Ballinrobe Civil Parish Characteristics, County Mayo, Ireland

Ballinrobe Civil Parish appears to fall within Kilmaine Barony. According to the General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland, it also appears to be within Ross Barony in County Galway. There are 72 Townlands in Ballinrobe Civil Parish, County Mayo including the islands in Lough Carra and Loughmask. There are 10 Townlands in County Galway also included in this Civil Parish. They are Barnahowna, Churchfield Lower and Upper, Garranagerra, Gortmore, Mreenaun, Killateeaun, Lettereeneen, Tonaglanna and Trean. This portion of Ballinrobe Civil Parish that was in County Galway was later transferred to County Mayo in 1898. This parish can be a bit confusing to analyze in that the Town of Ballinrobe is incorporated into 7 different Townlands: Carrownalecka, Rathkelly, Knockanotish, Cornaroya, Ballinrobe Demesne, Knockfereen and Friarsquarter West. They are all very centrally located in this Civil Parish. Ballinrobe Civil Parish is part of Ballinrobe Catholic Parish. Parish records available for Ballinrobe cover the years 1848-1911.

When the Statistical Survey of County Mayo was conducted in 1802, the Town of Ballinrobe was listed as having a market for grain and for cattle. The only fair dates that I saw listed in this resource for Ballinrobe was on June 7 and December 6. (McParlan, 1802;2007, p. 38, 47-51). Samuel Lewis goes on further in "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" to mention that Ballinrobe had a significant trade in wheat, corn and potatoes. He also mentioned a large Flour Mill, extensive Brewery, Malting Establishment and a Tan yard..." The fairs according to him were primarily for sheep and cattle. (Lewis, 1837;2005, p. 116). As early as 1791 Ballinrobe was listed as having a "good hotel, two sessions of the assizes and military barracks..." (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 75).

Cornroya, one of the larger sections of Ballinrobe has a Roman Catholic Chapel, a Market and Court House and a Church Mission Society Schoolhouse on Market Street. There was a Board of Education National Schoolhouse on "The Common", and a Guardians of Ballinrobe Dispensary on "Weaver's Row". There was an unfinished mill and a Brewery on Bridget Street and a Pound on the Common. Caranalecka, another large section of Ballinrobe proper had a Roman Catholic Chapel on Chapel Road, a clerk's house, forge, a Fever Hospital and a Graveyard. Friarsquarter West, also part of the town of Ballinrobe had the Constabulary Barracks, Police Barracks, forge, graveyard and a corn mill. The River Robe ran through this area. Knockferreen was the site of the Union Workhouse of the Board of Guardians of Ballinrobe Union, and the Grand Jury of County Mayo Bridewell. There was also a Forge and a Tolls and Customs of the Town of Ballinrobe in this portion of the Town of Ballinrobe. The Townland of Ballinrobe Demesne housing another section of the Town of Ballinrobe had a Corn Mill, Herd's House, Board of Ordinancy Cavalry Barracks. Knockanotish only had a Flour Mill listed. Finally the section of the Town of Ballinrobe in Rathkelly had an Infantry Barracks and Ordinance Ground and the Board of Ordinance had a plantation. I have created a page specifically on the Town of Ballinrobe in my County Mayo Market Town section. The seven Townlands listed above that form the town of Ballinrobe are fairly large and have numerous different Landlords. Colonel Charles Knox is far and away the primary Landlord in this Civil Parish in County mayo. Mary Louisa Cuffe, Courtney Kenny and the Earl of Lucan are also heavily represented in Ballinrobe Civil Parish. Courtney Kenny who is frequently designated as a landlord in this Civil Parish also has a plantation in Rathkelly, a Townland that houses infantry barracks. Other commercial activity of interest in Ballinrobe Civil Parish could be found in the following Townlands: Cloonagashel had a Turbary as did Levally and Liskilleen and the Townland of Springvale had an old Bleach Mill and a Corn Mill. There were Herd's Houses present in the Townlands of Cavan, Cuslough Demesne and Killosheheen, Orchards in the Townlands of Creagh Demesne and Lissanisky, and a plantation in the Townland of Rathnaguppaun. (Griffith, 1847-1864; 2003, Ballinrobe).

In Land and Popular Politics in Ireland by Donald E Jordan, Junior it was documented that the "Earl of Lucan who held more than 60,000 acres in Mayo evicted large numbers of poor tenants starting in 1848. He evicted 2000 and destroyed their homes in Ballinrobe Parish."(Jordan, 1994, p. 112-113).

In the Book "History of Mayo," it was acknowledged that the Knox's weren't particulary bad landlords. At least they weren't all like the Earl of Lucan! The section of this book on Ballinrobe parish described the difficulty of being a parish priest in this district. Father Duffy, in penal times had to be disguised and frequently change his residence to avoid capture and prosecution for he had a "price on his head." (Quinn, Volume 2, Chapter 28, p. 361).

The Earl of Lucan (a.k.a. George Charles Bingham) had over 60,000 acres in County Mayo and land in Donegal and Dublin as well when De Burgh compiled the "Landowners of Ireland" in 1878, and Col. Charles Knox who resided in Ballinrobe had over 24,000 acres in County Mayo and land in Donegal too. (De Burgh, 1878; 2007, p. 280-281, 254).

Bernard O'Hara has a great compilation of the Manufacturing Industries of County Mayo since 1829. The earliest Manufacturing Industry listed for Ballinrobe was P. J. Sweeny's Furniture Company, T. Dunleavy's Furniture Company and Western Pride Bakery in 1955. The following industries were listed for Ballinrobe beyond that date: North Connacht Farmers Co-op, a Milk Separating Company was founded in 1965, J. Murphy and Sons, a Trailer and Body Builder Company in 1970, Gentrad Ltd a General Engineering Firm in 1978, J. J. Moran and Sons Ltd, a Saw Milling Company in 1978, Eurosil Ltd a Silicone Rubber Hose Company in 1979, Irish Gripper Ltd a Carpet Gripper Company in 1979 and John Morley a Agriculture Engineering Firm was founded in 1979. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 231-234).

Ballinrobe Civil Parish saw a population drop like most other Civil Parishes in County Mayo during and after the famine years. In 1841 the population of Ballinrobe Civil Parish was 10,115. This number had dropped to 9,326 by 1851 and was down further to 4,651 by the year 1911. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 7).