Bohola, Co. Mayo

Bohola, Co. Mayo

Bohola or Bucholla in the barony of Gallan is located on the river Gustien, on the Castlebar to Swinford road.  Principal seats were Bernard Mc Manus Esq. of Barley Hill House, Edward Deane Esq also Jordan Esq. of Rosslevin Castle. [i]


Mottes appeared on the landscape as earthen mounds.  Both mottes or baileys were symbolically constructed on top of Gaelic ringforts to demonstrate the strength of its inhabitants.  Mottes were often rectangular-shaped, surrounded by deep ditches.  This would have been surrounded with a timber palisade with a high wooden fence as a defensive structure.  They are usually deep-sided with flat tops that varied in size with the tops spiked for security reasons.  A timber tower or castle would have been constructed on the mound’s summit.  Lightly placed timbers would have protected the building or the main residence.  Enclosed areas adjoined the motte.  Inside the baileys smaller huts may have been constructed.  As several castles did not survive mounds or dips often display their location. Bohola motte is located on the R321 off the N5 before Bohola graveyard.  It is described as a mound with a deep ditch.  It has a rampant on the western side.  Possibly the marshy ground on the opposite side may have served as a defensive feature for the castle.  Towards the road on the east side are remains of an entranceway or gangway to the motte.  From an aerial view an enclosed area to the south of its side may possibly be a small Bailey.  A nearby church & graveyard is evidence of a once larger historic complex. (pages 75 / 76)  The fort was identified by Knox during 1911.  An image of Bohola Castle features on page 76. (Cathair na Mart  no. 36) (Muirne Lyons)   [ii]

Mottes were built by the Normans within Ireland from 1169 onwards.  The first castles were manufactured with wood.  It was possibly circa 1200 that the first castles were constructed with stone.  (Archaeologist Nikolah Gilligan) [iii]

Bohola motte is referenced on this site:

Bohola motte is featured on a map at this link:

Bohola motte on OSI Map September 2019:,-9.0668473,3a,75y,303.65h,111.33t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s1x61PRlyWsXbk7kbtdB-PQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Bohola motte:


According to Hubert Knox a church existed in Bohola during 1306.  Another church was recorded in 1585 at Carracastle but no dates available of when they were erected.  A site was provided free by the Landlord Thomas Fair to build a thatched church at Tooacananagh. When the roof caught fire during 1839 it was decided to erect a new building in 1858.  The old building was in use for meetings: according to local tradition Fanny Parnell held a local Land League Meeting in the premises.  The entrance to Carragolda Church is located high on a hill & is marked by a mass rock.  There are church ruins still visible. (Susanna Sweeney) [iv]

Barley Hill House

It was believed the house was presented by a soldier of his army with the deeds of possession by Oliver Cromwell.  Due to the poor lands surrounding it he sold the property to a Mc Manus, who as a landlord was tough to tenants during his time there.  The present Barley Hill House was built during the 1790’s.  The Coach House had the date engraved in stonework of 1795 when established.  A tower was started with just doors & windows but no floors on the site: it was never completed.  There was a report that during 1798 when the French arrived McManus ordered all valuables to be hidden under a floor in one of his tenant’s homes.  He provided a banquet for General Humbert where a bull was roasted on a gate.  Another event was recorded of a ‘ghostly dinner guest’  at the house during 1820 when Dr, Edward Deane travelled to the home for a meal: this was reported by Madame Mac Dermott of Coolann House in Ballaydeereen, Co. Roscommon in her memoirs of her Great-Great Uncle Edward Deane.  Barley Hill House & property was sold during 1851 to a Mrs. Perry for £9,000.  A Mr. Aiken from Scotland bought the house with some land in 1867.  He returned to Scotland; he left his son in position.  Barley Hill House bog was rented for turf cutting.  (His demise occurred at a house in Straide, presumably of poison!)  The family vault is located on a hillside within the old burial grounds.  (Extract from Bohola: Its history and its people 1992 reproduced by kind permission of its publishers Sheridan Memorial Community Centre Committee)  [v]

O ‘Donovan during 1838 reported that the house was ‘in good repair, and has offices, garden and orchard attached.’  Just inside the old estate a small house is located that was in use as a rent house during the landlord’s reign.  No date is available of when it was established but Edward Deane & family resided there during 1816.  Over the years he fell into debt, his brother-in-law Martin O ‘Flathery took control of finances of Carragowan House.  O ‘Flaharty sold the deeds to Col. Mc Alpine of Windsor in Castlebar.  When Deane failed to provide rent to the new landlord, he fled his creditors with two sons Col & John to America.  He returned briefly; then with his wife Esmy & daughters Mary & Julia also son Hugh all emigrated to Brooklyn New York.  When Deane’s son Dr. Edward Deane MacDermot died in November 1898, the records of the family were lost.  At present Carragowan House lies in ruins with an orchard visible.  Madame Felicity MacDermot of Coolavin House, near Ballaghderreen,Co. Roscommon provided information from her grandfather’s letters.   [vi]

Hedge Schools

The Commission of Public Instruction in 1835 referenced two hedge schools in Bohola.   One was run by James Mc Manus with one hundred & eighty-one pupils in attendance.  The Subjects taught were reading, writing, arithmetic also Roman Catholic catechism.  The fee was 15.10s per year.  The Dennis Mc Donnell school had ninety pupils.  The subjects at that school were reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, English games & Roman Catholic catechism.  The pupil’s contribution ranged from 1s to 4s.  There were several schools at Bohola ie: Tooromeen, Shraheens, Carragowan, Carragolda also Lismirrane.  [vii]

Bohola Village renowned celebrities include the Olympian champion sportsman Martin Sheridan (1881-1918)  there is a memorial in his honour in the village.  Another famous son was William O ‘Dwyer (1907-1998) Mayor of New York City Council from 1946 to 1964 also President Truman’s Ambassador to Mexico.  His brother Paul O ‘Dwyer (1907-1998) American lawyer, liberal Democratic politician  was a benefactor of the Cheshire Home at Lismiranne (opened during 1976) [viii]


[i] Bohola ( [Assessed 13th January 2021]

[ii] Cathair na Mart Historical Journal 2019 [Assessed 19th January 2021]

[iii] Archaeologist Nikolah Gilligan

[iv] Bohola ( [Assessed 19th January 2021]

[v] Barley Hill House ( [Assessed 19th January 2021]

[vi] Carragowan House ( [Assessed 19th January 2021]

[vii] Bohola ( [Assessed 19th January 2021]

[viii] Bohola ( [Assessed 19th January 2021]


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