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Béal Átha hAmhnais
Ballyhaunis Friary
Ballyhaunis Friary
Ballyhaunis is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°46′00″N 8°46′00″W / 53.7667°N 8.7667°W / 53.7667; -8.7667Coordinates: 53°46′00″N 8°46′00″W / 53.7667°N 8.7667°W / 53.7667; -8.7667
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Mayo
Elevation 89 m (292 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 3,008
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference M498794

Ballyhaunis (Irish: Béal Átha hAmhnais)[1] is a town in County Mayo, Ireland. It is situated at the crossroads of the N60 and N83 National secondary roads and on the railway line connecting Dublin to Westport and Ballina.

It is thought that the town grew up around St Mary's Augustinian Friary (popularly referred to as "the Abbey"), which was founded in 1348, according to local tradition. The town and the surrounding hinterland is steeped in history and contains an extraordinary concentration of megalithic monuments.[2] Local writer Paul Waldron explains that the full meaning of the name Béal Átha hAmhnais remains elusive: "The origins of that name has been the subject of much study and debate over the centuries. Beal Átha means the ford mouth, but what the last element means is still the subject of debate. Suggestions range from derivatives of 'Abhann', meaning river, or of 'amhnas', said to mean 'strife' or 'plunder'."[2]

The town is a mixed community where farming, private business and industry are the main sources of employment. Employment, infrastructure and continued development of the town are key issues addressed by the Ballyhaunis Local Area Plan 2010-2016, adopted by Mayo County Council on 8 February 2010.[3]

It has become a cosmopolitan area in recent decades. Even prior to Ireland's period of economic growth between 1995 and 2007, there were children of at least seven nationalities attending schools in the town. These included Pakistani, Syrian, Russian, English, Polish and Lithuanian. More recently, other nationalities have been attracted to Ballyhaunis, with immigrants from several countries in Africa and Eastern Europe now settled in the area. There are two Catholic churches in the town and it is also home to Ireland's only purpose-built mosque outside Dublin, which is the second most westerly mosque in Europe, after the Lisbon Mosque.[citation needed] The results of the 2006 census showed that some 36 per cent of Ballyhaunis residents are non-Irish. The town's population in the 2011 Census was 3,008.[4]

Ballyhaunis is located in both the Roman Catholic and civil parishes of Annagh.[5]

War of Independence[edit]

Due to the active East Mayo Brigade of the Irish Volunteers during the Irish War of Independence, Ballyhaunis witnessed a number of incidents. On 2 August 1920, the Volunteers ambushed a British Army lorry on the Claremorris road from Ballyhaunis. This resulted in the capture of arms and ammunition for the Volunteers. A high cross marks the spot of the ambush. On 1 April 1921, Sean Corcoran, O/C of the East Mayo Brigade, was shot dead by British soldiers after a short gunfight at Crossard crossroads (6 km north of Ballyhaunis). A high cross marks the spot where Corcoran died. Later that same day, a member of the Black and Tans was killed by a sniper. In retaliation, the Black and Tans executed Michael Coen, a man that was later proven not to have taken part in fighting of any kind. A monument to Coen was placed on the Cloonfad/ Galway road from Ballyhaunis.

Protected Structures[edit]

According to Mayo County Council, four buildings in the town are protected under Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000.[6] These include:

  • St Patrick's Parish Church (RC).
  • The former St Joseph's Convent.
  • St. Mary's Augustinian Friary.
  • The Ulster Bank.


  • Midwest Radio is based at Ballyhaunis. It is a local radio station for Counties Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim.
  • It has also a dedicated internet radio, Midwest Irish Radio.
  • Annagh Magazine is an annual publication that appears each December containing material of local interest. It was established by Ballyhaunis Junior Chamber in 1977 and named after the local parish. The first edition was published in Christmas 1978. It includes articles about local events over the past year as well as contributions covering Ballyhaunis history and culture. The 2011 edition contained 184 pages and cost €10. All back issues are digitized and available online at no cost from the magazine's website.[7][8]


The two original primary schools in the town, St. Mary's Boys' National School and St. Joseph's Girls' National School, were merged to form Scoil Íosa National School, a single co-educational school.[9] Three post-primary schools, St. Joseph's Convent Secondary School, Ballyhaunis Vocational School, and St. Patrick's College, were merged to form Ballyhaunis Community School which opened in September 1977.[10]



Ballyhaunis railway station is a station on the Dublin to Westport Rail service. Passengers to or from Galway travel to Athlone and change trains. Passengers to or from Ballina and Foxford travel to Manulla Junction and change trains.[11]

Ballyhaunis railway station opened on 1 October 1861[12] and its 150th anniversary was celebrated by a Ballyhaunis Railway Station-themed edition of the local Annagh Magazine in 2011.[7]

Twin towns[edit]

Ballyhaunis was twinned with the town of Guilers in Brittany in 1984.[13]


Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland (see archival records)
  2. ^ a b c A Very Short History of Ballyhaunis and District Annagh Magazine, 2008.
  3. ^ Ballyhaunis Local Area Plan 2010–2016 Mayo County Council, 2010-02-08.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Parish of Ballyhaunis (Annagh)
  6. ^ Mayo Co Co - Protected Structures:
  7. ^ a b Annagh Magazine Ballyhaunis Life. Retrieved: 2011-12-07.
  8. ^ About Us Annagh Magazine. Retrieved: 2011-12-07.
  9. ^ Scoil Iosa Ballyhaunis Life. Retrieved: 2011-12-07.
  10. ^ School History Ballyhaunis Community School. Retrieved: 2011-12-07.
  11. ^ Irish Rail Printable Timetables
  12. ^ "Ballyhaunis station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  13. ^ Ballyhaunis-Guilers twinning – twenty years a-growing Western People, 2003-10-22.
  14. ^ Ballyhaunis emigrant ended up hero of Vietnam War Mayo Memorial Peace Park. Retrieved: 2011-12-07.
  15. ^ Dr Liam Harte University of Manchester. Retrieved: 2011-12-07.
  16. ^ Historic sites Mayo County Library. Retrieved: 2011-12-07.
  17. ^ Sgt Patrick Lyons - The Antiquarian Policeman The Royal Irish Constabulary Forum, 2010-03-15.
  18. ^ "An Antiquarian Craze - The Life, Times and Work in Archaeology of Patrick Lyons R.I.C. (1861-1954)" - Máire Lohan
  19. ^ Final Year Project by James McGarry Wins National Awards NUI Galway. Retrieved: 2011-12-07.
  20. ^ Royal Irish Academy of Music - Maria McGarry

External links[edit]