Historic Buildings of County Mayo
Republic of Ireland
Image right - Ashford castle
If you have information about any of the Buildings mentioned below please share it here. If you have ancestors linked to any of the places please add them to the project.
The object of this project is to provide information about historic buildings in County Mayo, with links to sub-projects for specific buildings as appropriate. GENi profiles of people associated with those establishments can be linked to this project and/or to individual projects where they have been set up.
Castles, Baronial and Historic houses
... in alphabetical order
Including Castles, Abbeys, Manor Houses, Mansions, Stately Homes, Country houses, Estate houses, Courts, Halls, Parks and other listed buildings of historic interest
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● Ahena Castle, Ruins.
● Ashford Castle, Intact Castle. Norman castle dating back to 1228 when it was founded by the de Burgo family, they were defeated in a battle in 1589 and lost their home to Lord Ingham governor of Connaught. It was transformed in 1715 by the Oranmore and Browne family with the addition of a French style chateau and in 1852 it’s owner Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, 1st Baronet of Ashford (of the brewing family) extended the estate to 26,000 acres planting trees and adding a further two Victorian extensions. During this time George V, Prince of Wales and many other important guests stayed with the Guiness family. In the 19th century Arthur Guinness incorporated both the castle and the chateau into the one large building it is today. From 1939 onwards Ashford Castle has also welcomed many famous guests amongst them the then president of America Ronald Regan.
● Belleek Castle, Restored Castle
● Castle Burke, - five storey tower on the northern shore of Lough Carra, originally known as Kinvoynell. It was renamed after being granted to Miles Burke, 4th Viscount Mayo, whose successor sold it to the Brownes of Westport. The SE corner collapsed in recent times.
● Castle Carra Hall-house on a steep rocky perch above Lough Carra, built in the 13th century by the de Stauntons. The more visible additional works by their MacEvilly descendants included a battered plinth, and the small polygonal bawn that now surrounds the castle. The castle was surrendered to the Crown in the 1570s when it was granted to Captain William Bowen, who strengthened the bawn with a circular flanker with gunloops on the vulnerable NE corner. After passing to Sir Henry Lynch in the 1660s, whose descendants held it until the 19th century.
● Clare Island Abbey: A cell of the Cistercian Abbey in Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway, Clare Island's Abbey is said to date from the mid 13th Century, though it was rebuilt around 1460. It houses an O'Malley crest – the devices include a galley representing the clan’s maritime tradition as does the motto underneath: TERRA MARIQ POTENS O’MALLEY: “O’Malley – powerful on land and sea".
● Cloonnagashel Castle Ruins. In the 1230s held by Maurice FitzGerald. The present building located on the golf course of Ballinrobe Golf Club on the old Cloonacastle Estate, appears to be entirely of the 15th century. It is said that a mass grave of 15 females of the Burke family lies alongside the castle, who were hanged in the 16th century by their arch-enemy Sir Richard Bingham, Governor of Connacht.
● Doona Castle, (or Fahy) Ruins.A ship of the Spanish Armada, the Santa Maria Rata Encoronada, beached on Fahy Strand on 21 September 1588 and the 419 men set up camp around Doona Castle before moving to The Mullet and boarding another Spanish vessel.
● Granuaile's Castle Tower house on Clare Island built by the O’Malleys in the 16th century- the stronghold of the Pirate Queen Gráinne Ní Mháille, Sea Queen of Connacht Grace O’Malley (Granuaile)] - large stone tower which was her castle. It is said that the Pirate Queen’s head is buried near this castle. In the mid 1820s the castle was converted into a police barracks. The entrance to the castle, (left) - steps just inside formerly led up to the main accommodation on the first floor. The tiled portals were a much later addition. There is a Lighthouse at Grunaile's Castle on the opposite side of the island looking across to Achill, built in 1806 by the 2nd Marquis of Sligo (who travelled around Greece with Byron the poet) to steer trading ships away from the treacherous rocks in the sea around the the cliff. 12 years later, the taller lighthouse tower that dominates the building was added along with additional dwellings for the keepers. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1965 and since then it has been in residential use.- some recorded occupants - John and Ann O'Malley (neé Rudy] were there with 8 children around 1860-1883. Today a B&B establishment - image below is linked to the website.
● Hollymount House, owned by John Versey, 1731 sold... Occupied to 1915 ,By 1948, derelict (old greenhouses, stables, to be seen) from 'Abandoned Irish Mansions' T.Blake.
● Kildavnet Castle, Intact Castle. Carrick Kildavnet - a late 15th century fortified Tower House set at the water's edge with remains of a boat slipway which ran from the back of the castle. It is associated with the famous sea-pirate Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) and was probably built by one of her ancestors.
● Kinlough Castle, Ruins - thought to be a 13th century structure, although the additional two storeys with corner fireplaces that were subsequently added to it, date from a remodelling in 1574, probably by Sir John MacOliver Burke. There are gunloops in the massive battered base, and the entrance has a drawbar slot. The castle was mortgaged to the Blakes in 1629, and leased by them to John Darcy in 1668.
● Loughmask castle, originates from at least 1264 when a force under MacWilliam de Burgh captured it from Maurice FitzGerald. The massive four storey tower seen today amongst the outbuildings of a later mansion, dates mostly or entirely from a rebuilding of 1618. That date and the initials of Thomas Burke and his wife Alice Butler are carved over a fireplace. He was the grandson of William Burke who had been granted Loughmask in 1587. Sir Thomas Burke died in 1642, and by 1669 the castle had passed to Tristan Beresford.
● Moore Hall Moore Hall was built between 1792 and 1796 as the home of George Moore. The Moores were originally a Protestant family, although some members were subsequently converted to Catholicism. Some members of the family played a prominent part in the history of Ireland, particularly in Famine Relief in the 19th century. The house was burned down in 1923 during the Irish Civil War. The estate is now owned by the national forestry company Coilte and is a popular visitor site.
George Moore (1727–1799), who built Moore Hall, originally came from Straide near Castlebar. During the time of the Penal Laws, George went to Spain where he was admitted to the Royal Court. From the 1760s until about 1790, George made his fortune in the wine and brandy trade, running his business from Alicante. When the Penal Laws were relaxed at the end of the 18th century, he returned to County Mayo with a fortune of £200,000 and in 1783, bought over 12,000 acres (49 km2) of land at Muckloon, Ballycally and Killeen from Farragh Mc Donnell, and commissioned the building of the grand residence of Moore Hall.
George's son, John Moore (1767–1799), was educated in France and became a lawyer. With the rebellion of 1798, he returned to Mayo. General Humbert appointed him President of the Connacht Republic in Castlebar. Thus, John Moore was the first President of an Irish republic, albeit for a very brief interval. He was captured by the English Lord Cornwallis, and although initially sentenced to death, his sentence was later commuted to deportation. He died in the Royal Oak tavern in Waterford on 6 December 1799. His body was exhumed from Ballygunnermore Cemetery in Waterford in 1962 and brought to Castlebar, where he was buried in the Mall with full military honours.
George Henry Moore(1810–1870), was educated in the Catholic faith in England and later at Cambridge University. His main interest was in horses and horse-racing. His brother,Arthur Augustus, was killed after a fall from the horse Mickey Free during the 1845 Aintree Grand National. At the height of the Great Irish Famine in 1846, he entered a horse called Coranna for the Chester Gold Cup and netted £17,000 from bets laid on the horse. During the Famine he imported thousands of tons of grain to feed his tenants, and gave each of his Mayo tenants a cow from his winnings. It is still remembered on the Moore estate that nobody was evicted from their home for non-payment of rent during hard times, and that nobody died there during the Famine. George Henry is buried in the family vault at Kiltoom on the Moore Hall estate.
George Augustus Moore (1852–1933), was a distinguished writer of the Irish Literary Revival period. Many famous writers of the time, including Lady Gregory, Maria Edgeworth, George Osborne, and W. B. Yeats were regular visitors to Moore Hall. George was an agnostic, and anti-Catholic. His ashes are buried on Castle Island on Lough Carra in view of the big house on the hill.
Maurice George Moore (1854–1939), Senator Colonel Maurice Moore was the statesman of the family. He served with the Connaught Rangers in the Boer War and became concerned with human rights in South Africa. He also worked to relieve Irish prisoners held in English jails, and for the retention of UCG. He was also involved with the co-operative movement in Ireland, founded by Horace Plunkett.
● Rappa Castle, Ruins - Occupied until about a hundred years ago, this building shows signs of at least four phases of construction. It commenced probably in the 16th century with a MacWilliam Burke tower, later much altered, but still retaining corbels for a square bartizan on its SE corner. In the 17th century a new three storey wing was added in front of the tower's north facing entrance, creating an L-plan building with fireplaces in the end walls, surmounted by diagonally-set chimneys. Another wing was later added to this, and during 19th century remodelling, a further wing was added on the east side.
● Rockfleet Castle, Restored Castle - a.k.a. Carraigahowley Castle. 15th century tower house. Home of Grace O'Malley (Grainuale), "The Pirate Queen".
● Shrule Castle, Ruins. 16th century tower at Shrule that commands the bridge over the Black River on the Mayo border. It belonged to the chief of the MacWilliam Burke lochtair family, who in 1570 came to relieve it during an attack by the Lord President of Connacht, and the Earl of Clanricarde.
● Towerhill House-[stone,with stone arches. from 1766 . 1940s property divided and house abandoned. (known for invasion by bats)
● Westport House ancestral seat of the Marquesses of Sligo up until July 2014. It was built by the Browne family in the 18th Century, on the site of an O'Malley castle which dungeons are still present today. The house was built on the site of an original castle belonging to Grace O’Malley (Granuaile). The original eastern façade was designed by Richard Cassels a famous German architect in 1730 for Colonel John Browne, the husband of Maude Burke, the great great granddaughter of Grace O’Malley. During the Williamite wars much of the estate was confiscated and when Colonel Browne died his grandson; also called John Browne, 1st Earl of Altamont, inherited an estate of just a few hundred acres. The estate was improved by succeeding generations who now also had the title of Marquees of Sligo, creating a lake and planting trees as well as employing James Wyatt to build a further three facades and two wings and decorate the gallery and dining room. In 1845 during the famine the estate closed and the 3rd Marquess was forced to borrow and use his saving to help his tenants for which he was awarded the Order of St Patrick. In 1960 the 10th Marquess and his family opened the house and grounds to the public for the first time and since then it has been developed as a major tourist attraction Jeremy Browne, 11th Marquess of Sligo was succeeded by Sebastian Ulick Browne in 2014.
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Other Pages for Historic Buildings of Ireland Counties
Historic Buildings of Co. Kilkenny
Historic Buildings of County Tipperary
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