Errew meaning 'Arable Land', is situated about 5 miles outside of Castlebar and very close to the 1798 Frenchill Monument.
The construction of Errew Monastery started on Tuesday 20th July 1840 with the first stone laid by James Hardiman. It was to be a Franciscan monastery. The building was completed in October 1841 with the school at Errew opening on Monday 11th November 1842. According to the Freeman’s Journal, the school was ‘thronged with hundreds of poor children of the neighbourhood.’ Farming and other activities took place at Errew and it was hoped that it would become self-sustaining. This was achievable before the potato crop failed in the summer of 1845. With that failure, the monastery found it could not support the hundreds of children that came to the monastery. It received charitable donations from the community but unfortunately many continued to die from starvation.
The monastery also had a classical school. This was mainly for training priests and teachers.
The boys' school closed in 1975 while the church in the monastery remained open until 1981.