A view from the old village of Mochara,
 Shrule Parish, 
County Mayo, Ireland

Mathias Langan
Photos of Shrule Village
The Byrne House
The Byrne Tombstone in Shrule Graveyard
Photos of Shrule Village

Mocorha, Shrule Parish, County Mayo

Home of the Byrnes and the Birthplace of Martin and Maggie Langan

The spelling of the name is different in almost every record. Current maps list it as Mocorha. I am not changing all of the ways it has been spelled in the following records. They are as I orignally found them.

Byrne records are connected to Mohorra from the earliest parish records to the 1911 census. There are still Byrnes in Mohorra today.

Both Martin and Maggie Langan were born in Mohorra.

Mohorra (with its multiple spellings) is a townland of 603 acres in the parish of Shrule, County Mayo. The pre-famine population was considerably higher than the subsequent population.

Sites of Archeological interest in the area include: a castle ruin or tower house, a standing stone and a holy well, called Tubersharve.

In 1841 there were 330 people, in 1851 there were 159, and in 1911 there were 95. In recent years there has been a growth in the population.

The Griffith Tax Valuation and the 1901 and 1911 Censuses indicate that there were 16 to 18 occupied dwellings in post-famine Mohorra. The 1900 Ordnance survey map shows that there was a cluster of dwellings near the castle ruins and other dwellings spread out along the roads of the townland.

Ruins of Mochara Castle

Mochara Castle, according to the Lough Mask and Lough Carra Tourist Development Association was a "tower house". In their 1989-1992 survey they listed it as:

"Rectangular tower (12.3 meters North by South, 10.1 meters East by West, on North facing slope, in pasture. Ground floor survives; filled with rubble and roofed by poor remains of vaulted ceiling. Ground floor divided into two rooms, the smaller one on the South end. Part of splayed window in an arched recess on external face of West wall. Owned by Brian boy Mac Donnell in 1574."

It sits on the highest piece of land in the area. The "castle" was mainly used for observation and defense purposes. Most of the surrounding countryside could be seen from the top of the castle. If it looked like trouble was coming, people and animals hurried inside the protective walls.

Photos taken by Maggie Blanck June 2000.

The approach to the castle.
Photo by Ed Land, March 2005

Photo by Ed Land, March 2005

Photo by Ed Land, March 2005

Photo by Ed Land, March 2005

View from the castle
Photo by Ed Land, March 2005

Photo by Ed Land, March 2005

Remains Of Some Of The Cottages Near The Castle

Photos taken by Maggie Blanck June 2000.

Photo collection Maggie Land Blanck, 2004

Photo collection Maggie Land Blanck, 2004

Photo collection Maggie Land Blanck, 2004

Views From Near the Castle

Photos taken by Maggie Blanck June 2000.

Photo collection Maggie Land Blanck, 2004

Information from Pat Frost, Mocohra, Ireland

The following was taken from emails from Pat Frost who lives in Mocohra:

February 10, 2003

"Two of the local houses, mine and our neighbors were built with stone from the castle when it fell into disrepair and our houses range in age between 120yrs and 90 years old, as per our land registry documentation that we receive when we purchase our houses. The other house in the group of three is roughly about 50/60 yrs old and was built by the gentleman who lives in it at present.
February 11, 2003
One of the traditions in Mayo is that to celebrate the wedding that your neighbours light a bonfire by the roadside near each of their homes and our neighbours honoured us with this on our special day. The day you speak of on the site that the bonfire is lit on the castle is really only celebrated in this way in Connaught. In Munster (where co.clare is) we don't celebrate in this way at all. Your ancestors would have had the bonfires lit for their weddings, although the reception would have been in the homes of the bride.
As I sit and write this email, I can look out my window and see the ruins that your ancestors owned, literally over the wall, and all the birds are coming down to eat the seeds I've left out. It is very peaceful here and the wildlife is plentiful. We have a pheasant living at the top of our garden, a female fox (vixen) sometimes comes and sits in the sun in that area as well, watching her cubs playing in the sunlight and the swans come home to raise a new family every year in the little pond just down from the house. This pond is where all the families used to keep geese, bringing them home every night to protect from fox attack. Our neighbour kept geese until 30 years ago when a fox attack finally put paid to his attempts to keep up the tradition.
Another translation of Mocohra is actually "place of stones", coming from Mo carraig. When the english were here they often changed the original irish name and spelling to the nearest anglicized version, and some of the true meanings were lost in the translation.
March 15, 2003
My house that I live in belonged (in a smaller state, probably cottage) to John Varley (Varilly) of the 1856 Tax census. One of his sons James the seargent of the 1901 census then took over the house and lived here until his death, where his wife remained until one of her sons also James took over the property and land. His daughter and spinster was the last Varley to own this house up to 1986, when due to her death it was left to her cousin, whom we bought it off. So our house is one of the original Mocohra village houses that your ancestors would have know (albeit in a single story form).

One of John Varley's other sons, is the father of our neighbour, and he lived and built the house that now stands there just across the road.

Several family emigrated in the years 1856 - 1896, some to America, some to Australia. My neighbour and I hope to get together with pen and paper and trace who went where and when. There were several ruins of houses that you missed that lie in the surrounding fields, that the villagers of Mocohra dwelled in.

February Sunset in Mochara, 2003

Photo by Pat Frost, Mochara Ireland

Fieldmouse, 2003

Photo by Pat Frost, Mochara Ireland

Mid summer bonfire Mohorra 2004. Photo by Pat Frost, Mochara Ireland

Moharra Castle 2014 Photo from Sarah Lynn Morton

To see photos of the Byrne cottage in Mohorra, Shrule Parish, click on the cottage.

To see photos of the Byrne Tombstone in Shrule Parish, click on the tombstone.


www.shrule.com is one of the best Irish genealogical sites on the internet.

Mochara a survey from the 1901 and 1911 Censuses and the Griffith Tax Valuation

Photos of Mochara

Penelope Byrne the wife of Mathias Langan, born in Mochara in 1836

Maggie Langan Walsh , born in Mochara in 1875

Mathias Langan , the husband of Penelope Byrne, and the father of Maggie Langan.

The Townland of Mochara, some tidbits.

Families from Mocorha

If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com


Emigration from Ireland

Other Photos of the West of Ireland
Photos of Castlebar
Old Images of Ballinrobe
Photos of Shrule