Rahoon Parish, described; notable objects, and places therein remarked.
Gnomore and Gnobeg, territosies coextensive with Moycullen barony; Extent of each, according to Roderic O'Flaherty.

Galway, Saturday, October 6th 1838.


Roderic O'Flaherty in his account of West, or Iar Connaught, preserved in MSS. in the College Library, Dublin, states that -

The parish of Rahun(a) lies for the most part within the liberties of the town of Galway, which liberties extend four miles by the river's side and two miles by the sea side from the town. The Parish Church of Rahun(b) celebrated for Patron St. James the Great, on the 25th of July. In the same Parish, is a Chappell of St. James(c) at New-castle by Galway river near the town, which was wont to be visited on St. James's Eve and day yearly by the people of Galway for devotion.

After making some remarks on the tract of land on the South side of the barony (Moycullen by) &c.


he continues by saying -

In this tract near Galway westward is the townland of Barna,(d) very good arable land, where partly the plough, partly digging with the spade, is used. It affords limestone and clay. Here is Blake's hill(e) over the sea, whither the young men of Galway were wont to come on horseback the third day of their May game and there dine between the hill and the Castle of Barna. Sir Morogh Flaherty of Aughnanure, defeated an army out of Clanrickard the 22nd of June Anno Dni 1564, on the strand of Traybane:(f) *** Westwards from thence and from Galway 4 miles, the River of Forbagh(g) runs to the sea &c

[Continued on page 343 after notes.]

Galway, Saturday, October 6th 1838.

[Notes by Thomas O'Conor]

(a) Rahoon parish in the County of the town of Galway, is bounded on the North by the parishes of Moycullen, and Oranmore in the Liberties; on the East by those of Oranmore and St. Nicholas; on the South by Galway Bay; and on the West by the parishes of Moycullen and Rahoon in the Barony of Moycullen.

Rahoon parish in the Barony of Moycullen, is bounded on the N., N.E. and W. by the parish of Moycullen; on the E. by Rahoon in the Liberties of Galway and on the South by Galway Bay.


The name of Rahoon is in Irish Rathún, which signifies the Rath of Un, a man's name, of what tribe?

I could not however learn that there is a rath, or fort now existing at or near the old burying ground.

(b) [Referred to on MS P. 336] The old Church of Rahoon, was entirely demolished; the church yard wherein it stood, is in Rahoon townland, and close to Rahoon House. The holy well Called Saint James's well, is a short distance to the East of this House.

(c) [Referred to on MS P. 336] The chapel of Saint James remains as yet entire, in its walls and roof. It stands within the concerns, at the distillery of Burton Persse of 'Craghwell' between Loughrea and Galway.


This distillery is at New-castle and within 3/4 of a mile of Galway town. The chapel has been converted into a stall for feeding cows in it. Its extent inside is about 30 feet by 15ft.; there is a pointed window of cut stone on one of its gables; and a recess in the side wall which presents this form.

Recess in side wall of St. James's Chapel, Rahoon
Recess in side wall of St. James's Chapel, Rahoon (O'Conor)

The roof is a slated one, which threatens to fall into ruin in a short time. Saint James's well was destroyed by a mill race made about 40 years ago by Messrs. Henry and Robert Persse, the proprietors of the just mentioned establishment, before Burton Persse, the present proprietor. The well was 50 or 60 yards to South of the Chapel.

(d) [Referred to on MS P. 337] Barna townland, Bearna, is about 3 miles to the West of Galway.

(e) [Referred to on MS P. 337] Blake's hill near Barna Demesne is called in Irish Cnoc A Bhlácaigh; and the site of Barna Castle, Sean Chaislean Bheárna, is seen on the sea shore S.E. of Barna House, and close to an Orchard.


(f) [Referred to on MS P. 337] Traybane, in Irish, Traigh Bhán, goes now by the translated name of White Strand, which lies South of Barna Demesne.

(g) [Referred to on MS P. 338] The river of Forbagh flows under Forbagh bridge on the road from Galway to Spiddal, distant 6 miles, it is said, from the former town, and 2 or 2½ miles from the latter village. This river is in Irish called Forbach, and rising in the neighbouring mountains falls at the now-mentioned bridge into the sea.


[Continued from page 337 before notes.]

The just quoted writer has in the account referred to, that

The barony of Moycullen commonly known in Irish by the name of Gnomore and on the North and Gnobeg on the South is separated on the North from Joyce Country by a ridge of mountains and Lough Orbsen; on the East, it lies by Lough Orbsen and the river of Galway; on the South by the bay of Galway, and hath Ballinahincy barony on the West.

Having noticed (that) Killcumin, and Killanhin, now Killcummin and Killannin parishes in the north of Moycullen By., were in the territory of Gnomore, at the same time remarking that Killanhin parish church is in Gnobeg, he says that

Gnobeg contains the parishes of Moycullen and Rahun. The 3 first parishes {viz. Killcummin, Killanin and Moycullen} lie in length from Lough


Orbsen to the bay of Galway; and Rahun from the river of Galway to the same bay.

We have now an accurate definition of the territories of Gnomore and Gnobeg, having lying between them Lough Lonon (Lonan), at the north East brink of which, is the well of St. Anhin v. {a quâ Killanhin}, whose memory is celebrated on the 18nth of January, according to O'Flaherty who likewise remarks that on an island in this lake is the Castle of O'Hery.


At the year A.D. 1256 in the Annals of the Four Masters, it is recorded that

Mac William Burke set out upon a predatory excursion against Roderick O'Flaherty, plundered Gnomore and Gnobeg, and took possession of all Lough Oirbsion.

Gnomore and Gnobeg as names of districts are still well known to the inhabitants of this Country. Tuberenna, Tobar Eínne {correctè Tobar Eunda}, lies in Barna townland on the East side of the road opposite Barna old Chapel. This well is still frequented and, took its designative from S. Endeus, patron of Aran.

There is a well called Tobar Odhrain, fons S. Odrani, said to be a holy well and to have given name to Oran hill, a townland in this parish. It lies, I was informed, near the road to Moycullen from Galway, and near Aillaphraghan {Áill a Phreáchain} townland.

St. Anne's well, it is said in the Name book, lies close to Merrion cottage, ¼ mile W of Galway. About this I got no information.

Your obedient
T. O-Conor