The name Doonaun (Dúnan) derives from “Dún” meaning an ancient or medieval fort. The name is taken from the highest point in the townland which may either refer to the Cemetery (also called Cilleacháin) or a hill called Laffey’s Hill.
Doonaun lies at the southern end of the present Catholic Parish of Killoscobe (Civil Parish of Moylough). A mearing (pronounced “mearon”) forming the border between Cuddoo West to an area called “Corrach” and to the bogland at Corrandoo marks the old Parish division between Moylough and Athenry parishes and dates back to Norman times. The townland is bordered by the townlands of Ballybaun to the north-east, Corrandoo to the west, Kilbeg to the north and Cuddoo West to the east.
On examination of a map of Doonaun, the most noticeable feature is the series of six boithrins running in a north to south direction of approx 250 yards in length from the village road which runs east-west. These boithrins have all led to clusters of houses for many years. Most still have just one farmhouse nestled at the end of the boreen, some have remains of several other houses in a very small area with shared yards where neighbours obviously lived in very close proximity to one another. This is clearly visible in the 1838 Ordnance map.
The townland consists of fields enclosed by stone walls or ditches or native trees and bushes (hawthorn and ash being common) in a countryside setting of low hills formed over limestone. A few of the hills are sand hills which are remains of a nearby esker formation. From the highest point of the cemetery there is a very picturesque view overlooking the townland and extending south to Tiaquin, east to Colmanstown and west towards Monivea and Abbeyknockmoy. Before the planting of large areas of evergreen trees in the last fifty years, there would have been a clearer view of almost 360 degrees from the highest point. In fact it was possible to see Monivea Castle from “Mannion’s field” in the townland.
Down Survey Name: Downan (1656 – 1658) The Down Survey of Ireland is the first ever detailed land survey on a national scale anywhere in the world. The survey, carried out on Cromwell’s orders, was carried out by placing chains “down” on the ground of every piece of land in Ireland. It was to facilitate a massive transfer of lands owned the Catholic Irish to the Protestant English merchants and soldiers following the Cromwellian conquest which began in 1649 – known as the Cromwellian Plantation.
1670 Owner(s): French, Patrick (Catholic); Evellin, George (Protestant); Ffrench, Patrick (Catholic)