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The Land Commission Migration - Clonbur, Co. Galway to Allenstown, Co. Meath

Martin O'Halloran

Available on

and in good bookshops

Winner of 2nd prize for Local Heritage at Listowel Writers' Festival

The Lost Gaeltacht - book cover
The Story
Meath Chronicle image
the story

In spring, 1940, twenty-four families boarded two buses in Clonbur to make new lives in a new Gaeltacht colony in Meath. 


A living wake took place, the likes of which had not been seen before in Clonbur. Strong men kissed stone walls. They left the lakes, rivers and mountains of the poorest and most congested districts anywhere in Connacht for the lush, fertile lands of Meath. 


Through the resettlement identified by De Valera's government and the Irish Land Commission as 'Gaeltacht Colony Number 5', the migrants would make new homes.


This is their story - of poverty and congestion in rural slums in the west, the selection process by the Land Commission, threats and conflict and opposition, settlement and social integration in Allenstown, their struggle for survival during 'The Emergency’, their triumph and their ongoing relationship with their western homeland, and the death of a Gaeltacht. 

About the author
Author Martin O'Halloran

Martin O'Halloran is from Allenstown, Co. Meath, the son of a migrant family who were resettled there in 1940 by the Irish Land Commission. Irish was the first language of the household.


He was chief executive of the HSA, and holds degrees from Trinity College Dublin and the Universities of London, Surrey and Strathclyde. He has a keen interest in migrations within Ireland, land resettlement and the work of the Irish Land Commission.

The Lost Gaeltacht is his first book.

About the author
Praise for the lost gaeltacht

I was amazed at the amount of information I found in the book.


It was brilliantly written and contained great history from wonderful people.



Praise for The Lost Gaeltacht
In the media

An interview with Martin O'Halloran about The Lost Gaeltacht, the 20th century social context, De Valera's language policy, and the importance of the Irish Land Commission records.

"I am hoping that the department will mark the centenary in August 2023 [100 years from the establishment of the Land Commission] by making sure those records become available more widely to researchers through a proper digitised archive website [...] That would be a dream come true."

Listen to Martin O'Halloran appear on The History Show with Myles Dungan on RTE Radio 1 to discuss Clonbur, Allenstown, the migration and the formation of a new Gaeltacht.

The History Show, RTE Radio One
RTE Radio Player

Sinéad Ní Neachtain of Nuacht TG4 discusses the 1940 Clonbur-Allenstown migration with migrant Maire McCabe & Martin O'Halloran

In the media

Available on and in good bookshops.


  • Alan Hanna's Bookshop, Rathmines

  • Hodges Figgis

  • Kilmainham Gaol


  • Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, Galway

  • Kenny's Bookshop, Galway


  • June's Daybreak, Fordstown

  • A&M Newsagents, Kells

  • The Book Market, Kells

  • Crawford's Newsround, Navan

  • Leahy's Mace (Newgate), Navan

  • Siopa Agus Caife, Ráth Chairn

  • Antonia's Bookshop, Trim

  • Alfco Farm Services Ltd, Trim

  • Maguires Cafe & Gift Shop, Hill of Tara

  • St Ultans Historical Society Inc Bohermeen-Boyerstown-Cortown


  • Martin Murphy's Newsagent, Ballinrobe

  • Mayo Books, Castlebar

  • Rare & Recent Books, Cong

  • Tertulia Books, Westport

Where to buy
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