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Ballina and Area people by Terry Reilly

Dear Old Ballina: A celebration of Ballina People, in conjunction with Mayo Forgotten Famine Girls

15, 16, 17, 19, 20 August, 9am - 5pm

Ballina Chamber of Commerce

  • Ballina Arts Centre
  • Barrett St
  • F26 NW83
  • Co. Mayo

One of the most fascinating parts of an area’s history is quite simply, its people, whose stories make up the fabric of our place as we know it. The footprints of many people from North Mayo have landed all over the world, and their influence is wide. Many more never left these shores, but in lives extraordinary, made meaningful and long-lasting contributions to the area.

While there are those who argue Ballina and North Mayo region is 5000 years old, the formal foundation of Ballina occurred in 1723, when Lord Tyrawley brought a large number of skilled flax and linen workers to town, and so the history of Ballina continues, 300 years later to a celebration in 2023.

Dear Old Ballina – A Celebration of Ballina People and their History; The Exhibition, features just some of these great people, with a brief history of each of their achievements.

For example, President Joe Biden, the GGG grandson of a Ballina man, the most Irish of Presidents of the USA, since John F Kennedy.
This is only a snapshot of the history of the town and what seems to be more interesting is the people that made the town, and the influence decedents of Ballina has had around the world on a global platform.

It would be easy to forget those people, but it would be a great mistake. This exhibition affords the opportunity to bring the history of the town out to the people of Ballina, and the Mayo diaspora.

Dear Old Ballina – A Celebration of Ballina People and their History.

Five thousand years ago–300 BC the first inhabitants of North Mayo steered their little crafts into safe landing points and came ashore near Ballycastle.

They were confronted by a forested landscape that in time they cleared by burning. Fields were marked out in rectangular formation and stones provided uniform divisions. This is known because archaeologist Seamus Caulfield, Dpt UCD and native of the area completed decades worth of research, with evidence found of fields blanketed by bog dating back to 2500 BC, finding also megalithic tombs and cairns, at Ceide and Belderg Beg, the most extensive Stone Age monument in the world, predating the Pyramids of Egypt.

Evidence of Neolithic activity in Ballina is afforded by the Dolmen in Primerose Hill, 500 BC.

Saint Patrick visited Ballina on his travels, founding a church at Leigue, with an inscription of a cross on a rock by St Patrick.
Monastic settlements sprang up from 450-750, with a plethora of chronological dates thus following on right up to 1603 and 1723.
The story of Mayo Forgotten Famine Girls Memorial, Pearse St, Ballina, Co Mayo will also be highlighted.

Between the years 1848 to 1850, 4114 orphan girls were shipped from Irish workhouses to Australia. Over 600 were from famine-torn Connaught. Almost 140 were from County Mayo.

Author and historian Terry Reilly shares with us his decades of research into Ballina & Area People, shining a light on some of our locals.



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