BALLINTOBBER, a parish, in the barony of CARRA, county of MAYO, and province of CONNAUGHT, 8 miles (N. N. W.) from Ballinrobe; containing 6212 inhabitants.
This parish, the name of which signifies in the Irish language the "town of the well" probably derived that appellation from a spring which descends from a natural arch in a rock, with such force as to act like a shower bath, and near which is no other stream whatever.
- Cathal O'Conogher, King of Connaught, in 1216, founded an abbey here for Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine, which he dedicated to the Holy Trinity;
- it was burned in 1263, but was restored, and continued to flourish till the dissolution;
- in 1605 a lease of it was granted in reversion for 50 years to Sir John King, Knt.
- This abbey is said to have been erected on the site of an ancient castle, in which were buried the former lords of Mayo; and part of its remains are now converted into a Roman Catholic chapel.
- The buildings appear to have been truly magnificent, and many of the ruined portions are still entire in their principal features; though the principal tower has fallen, the lofty arch on which it was supported is still remaining, and nearly 50 feet high; the doorway is a beautiful specimen of the pointed receding arch, supported on each side by a range of five columns.
The parish is situated on the road from Castlebar to Ballinrobe. There is a wide extent of mountain, exclusively of which the land is nearly equally divided between arable and pasture; and there is a considerable tract of wood and flooded lands.
The living is a rectory; in the diocese of Tuam, entirely appropriate to the vicars choral of the cathedral of Christ Church, Dublin;
- the tithes amount to £240.
In the Roman Catholic divisions the parish is united to those of Burriscarra and Towaghty: the chapel is at Killavalla.
There are three daily pay schools, in which are about 170 boys and 40 girls.
SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)
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