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.

NEWPORT, or NEWPORT-PRATT, a market and post-town, in the parish and barony of BURRISHOOLE, county of MAYO, and province of CONNAUGHT, 5 ½ miles (N. by W.) from Westport (to which it has a sub-post-office), and 139 ¾ (W. by N.) from Dublin; containing 1235 inhabitants.

This town, which is situated at the extremity of Clew bay, was the original port of discharge for the county of Mayo; it is intersected by a fine river, which rises in Lough Beltra and falls into the bay; the river Burrishoole also flows through the parish, and both abound with excellent salmon, for taking which weirs are placed about half a mile above the town.

  • It consists of one principal street and several others and contains about 230 houses, some of which are well built and of neat appearance. The trade, formerly very extensive, has, from the difficulty of communication with the interior, been in a great measure transferred to Westport, and at present consists principally in the export of grain, of which, on an average, 1000 tons are annually shipped to England.
  • The pier was erected at the expense of Sir R. A. O'Donel and some of the merchants of the town; the quays are extensive and commodious, and accessible to vessels of 200 tons' burden, which can be moored in safety alongside and take in or deliver their cargoes at all times of the tide, and within a few hundred yards may lie at anchor in perfect security.
  • The channel is safe, and the harbour very commodious: the entrance into the bay, which is called Clew, Newport, or Westport bay, is spacious and direct; and within it are numerous islets and rocks, between which, on each side, are several good roadsteads, capable of accommodating large vessels, with good anchorage in from two to six fathoms.
  • The market is on Tuesday; and fairs are held on June 8th, Aug. 1st, Nov. 11th, and Dec. 20th.
  • A chief constabulary police force is stationed in the town; petty sessions are held every Tuesday, and a manorial court on the first Wednesday in every month.
  • The court-house, in which the sessions are held, is a small neat building.

The parish church and a Roman Catholic chapel are situated in the town.

In the vicinity is Newport House, the seat of Sir Richard Annesley O'Donel, Bart.

Three miles distant, on the seashore, is Rockfleet Castle, a small square fortress, said to have been built by Grana-Uile, better known as Grace O'Malley, and celebrated for her maritime exploits; and about a mile to the south-east of the town is Carrickaneady, one of the castles said to have been built by the Burkes.

SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)

READ MORE 1837 Lewis' Parish Reports


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