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Crois Uí Mhaoilíona
View of the statue at the centre of the town of Crossmolina, County Mayo, Ireland.jpg
View of Deel River, Crossmolina, County Mayo, Ireland.jpg
Saint Mary's Church in Crossmolina, County Mayo, Ireland.jpg
A street in Crossmolina, County Mayo, Ireland.jpg
Montage including; Top: A view of the statue at the centre of the town of Crossmolina. Centre: Deel River and Saint Mary's Church. Bottom: Street view in centre of the town
Crossmolina is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°06′00″N 9°19′00″W / 54.1°N 9.3167°W / 54.1; -9.3167Coordinates: 54°06′00″N 9°19′00″W / 54.1°N 9.3167°W / 54.1; -9.3167
CountyCounty Mayo
24 m (79 ft)
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceG137175

Crossmolina is a town in the Barony of Tyrawley in County Mayo, Ireland, as well as the name of the parish in which Crossmolina is situated. The town sits on the River Deel near the northern shore of Lough Conn. Crossmolina is about 9 km west of Ballina, on the N59 Road as it travels west through Erris to Bellacorick and Bangor Erris Glencastle, Belmullet and the Mullet peninsula.


The name Crossmolina translates into Crois Uí Mhaoilíona, meaning "Cross of Mullany".[2][3] In the 18th century, the name was sometimes spelt as either Crossmalina, Crosmolyna or Crossmaling.[4]


The origins of present-day Crossmolina are tied to the founding of a religious settlement in the area: Errew Abbey was founded by St. Tiernan in the 6th century.[5] In the 12th Century this Abbey came into possession of the invading Hiberno-Norman de Barry family. During the 15th century, Crossmolina passed into the hands of the Bourke Family. In 1526 O'Donnell of Tir Conaill (Co. Donegal) invaded Tirawley and destroyed Crossmolina Castle.[6] In response, the Bourkes would construct a replacement in Deel Castle.[7] Their possession of his new fortress did not last however as during the Williamite War in Ireland of the 1690s Thomas Burke fought for the defeated Catholic Jacobites. Subsequently, Deel Castle was granted by the English crown to the Anglo-Irish Protestant Gore family, ushering in the era of Protestant Ascendancy into the area.[8] In 1798 Crossmolina was swept up with the events of the United Irishmen Rebellion when French Forces under General Humbert came from Ballina, passed by Crossmolina, towards Lahardane and on towards Castlebar as they went west of Lough Conn to fight the Battle of Castlebar.

In the late 18th century, the town became a local commercial center. Regular fairs were held in May, September and December.[9]

Rural unrest in the early 19th century[edit]

During the first decade of the century, local peasants formed a secret society called "The Threshers". The group was responsible for a number of "outrages" including destroying crops and breaking into houses. The group wore a uniform of white shirts. In 1807 a local man - Thady Lavin - had informed the local magistrate of the activities of the group. He was later found murdered near Crossmolina. A number of men were tried for the murder in Castlebar and were found not guilty.[10]

In the 1820s, the agrarian movement - the "Ribbonmen" - were active in Crossmolina. In December 1821, four local men, John Carr, Peter Gillaspy, Eneas Early, and Mathew Chambers, were sent to prison for membership of the Ribbonmen and for administering illegal oaths.[11] The local magistrate, George Ormsby, Esq. of Gortner Abbey, was responsible for sending the men to prison. Owing to the high degree of rural unrest, in 1820 a detachment of the yeomanry consisting of three officers and 85 men were on permanent duty in the town.[12]

The Big Wind[edit]

The town was badly damaged during the "Night of the Big Wind" (Irish: Oíche na Gaoithe Móire) that swept across Ireland on 6 January 1839. Almost every house in the town was damaged with four houses destroyed completely. Eight residents were killed.[13]

The Irish Potato Famine[edit]

During the first half of the nineteenth century, failures of the potato crop were a regular occurrence leading to periodic famines in Ireland. In 1820, the Archbishop of Tuam had reported widespread starvation throughout Mayo. In 1822, Richard Sharpe - an agent for the Palmer estate who owned large amounts of land around Crossmolina - had organized shipments of oats to relieve starvation around the town.[14] In May 1831, Sharpe organized another collection among local landlords to purchase a shipment of oats to feed the starving tenants.[15] In June 1831, the town suffered an outbreak of Typhus and Dysentery. Dr. James McNair reported to the Connaught Telegraph that he had identified over 100 cases of Typhus, of which 38 patients lived within Crossmolina.[16]

The Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s devastated the greater Crossmolina area, slicing a population of 12,221 in 1841 down to 7,236 by 1851.[17] The Famine also had drastic effects on the use of language in the area: It is estimated that over 80% of the Crossmolina area spoke the Irish Language previous to the famine.[18]

Crossmolina Conspiracy[edit]

In the 1880s, Pat Nally was arrested, tried and convicted of "The Crossmolina Conspiracy", a supposed Fenian plot to murder landlords' agents in the Crossmolina area.[19]

War of Independence[edit]

An RIC policeman - Constable William Kelly - was tried by court martial for attempted murder of a civilian in Crossmolina. On December 20, 1920 Kelly was drunk when he confronted a local man and opened fire with his rifle. When he was arrested, he admitted to firing "at a bloody Sinn Feiner." He was found not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm.[20]

In October 1920, John O'Reilly - a resident of Crossmolina - faced a courtmartial in Galway. He was accused of possessing a revolver and threatening local R.I.C. officers. He warned the officers to resign from the police force. He also threatened to burn down the local R.I.C. barracks. Subsequently, a number of officers posted to Crossmolina resigned from the force.[21][22]

In Spring 1922, a company of the IRA based in Crossmolina was responsible for attacking and burning the R.I.C. Station in Bellacorick.[23]

In February 1922, the IRA declared "martial law" in Crossmolina. The Irish Transport and General Workers Union organized a strike in Davis Bros after an Apprentice was fired. During the strike, a warehouse owned by Davis was burnt, destroying a large amount of eggs awaiting shipment. A large number of cattle were maimed, belonging to a farmer who condemned the attack on Davis Bros. Ten local men were arrested in connection with attacks on property.[24]

Irish Civil War[edit]

In September 1922, Malachai Gerety (26) was shot and killed in the crossfire between Republicans and the Free State Army. Gerety, a cattle dealer from Ballygar, was returning from the Crossmolina fair when he accidentally drove into a fire fight in Ballina.[25] Earlier in the month, Mossbrook House - a large mansion just outside Crossmolina - was burnt by Republicans.[26] Shortly afterwards, the National Army arrested "Brig-General" Patrick Hegarty, who was the leader of the Republicans in Crossmolina.[27]

In October 1922, Republicans attacked the National Army Barracks in Crossmolina. After a five hour gun battle, the Republicans were forced out of the town.[28] In January 1923, the Barracks was again attacked by a sniper. There were no reported casualties but several private houses in the town were pierced by bullets.[29]

On January 5, 1923 Patrick Mahon, a native of Crossmolina, was shot dead by a National Army patrol in Ballina. The patrol heard shouts of "Up Kilroy," and "Up the Bolshies". The soldiers went to investigate and apprehended Mahon, who resisted arrest. On being brought to the barracks a National Army soldier pushed Mahon in the back with his rifle and a shot went off. killing Mahon instantly. An inquest later recorded a verdict of accidental death.[30]

Second World War[edit]

On March 13, 1942 a Bristol Type 149 Blenheim IV crashed in Killeen, Crossmolina. The plane was on training flight from Isle of Man. The wireless failed, the crew lost their bearings and eventually the plane ran low on fuel. The crew made an emergency landing, but overshot the chosen landing spot and went though hedges and boulders. Two crew members were seriously injured. Two of the less seriously injured crew were repatriated to Northern Ireland the following day. The two more seriously injured crew were repatriated by ambulance a week later.[31][32]

On the 25th October 1942 an RAF plane on route from Newfoundland attempted an emergency landing in Pulladoohy, near Crossmolina. However. the plane landed upside down, killing the pilot. The plane a Boston Douglas light bomber with a crew of 3 came in to land in what seemed to be a flat green field, but unfortunately the landing site was bog. The pilot, Captain Nils Rasmussen a Norwegian was buried with military honours in Kilmurray Cemetery. The surviving crew of the aircraft were taken in hand by local members of the Local Defence Force (LDF) and later by the Irish Army. The two survivors were Sgt Peter Frank Craske (1387671) Royal Air Force and F/Sgt Frederick Michael Fuller (R/92107), Royal Canadian Air Force.[33] The two airmen were sent across the border to Northern Ireland shortly after the crash.

Aerial view of Crossmolina. In the distance is Saint Tiernan's Church and the mountain Nephin.


In the Census of April 2011[34] Crossmolina had a population of 1,060 consisting of 535 males and 526 females.The population of pre-school age (0-4) was 62, of primary school going age (5-12) was 88 and of secondary school going age (13-18) was 76. There were 198 persons aged 65 years and over. The number of persons aged 18 years or over was 844.



The local Gaelic football is Crossmolina Deel Rovers. Founded in 1887 as Crossmolina Dr. Crokes, they became Deel Rovers in 1906.[35] The club saw major success in the early 2000s, winning the Connacht Senior Club Football Championship in 1999, 2000 and 2002, and as well as obtaining the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship in 2001, and were runners-up for that title in 2003.

Places of Interest[edit]

St. Mary's Church

St Mary's Church - Built in 1818-19 is a fine example of early 19th century Chapel constructed by the Church of Ireland. It was erected with the financial support of the Board of First Fruits. The interior of the church has a wall monuments commemorating 'General Sir James Jackson C.C.B. K.H. who "served with distinction through the Peninsular War at Waterloo and India".[36]

Crossmolina Castle - Located across the road from St Mary's Church at the end of Church Street. In 1526 the castle was destroyed by O'Donnell, Chief of Tirconnell.[37]

Gortnor Abbey - A large house, built by the Ormsby family in 1780. In 1916 it was converted into a convent boarding school run by the Jesus and Mary Order of nuns.[38]

Errew Abbey - A ruined 13th-century Augustinian church that sits on a tiny peninsula on the banks of Lough Conn. The abbey was reduced to ruins by Cromwellian settlers.[39]


Crossmolina is the subject of "Rake Street", a poem by Harry Clifton.[40]

Areas of Crossmolina[edit]

  • Abbeytown
  • Abbey View
  • Ballina Road
  • The Boreen
  • Chapel Street
  • Church Street
  • Church View
  • Deer Park
  • Erris Road
  • Killala Road
  • Mullenmore Road
  • Mullenmore Street
  • Riverwalk
  • St. Jude's Avenue
  • St. Mary's Park
  • St. Patrick's Avenue
  • Fotish

Notable current and former residents[edit]

View of Saint Tiernans Church located in Crossmolina

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: Settlements Crossmalina". Central Statistics Office. Retrieved 2018-03-23.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^
  4. ^ Seward, Willian Wenman (1797). Topographia Hibernica, or The topography of Ireland, ancient and modern. Alexander Stewart. p. 127.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Seward, William Wenman (1797). Topographia Hibernica, or The topography of Ireland, ancient and modern. Alexander Stewart.
  10. ^ "Special Commission". Belfast Newsletter. January 9, 1807.
  11. ^ "Provincial intelligence". Freemans Journal. December 10, 1821.
  12. ^ Parliamentary Papers, Session 1821, Vol. XIX, (1821). Return of Number of Troops or Corps of Effective Yeomanry and Volunteers in Ireland, 1820. London: Her Majesties Stationary Office (HMSO). p. 177.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Carr, Peter (1957). The big wind : [the story of the legendary big wind of 1839, Ireland's greatest natural disaster]. Belfast: White Row. p. 89. ISBN 9781870132503.
  14. ^ "State of the Country". Freemans Journal. May 9, 1822.
  15. ^ "The state of the Country". Connaught Telegraph. March 2, 1831.
  16. ^ "Famine in Mayo". Connaught Telegraph. June 15, 1831.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Constable charged with shooting at a civilian". Freemans Journal. April 16, 1921.
  21. ^ "R.I.C. men resign". Freemans Journal. August 5, 1920.
  22. ^ "Courtsmartial at Galway". Western People. October 16, 1920.
  23. ^ "Patrick Hegarty: Witness Statement" (PDF). Bureau of Military History. December 2018.
  24. ^ "LAWLESSNESS IN MAYO. SERIES OF OUTRAGES LEADS TO MARTIAL LAW". Weekly Freeman's Journal. 18 February 1922.
  25. ^ "Shot Dead on the Roadside: Cattle Dealer's Fate During Attack on Ballina". Weekly Freeman's Journal. 23 September 1922.
  26. ^ "Irish Mansion burnt". Yorkshire Evening Post. 5 September 1922.
  27. ^ "Progress in Mayo: Capture of Several Important Leaders". Weekly Freeman's Journal. 16 September 1922.
  28. ^ "Wholesale Robberies in County Mayo: Ambushes and other incidents". Belfast News-Letter. 20 October 1922.
  29. ^ "Sniping in Crossmolina". Derry Journal. January 15, 1923.
  30. ^ "Ambush near Ballina". Southern Star. January 6, 1923.
  31. ^ "Foreign Aircraft landings in Ireland - WW2". December 2018.
  32. ^ "British Plane down in Mayo". Irish Independent. March 14, 1942.
  33. ^ "Douglas Boston BZ200, Pulladoohy, Crossmolina, Mayo". Foreign Aircraft landings in Ireland -WW2. December 2018.
  34. ^ "Census April 2016 (Crossmolina)" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Saint Mary's Church (Crossmolina), Crossmolina, County May". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. November 2018.
  37. ^ "Crossmolina Castle". Crossmolina Community. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Gortnor Abbey". Crossmolina Community. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Errew Abbey". Crossmolina Community. December 2018.
  40. ^ Clifton, Harry (March 2009). "Rake Street". Poetry. 193 (6): 528 – via JSTOR.
  41. ^ "Devaney creates Irish snooker history". RTE Sports. December 2018.
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Dexys' Kevin Rowland talks to The Works Presents". RTE News. 7 Oct 2016.


  • Lynott, J. (1980). "A Guide to History and Antiquities West of Killala Bay"

External links[edit]