Rathkeelan is a townland of 338 statute acres 1 rood and 18 perches to the immediate north and west of Crossmaglen, extending from several hundred yards north of the Culloville Road and straddling the Castleblaney and Carron Roads. It is bounded on the north by Creenkill, on the east by Carran and Urcher, on the south by Crossmaglen, and on the west by Creevekeeran and Loughross. The townland includes just short of 12 statute acres of the town of Crossmaglen. In the Tithe Applotment Books 1828 the area of the townland is given as 192 acres 1 rood and 13 perches (Plantation Irish measure).
Name of townland
Rath Caolain, "Keelan's fort" (1).
There are two townlands called 'Rathkeelan' in Ireland. The other one is in County Fermanagh.
Ordnanace Survey Name Books: Creggan Parish (2)
RATHKEELAN (OSNB ii11 44): It lies on the west of the town of Crossmaglen, part of which may be said to be In this townland. The road to Castleblaney runs straight thro' It E. and W. There are a good many scattered dwellings In this td., also an old fort. Soil light but well cultivated.
Griffiths Valuation (1864) records that the land was owned by John Clooney and Peter Murphy.
Census of Ireland 1901
The Census enumerated 99 persons in 19 households; a ratio of 5.2 people per household. The households occupied a total of 43 rooms, a ratio of 2.3 rooms per household and 2.3 people per room. Two people each occupied a single room dwelling, eleven had two rooms, five has 3 rooms and one had four rooms. Ten of the dwellings were thatched.
Native Irish Speakers
Of the 19 households enumerated in the Census, seven contained at least one native Irish speaker - 8 in all. Since theirs was the last generation to have been born into a predominently Irish speaking environment, their names, occupations and ages are recorded here. All were born in Co. Armagh with the exception of Francis Long and Mary Borden, both born in Co. Louth.
* Of the group, six could both read and write and two could neither read nor write.
Population Decline and Recovery
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.
In the 70 years between 1841 and 1911 the number of households reduced by 61% and the population by 69% - reflecting the continuing effects of the Great Famine, emigration and lack of rural employment opportunities. Thereafter the population increased. However this increase can be accounted for in that part of Rathkeelan on which the town of Crossmaglen stands.
Names of House and land Holders
All the Valuations since Griffiths identified 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.
I have excluded the names of those listed in the 1864 and subsequent Valuations within the town of Crossmaglen. These appear as part of the town itself.
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|
|James Carroll||Thomas Caffrey||Catherine Hanratty||Mary Bordan||John Daly||Reps. J. Daly||Cecelia Curran|
|James Hanratty||Edward Coleman||James Hanratty jun.||Thomas Conlon||James Flynn||James Flynn||James Flynn|
|John Laverty||Patt Conlon||James Hanratty sen.||Richard English||James Hamilton (Felix)||James Hanratty (John)||Patrick Hanratty|
|Widow Lennon||George Goodfellow||Owen Hanratty||Ann Hanratty||James Hanratty (John) Sen.||James Hanratty (John) Sen.||James Hanratty (John) Sen.|
|James Marks||Laughlin Grant||Owen Hanratty jun.||Felix Hanratty||Patrick Hanratty (Hill)||Janes Hanratty (Felix)||John Hanratty (Roadhouse)|
|Thomas Marks||Johnston Hamilton||Patrick Hanratty||James Hanratty||Patrick Hanratty (James)||John Hanratty (Roadhouse)||Michael Hanratty|
|William Marks||Bryan Hanratty||Peter Hanratty||John Hanratty||Patrick Hanratty (John)||Patrick J. Hanratty (James)||Bridget Hearty|
|James McMahon||Felix Hanratty||Patrick Lavelle||Patrick Hanratty||Patrick Hearty||Bridget Hearty||John Hughes|
|John Hanratty||Bridget Lennon||John Hughes||Bernard Hughes||John Hughes||Margaret A. Lennon|
|John Hanratty||John Lennon||Sarah Hughes||Patrick Lavelle||Margaret A. Lennon||Peter McCabe|
|John Hanratty||Peter Lennon||Patrick Lavall||Catherine Lennon||Peter McCabe||Mary McCreesh|
|Michael Hymna (?)||Catherine McCabe||Kate Lennon||Peter McCabe||Mary McCreesh||James Murray|
|Bryan Lannen||Patrick McCabe||Francis Long||Mary McCreesh||James Murray||James Robb|
|Frank Lannen||James McConville||Patrick McCabe||James Murray||James Robb||Bridget Short|
|John Lannen||Rose McGuirk||John McCave||James Robb||Bridget Short||Dorothy Short|
|Peter Lannen||Michael Traynor||James Murray||James Robb||Daniel Traynor||Daniel Traynor|
|Widow Lannen||Thomas Traynor||Patrick Rush||Patrick Rush||James Traynor||James Traynor|
|Thomas Lavill||Michael Traynor||Thomas Short|
|Patt Lennen||Land||Thomas Traynor||Daniel Traynor||Land||Land|
|Patt Mackin||Felix Hanratty||James Traynor||John Hanratty||John Hanratty|
|Patt Mackin (Pensioner)||Francis Hanratty||Thomas Traynor||P. Hanratty||Joseph Kernan|
|John McCabe||Cornelius Hughes||Patrick Hanratty (James)||Patrick Hanratty (James)|
|James McCann||Rev. Michael Lennan||Land||Patrick Kernan||Patrick Kernan|
|John McCormick||Thomas Morris||Felix C. Coyne||Thomas Luckie||Patrick Martin|
|Patt McEvoy||Peter Murphy||Thomas Donnelly||Patrick Martin||Alice McArdle|
|John McGurk||Terence Quinn||James Kernaghan||Bridget McAneaney||Patrick McCardle|
|Widow McCurk||William Stitt||Bridget Luckie||Patrick McCardle||Patrick McConville|
|Thomas McNamee||Patrick Martin||Patrick McConville||Patrick Murphy|
|Patt McShane||Michael McArdle||Patrick Murphy||Thomas J. Robb|
|Owen Meighan||Francis McConville||Patrick Savelle||Patrick Savelle|
|Patt Murphy||Anthony Morgan||Thomas Short||Thomas Short|
|Thomass Murphy||Patrick Murphy||Michael Traynor||Michael Traynor|
|Patt Nugent||Richard Palmer|
|Mrs N. Stevens|
1. Hugh Macauley, "Creggan", Journal of Creggan Local History Society, No.6 1992 p.38
2. G. Jarvis (up to 1835) as compiled by A.J. Hughes in Seanchas Ard Mhacha Vol 15 No 1 1992 pp 97 - 112.
Last Updated on 10 October 2004
© Patrick Devlin 2004