1st January 1837
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A snapshot of pre-famine local history, as described by Samuel Lewis in the "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" 1837.

AUGHAVAL, or OUGHAVAL, a parish, in the barony of MURRISK, county of MAYO, and province of CONNAUGHT; containing, with the market and post-town of Westport, 13,921 inhabitants.

This parish is situated on the bay of Westport, and on the road from Castlebar to Lewisburgh; it is partly bounded by the celebrated mountain of Croagh Patrick, and comprises 26,748 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £7017 per annum.

  • The land is chiefly under tillage; the system of agriculture is improving; there are large tracts of bog, which, lying on an inclined plane, might be easily reclaimed and rendered productive.
  • Limestone of good quality abounds and is quarried for building, for mending the roads, and for burning into lime.
  • Lead mines were formerly worked, but are now disused; and in the mountain of Sheffrey a copper mine was opened, but has long been discontinued.

The principal seats are:

  • Westport House, the mansion of the Marquess of Sligo;
  • Murrisk Abbey, of J. Garvine, Esq.;
  • Trafalgar Lodge, of C. Higgins, Esq.;
  • Marino, of J. Cuff, Esq.;
  • Holdhead, of the Rev. F. L. Rutledge; and
  • Boathaven, of the Rev. J. D'Arcy Sirr.

Besides the market at Westport, fairs are also held there and at Murrisk.

The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Tuam, with the vicarages of Aughagower, Kilmaclasser, and Kilgavower united by act of council, constituting the union of Aughaval, otherwise Westport, in the patronage of the Archbishop; the rectory is appropriate to the archdeaconry of Tuam and prebend of Killabeggs.

  • The tithes amount to £300, of which £225 is payable to the incumbent, and the remainder to the archdeacon and prebendary; and the tithes of the entire benefice amount to £884. 10.
  • The church, an old building in the demesne of the Marquess of Sligo, was erected by aid of a gift of £500 from the late Board of First Fruits, in 1797, and was lately repaired by a grant of £166 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
  • The glebe-house was built by a gift of £300 and a loan of £500 from the same Board, in 1815; the glebe comprises seven acres.

The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church: there are three chapels, one in Westport, which is spacious and ornamented with a handsome front; the other two are at Thornhill and Drummin, and are new slated buildings, but quite inadequate to the accommodation of their respective congregations.

There are places of worship at Westport for Presbyterians and Wesleyan Methodists, the former in connection with the Synod of Ulster and of the third class.

At Westport are four free schools and an infants' school, in which about 330 boys and 200 girls are taught; and there are also 17 private schools, in which are about 860 children.

There are some remains of an ancient abbey at Murrisk, and in the parish are some chalybeate springs.

A large patron is held annually at Murrisk on the 28th of August.

— See also WESTPORT.

SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)

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