The Ballinrobe chronicle was the local newspaper from 1866 to 1903.

"Snippets" from the Ballinrobe Chronicle

When I was in Ballinrobe in 2000 I obtained A Chronicle of Ballinrobe Featuring snippets from the Ballinrobe Chronicle newspaper (1866-1903) compiled from the archives by historian Jim Kierans.

According to Jim Kieran the Ballinrobe Chronicle was

"a single sheet paper, that is to say it consisted of four pages and was issued every Saturday. It came into Ballinrobe with the two inside pages 2 and 3 already printed so that only page 1 an 2 were printed in Ballinrobe".

Page one contained local news, pages 2 and 3 contained the foreign news and page four contained advertisements and public notices. Much of the news deals with rather dry reports by the Board of Guardians and the petty courts. According to Kieran the petty court reports contain a "never-ending catalogue of claims for damage from trespass on crops" and instances of pigs wandering in the roads.


Apparently the actually paper is on microfilm in the Castlebar library. I only have the "snippets" collected by Jim Kieran.
There are clear indications from the "snippits" that there was an "Irish" or "land" movement afoot in the area.

I have selected all of the items connected with the "Irish" movement, some of the items that give an idea of the historic events in the area, some items I thought were amusing or interesting in general, and anything I thought was even remotely related to the Walshes, Langans or their known associates. I have added my own comments where I thought it might help to clarify the situation

The entries below are listed by date, starting in 1867 and ending in 1901.

March 16, 1867

The death of Col. Charles Knox of Cranmore was reported. Col. Knox, born in 1817, was the only son of Charles Nesbitt Knox and the first member of the Knox family to actually live in Ballinrobe.


  • Col. Knox was a major landlord in the area and was the holder of much of the land in the sections of town where the Walshes and related families lived. For more information on the Knox family see, Local Landlords
  • Kieran didn't say when Col Knox actually died.

Three men, Henry McCann a stucco man, Peter Lardner, a stone cutter, and John Gannon, a slater, were arrested in connection with the Fenian movement.


  • Kierans did not offer any further information on this arrest.
  • The Lardners were a family of stone cutters. Several Lardners were sponsors to the children of John Walsh. See Lardner

April 6, 1867

The Guardians of the Workhouse passed a resolution authorizing the doctor
"to issue tobacco to such inmates as the doctor may consider to be in want of same, as being necessary to their health such being done in other unions (workhouses) in Ireland."
It was pointed out that smoking in the workhouse was forbidden.

Notes: My ancestor, Mathias Langan, received a tobacco allowance from the Ballinrobe workhouse in 1920 shortly before his death at age 80. See Mathias Langan

April 11, 1868

The Petty Session Court heard two cases in Partry, a village north west of Ballinrobe, of men prosecuted for "breach of the Sabbath". One man had brought a load of hay to his neighbor, the other had winnowed corn.
The sermon at the Good Friday mass in April 1868 was preached in Irish.
May 16, 1868
Mr. Brownrigg, the Protestant Rector of Ballinrobe, made a claim for damages for a "rick of hay" that he claimed was burned maliciously. Part of this report indicates that Mr. Brownrigg made 500 to 600 pounds a year as the Protestant Minister. The salary of the doctor at the workhouse was about 40 pounds a year.


  • This may have been an "Irish" incident.
June 27, 1868
The population of Ballinrobe was 3,000.
July 25, 1868
James Burke got a month "hard labour" in Castlebar jail for snaring rabbits on the estate of one of the local landlords.
April 10, 1869
In a scheme to redistribute the holding on a local estate, tenants had been "shifted" around from one "holding" to another, causing dissent among the tenants. Some tenants refused to move to their newly designated "holdings". The case was heard in the Petty Sessions Court and Fr. Lavelle P.P. "alleged" that the rents had been raised 60 to 80 percent and that he had not caused the tenants to disagree with the new policies.
See Religion for an image of Father Lavelle.

July 31, 1869

The sermon delivered by Rev. P. Duggan for the confirmation in the Catholic Church was in Irish. Kierans notes that Duggan later became the Bishop of Clonfert and a Land League activist.
October 30, 1869
"Extensive coverage, covering the entire first page of a Tenant Right meeting in Castlebar."
  • Kieran does not give additional information.
November 5, 1870
"A report of a meeting in the old church on Party Road about bringing the Christian Brother to town. The idea at this stage was to have the schools in the old church and build a residence in the grounds. The old church was still roofed at this time, the new church was six years in use."
November 19, 1870
"a report by the constabulary of some Kilmaine men singing Fenian songs in Islandmore".
June 29, 1872
Kieran says that the paper had extensive coverage of the death and funeral of Rev. Peter Conway of Headford. Father Conway had been in Ballinrobe from 1847 to 1857 and was a major force in negotiating with Col. Knox for the property for St. Mary's Church in Ballinrobe.
See Religion information on Father Conway.

August 3, 1872

Martin Turnbridge, a "civil bill officer" and a person who served eviction notices was shot on Friday, August 2. Apparently Martin Turnbridge was lead to a secluded area with the promise that "they would have fun". He was then shot. According to Kieran, one of the suspects in the shooting, William Fahy, ended up in America the other, John Nally, became a prominent member of the Land League.
See An unsolved murder in Ballinrobe

November 14, 1874

Fr. Hardiman who had been the Parish Priest of Ballinrobe for twenty four years was buried.
See Religion for more information on Farther Hardiman.

December 5, 1874

"A death notice of Patrick Feerick of small pox."
January 2, 1875
"The brother of the above Patrick Feerick, died also of small pox."
  • I don't know why these deaths were so unusual that they warranted special mention. Small pox was a common disease in many part of the world at this time.
Small pox was one of the worlds most dreaded diseases until it was eradicated in 1977. It was an acute viral infection, closely related to chicken pox but much more virulent. It started with a fever that lasted of 2 or 3 days. This was followed by eruptions of large blisters over the entire body, more markedly on the face and extremities than on the trunk. These blisters quickly passed into pustulars. The pustulars dried up after 8 to 10 days leaving distinct scars. The virus also attacked the cells in the internal organs, such as the liver. Fatalities were frequent and depending on the population ran from 8% to 90%. Infant mortality was high. It was exceedingly contagious and there was no know cure. For centuries the only hope was isolation.

Small pox was a very ancient disease. There are indications that the Egyptian Pharaoh, Ramses V, who died in circa 1156 BC, may have suffered from small pox. The disease is described in ancient Chinese and Sanskrit writings. Small pox was prevalent in Europe in the early 1600's and epidemic in the late 1600's. An inoculation was developed in 1796, from the cow pox virus, by the English Physician, Edward James. The World Health Organization pushed for world inoculation and the disease was totally irradiated in 1977. It is the first disease that has been completely eliminated by the efforts of man. There are still several vials of the virus which is being held for future research possibilities, under the supervision of the World Health Organization, in laboratories in the US and Russia.

July 3rd, 1880

On Tuesday June 29, David Feerick, age 29, an agent for the Browne estate of Brownstown was shot ten times at Carnalecka while he was walking home. He said he had passed three men he did not know. They shot him from behind and then came around and shot him in the face and upper body. Each man had a revolver.

He did not die until six weeks later and this incidence was covered by the papers for some period of time.

On July 10 the results of the magisterial enquiry were reported. The police had arrested several suspects none of whom were from Ballinrobe. They were all from outlying towns like Westport and Claremorris. Most of the suspects were dismissed because Feerick could not identify them. James Hynes was identified by Feerick as the man who had shot him when he was already down. There was conflicting testimony concerning Hynes whereabouts at the time of the shooting.

On August 21, 1880, it was reported that David Feerick had died on the 14th.

See Feerick

  • Carnalecka (AKA Carrownalecka) was a neighborhood where the Walshes are known to have lived.
September 25, 1880
David Sears, a process officer, was pelted with "gutter" as he served eviction notices near Lough Mask.
See Boycott and Land Issues

October 2, 1880

A "party" of about a hundred police from all over the country was sent to Lough Mask to protect the process officer, David Sears, who was trying to serve about 30 bills for shop goods, loans, etc. None of the bills were for rent. Large crowds of woman and children followed the "party" occasionally throwing "gutter".The extended recipients of the "bills" made thenselves "scarce" and Sears succeeded in serving only one bill.
See Boycott and Land Issues

There was an inquest into the death of Lord Viscount Mountmorres who was murdered near Clonbur on September 25. One of the suspects in the murder was Patrick Sweeney who had been a herd for Mountmorre and had had a dispute with Mountmorres over tenancy. Sweeney was an Irish speaker who needed a translator in the court. Mountmorres had also recently refused a reduction in rent to other tenants.
See Land Issues

October 16, 1880

All the suspects in the Mountmorres case were dismissed.
October 23, 1880
Michael Gibbons of Knacknadrimna was "carded" and the hair of Gibbon's wife and one of his daughters was chopped off. Five shot were apparently fire during this incident. It was mentioned that "land" was the motive.
Martin Coleman emailed me in November 2005 to say that
"Carded" as used here means "lacerated" - as with a card or as having received "multiple cuts of the card", metaphorically speaking.
October 30, 1880
On the night of October 11 there was an incident on Main Street in Ballinrobe involving rocks being thrown at the police.
November 6, 1880
On Monday November 1 when Captain Boycott, a local landlord left the Court in Ballinrobe, where he was a magistrate, a crowd followed him "shouting and groaning". He became so threatened that he took refuge in the infantry barracks. A servant trying to get to Boycott with a car was unable to do so because he was also "shouted" away. Eventually the military was called out to clear the street. Stones were thrown at the military and police and "the Riot Art" was read. Eventually the servant was able to get to Boycott and they left for Castlebar.
  • The word boycott, meaning to join with others in refusing to have anything to do with another person or group comes from the ostracizing of Captain Boycott near Ballinrobe in 1880. See Local Landlords for more information on this incident.
  • A "car" was a cart or carriage.
  • The "Riot Act" was an act passed by the British parliament in 1715 as a result of the rioting that followed the accession of George I. The act made it a felony if any unlawful assembly of more than 12 people did not disperse within an hour of the reading of the act by an officer of the law.
See Boycott and Land Issues

November 13, 1880

200 men of the 19th Hussars, and 400 of the 84th regiment of infantry as well as "files" of police had been brought in connection with the boycott at Lough Mask.
"The streets are quite lively with officers and men in their handsome uniforms passing rapidly to and fro commissariat wagons and Red Cross ambulance of the medical department forming quite a novel sight in the peaceful neighborhood."
Tents were erected on the barrack green in Ballinrobe to accommodate the soldiers.
A section of the military went to Boycott's farm and another section went to Claremorris (where the closest train depot of the times was) to escort loyalist volunteers who were coming from the "North" to help Boycott bring in his crops. There were demonstrations as the northerners arrived in Claremorris. The "car drivers" refused to bring them from Claremorris so they had to walk to Ballinrobe.
The next day, a Friday, the 60 volunteers were escorted from Ballinrobe to Lough Mask by the Calvary who had their swords drawn. They were heckled and "groaned" as they passed through each village. There were no farm implements so they were not able to set straight to work. The implements and other supplies were transported with an armed guard from Claremorris in the middle of the night. On Saturday the 13th, the volunteers started to dig potatoes and pull turnips in the pouring rain.
November 20, 1880
The harvesting operations at Lough Mask continued despite the rain, snow and frost which hampered the work. The volunteers were guarded at all times by the military and police. Some of the soldiers were hospitalized as a result of the difficulty of being housed in tents in the freezing cold. Lady Louisa Knox supplied large quantities of timber to make fires for the soldiers bivouac. The local merchants supplied "stores" for the military and the Calvary horses.
Mrs. Boycott was "unwell" and confined to her room for several days.
Some of Boycott's cattle, horses and carts were driven though Ballinrobe under military escort to the train in Claremorris.
November 27, 1880
The Boycott family, and the northern volunteers left Lough Mask and were escorted to Claremorris for the train on Saturday morning the 27th. The Boycott family had to travel in commissariat wagons because the "carmen" would not take them.
December 4, 1880
Fifteen men were put on trial for "unlawful and riotous assembly" on November 1, 1880 (This was the event that had been reported on November 6.) The fifteen were Patrick Fahey, John Hynes, Nicholas Feenaghty, Thomas Walshe, Denis Lydon and Martin Shaughnessy of Ballinrobe, Patrick Mannion of Cloongowla, Michael Conry of Ballinchalla, James Haller of Killimore, William Jennings of Rahard, Michael Browne of Bunadubber, James Burke of Ballyshingathane, Patrick Duffy of Caherrobert, Patrick Ward of Carnaroya and Stephen Keaney of Carrowneragh, Partly.


  • This Thomas Walshe could not have been the the son of John and Fanny Walsh born in 1869, as he was only 11 at the time.
December 18, 1880
James Hynes appeared before the court in Galway charged with the murder of David Feerick. He was acquitted by in a decision by the judge. According to Kierans, James Hynes later went to America where he was killed in a railway accident.
December 25, 1880
There was another murder in Kiltrone. Peter Mullen, his wife, Judy, and their son, Pat, had been in Ballinrobe for the market on Monday the 20th. They left town very late with some neighbors. They had apparently all been drinking. Peter Mullen and his son Pat arrived home first. Peter left the house again to go and search for his wife. He found her at the neighbor's house where he apparently attacked her, pulled her hair and "thumped" her. She escaped and the neighbors persuaded Peter and Pat to stay and have tea. Peter left after a short period of time, followed by his son. Pat returned to the neighbors saying his father had been murdered. Pat said that two men sitting on the hedge by the "boreen" had shot his father as he passed them. He said the men then ran toward Cornfield Wood. Pat ran back to tell the neighbors and then went back to Ballinrobe to tell the police. The following morning the police arrested Judy Mullen, the murdered man's wife, and two of her nephews, Patrick Feerick and Anthony Sheridan. There appeared to be no evidence against them but they were kept in Castlebar jail for a week and then released as innocent. Two years later Pat Mullen was arrested in Liverpool and taken back to Ballinrobe to face the charge of murdering his father. Kieran does not say how the trail of Pat Mullen turned out.
March 5, 1881
There was an "attempt by shooting" on the life of John Hearne of Killoshine cottage. Hearne was a Land Agent for the Mountmorrency Estate in Cloongowla. He was hit several times but walked home and survived the attack. Three men, Patrick Hession of Cloongowla and two of his nephews, Richard and John Nally of Ballykinave, Claremorris were charged with the attack but for some reason were not sent to trial.
October 22, 1881
Another possible "land" incident was reported. Martin Lally, Thomas Lally, and Pat Earnor were accused of breaking into the house of James Dolan of Derryveeney, assaulting him and cutting off his left ear.
July 1, 1882
Four young men, William and Patrick Mooney, Mark Mahony and Patrick Healy from the Foxhall area brought to court for "illegal drilling". They were practicing at being soldiers. Patrick Mooney said he was only showing the other what he had seen in England.
July 15, 1882
Bridget Connell from Claremorris was shot for "taking grazing" on a boycotted farm. It appears that the shot was not fatal.
April 7, 1883
Another "land" related incident occurred on St Patrick's Day when Thomas Gibbons was hit in the head with a stone and killed. His father, Rodger Gibbons, later made a claim for the loss of his son.
April 1883
There were indications that Gibbons was being pressured into joining the land league and one of the men alleged to have been involved in the stoning incident was earlier charged with complicity in the Lord Mountmorres murder.
July 5, 1884
Thomas Foy, a stone cutter from Cong, was charged with possession of a Schneider rifle, some bullets, and some explosives. He stated that he had the explosives for his work as a stonecutter. He was sentenced to three months in jail.
March 6, 1886
There was an advertisement for the sale of Captain Boycotts property at Lough Mask and information that he was going to a land agency in England.


  • This appears to have been the last of the "land" related reports. From this period until 1898 the entries are of a more social nature.
February 1888
There was a notice of the intention to build a railway from Galway to Cong with a branch in Ballinrobe.
June 18, 1888
The new stained glass windows were installed in St. Mary's Catholic church in Ballinrobe.
September 22, 1888
"A reference to a street light outside the Town Hall."
October 29, 1892
The railroad was opened for business.
February 17, 1894
"A notice on the intended sale of the lands of Charles Howe Knox in and around Ballinrobe and also North Mayo to the tenants under the Lands act. The lands around Ballinrobe were held under a fee-farm grant from the Crown of James Lord Tyrawley, the 51st of George the third".
November 17, 1894
There was an almost total failure of the potato crop.
August 10, 1895
The belfry of St Mary's church was almost completed.
June 26, 1897
The death of Captain Boycott at his home in Surry England was reported. He was survived by his wife but no family.
October 23 1897
Pat Duffy appealed against a three month jail sentence for hitting his wife over the head with tongs. She had been drinking whiskey with another women and hadn't gotten his supper.
August 1901
It was reported in a council meeting that the population of Ballinrobe was 2,000.


  • In June 1868 the population had been reported at 3,000.


The "Irish"Issues From 1898 to 1903

Things appeared to have been quite on the "land" front between 1886 and 1898. There was no news on this issue for almost twelve years except the references to land distribution under the Land Act in 1894.


In 1898 there were several items about the United Irish League (U.I.L.) and meetings in Kilmaine and Ballintubber. There was police force used in Ballinrobe when the U.I.L. met there in late October. Michael Davitt, the Land League leader, addressed the public in Ballinrobe the following week. The main thrust of his speech was the breaking up of the large grazing ranches and the distribution of the land among small land holders.


In January 1899 a resolution was passed by the Ballinrobe Board of Guardians condemning Colonel Knox for evictions around Glenhest and Ballinrobe. Michael Davitt returned to speak in Ballinrobe in February 1899. Another U.I.L. meeting was held in Ballinrobe in March. There was no mention of Davitt. Michael Davitt attended a U.I.L. meeting in Neale in August 1899. The Ballinrobe U.I.L. met in September 1899.

In October 1899 a resolution was passed at a meeting of the Guardians and the Rural Council to support the Boers in the war in South Africa. In October 1899 there was a notice of the proposed sale of the Knox estate to the tenants.


The U.I.L. met in Claremorris in February 1900.

Peter Regan, a Ballinrobe Land League activist , spent fourteen days in Castlebar jail in April 1900. He had been accused of assaulting a policeman. At his released people went to Castlebar to accompany him back to Ballinrobe. Bonfires were lit in Partry and Ballinrobe and a welcoming meeting was held in Ballinrobe. At the end of April, Peter Regan was again arrested, this time for drunkenness, disorderly conduct and assault. Apparently he yelled "three cheers for the United Irish League" as Col Knox was passing. At the time of his second arrest a resolution was passed at the Board of Guardians condemning the arrest for drunkenness when he was in fact sober.

There was more on the Regan assault case in May 1900. Sergeant Shirley said that Regan kicked the police when he was being brought in for the drunk and disorderly charge. John Walshe, a boot and shoe maker, of Chaple Road, gave evidence that he was present and the police were very rough with Regan. In May 1900 there was also another report of another U.I.L. meeting.

In June 1900 Peter Regan was elected chairman of the Rural District Council. There was a parade from Abbey Street up Main Street to Weavers Row and a bonfire in celebration. Later that June the Petty Sessions questioned the eligibility of Peter Regan to hold office since he had been sentenced to Castlebar jail for assault. The case was adjourned for two weeks. At the end of June there were bonfires of the Eve of St. John Celebrations. The Ballinrobe Brass Band and a fife and drum band played through the streets. It was noted that the police did not interfere.

Peter Regan was back in the news in July. He was fined 55 pounds or 22 months in jail for acting as Poor Law Guardian and District Councilor while disqualified. In the same court he was charged with "furious driving a side car up and down the town" and was fined 2 pounds for being drunk and disorderly. Furthermore, Peter Regan, James Hynes, Michael Gibbons and Patrick Gannon were charged with riotous behavior on June 6th when they involved with a demonstration to celebrate Regan's election as chairman of the Rural District Council. The celebration included a band and a large noisy crowd. A "mini riot" occurred. Stones were thrown at the police. The police retaliated with a baton charge and drove the crowd from the Bowgate to Neale Road. The accused were remanded to Castlebar jail until the next court.

In July the case was again postponed at the request of the prosecution because of articles that appeared in the "Irish People" newspaper.

Peter Regan was out of jail in August because he was at a U.I.L. meeting in Neale where he proposed a resolution to keep fighting until "we hunt every grabber and grazer out of the country". Note: Grabbers and grazers referred to the English landlords. In August 1900 Peter Regan was fined 5 shillings for being drunk on the street and the U.I.L. met in Clonbur.

In October 1900 the 55 pound fine against Peter Regan for acting as Poor Law Guardian and Rural District Councilor while disqualified was upheld by a higher court.

In November the Rural District Council voted not to replace Peter Regan as chairman.

In December 1900 an item reported the illness of Peter Regan. It did not say what was wrong.


In the beginning of January 1901 it was noted that Peter Regan was "lying on a plank bed in Castlebar jail". The U.I.L. met in Ballinrobe in the middle of January. Bands played and speeches were made. One speech referred to Peter Regan still being in the Castlebar jail. At the end of January 1901 Peter Regan was welcomed back to Ballinrobe. At the District Council meeting he made the point that he was there only as a spectator and could no longer be a councilor. This did not of course mean that Peter Regan was out of the news.

In March he was involved in a "row" at the stairs leading to the Town Hall. He was arrested for being "drunk and incapable". He was fined 40 pounds for assaulting the constable who arrested him and was given one month hard labor in Castlebar jail for breaking the "lock up" door in the police barracks. He was also fined 20 shillings and 10 shillings for "special costs".

In April the "juvenile pipe and drum band" paraded through the streets of Ballinrobe to welcome Peter Regan home from his month in Castlebar jail. Peter Regan addressed a meeting at 'ball alley". The Guardians also welcomed Peter Regan home.

The U.I.L. met in Hollymount in May 1901. They were addressed by Peter Regan. The U.I.L. also met in May in Ballinrobe. There were the usual band playing and speeches.

Peter Regan and M. H. Feerick addressed a crowd after a torchlight procession and band celebration in the middle of June 1901.

In the fall of 1901 the Christian Brothers added Irish to their curriculum. At the end of October 1901 at the U.I.L. meeting in Kilmaine, the police dragged Mr John O'Donnell M.P. from his "car" while he was making a speech outside the church after mass. A police sergeant was hit in the head with a stone and O'Donnell, in addition to being dragged more than one from his car, was kicked by the police. At the U.I.L. meeting at the Kilmaine Fair on the following Monday, there were further altercations. John O'Donnell was pulled from the platform. At a later attempt to hold a meeting the police charged the crowd with batons. Peter Regan was knocked senseless and had two fingers broken. In a separate incident about a mile away the crowd was baton-charged through the fields.

A meeting was held in the Town Hall in December 1901, to promote the study of the Irish Language and to establish a Gaelic League.

There was a large meeting of the U. I. L. in the Town Hall in December 1902. No disturbances were reported.

Michael Davitt addressed a large meeting of the U.I.L. in February 1903.

The paper ceased publication on October 1, 1903 after 31 years.


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