The Townland of Carnaun
The census of 1901 shows there were 16 houses and one school in Carnaun. The families were: Martin Coen, Patrick Kennedy, John Hession, Michael Whythe, Philip Fahy, Martin Monahan, Anne Mullan, Michael Cussack, John Qualter, Thomas Qualter, Andrew Gill, Julia Mahon, Mary Williams, William Joyce, John Joyce, Mary Rabbitt.
Of these families there are Coens, Kennedys, Fahys, Williams and Rabbitts still in Carnaun. John Hession lived on the Carnaun Road near the Castle. That house is now gone. Whytes are gone and Fordes are in their place. The Monaghans who lived near Fahys are also gone. Anne Mullen moved to Castle Ellen to where the Connaughton family are now. The descendants of the Cusacks, the Gilhooleys now live in Cussane. Killeens are descendants of the Qualters, a branch of whose family moved to Castle Ellen. Gills went to Mountain North and Mahons to Knockbrack. The Joyces who lived near the school are now all gone God rest them.
Dick Williams owned the Forge in Carnaun. It was a great meeting place for farmers to discuss all aspects of farming and hurling. In the late sixties, Dick and family moved to Castlerea, Johnny Burke and Marian bought their house and their children Gary, Linda and Kevin went to Carnaun School until 1982 when they moved to Donegal. Kathleen (Coen) Burke then bought the house.
Tom Rabbitt had a shop in Carnaun and drove a van. Pa, R.I.P. was teriffic for card games and stories. The Rabbitts are most generous with their daffodils and apples.
The Group Water Scheme came to Carnaun in the ’80s. The pump was sunk in Mullins’ land. Before that we relied on tanks or barrels filled from as far away as Newcastle. Many a bucket of water was carried from a well in Walshe’s.
We’ve had a bonfire in Carnaun for the past 21 years. It is on the site of the old road. The crowds increase yearly. In 1990 a returned emigrant to Athenry travelled for miles to find a bonfire to show his young family. Eventually the smoke led him to Carnaun.
Living near the school we missed all the fun the other pupils had on their way to and from school. We often heard about raiding orchards, teasing a bull, enjoying games of football or hurling. No one, in any great hurry to be first in school. We did not envy them though, on cold or wet days, when we were snug indoors while they had a long journey home.
If some pupils came without coats on a day when unexpected rain came our house was crowded. We found coats for some of them and others waited for their mothers to arrive with coats. The introduction of school transport took all the hardship and the fun away. On a cold winters day, first into school got nearest the fire but the huge fire screen kept us well away from the flames.
The Catechism exam was the one day everyone dressed up in best clothes and then got filthy once the priest had gone as we always had the evening off to play. We spent weeks beforehand learning off bible stories and catechism notes.
The Primary was an exam not looked forward to. The only consolation was a day off school and tea in the Master’s house, all of us minding our manners and afraid of breaking any china.
Written by Chrissie Hynes
Published here 05 Feb 2021
Page 085 of The Carnaun Centenary Book