|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
Baile an Róba
|Elevation||45 m (148 ft)|
|Time zone||WET (UTC+0)|
|• Summer (DST)||IST (WEST) (UTC-1)|
|Irish Grid Reference||M188643|
Ballinrobe (Irish: Baile an Róba, meaning "town of the (river) Robe") is a town in County Mayo, Ireland. Ballinrobe is located on the River Robe, which empties into Lough Mask two kilometres to the west. The population of Ballinrobe in the 2011 Census was 3,682.
Dating back to 1390, Ballinrobe is said to be the oldest town in Mayo. The registry of the Dominican friary of Athenry mentions the monastery de Roba, an Augustinian friary whose recently restored ruins are one of the historical landmarks of the town today. The District Courtroom is housed in the old Market House, a marketing center for local produce established in 1752.
Its development into an important economic centre in south west Mayo was due to a Royal Patent granted to the people of Ballinrobe on December 6, 1606 by King James. This Patent allowed the town to hold fairs and markets. It was necessary to obtain the approval of the king to hold a market or fair in any town in Ireland or England. Obtaining a market charter was an important step in the economic development of a town and required having a spokesperson who was in the king's favour.
Once a market charter was obtained, it virtually assured that the town would become the largest and most important in the area. In addition to the exchange of money and goods the market brought, it also increased the local economy because all the people travelling to market from any distance needed a place to stay and food to eat. It was the custom to retire to the pub for a drink to seal a deal on the purchase of cattle or other livestock.
The established market day in Ballinrobe was Monday. Each commodity had its special place in the town. Well into the mid-1900s, turf, hay, potatoes, turnips, and cabbage were sold on Abbey Street; poultry on Glebe Street; calves on Bridge Street; and cloth, flannel, woolen socks, lace, wheat, oats, and barley outside the Market House. There were special livestock fairs held at different times of the year for pigs, cattle, and sheep. Perishable goods such as butter, meat, and bread were sold in the lower part of the Market Hall. The upper floor was used as a meeting hall. In 1698, it was the site of a Commission of Inquiry which among other things, relocated property from Catholic to Protestant landlords. In 1716, the County Assizes (Civil and Criminal Courts) were held in Ballinrobe, most likely in the Market Hall.
Ballinrobe Chronicle was the local newspaper published from 1866–1903.
On 17 May 1919 the first of the republican law courts were set up in Ballinrobe.
Cranmore House was built in 1838 by Alexander Clendining Lambert who was an agent of the Knox family. He had leased the land on which the house was built from Colonel Charles Nesbit Knox of Castle Lack, County Mayo. It is now a ruin, having had its roof removed in 1960, and is situated at the corner of Bowgate Street and Main Street.
Moore Hall was the house and estate of George Henry Moore and family, is situated 6 miles north of Ballinrobe. The Moores were an aristocratic Irish family who built Moore Hall between 1792 and 1795. The Moores were originally an English Protestant family but some became catholic when John Moore married the catholic Jane Lynch Athy of Galway.
The ruins of Moore Hall, lie on Muckloon Hill over looking Lough Carra. The house was designed by John Roberts, an architect from Waterford who also designed Tyrone House in Co.Galway, and Waterford Cathedral. the house was burned down in 1923 by anti-treaty irregular forces during the Irish Civil War because Maurice Moore was viewed as pro treaty.
The house is not open to the public due to its poor condition, but, there are beautiful forest walks next to the house and fishing on Lough Carra.
Bunadober Mill is located off the Ballinrobe/Clonbur road (L1613+R345) close to Cairn Daithi and is the site of a rare horizontal mill, also known locally as Moran's Mill. The surrounding area was once titled Bun an dTobar (Bottom of the Spring Wells). The water flowing here arrives by an underground river. When tested with dye, it was established its mother source was the Bulkaun River that runs through part of Ballinrobe town.
This location for a mill probably dates back many centuries however, since 1885 it was operated, amongst others by a William Walsh. Around the 1900s John and Bridget Moran took over. Bridget continued to work the mill when John died in 1916 and when their son John took possession he built a corn drying kiln. In 1980 the mill finally closed and was taken under State protection. There is no public access at present but there are plans afoot to restore the mill to full working order by the OPW.
This rare surviving example of the horizontal mill in Ireland contained other mill machinery of significance and once powered a wide range of operations, including blacksmitting, stone and wood cutting. The area just past the mill was used in the 1800s and 1900s as a laundry for washing blankets from the two barracks in Ballinrobe, the infantry and cavalry as the water was considered pure and clean with few impurities.
In 1704, a new law required the registration of Catholic priests. The Catholic Church was suppressed throughout Ireland. There are no records for any Catholic rites in the area before 1831, however, some priests continued to perform the rites in secret. The name of one of them is known: Fr. Duffy ministered in Ballinrobe from 1696 until 1712. He was captured and deported to Spain, where he died. There appears to have been a number of other priests between 1649 and 1875, who were associated with the Augustine Abbey.
Fr. Conway was appointed the first curate of Ballinrobe in 1847. He was the minister to both Ballinrobe and Partry for a number of years and was responsible for negotiating permission, with a certain Colonel Knox, to construct St. Mary's Catholic Church on Main Street. The church was started under Fr. Conway in 1853. Subsequent curates were Fr. Hardiman and Dean Ronayne. Fr. Hardiman is credited with bringing the Mercy Order of nuns to Ballinrobe in 1851, and Dean Ronayne is credited with bringing the Christian Brothers there in 1876. The local Sisters of Mercy Convent was founded from Westport in 1851. Their mission included the education of children, visitation and care of the sick, and helping the poor.
Saint Mary's Catholic Church contains eight low light windows by Harry Clarke which were commissioned by Monsignor d'Alton in the Autumn of 1924. The windows depict scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary, and eight Irish Saints.
The Union Workhouse
In 1839, the Union Workhouse of the Poor Law Union of Ballinrobe was founded. Ballinrobe suffered greatly during the Great Famine of 1845 to 1849. With 2,000 inmates at the height of the famine, the workhouse was so overcrowded that on March 23, 1847, The Mayo Constitution reported:
In Ballinrobe the workhouse is in the most awfully deplorable state, pestilence having attacked paupers, officers, and all. In fact, this building is one horrible charnel house, the unfortunate paupers being nearly all the victims of a fearful fever, the dying and the dead, we might say, huddled together. The master has become the victim of this dread disease; the clerks, a young man whose energies were devoted to the well-being of the union, has been added to the victims; the matron, too, is dead; and the respected, and esteemed physician has fallen before the ravages of pestilence, in his constant attendance on the diseased inmates. This is the position of the Ballinrobe house, every officer swept away, while the number of deaths among the inmates is unknown; and we forgot to add that the Roman Catholic chaplain is also dangerously ill of the same epidemic. Now the Ballinrobe board have complied with the Commissioner's orders, in admitting a houseful of paupers and in striking a new rate, which cannot be collected; while the unfortunate inmates, if they escape the awful epidemic, will survive only to be the subjects of a lingering death by starvation!
Ninety-six people died in just one week in April 1849. The dead were buried in unmarked, shallow graves, located just outside the boundary on the southwest of the ruins. In 1922, during the Irish Civil War, a great deal of the structure was burned, although the main portion remains to this day.
Transatlantic flight by Lituanica II
In 1935, Feliksas Vaitkus landed his plane, Lituanica II, near Ballinrobe. He was the sixth person to make a successful flight over the Atlantic Ocean with a single engine, single seat airplane. Vaitkus fought terrible weather conditions and was helped considerably by hourly broadcasts from an Irish radio station. He learned that Dublin was fogged in, as well as all areas heading east as far as the Baltic Sea. He knew that he could not make it to Kaunas due to his low fuel supply, and being exhausted after a 23-hour struggle fighting the elements, he felt it was best to land somewhere in Ireland. Vaitkus spotted an open field at Ballinrobe and came down, with the airplane suffering extensive damage, but he himself suffered no injuries. Lituanica II was crated for shipment to Lithuania, where it would be restored. He made his way by ship and train to Kaunas, where he was given a hero’s welcome.
Ballinrobe today is once again a thriving market town. Its recent growth is attributable to the Irish construction boom and its development as a dormitory town for both Galway and Castlebar. It also has received many immigrants from the new EU member states. The 2006 census results showed that more than 25% of the town's residents are from overseas.
There are numerous renovated, historic structures in and around the town.There are more protected buildings in Ballinrobe than any other town in Mayo. Genealogical records for the region (such as Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic, and civil documents; and gravestone inscription records) are held at the South Mayo Family Research Centre on Main Street in Ballinrobe.
There is a beautiful river walk called the Bowers Walk in Ballinrobe. The Bowers Walk stretches for about 3 km along the River Robe Starting at Bridge Street and leading to Creagh Road. You can then turn right and follow Creagh Road back to town or return along the river.There are plans to extend the Bowers Walk by adding a boardwalk at the Salmon Weir and placing an array of sinage on the route and work will commence shortly.The original Bowers walk was constructed around 1735 and has been added to at various times since then.
Ballinrobe Livestock Mart is one of only two marts in County Mayo. The mart is held every Wednesday.
Ballinrobe Musical Society puts on a show annually in the Ballinrobe Community School.
The 3rd Mayo Boy Scout group is in Ballinrobe.
Major employers in Ballinrobe are McHale Farm Machinery on the Castlebar Road, Irish Pride Bakeries on Abbey Street, Jennings Meats on the Neale Road, Cawe Suspended Ceilings on Watson's Lane,Tesco on the Claremorris Road and Cummins SuperValu and Hardware stores on New Street.
The Ballinrobe Agricultural Society hold their show annually usually at the end of August or early September.
James J. Corbett "Gentleman Jim" (1866–1933) was an American professional boxer and former World Heavyweight Champion. He has been called the "Father of Modern Boxing" because of his scientific approach to his sport. His father Patrick Corbett, had emigrated from Ballycusheen, Ballinrobe to the USA in 1854. Corbett is best known for his defeat of fellow Irish-American, John L. Sullivan in the World Heavyweight Championship in 1892. Corbett was the first boxer whose life story was told on the silver screen, with actor Erroll Flynn portraying him in the 1942 film "Gentleman Jim". In 1894 James j. Corbett returned to Ballinrobe. Among the highlights of his visit were the boxing demonstrations he gave in Ballinrobe Town Hall. The proceeds for the event's entrance fees were donated for the upkeep of Partry church, where his uncle, the Reverend James Corbett, was parish priest at the time. Corbett also donated a stained glass window to the church. After he hung up his boxing gloves, Corbett returned to acting appearing in a number of low-budget films, he also appeared in a number of minstrel shows wearing Blackface in skits and giving talks about pugilism. His autobiography is called "the roar of the crowd" Corbett's brother Joe Corbett was a Major League Baseball pitcher.
Henry Blosse Lynch (1807–1873), was born at Partry house, Ballinrobe and grew up on the family estate of 1,500 acres (607 ha). In 1823 he became midshipman in the Indian navy and served in the Persian Gulf, during which time he learned the Arabic and Persian languages. After being shipwrecked in the Red Sea in 1832, Lynch crossed the Nubian Desert and descended the Nile to Egypt, before accompanying Francis Chesney on his exploration of the Euphrates river two years later. His most famous expedition was in 1837, when he mapped the course of the Tigris from its source in Armenia to Baghdad, Iraq, and for his feat he was made a member of the order of the Lion and the Sun of Persia. Lynch, who later commanded a squadron of the Indian Navy during the 2nd Burmese War, retired in 1856, settling in Paris where he died in 1873.
Noel Christopher Browne (1915–1997), the first inter-party government's minister for health lived on Church Lane, in Ballinrobe in his youth. He went to school in the local Christian Brothers School.Shocked by the absence of anti-natal care for pregnant woman, and the resulting infant mortality rates in Ireland he proposed providing free access to health care for mothers and children in a new "mother and child scheme". His mother came from Ballinrobe.
Edward Jennings (VC) (1820–1889) was born in Ballinrobe in 1820. He was a recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was approximately 37 years old, and a rough-rider in the Bengal Army during the Indian Mutiny when he was awarded the VC for bravery. For most of his life thereafter, Edward Jennings was employed by the local council as a road sweeper and must have fallen on hard times as he sold his Victoria Cross to a private collector. His Victoria Cross is now on display at the Royal Artillery Museum, Wollwich, England. He died on 10 May 1889, and was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. In 1997 an appeal was launched to raise the necessary £2000 to place a headstone on Edward Jennings grave. A memorial service at the graveside took place on 10 September 1997 to dedicate a new headstone.
Professor of anatomy, Ambrose Birmingham M.D., F.R.C.S.I. (1864–1905) was born on Bridge Street, Ballinrobe. In 1903 he produced the first of three intended volumes of his 'Notebook of Anatomy'. This book remains the bible of generations of medical students and was illustrated by his own drawings. The Birmingham medal is awarded by is old alma mater University College Dublin as a token of debt owed for his contribution to the continuity of his traditions and dedication to the modernised and thus survival of the medical school.
Mick Donnellan Playwright, novelist, 'Sunday Morning Coming Down' and 'Shortcut to Hallelujah' are two of his plays.
James Cuffe (1707–1762) of Elmhall and Ballinrobe, was an Irish landowner in County Mayo. In 1742 Cuffe succeeded his father-in-law as a member of parliament for County Mayo in the Irish House of Commons sitting until 1760.
James Gibbons (1834–1921) was an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.He became the second American to be made cardinal.His parents,originally from Tourmakeady, operated a grocery store in Ballinrobe where the young James received his early education.
John King (Medal of Honor) (1865–1938) from Currabee, Ballinrobe. Was an Irish sailor in the United States Navy and one of only 19 in history to receive the Medal of Honor twice. The USS John King (DDG-3) was named for him.
Doc Carroll (Martin Carroll) (1941–2005) born on High Street, was the lead singer with the Mayo Royal Blues Showband. His version of Old Man Trouble stayed at number one for two weeks and became a showband era classic.
Averil Staunton, Ballinrobe is the author of very successful books "Ballinrobe - A Visual History" and "Harry Clarke's Liquid Light". Editor of www.historicalballinrobe.com
Ballinrobe railway station was opened on 1 November 1892; it closed to passenger traffic on 1 June 1930; and it finally closed altogether on 1 January 1960. Ballinrobe was a branch line from Claremorris.
- Ballinrobe Racecourse is the only race course in Mayo.Ballinrobe has a long and rich tradition of horse racing. Records show that Ballinrobe hosted a steeplechace back in 1834 and there are records of meetings as far back as 1774. The current track has been entertaining families since 1921. Horse Racing Ireland has awarded the best racecourse in Ireland for 2012 to Ballinrobe Racecourse.
- Ballinrobe Golf Club (1895) The oldest in Mayo was formed in 1895. The championship Parkland Golf Course at Ballinrobe is considered by some, Padraig Harrington included, to be one of the finest in Ireland. Cloonacastle Estate, which dates back to 1238, became the new home for Ballinrobe Golf Club during its centenary year in 1995. Ballinrobe Golf Course has jumped 10 places to 80 in the Golf Digest Irelands top 100 Golf Courses for 2013. Ballinrobe Golf Club has been awarded the best parkland course for the Connaught region for 2013 by Golfers guide to Ireland 2013 
- Flanagan Park, the home of Ballinrobe GAA club, is one of the few pitches with floodlights in Mayo. (http://www.Ballinrobegaaclub.com) for all the latest news.
- The Green is the home of Ballinrobe Town FC and Ballinrobe Rugby Club.
- Despite its size and population, Ballinrobe have never won a senior GAA championship but have won intermediate and junior titles
- The Moytura Hurling Club was formed in 2006 and plays its games on the Ballinrobe Community School Pitch.
- The Western Lakes Cycling Club is in Ballinrobe. with over 100 members the club caters for all abilities and is very active throughout the year.
- Ballinrobe and District Angling Club, Lough Mask Angling Club, and Partry Angling Club and three fishing clubs around Ballinrobe. The World Cup fishing competition takes place each year at the August bank holiday weekend.
- Ballinrobe Boxing Club has its training center on the Kilmaine Road.
- Ballinrobe Riding Club founded in 2010 is for members who are interested in all disciplines, and who want to enjoy horse riding.There is weekly training at the Ballyjennings Stables, Ballinrobe.
- Actual and percentage change in population 2006 to 2011 by Province County City Urban area Rural area and Electoral division by District, Year and Statistic Central Statistics Office. Retrieved: 2011-11-27.
- http://www.cso.ie/census and www.histpop.org. For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see JJ Lee "On the accuracy of the pre-famine Irish censuses" in Irish Population, Economy and Society edited by JM Goldstrom and LA Clarkson (1981) p54, and also "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850" by Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda in The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov., 1984), pp. 473-488.
- Macardle, Dorothy (1937) The Irish Republic (3-left book club edition, ed. V. Gollanz), p.362
- The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000, Diarmuid Ferriter.
- The Abandoned Mansions of Ireland 11 : More Portraits of Forgotten Stately Homes:2 By Tarquin Blake
- Strangest Genius:The stained glass of Harry Clarke by Costigan and Cullen.
- "The Second Transatlantic Flight. Felix Waitkus: Forgotten Hero" by Edward W. Baranauskas
- Ballinrobe History
- The Roar of the Crowd by James J.Corbett ,
- Great Irish People, by Seamus Moran
- Maverick voices:Conversations with political and cultural rebels. By Kurt Jacobsen.
- John T.Ellis, The life of James Cardinal Gibbons Archbishop of Baltimore 1834-1921.(1952)
- "Ballinrobe station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- Irish Independent, Tuesday December 11, 2012
- Golf Ireland December 2012 issue
- Golfers Guide to Ireland 2013
- www.golfers guide.ie
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ballinrobe.|
- Ballinrobe racecourse official website
- Mayococo's Ballinrobe Page
- Mayo on the Move's Ballinrobe Page
- Lake District Ballinrobe History
- History of the Ballinrobe Poor Law Union
- Irish Genealogy Civil Records
- Ballinrobe History
- Huge crowds gather to honour Ballinrobe war hero