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As part of our Counties in Focus series, we're taking a look at some of the gems that Mayo has to offer. Scroll down to read about some of the best Chronicles which we have collected from the Yew County, as well as links to where you can learn more about your Mayo Ancestry.

County in Focus - Mayo

Picture: Cong Abbey in County Mayo



The Mayo Diaspora has no shortage of interesting characters. Here are some highlights from our database of Mayo Ancestors. Click on the images below to learn more about the lives of these individuals.

We love to see your Ancestors and read their stories. CLICK HERE to learn how to add your own Mayo Ancestors to our Chronicles Database.

Patrick Pius Blewitt

Patrick P. Blewitt of Ballina Co. Mayo was a maternal great-great-grandfather of Joe Biden (46th President of the US). He came from a long family line of civil engineers and surveyors that left their mark on both Irish and US soil. His father Edward Blewett Sr. (1795-1871) worked on the Ordnance Survey of Ireland (a world-first). He then worked on the General Valuation (aka Griffith's Valuation – a popular census substitute).

Dr Kathleen Lynn

Born in Killala, Dr Kathleen Lynn would go on to set up her own medical practice before becoming involved in the Nationalist and Suffragette movements.

Ernie O'Malley

Another revolutionary doctor, Ernie O'Malley from Castlebar was still a student when he joined the Nationalist cause. He even took 20 bullets during a shoot out....and lived to tell the tale!

Margaret Burke Sheridan

Another Castlebar native, Margaret Burke Sheridan relocated to Italy where she became a famous Opera singer. 

Add your Ancestor


Mayo is home to some fantastic historic buildings. Here is just a selection of the examples on our Chronicles database. Did you know that you can connect your Ancestor to a Building? CLICK HERE for an instructional video which explains the process.

Ballina Workhouse

Ballina Workhouse is one of nine Union Workhouses located in Mayo. All 163 Irish Workhouses are on our Database of Chronicles. Most people in these communities would have had some sort of connection to these institutions, either as inmates, staff, members of the board of guardians, or even having been born in the lying-in hospitals. The other eight County Mayo Workhouses are located in Ballinrobe, Belmullet, Castlebar, Claremorris, Killala, Newport, Swinford, and Westport.

Cong Abbey

The picturesque village of Cong is best known as a filming location for The Quiet Man but locals know that the real attraction here is the 7th century monastic settlement of Cong Abbey.

Clare Island Castle

Clare Island Castle is home to the Pirate Queen Granuaile, makeing this castle an important part of Mayo's seafaring history.

Prison House

The impressive Prison House near Balla is over 200 years old and has been undergoing an extensive restoration project since 2001. 

Mayo Buildings


Mayo has seen some very important points in history. The links below will take you to some of the most notable events from Mayo's past. 

Apparition of Our Lady at Knock

In 1879 a group of people reported an appearance of the Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist. The apparition would place Knock firmly on the map as today it sees visitors coming from all over the world on pilgrimage to see the holy shrine.

First Commercial Flight at Knock Airport

Sticking with Knock, in October 1985 the first commercial flight took the skies from Knock Airport. This was a huge achievement for the people of Mayo as it meant increased visitor numbers to both the shrine and the county at large.

Mayo Timeline

Places to Visit

From its stunning coastline to its rich heritage, Mayo has no shortage of places to visit. Here is a selection of Heritage Centres and Museums in County Mayo.

Museum of Country Life

The Museum of Country Life is located in Turlough Park House and is well worth a visit to learn more about the lives of people in rural Ireland from 1850 to 1950. 

The Quiet Man Musuem

The Quiet Man Museum is an exact replica of the White O'Morn cottage which features in the classic movie starring Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne. 

Mayo Local Guide

Find out more about your Mayo roots

Whatever stage you are at with researching your Mayo ancestry, we have the resources to help you find out more about your Yew Tree County Roots. Once you have tracked down your Mayo ancestors, be sure to add them to the IrelandXO Chronicles so that others can read their story. Who knows? You may even find a connection you never knew you had.

We highly suggest checking out our Mayo Message Board where our wonderful team of volunteers are waiting to answer your queries and help you to solve your family history mysteries. CLICK HERE to get started.

In the meantime here are some pages that we have put together to help you on your genealogy journey. 

  • If you're not sure where exactly in Mayo your Ancestors lived then CLICK HERE for information on how to Find Your Mayo Parish.

  • As always, your local library is an incredibly valuable resource. Contact the relevant Mayo County Library to see what resources they have.

  • In 1837 the Lewis' Topographical Survey was published. This provides detailed snapshots of life in each Civil Parish just before the Famine. CLICK HERE for more information on the Mayo entries.

  • You can find more stories and research relating to Mayo in the News section of IrelandXO. You can find this by CLICKING HERE.

Read More about your Mayo Heritage

We hope you have found the information we have shared helpful. While you are here, we have a small favour to ask. Ireland Reaching Out is a non-profit organisation that relies on public funding and donations to ensure a completely free family history advisory service to anyone of Irish heritage who needs help connecting with their Irish place of origin. If you would like to support our mission, please click on the donate button and make a contribution. Any amount, big or small, is appreciated and makes a difference. 

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