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

The Ordinance Survey map that was completed in 1869 refers to Claremorris as Clare. The Form Claremorris doesn't appear on a map until about 1868. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 79).

Claremorris was one of the 11 primary market towns in County Mayo in the mid 19th century. It is located in the southwestern part of Kilcolman Civil Parish, Clanmorris Barony, only 13 miles from Castlebar and 6 miles from Hollymount, other notable market towns of that era.

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted in 1856 for Kilcolman Civil Parish, Clare was the obvious hub of economic activity and the largest population center of the parish. There was a Workhouse, a Tolls and Customs of Fairs and Markets, a Roman Catholic Chapel on Chapel Lane, a Church on Church Street, a Schoolhouse and an Education society Schoolhouse, Female and Male National Schoolhouses, a Sessions House, Constabulary Barracks and a force. James D. Browne was the primary Landlord represented in this Town. (Griffith, 1847-1864, Kilcolman). The section on Clare in "A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland," acknowledges that the Wesleyan Methodists had a place of worship in the Town of Claremorris as well (Lewis, 1837;2005, p.336). (Perhaps this is the Church noted on Church Street without a denomination associated with it in the Griffith's Valuation). Slater's National Commercial Directory of Ireland, 1846 describe a "lately established dispensary" as well. (Slater, 1846, p. 116).

According to the book "A Various Country," Sir W. Parsons applied for and obtained a patent for a market and three fairs in 1622 for Claremorris (Togherclare), with seven fairs total by the early 19th century. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p. 86). When the Statistical Survey of Mayo was conducted in 1802, the Town of Clare had a market for grains (McParlan, 1802; 2007, p.37) and fairs were held on May 24 and June 22 (McParlan, 1802, 2007, p. 86). (This is 5 less than noted in the book "A Various Country." When Samuel Lewis conducted his first edition of his renowned "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland," in 1837, he mentioned the Town of Clare as having "...3 additional fairs on August 17, Sept 27 and November 23." (Lewis, 1837; 2005, p. 336).

The following manufacturing industries are listed in a compilation found in Bernard O'Hara's book "Mayo Aspects of its Heritage" as being present in the Town of Claremorris in the 19th-20th century: Matthew Gilligan (Coach Builder) established in 1850 (the earliest manufacturing business listed for this area), Claremorris Bacon Co, Ltd (1930), V Donnellan Timber Mills (1932), M/s Hanley's Bakery/Confectionery (1947), James J Ronayne (Brush Stocks, 1958), M Conroy and Sons (Tubular Steel, 1962), Corbin Manufacturing Co (Leather Goods, 1969), Clare Morris Ltd (Sportswear) 1972, North Connacht Farmers Co-op (Milk Collection, 1973), C. Conradty (Claremorris) Ltd (Carbon Brushes, 1974) and Home Improvements (Ballyglass) Ltd (Aluminum Doors and Windows, 1975). (O'Hara, 1982, p. 231-234).

In Bernard O'Hara's Chronology of Historical Events, he acknowledges that the Claremorris Railway station opened in 1863 and a Convent of Mercy Secondary School opened in Claremorris in 1940. (O'Hara, 1982, p. 302-303).

Claremorris appears to be smaller than some of the other major market towns of the era, but its close proximity to Castlebar and Hollymount and its position within the central corridor appeared to bolster its development.