In Ireland, commonage is land that is owned by more than one person. Typically each shareholder owns a defined fraction of the total area and this is detailed on each shareholders folios. It should not be confused with the term “tenants in common”, which is where the land described on a folio belongs to two or more persons. This may happen where land is inherited jointly by siblings or where land is purchased by two or more people. Land held by “tenants in common” is not normally considered as commonage.
Another situation is in respect of lands where there are “grazing rights”. These do not involve any ownership of the land but as the name suggests give a right to graze livestock on the area involved.
Over the years the shareholders on many commonages have decided to “stripe” or split their commonage between them. In spite of this approx 426,000 Ha of commonage remain. Over 11,000 farms have a shareholding in one or more of the approx 4,500 remaining commonages.