Dating in enniskillen

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Medieval Cavan though lay on the border of that part of Ireland closest to Dublin which had remained under English authority since the invasion of 1169.

By the mid-fifteenth century, this truncated zone of control suffered a chronic shortage of raw materials like wood, hides, timber and fresh-water fish vital both for survival and day-to-day commercial activity.

The blue-flowered plants were then processed into linen cloth using a labour-intensive process carried out in the locality.

The finished cloth might even be bleached in the vicinity of its production.

Cavan town was unique; no other urban centre grew up in the county, though one probably existed at Granard.

Plantation towns The territories held by Eoghan O Raghallaigh’s descendants were confiscated by the English crown in the early seventeenth century.

So the 1750s and 1760s witnessed a flurry of “patrimonial” foundations, usually attested by royal charters granting market rights.

Amongst the towns dating from this period are Kilnaleck, Arvagh, Kingscourt and Mountnugent.

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Urban areas, being novelties to most native Irish (though not to Cavan people) would act as beacons of civilised behaviour in the midst of barbarian darkness.

New foundations in the late seventeenth century included Ballyconnell and Redhills.

The eighteenth century – a time of urban growth The century leading to the Act of Union of 1800 was a golden age for Cavan’s economy. The first of these was the creation of a system of roads for use by coaches or foot-soldiers.

These joined existing market-places, and public money was forthcoming to private developers and landlords if they wanted to build roads to newly-established towns.

These could bring in more money to landlords through market tolls and increased prosperity.

Flax processing certainly required many hands, but in the late eighteenth century human beings were not in short supply in Cavan or anywhere else in Ireland.

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