Ballaghaderreen, County Mayo Ireland: A Description of its Development and Characteristics

Ballaghaderreen (Ballaghadireen) was one of 11 major market towns in County Mayo in the mid 19th Century. It was part of Kilcolman Civil Parish, Costello Barony, in County Mayo, Ireland when Samuel Lewis wrote his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland in 1837 and still was when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted for Kilcolman Civil Parish in the 1850's. Up until 1898 Ballaghaderreen and Kilcolman Civil Parish was part of County Mayo; however "Under the Local Government Act of 1898 the divisions of Ballaghaderreen and Edmondstown were... transferred from Mayo to Roscommon." (Quinn, 1996, Volume 4, Chapter 1, p. 7).

Ballaghaderreen became an important market town in the late 18th Century. According to the Book "A Various Country, Essays in Mayo History," Viscount Dillon applied for and obtained a patent in 1786 to hold 8 fairs. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 84). This number had dropped to 7 by the time the Statistical Survey of Mayo was conducted in 1802. According to this survey fairs were held on February 2, May 1, June 24, August 2, September 8, November 1 and December 22. (McParlan, 1802, p. 47-51). There were two other facts that I found to be of interest regarding Ballaghaderreen in this survey: Balladerrin (as it was spelled in the survey) had a market for grain, and it had one of only two dairies in the county at the time. A Mr. Plunkett owned the dairy.

The Town of Ballaghaderreen (part of the Townland of Ballaghaderreen) was clearly the hub of economic activity in Kilcolman Civil Parish, Costello Barony when the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856. The Townland of Ballaghaderreen had several plantations, as did several other Townlands in Kilcolman Civil Parish. Ballaghaderreen also had a Petty Sessions House and Market House on Market Street, a Constabulary Barracks and Revenue Police Barracks on Longford Road, a Dispensary operated by the Board of Guardians of Swineford Union and a pound on Pound Street and Creanage Tolls and a Board of Ordinance Military Barracks on Chapel Lane.

The Congested Districts Board was created in 1891. They focused on the more impoverished parts of Ireland and their goal was to consolidate land and ease congestion. (Edwards, 2005, p.186). According to the book "Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape," "The Congested Districts Board Received the 32,000 hectare Dillon Estate at Ballaghaderreen on the Mayo-Roscommon border." (Aalen, 1997, p.94).

Many landlords recognized the value of developing a strong market town such as Ballaghaderreen to enhance the growth and prosperity of their estates.