BELMULLET, a small sea-port

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BELMULLET, a small sea-port, in the parish of KILCOMMON, barony of ERRIS, county of MAYO, and province of CONNAUGHT, 32 ¼ miles (W. by N.) from Ballina: the population is returned with the parish. This place is beautifully and advantageously situated on an isthmus to which it gives name, on the western coast, and which separates the bay of Blacksod from that of Broadhaven. It is a rapidly improving town: the surrounding district, about 20 years since, was scarcely accessible; but since that period, by the construction of several lines of road by Messrs. Nimmo, Knight, and Bald, the engineers, and more especially those from the county town of Castlebar and Ballina, the whole barony has been thrown open, and a great improvement has taken place in the agriculture of the district and the commerce of the port. In 1822 the land in the barony produced only about 80 tons of oats and barley; but in 1834 and 1835, the annual produce was 1800 tons. This great improvement has resulted from the reclaiming of the adjacent lands, and from Belmullet having become a very considerable mart, where the neighbouring farmers can readily find immediate purchasers for all their produce. The town owes its origin to the establishment of the head-quarters of the commander of the coast-guard here, in 1822. It is uniformly built, and contains 117 houses; it has a penny post to Ballina, and its general appearance, as seen from Blacksod bay, is pleasing and prepossessing. A new line of road has been constructed along the coast, from Ballycastle to Belmullet and thence to Westport, a distance of 57 miles, forming a most interesting drive.

The trade consists chiefly in the export of grain, especially of oats and barley; and several spacious warehouses have been built for the deposit, of corn. A commodious quay was constructed in 1826, at an expense of £700, of which sum, £300 was given by the late Fishery Board, and £300 by Mr. Carter. The harbour is capable of very great improvement, and by cutting through the narrow part of the isthmus, a canal might be made, at an estimated expense of £2000, which would enable vessels of 150 tons' burden to pass from Broadhaven into Blacksod bay, and in all winds at full tide into the Atlantic ocean, without being detained for months, as is now frequently the case. Fairs are held on the 15th of every month, except when it falls on Sunday, in which case the fair is held on the following Monday. Here is a chief constabulary police station; and the coast-guard district comprises the stations of Belmullet, Dugurth, Duhooma, Ballycovy, Blacksod, Ballyglass, and Renown Tower, and is under the superintendence of Capt. Nugent, resident inspecting commander, and a county magistrate. Petty sessions are held every Saturday: the court-house was built in 1833, at an expense of £200, by Mr. Ivers. There is also a dispensary. In the vicinity are several gentlemen's seats, noticed in Kilcomrnon and Kilmore-Erris, which see.

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