This is a part two of a three part post on what I refer to as ‘Fair Day Triangles’, an attempt at determining the size of the foot print that our ancestors lived their lives in. Part-I & Part III can be found at these links.As stated in my previous post, a person could travel up to 12 miles, in one direction, conduct their business, and return home, in one day.
Reasons for travel could be as follows;
- Availability of roads and means of communication
- Legal affairs
- Medical needs
- Market and Fair days
- Civil registration of birth, marriage and death after 1864
One would travel with-in their parish for church. But this could also change over time. As an example my McQuaid’s were from Lisdoo, Kilskerry parish, they also leased land in Tummery, Dromore parish. They went to Magheralough Chapel (St. Macartrn’s) in Stranagomer, Kilskerry, 3.5 miles away. My Thomas McQuaid married Mary Ann Barrett, 4 Feb, 1856. She was from Tummerry, Dromore parish, only a field away. They were married in Dromore, Dromore parish, 5 miles away. On the same day Thomas’s sister Anna, married John O’Donnell from Tummery. They were married in Magherlough Chapel. I can see the precession walking across the field from Lisdoo to Tummerry, 5 miles to Dromore, Dromore parish, 5-6 miles to Stranagomer, Kilskerry parish, and 3.5 miles back to Tummery, where they all took up residence. Although, the train from Dromore to Trillick started in 1854, so maybe they splurged, and took the ride on that leg of the journey. They were lucky that they married in 1856 and not after 1864. No one had to walk the 5-6 miles from Stranagomer to Irvinestown, to provide information, for civil registration with the PLU, for Anna’s marriage. Or, 8.8 miles from Dromore to Omagh to register Thomas’s marriage.
Roads and means of communication changed over time as follows;
“The greater part of the road pattern was already in place in 1740. The main Enniskillen and Londonderry road originally passed through Tempo and over the mountains to Fintona and on to Omagh. In 1828 a new road was made to avoid the mountains that divided Fermanagh and Tyrone. It is a little longer than the original, but has the advantage of being level. From the Enniskillen-Iervinstown road a trunk route strikes out northeast along a lowland corridor by Ballinamallard, Trillick and Dromore, towards Omagh. This opened communication with Dromore and Trillick and would become the route for the railway in the 1850's.”
Taylor & Skinner: Maps of the Roads of Ireland Surveyed 1777, indicate that the road from from Omagh to Enniskillen, through Trilick and Dromore, did exist in 1777. The problem was that it was not wide enough for a large coach or car. Traffic was by foot, horse back or small cart. Thus the main route went over the mountains via Tempo, Fintona to Omagh.
‘By the 1830’s ‘Roads here were described as being quite good. The main road from Omagh to Enniskillen passed through Fintona, Trillick and Kilskeery and was in good repair, the road from Dromore to Trillick was just being made, while the roads from Trillick to Tempo and Fivemiletown were described as hilly and in great need of repair.’
This means that prior to 1828 Dromore and Trillick were isolated and the major route from the south and east, going north, went around them. That meant for people living in these areas, there was an advantage to going to market and fairs in Fintona, Omagh or Tempo. These towns were also Post Towns because the mail coach passed through. Drumquin is also on the road from Londonderry to Enniskillen via Omagh. Dromore had no weekly market at this time and the market in Trillick was local. The hiring fair in Trillick, in May and November, had a wide draw.
Places to conduct Legal affairs changed over time as follows;
Petty Sessions were formally established with legislation in 1827, although they had been in operation for centuries before that. By 1851, amid growing concerns about the fairness of some of the justices of the peace, the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act sought to tighten up the rules. JPs were gradually replaced by trained and paid magistrates as the 19th century went on.
Covering both civil and criminal cases, the Petty Sessions’ brief was wide. Cases ranged from merchants who had not paid duty on their goods, to workers suing for unpaid wages. Farmers were fined for letting their cattle wander or for allowing their cart to be driven without their name painted on the side. Debts were collected and disputes settled. Public drunkenness was a common offence, as was assault and general rowdiness. Political feelings were often volatile and there are frequent cases all over the country of people charged with putting up seditious posters or leaflets. When the court had no jurisdiction to hear a case, when the case was of too serious a nature, JPs were obliged to process them, pass them on, to the Quarterly Sessions or the Assizes Court. In these cases, the accused was usually committed to the local gaol to await trial.
Petty Sessions were held in all of the Market/Fair towns listed in my previous post with the exception of Dromore and Drumquin.
Quarter sessions for Criminal acts. (Quarter sessions meant court was held four times per year).
- 1796, June 22, Proclam. Tyrone divided into two districts. 1. Omagh consisting of the baronies of Omagh & Strabane. With the towns of Omagh & Strabane alternating Quarter sessions for this district. 2. Dungannon consisting of the baronies of Dungannon and Upper Dungannon and Clogher. With the towns of Dungannon and Clogher alternating Quarter sessions for this district.
- 1837, Dec 22, Proclam. Dividing the County of Tyrone and
appointing court towns. Amended the Act of 1796 and set FORTH as follows, making
1. Dungannon, consisting of the barony of Dungannon, held in the town of Dungannon
2. Clogher, consisting of the barony of Clogher. Held in th town of Clogher
3. Omagh, consisting of the barony of Omagh and so much of the parishes of Cappagh and Termonmagaguirk as are situated in the barony of Stabane, save and except, however, so much of the said barony of Omagh in the parish of Termonamongan and such parish or portion of land called the Skirts of Urney and Skirts of Ardstraw. Held in the town of Omagh.
4. Strabane, consisting of the barony of Strabane and so much of the barony of Omagh in the parish of Termonamongan and such parish or portion of land called the Skirts of Urney and Skirts of Ardstraw, save and except, however, so much of the said barony of Strabane in the parishes of Cappagh and Termonmagaguirk as are situated in the barony of Srtabane. Held in the town of Strabane.
- 1864. Oct 4, Proclam. Consolidating Districts of Omagh and
Strabane into district of Omagh and appointing Court Town.
Shifts the Parish of Bodoney Lower from Strabane to Omagh.
- 1876, Oct 4, Proclam. Transferring all criminal business
(except appeals from Petty Sessions) from Clogher and Stabane to
Transfers all sessions from Strabane and Clogher to Omagh, except appeals from Petty Sessions.
The Assizes had jurisdiction outside Dublin over the most serious criminal offenses, such as treason and murder. Persons accused of these crimes would first come before the Petty Sessions, where a justice of the peace or resident magistrate would decide if there was sufficient evidence to justify a trial. If such evidence existed, the magistrate would issue a bill of indictment and refer to matter to a Grand Jury, which would decide if the bill was correct and supported by evidence, issuing an indictment.
Omagh, for Co. Tyrone and Enniskillen, for Co, Fermanagh, held courts Assizes.
Places to address medical needs were as follows.
Between 1821 and 1837, all of the market towns listed in my first post were listed as having a dispensary. The county Infirmary was in Omagh for Tyrone and Enniskillen for County Fermanagh.
In 1834 the Tyrone county Infirmary was located in the town of Omagh. In 1833 there were 234 patients. The prevailing diseases were scrofula (tuberculosis), lues veneria (syphilis), ulcers, and accidents.
The Omagh Poor Law Union was formally declared on 9 May, 1839. The workhouse was opened in 1841. During the famine the whole workhouse was turned over to a Fever Hospital. A purpose-built fever hospital was subsequently erected to the north of the workhouse.
The Lowtherstown (Irvinestown) Poor law Union was formally declared on 14 September, 1840. The workhouse opened in 1844. During the famine, in the mid-1840’s, a 40 bed fever hospital was erected to the north of the workhouse.
The Enniskillen Poor Law Union was formally declared on 10 August, 1840. The workhouse opened in 1844. During the famine, a hired house and sheds were appropriated to accommodate 120 fever patients. A fever hospital was erected at the south of the workhouse and opened in October 1849.
In 1853 The County Tyrone Lunatic Asylum was opened in Omagh.
Markets and Fair Days
Markets and Fairs were held as listed in my last post. Note the locations of Fairs that specialized in Livestock and Linen.
The following is from; ‘The Little Book of Tyrone’, by Cathal Coyle
“Hiring Fairs also took place and Tyrone was a county that was strongly associated with the practice. Prospective employees offered themselves for work on farms and household duties to farmers for the agricultural season. Their treatment varied from farm to farm, and when the annual contract expired, the fair was the meeting place. It was Strabane that hosted the biggest hiring fair in Tyrone. As with most towns, the main fairs lasted two days and were held in May and November. Strabane’s fair served not only the immediate area but a wider area stretching from West Donegal to Cavan and Monaghan.
Some Tyrone hiring fairs dated back as far as the seventeenth century, including those at Trillick, Killeter and Drumquin. Many of the people hired came from the west coast of Donegal.”
This reminds me of an old story handed down by my 3rd cousins mother, a former resident of Tummery, Dromore parish. Tummery is divided into two sections, Tummery Gallagher and Tummery Teague. My family has a Tyrone Gallagher line. When asked why there are so many Gallagher families in the area, she would give the following reply. “Many years ago five Gallagher brothers came over the hill from Donegal. Their purpose was to take as a wife the daughter of a well to-do farmer.” I can see them hiring themselves out to farmers that had daughters of the right age. By the end of the work season they were well on the way to a marriage agreement. Parcels of land were given as a dowry by the farmers they worked for.
This explains why I have DNA connections to Gallagher lines from Donegal, while not having any known connection to that county. The 1855 Encumbered Estates Court Sales for Tummery, lists the three lives leases given in 1805. At that time leases were given to nine Gallagher’s. If the story is true it took place in the seventeen hundreds.
From Francis Kelly, ‘The Old Ballad of the Killeter Fair’
- Attention pay, you country folk, a wee while if you please.
- I’ll sing to you a verse or two, to amuse you at my ease.
- It’s all about a handsome girl, her equal would be rare,
- And the first place that I met her was in Killeter Fair.
- Her eyes they shone like diamonds,
- and her cheeks bloomed like the rose, .
- She is my first, my only love, no matter where she goes.
- She stole my heart completely, boys, the truth I must declare,
- And the first place that I met her was in Killeter Fair.
Civil Registration of 1864
The Market Towns on the Fair Day Triangle Map fall in three Poor Law Unions. But the 12 mile radius circles of these Market Towns fall within five Poor Law Unions.
- Fintona, Donacavey parish is in the Omagh PLU, but the southern end of the parish is in the Clogher PLU.
- Dromre, Dromore Parish is in the Omagh PLU, but the south western part of the parish is in the Irvinestown Fermanagh PLU.
- Trillick, Kilskerry Parish is in the Irvinestown, Fermanagh PLU, but the eastern part of the parish is in the Enniskillen, Fermanagh PLU
- Omagh, Drumragh Parish is in the OMAGH PLU.
- Ievinestown, Derryvullen parish, Fermanagh is in the Irvinestown PLU
- Drumquin, East Longfield Parish is in the OMAGH PLU and West Longfield is in Castlederg PLU
When Civil Registration of birth, marriage and death became mandatory, in 1864, the registration took place at the PLU the event took place in. Most people were born and died at home and were married in a church. For my family living in Tummery, Dromore parish, Tyrone, a birth or death, at home, was reported to the PLU in Irvinestown, county Fermanagh. A marriage at the parish church in Dromore, Dromore parish, was reported to the PLU in Omagh, Drumragh Parish, county Tyrone. If a person from Tummery going to the Drumquin Fair was trampled by a horse and died, on the west side of the town, the death had to be reported at the Castlederg PLU. If it happened on the east side of town, it was reported to the PLU in Omagh. If you cannot find a civil death record, listed under the PLU for the townland your ancestor lived in, maybe he did not die at home. Note that the dispensaries were in the market towns, the county infirmaries were in Omagh or Enniskillen and fever hospitals were at the work houses. They were most likely in a different PLU from where the person lived.
The coming of the Railway
The coming of the ‘Londonderry & Enniskillen Railway’ in the 1850’s had a great affect on travel within the Fair Day Triangle Map. The railway followed the level route of the road built in 1828, Omagh, Fintona, Dromore, Trillick and Enniskillen. The railway by-passed the mountain road to Fivemiletown and Clogher. To get to these places one had to take the railway to Enniskillen and transfer east. The coming of livestock cars and and easy means of transport for large buyers from the east would drive those selling cattle, pigs and linen to the fairs along the railway, namely Trillick, Fintona and Omagh.
In the 2nd half of the 19th century, the railway greatly increased the 12 mile radius circle that the Fair day Triangle map is based on. The railway reached Newtownstewat and Omagh in 1852, Fintona in 1853 and Dromore, Trillick, Irvinestown and Enniskillen in 1854.
I can envision the procession in May of 1880, when Thomas McQuaid, his wife Mary Barrett and nine children, age 5-24, walked from Tummery to Dromore Road station to catch the train to Londonderry (Derry). The 1 hr 50 min. ride would take them to the ship leaving for America. What was going through their head as they left a life of living in a 12 mile radius circle and headed out on a 3,000+ mile trip across the sea?