Archive for the ‘Co. Fermanagh, Ireland’ Category

This morning didn’t start out all that well. The usual car-hire firms don’t operate in Enniskillen apparently, but one of the local car dealers was willing to hire a car at what seemed a very reasonable rate. I was grateful to get a car at all, so didn’t ask too many questions. I was a bit startled to find myself the proud driver of a flash looking new baby Citroen straight off the showroom floor, diesel, with gears (gosh can I remember those?), no GPS, and the fuel light flashing yellow! Apparently, empty to start with is how it’s done in Enniskillen. The  alarming thing was I had to find an Ulster Bank to get cash to buy diesel, and find my way to both places without a map before running out of fuel! It took me an embarrassing 10 minutes just to manoeuvre my way out of the car yard 🙂

Anyway, cashed and dieseled up and equipped with the Ordnance Survey map of the district (should have enough detail?)  I headed south through Belllanaleck towards Corrigan’s Shore Guest House which looked to be about 15 minutes from Enniskillen. It took a bit longer because the last couple of miles is along a very narrow lane between hedgerows and farm gates. Every time I saw a farmer coming on his huge tractor – or any other vehicle at all really 🙂 I pulled over into the nearest gateway or such, thinking this couldn’t be the way to a popular Guest House!

It is though. As I pulled up by the lake, lovely welcoming Catherine threw open the door and made me a pot of tea with scones! I can’t remember the last time I got to spend an afternoon in such a restful place. All I can hear is an occasional moo, a rooster (!), and a clock ticking. No wonder the guy at the tourist info where I bought the map said he thought this was the best B&B in Fermanagh. Sometimes you can be lucky. I think tomorrow’s plenty soon enough to find Aghavoory townland.

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I’d had enough of Belfast, so dragged my chattels down to the bus station through the rain and got on the next bus to Enniskillen. The weather changed from warmish and sunny to rain and sleet five times in the hour and a half it took to get here! So here I am in actual Fermanagh, in a little motel room where I can cook my own dinner (bought ravioli and pasta sauce!) and enjoy a glass (or 2) from my own bottle of (Chilean) wine for the price of one glass in the pub.
Enniskillen is cuter than Belfast at least. I’ve spent the last two days coughing and spluttering all over the kind, helpful people at Enniskillen Library. Maybe a bit less today than yesterday which seems like a good sign. I sure hope you don’t catch this flu Sean! I looked through the 19th century Fermanagh newspapers, but there was no death notice for our farmer James. This is not surprising. Until the late 19th century, newspaper readers evidently only wanted to know about the doings of the upper classes, or drownings and suicides – oh, and “ruffians” get a lot of press – a term which apparently included Union members 🙂
Today I learned as much as I could about farming in mid 19th century Fermanagh.James Beatty land description 1863
This is the description which goes with the map of James’s land in the last post. He has 15 acres of arable land, 13 acres of “heathy pasture” and 3 acres of “whiny pasture”. The latter I’m told, means covered with gorse (currently in vivid golden bloom) not much use for anything.
James, with 60 acres before he split his land with his eldest son Joseph in 1855, and with 33 acres thereafter had a relatively large holding for a farmer at the time – the average was 15 acres I’m told.
He can’t have just grown potatoes, as was scornfully suggested by one of his descendants!  The “arable” land could well have been used for various crops, but, I’m told, would have grown enough potatoes to sink the Titanic!  The “heathy pasture” was probably used for cattle. The contemporary newspapers report frequent sales of “black cattle” at the local markets. Sean thinks these were probably the same as “Kerry c0ws” (Sean says “a lot of Irish things get called  “Kerry””). I gather that both of these terms refer to the cattle that were around in Ireland before they decided that there should be “breeds” of cattle – cattle breeding as such was something the gentry later got into.  James’s farm would certainly have produced milk, butter, eggs and everything else they needed to subsist and earn enough to pay the rent every six months. They may also have had sheep, pigs or goats. It’s also clear from the survey maps that during James’s time an orchard was established. Tomorrow. I’ll go there.

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We now know a lot about Archibald Beatty, Merchant of Lisnaskea/Ballina/Liverpool (c1836-1897), almost certainly the older brother of our James Beatty of Ballina/South Yarra (1842-1903). Both were born in Fermanagh with father Farmer James Beatty. In an earlier post we established that Archibald had a nephew Joseph Beatty who was keeping an eye on Archibald’s pork/bacon factory in Enniskillen, Fermanagh after his uncle’s death in 1897. In an attempt to encircle the elusive farmer James, I’ve spent the last few days spreadsheeting every mention of a Joseph Beatty in Fermanagh in the late 19th century that I can find anywhere on the record. Luckily there were fewer Joseph Beattys than James Beattys in Fermanagh at the time and this one was probably alive at the time of the 1901 census (the earliest Irish census to survive intact!). Only one Joseph seemed the right age and to have reason to be in Enniskillen in 1897. He is Joseph Beatty, Egg and Butter Merchant, the son of Joseph Beatty, Farmer of Agheeter townland just south of Fivemiletown. His paternal grandfather is (YES!) James Beatty, Farmer.


Archibald Beatty of Lisnaskea/Ballina/Liverpool/Fivemiletown family tree

I tried not to get too excited. There were over a dozen James Beattys in Fermanagh in the late 19th century, and 90% of them were farmers. To save a lot of time I lashed out on a subscription to RootsIreland.ie -very expensive, but it gives every detail from birth and marriage records including addresses, even names of witnesses at weddings. Joseph Beatty senior married Margaret Mulligan in 1855. His father was James Beatty, Farmer, and his address at the time was not Agheeter, but the nearby townland of Aghavoory. Since at least 1829, Aghavoory, near Fivemiletown had been the address of a farmer James Beatty. Surely Joseph was still living at home at the time of his wedding! A witness at the wedding was Archibald Beatty. Then I found another Beatty whose address at the time of her marriage was also Aghavoory. She was Matilda Beatty (father Farmer James Beatty), married in 1853, again a witness at the wedding was Archibald Beatty. She has to be Joseph’s sister, right? Her husband was William Robinson a farmer at Breandrum townland near Brookeborough, not far from Fivemiletown. Both were still there at the 1901 Census many years later.

Now Archibald Beatty, with his wife Eudora and son Edward John had left Ballina, Co. Mayo for Liverpool in 1874, and all still had a Liverpool address in 1897 at the time of Archibald’s death. So how come the widowed Eudora, whose own family were from Belfast, died at Breandrum near Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh? Yes! Her sister-in-law lives there 🙂

Eudora Beatty probate

Eudora Beatty of Liverpool, widow, died at Braindrum (Breandrum), Brookeborough, Fermanagh 19 Nov 1900. Probate to Edward John Beatty


Furthermore, Edward John Beatty of Liverpool, England, who must have been a well-off young man after the death of his father Archibald in 1897, in 1898 married Martha Eleanor Beatty, daughter of the above Farmer Joseph Beatty of Agheeter, at Brookeborough, Fermanagh. First cousin weddings were pretty common in 19th century Ireland. She went to Liverpool with him where they raised a family.

Archibald Beatty burial at Fivemiletown 1897

Burial of Archibald Beatty at Fivemiletown, 1897 from the Fermanagh Times 18th March 1897

Finally, thank you Sean at the Enniskillen Library who looked up some local papers not yet digitised and found that Archibald Beatty wasn’t buried at Lisnaskea, Ballina, Liverpool or even Enniskillen, but at Fivemiletown. Well of course he was, having come full circle from his birthplace 🙂

I think the above family tree is proven. Now if only I could prove that Archibald was indeed the older brother of our James Beatty of Ballina/South Yarra. Our James certainly had children named Archibald, Matilda, and Joseph! Hmm… Back to Ballina.


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