Kilteevan Celebrates Decade of Centenaries



The Decade of Centenaries Programme has been taking place in Ireland since 2012 and will end in 2023.

For the final phase 2021- 2023, communities were invited to make a contribution to the decade of centenaries to ensure an enduring physical legacy of Ireland’s struggle for Independence.

Inspired by correspondence from Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, Senator Mark Daly and Senator Pippa Hackett and the enthusiasm of local committee member Noel Maguire, Kilteevan decided to step up to the mark and take action to mark the decade of centenaries.

After much deliberation, the decision was taken to plant a small Garden of Remembrance/ Gairdín Cuimhneacháin with a plaque in the grounds of the Community Centre.

On April 15th.  a unique, dignified event with five guests was held in the grounds of the Community Centre to commemorate Irish Independence.

In preparation for the event Kilteevan Tidy Towns planted seven white rose trees in memory of the seven signatories of the Irish Proclamation; Thomas J Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, P. H. Pearse, Éamonn Ceannt, James Connolly and Joseph Plunkett. A circle of pollinator friendly white flowers was planted around the rose trees to represent all who participated in the struggle for independence. 

The colour white was chosen to represent peace, harmony and admiration. White reflects light and brings brightness, hope and inspiration for the future.

The rose trees were purposefully planted under a pink cherry blossom tree. “This magnificent tree”, Eileen Fahey suggested is taking on new meaning today as we now want it to represent what were once, the forgotten women of Irelands struggle for independence”.

Eileen Fahey stated that “thanks to historians and researchers we now know the vital role women played in the struggle for Irish freedom and we want this tree to represent those women.” Ray Clabby, Kilteevan Tidy Towns, was thanked for his guidance, expertise and attention to detail in designing the garden. The group hopes to place a replica of the Irish Proclamation engraved on granite in the garden in the near future.

In order to leave a more lasting legacy, local stonemason Mark Feely was commissioned to craft a commemorative plaque. Mark set the plaque in place after sunset on Easter Saturday so that the sun would rise on it in Kilteevan on Easter Sunday Morning 2021.


At the official unveiling of the plaque Pat Devaney sang the song “Grace”. The song tells the sad story of Grace Gifford who married Joseph Plunkett on 3rd May 1916 in Kilmainham Gaol, hours before he was executed by firing squad for his role in the Easter Rising of 1916.


Noel Maguire who served for 43 years in the Irish Defence Forces at home and on numerous  overseas peace keeping missions, officially unveiled the plaque.



Tom Brady danced his heart out to mark the celebration of Irelands Independence.


Tommy Murray read The Irish Proclamation. Tommy’s father Jim Murray and his uncle Tom Murray were members of The Kilteevan Company; 3rd Battalion of Volunteers.


Laura Croghan a former recipient of the Dermot Early Youth Initiative, now pursuing further education sang Amhrán Na bhFiann



Pupils in Kilteevan National School observed the ceremony from over the school wall.


Closing the ceremony Eileen Fahey explained that correspondence from Seanad Éireann had suggested that groups participating in the Garden of Remembrance Initiative should consider naming their garden after one of the women who had contributed to Irelands struggle for independence.

Kilteevan has decided to call their small garden Gairdín Grace in memory of Grace Gifford Plunkett.


The parish of Kilteevan: Before and after the Great Irish Famine 1841-1851

The parish of Kilteevan: Before and after the Great Irish Famine 1841-1851 by Shane Gilleran

 ‘Co Roscommon was one of the hardest hit counties during the famine, losing 31% of its population’ (Dr Christine Kinealy).

In a county over reliant on agriculture and dominated by land, the vast interior of the county was dominated and venerated by cattle breeding and pastoral, while the exterior of the county around the fringes was overpopulated, congested, and marginalised. This picture and divide, truly epitomised the vast gulf that prevailed and existed in Irish and indeed Roscommon society at the time. ‘A linearization of landscape had begun with the rich central plains of Roscommon dominated by the bullock, and virtually devoid of people, while the bog packed shanties of the south of the county was strewn with clachans’. This was the group most exposed, hovering on the brink of ruination and totally reliant on one food source: the potato.  Noted by Mary Kelly: ‘Co Roscommon while not the most disadvantaged county in terms of average land valuation or housing quality, contained concentrated settlements of very poor people’.

The parish of Kilteevan therefore acts as a microcosm in how the great famine impacted, devastated and unleashed untold misery and brought catastrophic consequences and results. It’s a similar story that played out in other townlands and parishes around mid-Roscommon where from 1845 onwards great hunger besieged and prevailed and death latched on to the most vulnerable almost in a vice like grip. A small rural Roscommon parish in the vicinity of Roscommon town, that ended up losing about 33% of its population. Ultimately altering and bringing about enormous economic and social change for years afterwards.

 Kilteevan is located about 4 miles east of Roscommon town. A rural hidden landscape along the Shannon corridor. It comprises of about 8,911 acres.  In 1837 the parish of Kilteevan was noted by Samuel Lewis as ‘A parish in the barony of Ballintobber, bounded by the River Shannon and Lough Ree in the East and containing a great quantity of bog’. Its principal landlord seats were Kilteevan House and the Mapother’s, as well as Beechwood House and Daniel Henry Farrell. Other land in the parish was owned by prominent landlords like Lord Crofton, (Mote Park), with a property portfolio in the south of the parish incorporating townlands like Clooncraff, Killenboy, Carrowmore, and Clooncundra. Baron Hartland, or Denis Mahon, (Strokestown Park House), the townland of Derrycarbery. Robert Gunning Castlecoote, (Cloonmurly), as well as minor gentry and large farmers like Andrew McCutcheon, Clooneigh, and Captain Stafford, in Newtown. There was also a permanent RIC barracks located at Beechwood.  Samuel Lewis in ‘A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland’ noted ‘A Roman Catholic church, as well as one hundred students educated in two schools. As well as the population of the parish estimated to be about 2600.

From 1838 Kilteevan was affiliated to the Roscommon Town electoral district that was incorporated into the Roscommon Poor Law Union. Established in 1838 this was a vast area which covered quite an extensive area of mid Roscommon stretching from Elphin in the North, to Knockcroghery in the South, from the River Shannon and Ballyleague in the East, to Athleague and the River Suck in the West. Serving a population in excess of over 80,000 people.  Roscommon town acted as the focal point for this Poor Law Union, with the workhouse building built in 1842, A typical George Wilkinson designed structure it was built of local limestone from Scardaun, to cater for 900, it opened to the public in 1843. What is very noticeable in the surrounding hinterland and townlands around Roscommon town in this period, is the sheer volume of numbers and massive increase and rise in the local population. Parishes and townlands were now severely overpopulated with overspill and clustering around parish boundaries i.e. marginalized land, bogs, roads, and rivers.

On a local level the population for the parish of Kilteevan according to the 1841 census was 2,818. This figure represents the highest amount ever recorded for the parish.

 The breakdown consisted of 1426 male and 1392 female. There were 469 houses and 486 families. On average the total population per 100 acres for the parish was 34 people. We do know the vast majority of people lived in clustered or clachan type settlements.

These people are described as the cottier class or landless labourers. Cormac O ’Grada would describe them as the ‘potato-people’. Kilteevan in terms of the county break-down was in the category of 75%-85% of poor quality housing. The vast majority of people in Kilteevan were either living in 4th class housing or third class housing. (45% 4th class), and (45% was 3rd class) A so called ‘poor-man’s paradise’. Places and townlands like Carramore, Derrycarbery, Portnahinch, Cloontymullen, Cloonmore, Portrunny, and Killenboy, alongside rivers like the River Hind, and River Clooneigh, were some of the townlands where the densely huddled cottier and landless class population, could be found sited and clustered in large congested numbers.

The type of housing is very much crucial to understanding the social hierarchy of the period. The 4th class house or structure was typically made of peat or mud, made of organic materials, it had to be heated in the winter months and usually comprised of one room. Often referred to as ‘hovels’ if families went without food, they lost the energy to forage and search for peat and wood. These hovels over time and during the famine became death traps and dens of disease. Many died in these structures and over time houses simply just collapsed in on top of them. 45% of the parish or 219 families in Kilteevan belonged to this class.

3rd class houses generally comprised of houses or dwellings of more than two rooms, the lower end of 3rd class still tended to be constructed of mud and organic material. The higher end of 3rd class the family home was built of stone.  The roof tended to be thatched,45% of the parish or 219 families was equated to this type of dwelling, clustered around a few acres of land, held in conacre growing crops i.e. potatoes like ‘the Connaught Lumper’, which had adopted and grew quite well in the peaty and clay soil of Co, Roscommon.

2nd class houses were strong farmer two storey or large farmhouse type structure. Five to nine rooms with windows could be thatched or slated. Residing in this class of accommodation was 9% of the parish population. A total of 46 families.

1st class houses represent less than 1% of the parish population. In rural Roscommon they are very much associated with the landed gentry of the county. Two families and two houses. Kilteevan House and the Mapother family. Beechwood House and its often absent landlord owner, Daniel Henry Farrell.

From the local Constabulary return of May, 1846, we know that in 1844 and 1845, about 496 acres of land in the parish was planted in potatoes. Out of that total 10% of the land planted was in conacre. Like-wise in May, 1846; 350 acres was planted in potatoes and 10% in conacre. Interestingly and noted by the Beechwood Constabulary was that, no other crops were planted as a back-up to the potato or as an alternative food source despite the damage inflicted by the blight from September 1845 onwards.

Statistically 79% of the Kilteevan population worked in Agriculture. We do know that represented 385 families out of 486, that lived off the land. As well as that 77% of the population, 374 families out of 489 families were totally reliant and dependent on their own manual labour. This is one of the highest figures for this category in the county as well as the province. 18% dependent on agricultural labour and direction from others. This type of work would have been agricultural based and usually at the behest of the local landlord or large farmer.  Land was paramount to surviving in these times in rural Co, Roscommon. It meant the difference between living and dying. 15% were employed in local industry like manufacturing like trades, milling. There would have been forges. There was a corn mill in operation at Belderg on the River Clooneigh. As well as a tuck mill and corn-mill in Clooncellan, on the River Hind.  6% of the population were classified as working in other pursuits e.g. professions.

As regards education Kilteevan throughout history has had an association with hedge-schools or private schools sited throughout the parish. A lot of that credit would go to the landlord family the Mapother’s for investing and bringing education to the parish as the population started to increase from the early 1800s. Noted by Hazel Ryan was the establishment of four private schools in the 1820’s in Ballinaboy, Clooncraff, Clooncellan, and Kilteevan. Since Nov 1841 a state school had been established at Cloontogher. With Mr John E. Mapother providing a rent free site.

Similar to the surrounding parishes around Co, Roscommon, Kilteevan had large numbers of people with little or no education. Statistically 65% of the parish population could not read or write. 16% of the population over the age of five could read and write, broken down that represented 300 males and 93 females. 19% could only read broken down that represented 474 people 233 male and 241 females.

Coming towards the end of the famine from 1851 onwards, Kilteevan like every other district had been decimated and devastated by the fallout and carnage from the Great Famine. The census statistics record fewer people living off the land in the parish. The total population in the year 1851 was now recorded as 1884, the male to female ratio was 958 males, 926 females. There were now 325 families now living in Kilteevan. On average that represented 22 people per 100 acres of land.

In terms of housing distribution and land ownership it is very interesting to note the huge reduction in 4th class housing. 9% of the parish population were living in 4th class housing. This equated to 28 families living in 28 houses. This figure was down 35% from 1841. 3rd class represented the highest proportion of the parish population as it accounted for 71%, or 230 families living in third class housing. 2nd class housing represented 20% of the population. 65 families living in two-storey stone based housing. This figure marks an 11% increase from 1841. It goes without saying that some families and people did benefit out of the famine. Some families were able to enlarge and increase their land-holdings. This may have been as a result of other land been freed up as result of land improvements, land-reclamation as well as the obvious, of families been evicted, and ejected, houses levelled as well as mass emigration and death. 1% of the population remained in 1st class housing. Mapother’s in Kilteevan House and Daniel H. Ferrall in Beechwood. Daniel Henry Ferrall’s estate and a considerable debt would pass to his nephew Daniel Irwin in this period.

In 1851 68% of the population was still reliant on Agriculture as its main source of income and to derive employment from. This figure was reduced by 11% since 1841. With 222 families out of 325 very much reliant on farming and agriculture. While over 50% were chiefly depended on their own manual labour.38% of the population were still involved in land labour. Manufacturing accounted for 11% with two corn mills still in operation. 20% were listed as involved in other trades and ‘other pursuits’.

Education and the lack of it, or no education still remained a massive problem in Kilteevan. It is a similar problem in the surrounding parishes and townlands. The census returns tell us that over 58% or 999 people could not read or write. Further breaking down of these figures indicates that 25% or 422 people, could read and write, (280 males, 142female). 17% or 291 people could only read, (141 males, 150 female). Never the less numbers on role in Kilteevan school were starting to increase and an energetic teaching couple James and Anne Hickey, were seeing numbers increase in this post famine period.

Consequences and results: In terms of demography Kilteevan’s population was severely reduced from 2818 to 1884. That represents a loss of 934 people. Or statistically 33% of its inhabitants was lost to this ‘potato pandemic’. These are noted as the fatalities of the famine and they either died or emigrated. A number of people from the area would have died in the Roscommon Workhouse.

 Karl Marx once remarked that: ‘the famine killed only pour devils’. We now know that the 4th class sector of rural Irish society was the hardest hit. Locally in Kilteevan we see a massive drop in this sector of society from 45% in 1841 to 9% in 1851. 3rd class of housing was the most prevalent for over 71% of the local population. We also see signs of improvement for some families with an increase to 20% for those living in second class more permanent based buildings and property. As noted some people did benefit from the famine period. As regards famine relief and its implementation some landlords did give charity and benevolence.

Local lore and memory would present the Mapother family in a favourable light. As the main landowner and only residing landlord in the parish, John Edward Mapother in the ‘bad times of 1846-1847’ was very much noted as kind-hearted, respected, and protector of the poor’. He was a landlord who showed a lot of empathy and charity to the parishioners of Kilteevan who were in need. A food relief station and soup kitchen was established at Beechwood. Beechwood Famine Relief-Station was attracting and feeding thousands from as far-away as Strokestown and Lanesboro, during that awful year of 1847. ‘He distributed regularly a half pound of oatmeal to each person in need from the famine relief depot at Beechwood as well as anyone in need of it’. He was also to the fore in overseeing, initiating and implementing local relief schemes. For Kilteevan and surrounding areas this consisted of the construction and building of roads, as well as improving drainage around roads and rivers. He was also on the board of Guardians attached to Roscommon Workhouse. Like-wise Lord Edward Crofton in Mote Park was involved in something similar as regards the distribution and implementation of food relief for the tenants in the South of the parish. There was also a famine pot or boiler also in use out of Mote Park. It goes without saying that if it wasn’t for these acts of charity, relief schemes, food provisions many more would have succumbed to destitution and starvation.

Looking back the famine was undoubtedly a watershed moment in the history of Kilteevan parish. Lessons had been learnt and life simply moved on as regard land ownership, land- division, crop cultivation and agricultural mechanisation. Poverty and deprivation would continue for some. New people, trades, and opportunities came to Roscommon Town and its surroundings. Local landlords invested in the construction and building of new roads, rail-ways, river drainage and overall land improvement. More young people were getting a chance to be educated. There was also an escape hatch and that was emigration. For those who survived, Kilteevan was their ‘garden of Eden’, land became more important than ever, it became part of the parish psyche or fixation. There was a determination to hold on and fight. That would be the case through the, ‘land-wars’, and land-acts which fuelled this agrarian agitation and no doubt entrenched the local population in their desire for land-ownership and nationalism in the years to come.


Atlas of the Great Irish Famine. John Crowley, William Smyth, Mike Murphy.

The Great Irish Famine, Stephen J. Campbell.

The Great Irish Famine. Cathal Poirteir.

Kilteevan, A Look at a School and its Parish. Hazel Ryan.

Roscommon History and Society, The Great Famine in Co, Roscommon. Mary Kelly.

National Archives, Parochial Return, Kilteevan, Co. Roscommon RLFC, 4/25

 Artefacts, Relics and Famine documents

Beechwood Famine pot. This famine pot or boiler was used in the distribution of Indian meal, oat-meal and Soup at Beechwood Cross. Beechwood was used as a relief food depot during the height of the famine.

45% of the houses in Kilteevan were listed as 4thclass dwellings      (

Parochial Return for the parish of Kilteevan, to ascertain how much of the land was under potato cultivation. (May,1846).

National Archives Ireland, Parochial Return Kilteevan, Co, Roscommon. RLFC 4/25

Posted 24 February 2021




World Wetlands Day 2021

February 2nd each year celebrates World Wetlands Day. The day is dedicated to raising global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet.

The 2021 campaign highlights the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on our planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence which is vital to life, our wellbeing and the health of our planet.

Kilteevan Tidy Towns is attending on- line events this year but we really look forward to hosting an event on The Cloonlarge Loop on 2 /2 /22. Roll on the good times!


Kilteevan National School Enrolment 2021


Kilteevan National School is now accepting Enrolment Applications for September 2021. We welcome girls and boys from Junior Infants to Sixth Class.

A rural primary school, which is only a short drive from Roscommon Town, Kilteevan NS offers low pupil-teacher ratio, ample indoor and outdoor space for social distancing, a warm and welcoming atmosphere, a love for the natural environment, play-based learning through Aistear, Art, sport, music, school concerts, school tours, Sports Days and cycles, swimming lessons, computer lessons, project work, quizzes, Nature Walks, gardening and much more!

Enrolment Application forms can be downloaded from or posted to you by our school secretary Lena - simply email with your name and postal address. If you would like to find out more about our school, visit our school website or email us with any questions you may have. Closing date for Enrolment Applications is Friday 26th February 2021. We look forward to hearing from you. 

The staff of Kilteevan National School wish all pupils, their families and local residents well during this period of Covid-19 restrictions. We look forward to being back at school in the near future!




Level 5 January 2021

With high levels of COVID 19 being reported across Roscommon and the country,

Please StayHome unless it’s absolutely essential.

Wash your hands  

Wear a mask

 Hold Firm, Stay  Safe , Protect Each Othe

And dont hesitate to ask for help . Support is at hand.



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Kilteevan, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon



This project received grant aid from Roscommon LEADER Partnership Rural Development Programme which is financed by the Irish Government under the Rural Development Programme Ireland 2007-2013 and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in Rural Areas.sponsors