The Crown Estate of Castlemaine was situated in the Parish of Kiltallagh, on the river Maine, a short distance from Castlemaine Harbour. The estate was known as the Constables Acres. It consisted in 1839 of nine acres, a fishing weir and a village of ‘thirty one thatched cabbins of the poorest description’ and one small slate house. In 1839, three of the houses were occupied by publicans, two by tradesmen and the rest by labourers. The village was in a ‘reduced state’ and no rent had been paid by the tenants since 1835. By the 31 March 1841, all but three of the properties had been recovered and put under the management of the Commissioners of Woods. Despite the erection of a quay, schoolhouse and some dwellings, the tenant’s lot did not improve, due to the lack of employment and scarcity of food. At this point the Commissioners decided to include Castlemaine in its State aided emigration scheme,
There were at least three separate departures from the estate but despite an intensive search for the second and largest party, this list has never been found.
The first party of emigrants left in the autumn of 1848, only the names of heads of families are recorded and twelve persons emigrated at a cost of £72. 3s.11d.
A further scheme was proposed in June 1849 and as far as can be discovered, in the absence of the official list, at least thirteen families of sixty three individuals left, at a cost of £279. 7s.1d. This party then joined those who were being ‘emigrated’ from Kingwilliamstown (now Ballydesmond) and they sailed on the Columbus from Liverpool for New York on 7 September 1849 ‘at the same charge as those who left from Kingwilliamstown.
The food supplied to each adult was:The third party of eight left Cork on 20 September 1851 on the same day as nineteen emigrants from Kingwilliamstown, at a cost of £42. 3s. 2d. In the absence of the records of the sixty three people, we have only twenty two names.
The total cost of the entire emigration project for Castlemaine was £393. 4s. 2d.
Reference: ‘State-Aided Emigration Schemes from Crown Estates in Ireland’ c. 1850. Author: Elish Ellis. Source: Analecta Hibernica, No.22 (1960), pp.328, 331-394. Author(s): Eilish Ellis. Published by: The Irish Manuscripts Commission Ltd.