One of the more interesting aspects of the 1901 and 1911 census returns is the additional information that it gives us about the physical environment that our ancestors lived in via the recording, not only of the buildings that people lived in, but information on all the out houses, outbuildings, sheds and storerooms that accompanied these homes. This additional info tells us about how these people lived on a day to day basis.
For instance, according to the 1911 census of the District Electoral Division of Blarney, there was 381 houses in total, and that there was nearly 686 outbuildings, so that is nearly two outhouses/outbuildings for each house. The terraced housing in Blarney village, Mangerton Terrace, Millstream Row, Shamrock Terrace etc. did not have any form of stables, these were all more “rural” and these houses, in the main, didn’t have any sort of cow or fowl houses, potato stores. The houses which were in town lands more rural that the village itself show us how they survived for food – cow and calf houses for milk and cheese, fowl houses to house chickens, stores for turf to throw on the fire and sheds for agricultural equipment storage.
The same information for Ballincollig is also quite interesting, while there is only about seventy more houses in the DED of Ballincolling compared to Blarney there is twice as many stables. The town of Ballincollig and Carrigrohane have the highest number of stables, twenty-six and twenty-seven. The townland of Carrigrohane has a high volume of out buildings which is supported by the types of occupations that the residents of the ninety-three houses had, most are involved in some sort of farming or agricultural labour.
Looking at the figures it seems that both in Ballincollig and Blarney that a third of houses had their own fowl-house which would imply that they raised their own chickens and had their own eggs. Most houses had either a turf house or a shed and it will raise a smile to see that there was twelve piggery’s in the Square in Blarney – they won’t be seen there today!
As far as I can tell a boiling house was used to boil potaote but I am a bit unsure of this – in Jamica and the plantations boiling houses were used to boil sugar canes to reduce to sugar so not quite the same as in Ireland.
A number of the larger first class houses had outlying buildings you would normally associate with the Big House. One of these is a coach house which is an outbuilding which was originally built to house horse-drawn carriages and the related tack.
In the DED of Ballincollig it is unsurprising that the townland with the most coach-houses, was Ballincollig. In 1911 there was twenty coach houses and eighteen harness rooms, all of these
Ballygibbon in Blarney had ten stables, each of the houses which was let out by the landlord Dev Smyth, had a corresponding stable.
Blarney Castle had three stables on the estate grounds, and a large farm in Curranglacht which was let by Sir George Colthurst also had three stables. Today the stables in Blarney Castle have been restored and currently host a cafe for visitors.
There was four stables in Kilnamucky and the remains of the stables in the Hydro today are in a very sorry state.
Of the nearly two thousand outhouses recorded over a hundred years ago it would be interesting to see how many are still standing today having stood the test of time.