1st January 1837
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A snapshot of pre-famine local history, as described in the "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" by Samuel Lewis, 1837. (The information collected here was submitted by members of the local gentry and clergy of the time).

BALLINROBE, a market and post-town, and a parish, in the baronry of KILMAINE County of MAYO, and province of CONNAUGHT, 14 miles (S. by E.) from Castlebar, and 116.50 miles (W. by N.) from Dublin; containing 8923 inhabitants, of which number, 2604 are in the town.

A monastery for friars of the order of St. Augustine was founded here sometime prior to 1337, in which year it is mentioned in the registry of the Dominican friary of Athenry, under the name of the monastery de Roba.

The town is situated in the river Robe, from which it derives its name, and on the road from Hollymount to Cong; it consists of one principal street, from which two others diverge, and in 1831, contained 441 houses, of which nearly all are well built and slated, and several are of handsome appearance. There are barracks for cavalry and infantry; the former adopted to the accommodation of 8 officers and 106 non-commissioned officers and privates, with stabling for 84 horses; the latter for 6 officers and 96 non-commissioned officers and men, with an hospital for 20 patients. A considerable trade is carried on in corn; and large quantities of wheat and potatoes, the latter of excellent quality are sold in the town. There are a large flour mill, an extensive brewery and malting establishment, and a tanyard, all in full operation. The market is on Monday, and is well supplied with corn and provisions; and fairs are held on Whit Tuesday and the 5th of December, chiefly for sheep and cattle. A chief constabulary police station has been established here. There is a patent for a manorial court, but none is held; petty sessions are held every Monday, and general sessions take place in June and December. The court house is a neat building well adapted to the purpose, and affording also accommodation for the market. The bridewell contains four cells, three day-rooms, and two airing yards, with other requisite accommodation.

The parish which is situated on the loughs Mask and Carra, comprises 13,504 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, of which 7290 are arable, 3888 pasture, 324 woodland, 1120 bog and 882 acres waste land. The land under cultivation has been greatly impoverished by burning and other defective modes of management, and the pastures might be much improved by draining; the system of agriculture, however, is gradually improving. The plantations are mostly on rushy land; and of the waste about 400 acres are a limestone rock. Limestone of very good quality is quarried for building and for agricultural purposes. The surrounding scenery, particularly towards Lough Mask is very pleasing; the mountains of Joyce's country rising in the distance on the west side of the lake, and the east side being embellished with numerous handsome demesnes.

Among the gentlemen's seats are

  • Curramore, the residence of Jeffrey Martin, Esq., pleasantly situated on Lough Mask; and on the same lake,
  • Cuslough House, formerly the seat of Lord Tyrawley, and now of R. Livesey, Esq.; and
  • Creagh, that of J. Cuff, Esq.
  • On Lough Carra is Lakeview, the residence of Mrs. Blake.
  • Robe Villa is the seat of Courtney Kenny, Esq., in the demesne of which, and on the bank of the river, are the remains of the abbey;
  • Lavally House, of R. Fair, Esq.;
  • Springvale, of Henry Joseph Blake, Esq.; and
  • Cluna Castle, the residence of J. Gildea, Esq.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Tuam, and in the patronage of the archbishop; the tithes amount to £480. The church, a neat plain building, was repaired in 1815, towards which the late Board of First Fruits granted a loan of £300: and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have lately granted £251 for its further repair. The glebe-house, a handsome residence was built by aid of a gift of £100 and a loan of £1050 from the late Board; the glebe comprises 10 acres.

The Roman Catholic parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church: the chapel, a large, slated building with a lofty square tower, was erected in 1815 by subscription, towards which the late Lord Tyrawley gave £50 and one acre of land.

There is a place of worship for Baptists.

Two schools in the town are aided by donations from C.N. Knox, Esq., and afford instruction to about 200 children; and there are seven private pay schools in the parish, in which there are about 320 children, and a Sunday school. There is also a dispensary.

Numerous remains of ancient forts may be traced; and on the grounds of Mr. Clendinning and Mr. Rycroft are chalybeate springs.


  • Anyone know how long the Ballinrobe barracks existed till?   There were troops in Castlebar in 1850 I believe; was Ballinrobe barracks closed by then?

    John in Canada

    Johnny Canuck

    Monday 18th September 2023 08:37PM

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