MAYO ROADS

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The greater part of the county to the west of the lakes was nearly destitute of roads previously to 1798. No way existed of travelling through Erris but on foot; or if a horseman attempted the journey, he required the aid of six or eight guides on foot to cast the horse at every swamp, fasten his legs and haul him over by ropes. The journey from Ballina to the coast could not be accomplished in less than three days, and if the rivers were swollen required a much longer time. The expense for guides, in money and refreshments, was more than that now required for a carriage and post-horses from Castlebar to the Mullet, a distance of 56 miles, which may be performed in a day. A carriage road has been made along the banks of the Owenmore: one branch proceeds from Castlebar, another from Crossmolina; the former is level and well laid out, the latter labours under the defects of the old country system.

After passing the mountains, a new line branches off to Bellmullet and thence along the western side of Blacksod harbour. Other lines of road are in progress from the same point to the western side of Broadhaven, others to Coraan and Achill: by the former a communication will be opened to the north coast and Killala; the latter unites with a new line, also in progress, from Newport to the extremity of Achill.

A new and level line of road has also been made from Killala to Ballina, Foxford, and Swinford, by which the produce of the interior of the country may be conveyed to these sea-ports. A new and very excellent line has been made from the head of the Killeries to Westport, being a continuation of the level line from Clifden through the wilds of Connemara and Joyces' country, thus opening a direct communication between Castlebar, Westport, and these districts of Galway. A new and excellent, mail line has been opened between Castlebar and Ballina, crossing the narrow channel between Lough Conn and Lough Cullen, by Pontoon bridge: another line has been opened from Killala, round the northern coast.

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