chapter  7
15 Pages

Morphology of transhumant settlements in post-medieval South Connemara

A case study in adaptation
ByEugene Costello

This chapter outlines the results of interdisciplinary research into small-scale transhumance in the Carna peninsula of South Connemara, as practised during its last phase in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In an effort to improve the understanding of one important aspect of past Irish farming the chapter provides the stage to the seasonal settlements of transhumant farmers. The Carna peninsula is a fairly constrained space in terms of farming and possibilities for sustaining a substantial population. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Browne describes how small tenant farmers on Maínis and Máisean islands, as well as parts of the coast of Carna, sent dairy cows 8–9.5 km inland every summer and autumn, where they were looked after by watchers who sheltered in "boolies". Existing field evidence makes it clear that houses in transhumant settlements do not fit into the same architectural tradition as late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century farmhouses in permanent settlements.