Firstly, as noted in earlier blog posts, Beagh Civil parish is shared across two District Electoral Divisions (D.E.D.), namely that of Ardamullivan, and that of Beagh. A D.E.D. is a former name given to a low-level territorial division in Ireland, which, in 1994, were renamed as Electoral Divisions. Essentially, these administrative districts are used both for means of measuring the population in census records, and population votes during elections. The difficulty here is that some townlands not within Beagh civil parish (e.g. in Gort Civil Parish and Kilbeacanty Civil Parish) are included in these DEDs, and the public information on which this article is based does not allow a breakdown of the figures by townland - the DED is the smallest division you can analyze on the CSO (Central Statistics Office) website. As such, this should be remembered when reading this article, as both DEDs have been combined in order to evaluate population decline in the parish. It should also be remembered that the town of Gort borders the northern half of the parish, which no doubt has a big influence on the figures (particularly in more recent times as the town of Gort has expanded further South and encroaches Beagh).
The second difficulty in this blog post is the lack of accurate data detailing the devastating consequences of the Great Famine in the parish. The Roman Catholic church records begin too late (about 1855) to be of use when examining the Great Famine era in the parish, and civil registration in the country (for Roman Catholics at least) did not begin until 1864, almost 20 years after the Famine. We instead have to rely on statistics compiled from the 1841 and 1851 Census records (the original census records were pulped during a paper shortage in the UK during WWI), but this too has its limitations. With the Famine beginning about 1845, the population loss was undoubtedly higher than the official figures below reflect - we have no way of knowing what the actual population of the parish was when the Great Hunger hit the West coast.