Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, Ireland - History 1

Photo:Outward Bound by Nichol, Erskine 1825-1904, artist.

Outward Bound by Nichol, Erskine 1825-1904, artist.

National Library of Ireland

A contribution on Ballinrobe history

By A Donor

The Town of Ballinrobe was one of County Mayo's major market Towns of the 19th Century.

Ballinrobe is incorporated into seven different Townlands: Ballinrobe Demesne, Carrownalecka, Cornaroya, Friarsquarter West, Knockfereen, Knockanotish and Rathkelly in Ballinrobe Civil Parish, Kilmaine Barony.

The Town of Ballinrobe is located on the River Robe between the Towns of Hollymount and Cong, and is only 14 miles from Castlebar and 19 mile from Westport, two other major market Towns.

Thomas Nolan applied for and obtained a patent for a market and fairs in 1605. Crawford in "A Various Country - Essays in Mayo History 1500-1900" described Ballinrobe as being "clearly the fourth town in the county." (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 84, 81).

When the Statistical Survey of County Mayo was conducted in 1802, the Town of Ballinrobe was listed as having a market for grain and for cattle.  The only fair dates listed in this resource for Ballinrobe was on June 7th and Dec. 6th. (McParlan, 1802; 2007, p. 38, 47-51).

Samuel Lewis goes on further in "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" to mention that Ballinrobe had a significant trade in wheat, corn and potatoes.   He also mentioned a large Flour Mill, extensive Brewery, Malting Establishment and a Tan yard..."The fairs according to him were primarily for sheep and cattle”. (Lewis, 1837, -  2005, p. 116).

Ballinrobe did not appear in the Connaught section of Pigot's Commercial Directory of Ireland in 1824, but it was a significant enough Market Town to appear in Slater's National Commercial Directory of Ireland by 1846.

The following parcels of interest were noted in the town of Ballinrobe in each of the seven Townlands:

1.      Ballinrobe Demesne had a Corn Mill, Herd's House, and an Board of Ordinance Cavalry Barracks,

2.      Carrownalecka had a Guardians of Ballinrobe Union Fever Hospital and there was a Graveyard.

3.      The Town of Ballinrobe itself had a forge, Roman Catholic Chapel and ruins.

4.      Knockanotish had a Flour Mill and Friarsquarter West had a Forge, Police Barracks, Ruins, Corn Mill, a Constabulary Barrack and a Graveyard.

5.      Cornaroya was by far the largest of the seven and had the following: A Market and Court House, Board of Public Works, a Roman Catholic Chapel being constructed, a Church Mission Society Schoolhouse, the Guardians of Ballinrobe Union Dispensary, pound, Brewery, an unfinished Mill, the Sisters of Mercy had a Convent/ Chapel, and there was a Board of Education National Schoolhouse.

6.      Knockfereen had a Corn-Kiln, Board of Guardians of Ballinrobe Union Workhouse, the Grand Jury of County Mayo Bridewell, forge and the Tolls and Customs of the Town of Ballinrobe.

7.      Rathkelly portion of the Town of Ballinrobe had an Infantry Barracks and Ordinance Ground and the Board of Ordinance had a Plantation. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ballinrobe).

There were many different landlords represented in the Town of Ballinrobe, but Colonel Charles Knox was probably the most prevalent, followed by Courtney Kenny, Alexander C Lambert, Eleanor M Courtney and Reverend James Anderson. According to De Burgh's documentation of Landlord holdings in "Landowners of Ireland 1878," Capt. Charles Knox of Ballinrobe, County Mayo held 24,374 acres in County Mayo and held 446 in County Donegal as well. (De Burgh, 1878; 2007, p. 254)


This page was added by Jane Tester on 03/06/2011.