Carragowan House, Bohola in Co. Mayo

Carrawgowan House was knocked over twenty years ago, with just the ruins and the orchard remaining, and the land was divided some years ago.

A small house still exists just inside the entrance to the old estate, and it was used as a rent house in the landlord's time.

In 1838, O'Donovan commented that the house was ''in good repair, and has offices, garden and orchard attached.''

The Deane Family

Sadly, there are no records as to when Carrawgowan House was built, but it is known that a family by the name of Deane came to live there in 1816. Mr and Mrs Edward Deane (nee Kelly) lived with their four children, Julia, Edward, Coll and Hugh. Julia Deane married Terence MacDermot and they had four children - Edward Deane MacDermot, John, Julia, and Tim. Edward qualified as a doctor, and emigrated to England where he settled in Bath and Married Jane Selina Wade (nee Nicholl).

Edward and Jane had one son, Edward Terence MacDermot, and he was the father of Madame Felicity MacDermot of Coolavin House, near Ballaghderreen, Co. Roscommon, who very kindly provided the old letters belonging to her grandfather for the research of the Deane family history. John Deane became an attorney and lived in Boyle. Julia entered the convent, and eventually became Reverend Mother of the Mercy Convent in Sligo.

Hugh Deane married Terence's sister, Jane, and they settled in Annagh Hill, Killedan. Hugh built a corn mill on the River Moy in Foxford and ran a thriving business there. He and Jane had three children - Ned, Vicky, and Tim. By 1891, it was recorded that ''a ruined corn store and a cottage and plot of ground attached were acquired for the Foxford Woollen Mills.'' Little is known of Coll Deane, except that he died without children. Edward Deane married Esmy O'Flaherty of Lisdonagh, Headford, Co. Galway and they had five children - Coll, John, Hugh, Mary, and Biddy.

The Letters of Edward Deane MacDermot

In a letter written on December 24, 1849 to his nephew Dr. Edward Deane MacDermot, Edward Deane noted: ''I am doing everything in my power to prevent the necessity of my being obliged to bring the Barleyhill property to sale, an alternative that would be very painful to me, to be obliged to resort to it, but one that is inevitable if I do not succeed in getting a loan of at least £1,000 to meet the many pressing demands now on me.''

On April 3, 1850, he wrote again to his nephew, this time optimistic that a solution to his problem might be found: ''I trust a match which is in contemplation between Miss McManus and Mr Sweetman of Raheny may take place, which would be, I think, the commencement of the good fortune of the McManus family, and might be the means of favourable match for Bernard, and enable him to pay me, if not all, a greater portion of the sum due.''

However, it was not to happen, and by 1851, Edward was up to his neck in debt. His brother-in-law, Martin O'Flaherty, took control of the finances of Carrawgowan House, and sold the deeds of the house to Col. McAlpine from Windsor, Castlebar, for £100. Edward's wife, Esmy, wrote to her sister-in-law, Julia Deane, in May of that year: '' …I was so excited by the removal of our furniture from this to my fathers house, that it is little wonder I did not get a fit of illness…I am a prefect beggar myself now that I find we have no chance of getting a shilling of that unfortunate money that was given to the McManuses - they were the sad sight to me and to you too.

The property won't pay, I am told, the first mortgage on it…I cannot be worse off at present without having a shilling to command, not as much as would buy me a two-shilling bonnet. I had no bonnet to wear except the velvet you saw me have when you were here, of course quite old-fashioned, but quite good enough for this place, as I go nowhere except to the chapel…We were obliged to let some acres of our tillage land waste, we could not make seed or money to pay the men. Only for the potatoes we had to sell, all our land would be waste, fortunately I secured a ton of oats for meal when the sheriff had it seized, and while I had the potatoes to sell, I was buying a little Indian meal to keep on the supply…I was obliged last summer to send some of our household linen to the pawnbrokers and could not release them since, but please God, will as soon as I possibly can.

…(Edward)… is now obliged to remain in the house…The bailiffs have a close watch over him so he must be very cautious…He received a letter from Col. McAlpine a few days ago, not a pleasing one I fear. He will be very severe, he is vexed that he is not getting his rent. Since we were deprived of our interest, we have not a pound to expect from any other quarter. Mrs McManus is gone to her daughter and is to remain for some months. I believe, is all over, so I hear, a bad story for him.''

It appears that all Julia's sympathies lay with her unfortunate sister-in-law, while she held her brother fully accountable for the misfortune that had befallen the family. In a letter to her son Dr Edward Deane MacDermot, written on May 15, 1851, she said: ''…Poor Esmy for whom I am more interested than my only brother, because he acted unpardonably in injuring so many, while she I believe was ignorant of how her affairs stood … God forgive him all the pain of mind he has caused me".

By this time, Edward Deane Esq., formerly of Carrawgowan House, had left the country to escape his angry creditors, fleeing to the United States with his two older sons, Coll, and John. Julia MacDermot, writing to her son on September 18, 1851, gave him an update on the family's situation: ''We have no hold over Bernard McManus. Poor Jack (her son John) laid out at least £20 in hope of getting off the estate the first portion of E.D.'s (Edward Deane) mortgage on it.

He little thought when he was doing so that so small a sum as £9,000 would be the highest bid for it, knowing at the time that £11,500 had precedence over unfortunate E.D.'s claim. There was a 'bond' passed by Bernard McManus to E.D. by the way of additional security to him for the £2,600 he lent, but of course that bond had been handed over with all other papers to Martin O'Flatherty or his eldest brother when they advanced some hundreds to save imprisonment.

I do not wish you to have any hand in looking out for a wife and fortune for one who is worse off than a beggar (Bernard McManus). Besides, I am angry with the selfish tone of his letter to John, keeping clean of the slightest expression of regret of being the cause of so much injury to me and mine. How could he expect a fortune unless an adequate settlement would be made, and how is it possible to do that under existing circumstances?… Were I sure of obtaining part of the lady's fortune for my dear Julia, it would not be purchased at so dear a rate…By a letter from Ellen Burke, I find that poor dear Coll Deane (E.D.'s son) has gotten employment in Philadelphia, poor John promised one, the unfortunate father in better health than could be expected.

Esmy left Carrawgowan House and went to live in her father's house in Lisdonagh with her daughters Mary and Biddy, and her youngest son, Hugh. They later lived with Esmy's brother in Benmullagh, Letterfrack, Co. Galway. Edward Deane returned briefly form America, and in September 1857, the family travelled to the United States to join Coll and John.

Edward wrote to his nephew Dr. Edward Deane MacDermot on September 8, 1857, just before they set sail from Liverpool: ''We sail this evening and as we go in a sailing vessel, we may not reach our destination for four or five weeks, and knowing that you will be anxious to hear of our safe arrival, I will direct a newspaper to you, and when settled will write.

Another letter, written in 1859, with an address in Brooklyn, New York, reported that the family were in good health, with Coll speculating at the gold mines and Esmy and the girls constantly engaged ''as we keep no servant, they are too expensive for our means”.

Despite the bad feeling generally held by his family for the McManuses, Dr. Edward Deane MacDermot showed great interest in the sad plight of one member of that unfortunate family, and seems to have made several enquiries concerning Charley McManus.

Letters written by the Rt. Rev. Dr. J. Lyster, Bishop of Achonry and the Rt. Rev. Dr. McCormack, Bishop Of Galway, in 1893 refer to ''poor Charley McManus'', who appears to have ended up in the poor house n Swinford, and both writers promised to find out more information out about his circumstances.

On February 9, 1898, the Rev. Fr. O'Grady, Parish Priest of Bohola, had the following sad information for Dr. MacDermot:''I discharged a week ago the last religious function over the grave of poor Charley McManus, formerly of Barley Hill House. It was a sad termination to a member of so respectable a family. Only four accompanied him to the old family vault.

A number of the Swinford people accompanied the remains two miles from the town, and two of the priests to my place. There was time, as you know, when a larger funeral cortege would be seen with a member of the McManus family to their last resting place. The poor fellow was in abject poverty for some years but he received much kindness from some of the Swinford people.

Do you know where his nephew is? He might do something with the dismal looking enclosure of his family burial ground, if only to plaster it in cement…it may be his own last resting place.Dr. your name is familiarly and favourably remembered here with the old people. I wonder if you would not run over to review the scenes of your younger days in Carrawgowan and Bohola generally. You would witness a vast change, but would easily, I am sure, identify scenes so very familiar to you. Do try and come over. We have the train to Kiltimagh and on the other side if Bohola at Ballyvary. I should be so very glad to meet you and entertain you.

It is interesting to note, that two letters written by Rev. O'Grady to Dr. MacDermot in 1898, were posted in Kiltimagh and Swinford, and both arrived in Bath exactly one day later! Such was the efficiency of Her Majesty's Postal Service, which served Ireland at the time.

Dr. Edward Deane MacDermot died in November 1898, and with him died the records of the Deane family. For some time after the Deanes had left Carrawgowan, the house remained unoccupied.

Extract from Bohola: Its history and its people. Reproduced by kind permission of its publishers, Sheridan Memorial Community Centre Committee. Bohola: Its history and its people was published in 1992 under the auspices of Bohola Community Centre Committee which was established in 1988.