MAYO

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

MAYO, a parish, partly in the barony of KILMAINE, but chiefly in that of CLANMORRIS, county of MAYO, and province of CONNAUGHT, 6 miles (N. by E.) from Hollymount, on the road from Ballinrobe to Claremorris; containing 3121 inhabitants. Here was formerly a town of some note, famous for its university. St. Colman, having resigned the Benedictine cell of Lindisfarne, in Northumberland, and returned into Ireland, A.D. 665, founded an abbey here, in which he placed some English monks who accompanied him, from whom it was called Magio-na-Sasson, or "Mayo of the English, or Saxons." St. Gerald and St. Adamnan severally succeeded St. Colman in the abbacy; and St. Segretia, the sister of St. Gerald, presided over a nunnery here. The abbey was destroyed by lightning in 778, burned by the Danes in 818, 908, and 1169, and plundered in 1204 by William de Burgo: at the dissolution its possessions were granted to the burgesses of Galway.

The parish comprises 11,467 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £6249 per annum. The land is of very good quality, though under an inferior system of tillage, and there is good pasturage for sheep: several bogs are being reclaimed. There are many limestone quarries of a good description. A fair is held at Brize, on Aug. 11th, for horses, cows, and sheep.

The principal seats are Browne Hall, the occasional residence of Lord Oranmore; Brize, the residence of A. Coghlan, Esq.; and the glebe-house, of the Rev. T. Townsend.

The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Tuam, and in the patronage of the Archbishop: the tithes amount to £240. The glebe-house was erected, in 1826, at an expense of £830 late currency, of which £461. 10. 9 ¼. was a loan, and £92. 6. 1 ¾. a gift, from the late Board of First Fruits; the glebe comprises 25 acres, valued at £37. 10. per annum. The church is a small plain edifice, built about the year 1811, at a cost of £553. 16. 11., a gift from the same Board.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church; the chapel is near the ruins of the old monastery. Four private schools afford instruction to about 190 children. Here are three ancient castles where human bones are frequently dug up. The once celebrated abbey evinces, by its ruins, its former splendour. According to tradition, Alfred the Great was educated, and one of his sons buried here. There are curious remains of ancient intrenchments.

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