MOANBAWN townland consists of 652 acres, 3 roods and 29 perches. The land was owned by Goodbody with Lobdell as manager and Flood as herd. In the 1900’s most of the land was very un-productive, being covered by furze, heather and bushes, sometimes known as the Black Mountain.
The land was sold by the Land Commission around 1900, each family purchasing their respective holdings. At that time it was a fowler’s paradise with pheasant, partridge and woodcock in plentiful supply, but man and modern machinery soon converted it into arable land so the wildlife disappeared. Dobbyns, Bradys and Duffys were the only families living in Moanbawn at that time.
In the late 50’s Padraic Fahy erected a house on his father’s farm and he and his wife and family came to live there. His son Gabriel, a keen horseman, now farms the land and runs a successful racehorse training stables on the farm, and Patrick, his brother, is a successful jockey.
Eamonn Whelan erected a house in the mid fifties, got married and he and his family now live in Moanbawn.
Tommy Dobbyn and his sister Mary lived on the family farm. Olive, their niece, married Patrick Coffey who is a construction engineer. Her sister Ruth and her husband Pete now live on the family farm.
Padraic and Peter Dunleavy live in the adjoining village of Ballygurrane but farm mostly in Moanbawn. Their cousin Frank has a small portion of his land in Moanbawn but lives at Prospect, Athenry.
Edward Brady lived at Church Street, Athenry, where he owned a victualler’s business. He also had a farm at Moanbawn which is now owned by his son Mattie, better known to his friends as the “Gunner” He is a shrewd judge of livestock. Mattie purchased a site from the late Josie Duffy and erected a house where he now lives with his wife and family.
Eamonn Brady lives with his sister Mary on the family farm. There is a ring fort on part of the land that dates back to 2000 B.C. Both are past pupils of Carnaun National School where the late Tim O’Regan and his sister Mary (Babs) and Julia Keane taught. Timothy was Principal and an award winning teacher. He was the father of the present principal, Finbarr.
The late Martin Hoade, Josie Shaughnessy and Tom Bane owned land in Moanbawn but did not reside there. Martin Hoade’s farm is now owned by his brother Michael, who returned from Africa to take up farming.
Sonny Grady was another man who lived in Moanbawn. In the olden days he had a horse and side-car and used to do jarveying as it was known at the time. I understand later he was the first man in Athenry to own a hackney car. When Sonny died, the land commission took the land over and John Bane purchased it as an addition to his existing farm. John died a young man, his passing has left a void in the community. The farm is now owned by his wife Kathleen.
The late Josie Shaughnessy’s land was inherited by his son Patsy who later sold part of it to Eamonn Whelan and Frank Brody, the local vet. Frank sold his portion of land to Tommie Fox.
Now to return to Josie Duffy whose name I mentioned earlier. He was and is a great character, a step dancer, ballad singer, played the bodhrán and best of all could balance a pint on his head and take a cigarette off the floor without spilling any of his favourite liquor. Later on, when Josie retired from farming, he sold a number of sites for new houses to the following families: Brendan Gannon, Liam Hoare, Joe Dennison, whose children attend Carnaun School, John McNamara, Eamonn Dorney, Tony Ryan, Gerry Cronnelly, Tom Brannelly, Criss Brannelly, Bridie O’Hanlon, Jerry Mulvihill and also a site for a garage to Michael Sheehan who lives at Church Street, Athenry. Michael Morrissey also lives in Moanbawn having got a site from his uncles, the Coens of Carnaun. The McDonagh family are also new-comers to Moanbawn. Pat Holland, who erected a garage some years ago on his father’s farm, moved across the road to Moanbawn where he purchased a site from Tommie Fox, and erected a more spacious and modern premises there.
So in the nineties, Moanbawn has become a highly populated village.
Written by Eamonn Brady
Published here 05 Feb 2021
Page 191 of The Carnaun Centenary Book