Origin of Townland name.
Corran Dubh, Currendoo or Currandoo meaning black hook or black field. There are varying spellings of the townland name throughout the written history of this area. Corrandoo, covering an area of 160 acres, 3 roods and 33 perches, is bordered by the townlands of Kilbeg to the north, Knockcorrandoo to the east, Doonaun and Cuddoo West to the west and Aghafadda and Lenamore to the south. It lies between Hardiman’s boithrin in Doonaun and the main road from Killaclogher to Tiaquin. Corrandoo is the most southerly townland in the civil parish of Moylough.
Now known simply as “Crowe’s fields”, this townland has no house or residents at the present time. However, on examination of the OS maps of 1838 – 1840, it appears that one large house on a hill dominated this townland in past times and was still partially standing up to the 1960s. This fine house had a very colourful history and number of various occupiers since the 1600s. Two smaller houses also appear on the 1838 map in the south-west corner of the Corrandoo lands near a local bog to the South.
Large beech trees still stand inside the wall of Corrandoo lands while across the road, the demesne wall of the Ffrench family estate still stands as a reminder that this really was almost an extension of the Ffrench estate with two gate entrances still visible almost opposite the Knockcorrandoo entrance to Monivea Castle. Many of the old beech trees on this road fell during storms in the 1960s but the ditches along this road still retain the native trees of holly, spindle, hawthorn and other species. Inside, there is a low area liable to flooding and Brent geese have been spotted here at various times in Winter.
History of occupiers from 1609.
From the information available of the six, or more, generations of the Ffrench family at Monivea Castle, land at Corrandoo belonged to Patrick Begg Ffrench-Fitzrobert as far back as the early 1600s. He was a Galway merchant who had purchased lands in the Barony of Tiaquin including Monivea Castle for £217 in 1609. He married Mary Kirwan (of the fourteen tribes of Galway) and they had nine children – five sons and four daughters. Patrick Begg-Ffrench himself died in 1630.
A son, Robert Ffrench, succeeded Patrick Begg-Ffrench in 1630 and he married Lady Evelin Browne. They had a son and two daughters and he also inherited the lands of “Derryglassam” and Kilbeg. Lady Evelin is buried in the Abbey of Knockmoy cemetery, Abbeyknockmoy.
Patrick Ffrench was the next heir and it appears there was a falling out with his father Robert who died in 1649 regarding the succession of Monivea – so he was allocated Corrandoo lands instead. He was succeeded by his son, Robert Ffrench (1652 – 1690) of “Corendoe” and “Monyvea” who married an Elizabeth Taylor in 1672 at Taylor Castle in Ardrahan.
Patrick Ffrench (1681-1744), the only son of Robert and Elizabeth (they also had several daughters), became a lawyer and was M.P. for Galway. He married Jane, daughter of the Bishop Digby of Elphin in 1713 and they had six children. Their daughter Jane Ffrench married Rev. Jeremy Marsh who was Rector of Athenry and they lived at Corrandoo House. M. Dowdall was the resident during the 1830s and Thomas Kenny was residing at the time of Griffith’s Valuation in the mid-1800s when it was valued at £10. Records indicate that Richard MacHale of Corrandoo was employed as a foreman for Robert Ffrench (1716-1779) when he was developing his flax business. The MacHale family later leased Corrandoo House and a number of other farms for three generations and purchased a number of other farms in the region, including Kilbeg, Anabeg, Carrowferrikeen and Derrydonnell.
The MacHales married into the Burke, O’Brien and Eyre families during the early 19th century and they no longer appear in the local Monivea area records after 1869. Two descendants emigrated to Australia in 1850, where they became pioneer farmers.
The 1901 Census describes Corrandoo House as having a slate roof, more than 10 rooms, 11 windows at the front of the house, 7 outhouses, 1 stable, 1 coach house, 2 cow houses, 1 calf house, 1 piggery, 1 foul house.
The Crowe family – the last residents of Corrandoo
Molly Clancy, late of Knockcorrandoo (born 24th April, 1917 and died 4th July, 2018 aged 101 years) recalled that Mrs. Crowe was originally from Turloughmore (Coyne or Kyne) and she was educated at home by a Governess. Thomas Crowe was of the Protestant faith while his wife Mary was Catholic. They operated an efficient farm and kept orchards and had an apiary. Thomas was a keen bee keeper and won many prizes for his honey. The Bellew Medal for honey, which was won by him at the beginning of the 20th century, was presented to the Irish Beekeepers Association by his grandson Thomas Crowe as recent as the 1990s.
The house had a dining room, drawing room and a very large kitchen with a high wide fireplace where Mrs. Crowe cooked meals and baked cakes of all kinds. The family loved the farm, garden and the countryside around them and took pride in everything they did. There was a terrace outside the house where fruit trees were grown and Mrs. Crowe took many of her homemade cakes and jams in her pony and trap to the annual Agricultural Show in Athenry. Twenty-one people could be accommodated at the table in the large dining room at Crowe’s house. Many guests would attend parties around Christmas. The dining room was also used for dancing and Mrs. Crowe would be dressed in her best frock for the occasion.
Thomas Crowe thought a lot of the music was “noise” and he preferred to sit in the kitchen at the huge hearth where he rested his legs on the fireplace and read his books! A wise man!
The Crowe family relocated to Stamullen, Co. Meath where their descendants still live. In the 1940s their land was divided among local farmers. After such a colourful history, the land at Corrandoo today is mainly agricultural grassland and only a wall of a barn stands.