1. Location
2. Agriculture in Clogga
3. Walsh's of Clogga
4. Clogga Census from 1821
5. Clogga Mill
6. Clogga Post Office
7. Clogga Forge
8. Larrisseys Shop
9. Tithes In Clogga
10. Griffiths Valuation
11. Clogga Band
12. Old Newspapers


Clogga is a picturesque area set in the countryside found in the south of Kilkenny. It is the largest townsland in the parish of Mooncoin. The spelling changed throughout history. In a census from 1659 Clogga was spelt "Cloghagh". It was also once spelt "Clogath". There is more than a thousand acres in Clogga. The main route from Piltown to Kilmacow passes through it. Clogga is over-looked by the Walsh Hills, the Comeragh Mountains and Slieve na mBan. Clogga begins around Clogga Mill and stretches as far as Maguires/Ardera cross. It also goes up as far as Tubrid by the Newline (which was opened in the 19th Century). This road then goes around to connect to Kellys cross(including Cloneen). Kilnaspic church, which is part of the parish of Mooncoin, serves the people of Clogga. It is of very close proximity. The population of Clogga is 110 (approx.) people.

Picture of newline, Clogga Maguires cross
New line Maguires/Ardera cross

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Agriculture in Clogga

Clogga is mainly an agricultural area. The majority of the inhabitants are farmers. Dairy and beef farming is predominant. Farming has been practised in the region for hundreds of years due to the fertile soil.

Here are some accounts from a local farmers diary in the 40's/ 60's & other pictures:

Click on picture to Enlarge.
Local farmers diary from 1946 Local farmers diary from 1947 Local farmers diary from 1960's Local farmers diary from 1943 Picture of people cutting the corn in Clogga in the 1920's.
Diary from 1946 Diary from 1947 Diary from 1960's Diary from 1943 Bulider Walsh brothers cutting corn in 1920's
Another view of farm house in Clogga View of farm house built in 1895. Picture of cattle.
Clogga Farmhouse Farmhouse Cattle!

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Walsh's of Clogga

Five different families of Walsh's (not related) existed in Clogga up until the 1960's. For distinguishing purposes they were given nick-names. These were the "Doran" Walsh's, the "Jobber" Walsh's, the "Big Pat" Walsh's, the "Martin Walsh's" and the "Swithin" Walsh's. Four different Walsh families still remain.

The Swithin Walsh's get their name from Bill Walsh, who was born on St. Swithins day (15th July) 1910. This name then stuck with him through his life.
The "Jobber" Walsh's got their name because the family used to "job" in cattle. This meant trading and dealing with cattle.
The "Martin" Walsh's get their name because the man of the house was named Martin.
The "Big Pat" Walsh's get their name because, again, the man of the house was called Patrick (AKA Builder Walshs).

The name 'Walsh' is synonymous with this part of Ireland. In fact, the hills that over look Clogga are known as the 'Walsh hills' (this whole are of south Kilkenny was also called 'Walsh country' in some old documents). The reason for the popularity of the 'Walsh' name in this area is the fact the very first 'Walshs' in this part of Ireland were based just north of Clogga, near Knocktopher. The first Walsh that came over to Ireland was a man named David Walsh who came to Ireland around 1190. David was a grandnephew of a tribal prince of Wales. That is where the 'Walsh' name comes from, in gaelic 'Breathnach', which means Welsh-man (from Wales). The first Walsh family to settle and establish a permanent base in Ireland (in the early 1200s), was Sir Hale Walsh, who built a stronghold at what is now called Castlehale, just outside Knocktopher, Co Kilkenny. This is also where Ballyhale gets its name from. These Walshs lived here for many centuries, with many of them being buried in the family grave in Jerpoint Abbey, Thomastown (one of the Walshs of Castlehale was an MP in the House of Commons in London in the early 1600s). They lost their land and their castle was destroyed in the Cromwellian invasion cir 1650, as the family had sided with the Confederates (who had established an independent parliament in Kilkenny City to rule Ireland - and also, this is when Kilkenny was capital of Ireland). A very detailed family tree of these Walshs was compiled in the early 1900s before the records were destroyed during the Irish Civil War in 1922.

It is safe to say that the vast majority of the 'Walsh' families in Clogga and Mooncoin are directly decended from these first Welsh men who moved over here in the Norman plantation of Ireland cir 1200 and who settled just cir 10 miles north of Clogga.
Mrs Walsh Clogga
James and Mai Walsh Wedding
'Mrs Walsh' Clogga and baby - unknown which 'Mrs Walsh'! ? James & Mai Walsh Wedding -1943

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Cencus from 1821

In 1821 a census was carried out in Ireland. It was the first of the 'modern' day cencuses. It was very lucky that this copy survived as the original cencuses were all burned at the Four Courts during the Irish Civil War in 1922. This copy was taken in 1918. Clogga is under the civil parish of Tubbrid or Tubbriel as it was called.


Clogga census part 1
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Clogga Mill

We dont know when Clogga Mill was opened but it was first recorded as being there in 1850 (however it was more than likely older than this - at least cir 1800, there may have been other mills on this site previously). At this time (1850), it was ran by Edward Bowers whos family would have been the local landlords for the area. It is then recorded as being owned by a James Walsh who ran it with his brother in the 1880s. In the early 1900's it was then bought by the Mennell family who ran it until 1924 until they left as they felt uncomfortable in Ireland at the time being English during the revolutionary period. It was then bought by Jimmy McDonald. He and his sister Peg resided there till their deaths in the 1970's and 1980's. It was then passed on to their nephew Wattie Hogan who resided their until his death in 1999. It is still in the possession of the Hogan family.

The mill was used to grind corn (barley and oats) to meal, to be used for animal feed stuffs. It was run for many years by Jack O'Shea who also lived in the mill on the third floor until his death in the 1960's. When the Mill was first built, a stream was diverted and dammed to create two ponds which built up the pressure and flowed down the mill race which created enough movement to turn the wheel. The mill wheel powered a number of machines and not just the wheel used for grinding. A pulley system was powered which lifted the bags of corn through the floors, a roller was also powered by the wheel and also a saw for cutting wood was powered. There was a furnace in the mill and a second floor drying area that was used to dry the oats when needed. The dried oats were used to make porridge.

The mill is still standing today and has the original water wheel and grinding stone. There was also a shop which sold sweets, cigarettes etc. The mill closed in 1982 and the shop a few years later. The Mill was forced to close with the introduction of silage and the mass production of feedstuffs.

Click to enlarge a picture of Clogga Mill at the present day Picture of the Mill grinding stone Click to enlarge a picture of Clogga Mill at the present day Click to enlarge a picture of the Clogga Mill wheel at the present day Click to enlarge a picture of the Clogga Mill wheel at the present day Click to enlarge a picture of the Clogga Mill shop at the present day
The Mill Grinding stone The Mill Mill Wheel Mill Wheel Mill Shop
Mill Race Weight scales Pully Wheel Furnance
Mill Race Box Weighing Scales Pully system Mill Wheel Cogs Furnance

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Clogga Post Office

A post office was opened in Clogga in the second part of the 1800's. It was opened by a Samuel Reidy and was situated beside Larriseys shop. The building structure is still there today and sits between Kearns house and Richard Walshs house.

To this day, the building is called 'Sams', which is a testament to Sam Reidy considering he died in 1912! His beloved wife, though she was some years younger, died just a few weeks before and its said Sam died of a broken heart. As they had no children, the post office was sold to Andrew Wall, the creamery manager in Clogga and the post office service moved to his house just a few yards up the road.

There is an unusual story about Sam. Because of the bad education system in Ireland at the time when he was born cir 1835, he was illiterate. So Clogga had a postman that couldn't read! His wife, who sorted the letters in the post office, put different colour thread on each of the different letters to distinguish the different families e.g. a letter for the Larrisey family had a blue colour thread put on it etc. By 1911, Sam had picked up some reading skills, as on the cencus of that year he states that he cannot write but he can read. Over time he would have picked up on the structure and number of characters in peoples names etc.

As stated, around 1912, the post box was moved to the home of the Walls were it ceased working some years later. It can be seen on the old map on the picture page. The post box still exists at the home of the Walls today.
Sams post office clogga
'Sams' Post Office is demolised in 2013, over 100 years after Sam died in 1912

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Clogga Forge

The blacksmiths forge was run by the Kelly family up to the early 1940s, when Lawrence Kelly the blacksmith died suddenly. As his children were young, his wife did not continue to run the forge. The forge was situated at their home on the main road in Clogga near 'Kellys' cross. Lawrence Kelly was from Inistioge originally and had inherited the forge from his boss, the previous blacksmith, James Walsh who died without any children.

Besides horse shoes, they also made other metal objects such as the band used on cart wheels and different types of tools.
The remains of the forge are still in place today. There is a horse ring to tie horses and the original horse water trough, which was also used to cool the metal, are still in place. Also, the mould for making the band on a cart wheel can still be seen outside the forge.

Picture of the Kelly household where at the turn of the century a blacksmiths stood. The once entrance of the blacksmith with the horse ring still in place at the present day. Picture of water trough for horses using the blacksmith, still in place. Picture of mould used to make 
the band on a cart wheel at kellys blacksmiths. Still in place today.
Forge Forge entrance Water trough Band mould

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Larrissey's Shop

One of the main focal points of the community in Clogga was Larrissey's grocery shop. It was situated on the main road in Clogga near "Kellys cross". It was where the current Kearns family live.

The shop was owned for a long time by Jack Larrissey (cir 1888-1966). It had been in the Larrissey family for generations (Jack inherited it from his father Richard). It sold a wide variety of food and also animal foodstuffs. Jack Larrisey himself, was said to have "a heart of gold" and often helped people in Clogga giving them lifts with his horse and cart. He also had a book policy, were people would get their food "on tick". This meant they would get their food and pay for it when they could afford it.

Jack Larrissey died in 1966. The shop was then inherited by the Doyle's. After that the shop was run by the Browner family for many years. It was then run by Peter Fennelly (brother of Kate Browner) for a short time (these where cousins of Jacks). In the early 1980's it was purchased by the Kearns who ran it until its closure in 1988. The shop was demolished in the early 1990s.
Jack Larrisey Clogga
Jack Larrissey (1887-1966) of 'Larrisseys shop ' Clogga. Taken in 1910 (age 23).

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Tithes in Clogga -1830

The Tithes were a tax that was introduced in Ireland cir 1830 for people that had land of greater than 1 acre. This was a tax (tithe meaning 'one tenth') ,which forced the people to contribute to the established state church, which was the Protestant Church of Ireland church. Many opposed this, mainly because, in Kilkenny, cir 85% of the population was Catholic and did not appreciate having to contribute to another church. In hindsight it was not considered a great idea by the British government as it stoked aggression towards them (many of the new Church of Ireland churches built at the time were paid for with the Tithes, though the vast majority of the contributors would never enter the church because of their faith). The tax was applied to people who had land (most people didn't own land outright - instead they usually leased it from a landlord - in Cloggas case the Bowers family). The amount paid depended on the size of the farm. These records called 'Tithe Apploment books' have survived. The entries for Clogga can be viewed by pressing on the image below. The head of the household for land owning (leasing) families in Clogga are named. Note; the Tithes and the Griffths Valuation are often referred to as census substitutes as they were not destroyed in during the civil war in 1922.

Clogga Tithes Book entry - 1830

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Griffiths Valuation in Clogga -1850

Griffiths Valuation was a land survey taken for the whole of Ireland (a massive undertaking, considering the lack of technology. The surveyors didnt have the use of satellites or even airplanes (!) so they literally had to measure, on the ground, every bit of Ireland - it took cir 15 years to fully complete but their results are so accurate they can be easily overlapped with todays satellite images - see ordnance survey ireland website). In Clogga, all the landowners were named and the land they owned highlighted on maps (actually no one in Clogga owned land outright at this time, all land was leased from the Bowers estate) . The quality of the land, buildings and net income of the land was also noted. A tax was then imposed depending on this information (a precursor to the current property tax!). The first thumbnail below is a copy of the original Valuation which lists all the landholders in Clogga with a number beside their name, along with other information. The second thumbnail is a map of Clogga from the valuation, the fields the farmers own are numbered, which correspond to the numbers on the list in the first thumbnail. Note; on the listing 'lessor' is the name of the person the land is leased from, in most cases its the Bowers family. In 1876 the Bowers family is recorded as owning cir 2000 acres in the area - mostly Mooncoin and Piltown (this land was actually sub leased from the Earl of Bessborough in Kildalton in Piltown. The Earl, in 1876, is recorded as owning 24,000 acres in County Kilkenny). In some cases in Clogga, land is also subleased further e.g. Martin Lalor leases from Edmund Walsh, who in turn leases from John Bowers, who in turn leases from the Earl of Bessborough etc. Only a few years later this landlord system was deconstructed by the British government who actually forced the landlords (in this case the Bowers and Bessborough estates) to sell the land to their tenants. Most tenants couldn't afford this so the British government lent them the money to buy the land (which was paid back for many years afterwards). The most interesting aspect is that the farms in Clogga in 1850 are still nearly the exact same. Another interesting point to note is that the New Line didnt exist at the time, instead there was a lane to access the fields near where Comerfords house is now near the creamery cross. There was also another lane opposite Clogga school for access to the fields from the north.
Griffiths listing clogga
Griffiths map clogga
1. Griffiths listing Clogga
2. Corresponding Griffith Map of Clogga

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Clogga Band

In the 1920's a Drum and Fife music band was formed in Clogga. It was made up of local men. They played at sporting events, charitable events, in pubs etc. and were very popular in the parish and surrounding parish's. They played traditional songs but also wrote their own material. Or sometimes they would change the lyrics of a traditional song and add in their own lines making reference to Clogga and its people.

Here is an extract from a hurling match report from 1927:
June 1927. At Ashgrove. School Hurling League-Cup Final. Kilmacow 2-3, Carrigeen 2-0. "Metz" was re-echoed to the sound of the much admired Drum and Fife Clogga Band, smart in their uniforms, under the baton of Staff Major Foley on their way to Ashgrove. The game was brilliant.

Clogga Drum and Fife Band mentioned in this newspaper article dated 24/june/1927;

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Old Newspaper Comments/Miscellaneous

Below are some extracts which are related to Clogga, from the 'Echoes from South Kilkenny' in the Munster Express newspaper. Topics varied from a new village pump in 1930 (this was located roughly where Quiltys house is at present) to one of the first planes to fly over the village!
Civil War Activities
Not happy with the Quality of the Roads
Plane passes over Clogga

Sep 1922, Jan 1923 and May 1923
Oct 1930
Oct 1930 and Sept 1930
Local Man in Court
Local Man in Court (cont)
New Village Water Pump

Oct 1928
April and May 1930

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