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A look at Ballyhaunis in the 1840s

Ballyhaunis is a charming market town nestled within the union of Castlerea, primarily in the Annagh parish and partially in the Becan parish, in the Costello barony, Mayo county, in the Connaught province. This town is located about 9 miles west-northwest of Dublin, positioned strategically on the road linking Castlerea and Castlebar, and is home to around 353 residents.

The town holds a significant historical note for being the site of a monastery founded for the Augustinian friars. This establishment was generously endowed by the Nangle family, which later adopted the name Costello. The monastery thrived until the reign of King James I and was revived during the 1641 insurrection by friars of the same order.

Today, the remaining vestiges of the monastery are limited to the walls of the church with its two small wings, bound together by arches. Where the monastic buildings once stood, there now exists a contemporary house, inhabited by Augustinian friars, thereby continuing the town’s religious heritage.

Ballyhaunis springs to life every Tuesday for its market day, and four times a year, it holds fairs on June 1st, July 2nd, September 22nd, and October 29th. These fairs primarily cater to the trade of horses and cattle, stimulating the town’s economy and offering a vibrant community experience.

The town is equipped with a constabulary police station, ensuring the safety and peace of its residents. Communication services are facilitated through a letter-receiver, which connects with Clare and Frenchpark, adding convenience for the town’s residents. Ballyhaunis, with its rich history and vibrant community life, indeed offers a unique slice of Irish life.

Adapted from: Lewis – A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland
Photo from: The Lawrence Collection

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