'Newport - the First Two Hundred Years'

A group of volunteers, members of our Newport 300 committee, are working hard writing a commemorative book about Newport's first two hundred years, which will be published in May 2022.
Sure to be as popular with history buffs as it will be with locals and our widespread diaspora, you can find out more about what will be included in this book by clicking HERE

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1720 Lease

The deed was made on the second of April 1720 between Thomas Medlycott and John Pratt both of the City of Dublin. Medlycott was one of the Commissioners of His Majesties Revenue. Pratt paid two thousand four hundred pounds for the Indenture and also a fee of five shillings to rent the whole Barony or Manor of Burrishoole including all the fisheries but all the trees were to remain the property of Medlycott.

Medlycott also retained shooting rights which also extended to the Right Honourable Charles Butler now Earl of Arran in the Kingdom of Ireland and Baron Weston. These rights would pass to his heirs on his death but if he had no male children the right would pass to his older brother James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde.   READ MORE

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History of Newport...

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A Brief History

This town was founded by the Medlycot landlords through their lessee, a Captain Pratt, in the early years of the 18th century.  Some of the 18th century houses remain on Meddlicott Street, and their exposed stone facades testify to their great age.  The site of the town was chosen by Captain Pratt because of its green field nature and its potential for shipping.  Though subject to tidal influences, the quay can provide up to 4.5 metres of water, enough for 18th century trading ships of 500 tonnes or less.  This meant that Newport harbour could be used for docking when shallower ports such as Westport were unsuitable.

The town prospered in the 18th century.  Houses were built, churches flourished, and trade was brisk.  The Society of Friends were among the first inhabitants, though no trace of them remains today.  Catholics, Protestants, Presbyterians and Methodists all had churches in the town.  One sect, known as the Darbyites (akin to the Pilgrim movement and strongly Calvinistic), also flourished here for a time.

The Year of the French was experienced in Newport through the young priest Manus Sweeney.  A French educated cleric, he was accused of collaboration with the French invaders and was executed on the main street of the town in June of 1799. READ MORE

Further Reading...

A Bibliography for the Tricentenary of Newport Town, Co. Mayo

(with thanks to Breege Hyland)

Here is a list of some publications containing content on aspects of the history of Newport and surrounding areas:

  • Notes on the Early History of the Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, Hubert T. Knox, 1904

  • “St Marcan’s Loch and Ruins”, Hubert T. Knox, a paper read to the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, April 30, 1918, and published in the Society’s Journal, 1919

  • History of the Archdiocese of Tuam, Monsignor D'Alton , 1928

  • Burrishoole Abbey, Rev. M. O’Donnell, Catholic Truth Society Pamphlet

  • "Quaker Weavers at Newport, Ireland, 1720-1740", Kenneth L. Carroll, Journal of the Friends' Historical Society, 1976

  • Annála Beaga Pharáiste Bhuiréis Umhaill: A Short Account of the History of Burrishoole Parish, Pádraig Ó Móráin , published in conjunction with Canon Thomas Killeen in 1957; republished as A Short Account of the History of Burrishoole Parish, 2004, by CPR, Westport

  • “Newport Parish Church”, Elgy Gillespie, Irish Times, exact date of publication not known; published during Fr MacEllin’s tenure as parish priest (1972 - 1977)

  • St. Patrick’s Church, Newport, Co. Mayo, Newport Foróige Club, 1986

  • A Social History of Cuilmore, 1992

  • History of Mayo, Volumes 1 and 2, J.F. Quinn, republished by The Western People, 1993 (originally published 1930s)

  • “Fr Manus Sweeney (1763 – 1799)”, Sheila Mulloy, Cathair na Mart, No. 14, 1994

  • Back the Road, Vol. 1, Nos. 1-3, Journal of the Newport Historical Society

  • Antiquities of Mayo, Christiaan Corlett, 2001

  • Out of the Shadows: Emerging Secondary Schools in the Archdiocese of Tuam 1940 - 1969, Kieran Waldron, 2002

  • Archdiocese of Tuam: An Illustrated History, ed. Kieran Waldron, 2005

  • Newport: Our Own Place, Newport Macra Club 1978 – 1979; most recent edition (3rd) published by Newport Foróige Club, 2007

  • Bicentenary of St Brendan’s Church Tiernaur, 1810 – 2010, October 2010

  • “The Dominican Friary at Burrishoole: An Irregular Foundation of the Lower Mac William”, Yvonne McDermott, Cathair na Mart, No. 28, 2010

  • The Great Western Greenway, Iris Galloway, 2012

  • Western Ways: Remembering Mayo Through the Eyes of Helen Hooker & Ernie O'Malley, Cormac O’Malley, 2015

  • Burrishoole Annual Parish Magazine, Issues 2012 – 2019

  • “The Work of Art on the Hill”, Fr Kevin Hegarty, Mayo News, February 6, 2018

  • St Patrick’s Church, Newport 1918–2018: A celebration of Burrishoole Parish, September 2018

  • Remember Us: The People’s War, Newport Area, Mayo 1914–1924, April 2019

  • A Modern Eye: Helen Hooker O’Malley’s Ireland, 2019


Academic Theses:

  • “An examination of the Accounts of James Moore Esq. Land agent and collector of Port Fees at Newport Pratt, Co. Mayo 1742 -65 , Including an account of the development of Newport Pratt from the early eighteenth century until 1776” J. P. McDermott, M. A. Thesis, NUI Maynooth,1994.

  • “The Expansion and Decline of The O’Donel Estate Newport, County Mayo 1785-1852”, Peter Mullowney, Masters Thesis, NUI Maynooth, 2002

  • "The Foundation, Rise and Decline of Newport Pratt, Co. Mayo 1719-1798 as seen through the lives and careers of those primarily involved", John Moore, M. A. (Local History), 2010

  • Planned for autumn 2020: "Newport - the First 200 Years" History of Newport to be published by the Newport 300 committee

© Breege Hyland