs was the last generation to have been born into a predominently Irish speaking environment, their names are recorded here. All were born in Co. Armagh -

  • Thomas Treanor, farmer, aged 56
  • Ann Lavelle, farmer, aged 60
  • Patrick Sloan, farmer, aged 75
  • Anne Hollywood, farmer, widow, aged 63
  • James Lavelle, farmer and stonemason, aged 45 and his daughter Mary, aged 6

Population Decline

The following table sets out the number of houses and population enumerated in the townland in each of the 11 Censuses held between 1841 and 1951.

  1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926 1937 1951
Houses 20 23 20 20 18 16 13 11 11 13 10
People 113 118 87 85 79 55 40 48 43 34 27
People per house 5.7 5.1 4.4 4.3 4.4 3.4 3.1 4.4 3.9 2.6 2.7

In the period of 110 years, the number of households halved but the population dropped by 76% - more than threequarters. The largest drop (66%) was in the second half of the nineteenth century reflecting the continuing effects of the Great Famine and emigration.

Family Connections

The townland contained a National School since the early 19th century and my Boyle grandparents, and aunts and uncles, and my mother, were taught there. My sister May attended it briefly in the late 1940's when staying with my grandparents. The school is now closed down.

House and Landholders

All the Valuations since Griffiths identifies those with houses in the townland and those who while living elsewhere leased or owned land there. The Census of Ireland enumerated only households in the townland. The following table uses this approach.

Although the data is not strictly comparable since the information was gathered for different purposes and used varying criteria, the details provide a comparison of the names of house and land holders who were listed in the Townland at the different periods. While we can not discern the direct lines of descent it is clear that many are from the same families.

Census of Creggan Tithe Applotment Books Griffiths Valuation Census of Ireland First NI Revaluation Second Revaluation
1766 1828 1854 1901 1935 1956/7 1965
Households/Land With Houses Households Households Households Households
Nicholis Cullin Patt Caffry (or Gaffry) Edward Hill Richard Flynn John Kelly John Carragher Mary Callaghan
James Hanratty Joseph Garland Ester Hill Ann Hollywood James Lavelle Thomas Finnegan John Carragher
John Kirk Edward Hill Denis Lavill Anne Howells Margaret Lavelle Mary Kelly Rose Finnegan
Bryan Murphy William Hill Felix Lavill Ann Lavelle Patrick McCann Peter J. Kelly Mary Kelly
Patrick Murphy James Johnston Jun Patrick Kiernan James Lavelle James McShane Bernard Lavelle Peter J. Kelly
Edmund McArdle Felix Lavill Jun Robert McCann Patrick McCann John McShane James Lavelle Bernard Lavelle
Garrett McShane Francis McKeone Terence McGarvey Mary McShean Francis Traynor P. McCann James Lavelle
Thomas McShane Thomas McNally John McShean Patrick Traynor Mary McShane Mary McShane
James Treanor Patrick McShean Patrick Sloan Susan Traynor Susan Traynor Thomas Traynor
Patt Treanor James Murphy Owen Treanor Thomas Traynor Thomas Traynor  
Philip Treanor William Tippin Susan Treanor      
Thomas Treanor Francis Trainer Peter Treanor Land Land Land
Thomas Treanor Jun. George Trainer Thomas Treanor John F. Traynor John Johnston Peter Dooley
Widow Treanor James Trainer     John J. Johnston Thomas Philip O'Gorman
John Trainer       Patrick Quinn
Mary Trainer       John F. Traynor
Owen Trainer        
    John Coulter        
    Michael Kelly        

1. Hugh Macauley, "Creggan", Journal of Creggan Local History Society, No.6 1992 p.36
2. G. Jarvis (up to 1835) as compiled by A.J. Hughes in Seanchas Ard Mhacha Vol 15 No 1 1992 pp 97 - 112.
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Last Updated on 6 October 2004
Email: pdevlinz@btinternet.com

© Patrick Devlin 2004