Mason's Parochial Survey, 1814-19

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Union of Kilmanaheen, Kilasbuglenane, Kilmacreehy, Kileilagh and Kilmoon

V. Present and former state of population, &c.

The situation of the inhabitants in point of wealth varies very much. Mr. Francis McNamara, of Doolen, his son William McNamara, and Mr. Andrew Finucane, have each a large property, but none of them an overgrown one: many are independent, and even the lower order are of late years, becoming more independent every day. Mr. Edward Fitzgerald (who has a small house on the south side of the bay of Liscannor, and near the sea, to which he comes every year in the summer season, and remains there two or three months), has a large property in the union, and so has Mr. Gore, but he has no place of residence in it.

Food, Health, Dress, Diseases
The food of the middling order is in general potatoes, milk, and butter. Their health, with few exceptions, is good; their general appearance and dress is decent, and becoming more so every day. The mode of living of the very lower order is extremely poor, being potatoes and sour milk for about nine months in the year, and potatoes and salt for about three months in the spring season. This poverty of diet creates poverty of blood; and their confining themselves entirely to potatoes, generates scurvy and scrofulous disorders among them, commonly called the evil.

From 60 to 70 is the common age they live to; many of them live from 70 to 80 years; very few exceed their period. Michael Daly, the huntsman already mentioned, lived to be more than 100 years. Thomas Hagarty, who was many years servant to Mr. Edward Fitzgerald, and who died about a year and an half ago, lived to be 107 years old, retained his health, his walking, and his senses, to within a few days of his decease, and was know to be, the last 50 years of his life, an habitual whiskey drinker. A woman of the name of Mary Cailnan, who died about six months ago, was 110 years old; she lived near Ennistymon, and was bed-ridden for some years before she died. Curiosity led the writer to see her about two years ago, and she was the most extraordinary figure he ever beheld; she was an animated human skeleton, with skin over it: any accounts she gave of past events were confused and unsatisfactory. Denis Madigan, a labourer of the Archdeacon’s mentioned in the following section, died at the age of 73, and always enjoyed uniformity of good health, so that he scarcely knew what sickness was, till within a few day of his dissolution.

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