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

The Town of Hollymount is situated within the Townlands of Hollymount Demesne and Kilrush in the Civil Parish of Kilcommon, Kilmaine Barony according to the Griffith's Valuation that was conducted in 1856 and 1857. Hollymount is a little less than 14 miles from Castlebar one of the premier market towns in County Mayo in the 18th-19th Century. Hollymount was considered a significant market town in the mid 18th century. Sir Thomas Vesey obtained a patent for a market and fairs as early as 1734. (Gillespie; Crawford, 1987, p.88). By the time the Statistical Survey of County Mayo was conducted in 1802, Hollymount was only noted as having two fairs, one on May 17 and one on December 11. (McParlan, 1802, p. 48,51). The History of Mayo by J.F. Quinn acknowledges Hollymount's reputation for a superior "Livestock Show." (Quinn, 1996, Volume 2, Chapter 27, p.309).

The portion of the Town of Hollymount that is within the Townland of Kilrush appears to be the hub of commerce for Kilcommon Civil Parish. According to the Griffith's Valuation for this Civil Parish there was a Market House and Tolls of Fairs and Crane, a Constabulary Barrack, Court House and a Dispensary. There were no documented mills or other signs of commerce that I noted. (Griffith; Kilcommon, 2003)

The Statistical Survey of County Mayo mentions two landlords specifically associated with Hollymount when the 1802 survey was conducted, Christopher Bowen and Thomas Lyndsey (resident landlords of Hollymount). (McParlan, 1802, p. 105). The landlord Lord Lucan; however, is the one that comes to mind when one researches the wide-spread evictions that took place at an earlier time not only around Castlebar but around the Hollymount area as well. The Book History of Mayo by J.F. Quinn describes the treatment of his tenants in the Hollymount area in great detail: "Lucan and other landlords evicted tenants wholesale at Cloonagashel and Hollymount to make bullock runs and tillage farms for Scotchmen." (Quinn, 1996, Volume 2, Chapter 26, p.287). The following notation describes how some of the more unscrupulous landlords in the Hollymount area looked upon their tenants that they did allow on their demesnes, and how they felt they could best be utilized:

"This section of the parish of Kilcommon was the home of landlordism. The serfs were tolerated only on the boggy and marshy verges of the demesnes. They were necessary to keep the swamps drained, the cut-a-away bog reclaimed and tilled, to keep down the rushes, and heather." (Quinn, 1996, Volume 2, Chapter 27, p. 308).

When the Griffith's Valuation was conducted between 1856 and 1857, Thomas S. Lindsay, David Ruttledge, Benjamin Jennings, James Lynch, Charles Blake, Lord Clanmorris and the Marquess of Sligo were the most frequently represented landlords. I referred to John Grenham's wonderful book "Tracing Your Irish Ancestors" to see what he had listed as available estate records for Kilcommon Civil Parish. He mentioned the following Estate records that include townlands in Kilcommon Civil Parish (where Hollymount is located): Col. John Brown, Lord Clanmorris and Thomas Medlicott. If you find your ancestor in Griffith's Valuation listing one of these landlords, it probably would be worth checking out these resources. (Grenham, 2006, p.302).