Barnish P S and St. Olcan’s PS, Armoy visited the clachan of Coolanlough which is situation on Fairhead, in the townland of Cross. It is near Lough na Crannog. Both schools had Mrs Pat Dennis, a local historian, as their guide. In their own words this is what they learned about the clachan.
“A clachan was a group of small houses or huts made out of mud, clay or rocks with straw on the roof.” (Ruari, St.Olcan’s).
“Each house had one storey with tin or slate roof and are built of stone. They all face east and west. The walls are white-washed or else pebble-dashed. One house has three chimneys, Some of the houses were starting to crumble not all of them were modernised.” (Tara, Barnish PS).
“All the chimneys are at the ends of the houses, not the middle. Outside the houses, stones are placed at the corner. This prevented carts and horses or other types of transport form hitting the corner of house. It was a good idea to put the clachan beside the lough because they could get water and catch fish and sometimes birds.” (Aine, Barnish PS).
“They were Rundale farmers. They had a patch of land at home and a piece of land on the mountain. The mountain was divided into soums. If you had one soum you could keep twenty sheep. A lot of people in the clachans were related. " Danni, St. Olcan’s PS).
“ People had little room in the houses. They had to travel a long distance to the shops, therefore they grew their own vegetables.” (Catherine, Barnish PS).
“They would keep a cow for milk and a pig for meat in the patch of land behind the clachan and their sheep on the mountain. They had hens and banties. The richer people would have had a horse and cart. Seaweed was used to fertilise the land.” (Meghan, St Olcan’s).
Lough na Crannog, by Maírín, Maire, Ann and Emma (Barnish P.S.)