The parish of Leck in the 1830s


In the 1830s, the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland was carried out by British military officers, who at the same time compiled detailed Ordnance Survey Memoirs to accompany their maps. These memoirs, mostly not published until the 1990s, give a glimpse of the state of each parish in the northern half of Ireland before the 1840s famine. Volume 39, including the Co. Donegal parish of Leck, gives some indication of the conditions of life for the Dougherty and Kearney/Carney families:

Towns: The old town of Letterkenny [by 2016 known as Oldtown] is merely a village situated on the right bank of the River Swilly, opposite the new town which is usually distinguished by the name Letterkenny. There are numerous villages throughout the parish which the inhabitants call towns, though they do not in general contain more than from 6 to 12 houses. These villages generally bear the name of the townland in which they are situated and hence perhaps they are designated towns.
Catholic Chapel: There is a Roman Catholic chapel in the townland of Coachmill, built in the year 1817 at an expense of about £150 to contain about 300 persons. It is not used at present. The Roman Catholic inhabitants of the parish usually attend the chapel at Letterkenny.
Social Economy
Habits of the people: Cottages. The general style of cottages, which are buildings of stone and thatch (some few are slated), 1-storey high, consisting of 2 rooms with each 1 small glass window, is dirty and comfortless.
Food and Fuel: The food among the lower classes is generally potatoes, buttermilk and salt herrings with oatmeal occasionally. The fuel is turf.
Longevity and marriage: The number in each family is on the average 7 and many of the cottagers attain to the age of 70: in the adjoining parish of Conwal is an instance of a woman who can read without spectacles at the age of 109. The marriages are early: the men at 23, the women at 18.
Census in 1835: Statistical table of the parish of Leck, as taken from census and enquiry in 1835. […]
Ardaganny, 13 inhabited houses, 18 families, 7 outhouses, 20 total buildings; landlord Colonel Pratt. […]
Fycorranagh, 5 inhabited houses, 7 families, 2 in ruins, 3 outhouses, 10 total buildings; landlord Colonel Pratt.

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