BALLYMAHON, a market and post-town

BALLYMAHON, a market and post-town, in the parish of SHRUEL, barony of RATHCLINE, county of LONGFORD, and province of LEINSTER, 16 ½ miles (W.) from Mullingar, and 55 miles (W.) from Dublin; containing 1081 inhabitants. This place is supposed to have derived its name from Mahon, King of Thomond, who, according to O'Halloran and other writers, defeated Fergal, son of Ruarc, in a great battle which took place here in 960. There was formerly a castle of considerable strength, but nothing now remains except some of the arches, upon which a dwelling-house has been erected. The town is pleasantly situated on the river Inney, over which is a bridge of five arches and on the road from Longford to Athlone; and though possessing no features of attraction in itself, derives much interest from the beauty of the scenery in its environs. Weaving was formerly carried on to some extent, but has for some time been discontinued, and at present its trade is principally with the neighbouring towns of Longford, Mullingar, Edgeworth's-town, Athlone, Moate, and Lanesborough, with respect to all of which it is conveniently situated.

The Royal Canal passes near the town in its course from Dublin to Tarmonbarry, and a boat for the conveyance of passengers and goods to Dublin passes daily. The market is on Thursday, chiefly for the sale of provisions; and fairs are held on the Thursday before Ash-Wednesday, May 11th, Aug. 11th, and Nov. 21st: the May fair is much resorted to by graziers, and is considered one of the best in the province for cattle. The market-house, a commodious building, is situated in the centre of the town; and over it is a large room in which the sessions are held. A chief constabulary police force is stationed in the town; and the quarter sessions for the county are held here, alternately with Longford, four times in the year, for the trial of civil bills only. Petty sessions for the division are also held every Monday. The parish church is situated in the town; in which are also a spacious R. C. chapel, and the residence of the R. C. Bishop of Ardagh, who officiates as parish priest; and a dispensary under the superintendence of a resident physician. Goldsmith, the poet, who was born at Pallice, in the adjoining parish of Forgney, passed several years of his childhood in this town, where he lived with his widowed mother; and some years since a meeting was held here to make arrangements for erecting a monument to his memory near the place of his nativity.—See SHRUEL.

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