Saints and Sinners History tour

Moygownagh is a rural parish in mid-North Mayo which has a deep and fascinating history. On this tour you will visit sites of intrigue, tragedy and uplifting stories, spanning over fifteen centuries.

Saints and Sinners History tour

County Mayo Ireland

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Tour Information

Moygownagh (Gaelic - Magh Gamhnach) is a rural village and parish in North Mayo which has a deep and fascinating history. Situated between the towns of Ballycastle and Crossmolina, it has a population of 585. The parish derives its name from an ancient 7th century legend where a wandering St. Cormac met St. Daria, the abbess of a monastery along the banks of the Owenmore river. She treated him so hospitably that he blessed her and her lands so that they would abound in milch cows (fertile cows with milk) thereafter the area became known as "the plain of the milch cows" or "Magh Gamhnach".

On this tour you will visit sites of intrigue, tragedy and uplifting stories, spanning over fifteen centuries.

Self-Guiding app media designed & produced by SeaStack Media ©2019, powered by PocketSights.

Photographs by Mike Kinsella. Historical Information by Liam Alex Heffron

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What You'll See on the Tour

Designed by local artist Bernie O'Mara, and funded by Mayo County Council, the statues of the two saints, Cormac and Daria, welcome visitors to our village with open arms.  Cormac was a Munster missionary, who came to Connacht in the seve... Read more
In December 2016, the memorial to Drumanangle native, Michael Joseph Kelly was blessed by Fr. Brendan Hoban.  This commemorates the 'troubled soul' of a veteran of five armies, who was born just fifty yards away in the lee of the hill fac... Read more
Ballintober bridge is an impressive six-arch road bridge over the Owenmore river, dating from at least the 1820's but likely much earlier. Its part creeper- or ivy-covered walls are centred on triangular cutwaters to piers having pyramida... Read more
Carn Tower is a small defence look-out tower, probably built during the Jacobite wars, around 1689. It consists of a round stone structure ringed with gun loops for muskets, and a (now disappeared) second level with two lookout windows. Th... Read more
Garranard Post Office, was the main post office of the surrounding area up until the early part of this millennium, when the postal services were located to Mitchell's Centra supermarket in the village. The building itself was originally c... Read more
Ballinagur (now Ballynagor) once held a thriving community of protestant farmers, who were 'planted' here in the late 18th - early 19th century by the Jackson landlords of Eniscoe. They community consisted of two 'villages' of 'Faltabrack' ... Read more
Belvin Bridge or Belville Bridge, was built across the Owenmore river, on the main Crossmolina - Ballycastle road before the early 19th century. It led into the Orme estate of Belville, the house of which was demolished in the 1950s. The B... Read more
St. Daria is a seventh century local saint, reputed to have had her monastery at what is now the old graveyard of Moygownagh. However, ritual practice connected with her derives from pre-Christian worship, as her story has all the attribut... Read more
This now disused house, was the original gate lodge guarding the entrance to the Orme estate of Millbrook (renamed Owenmore in the early 1840's). It was built in the very early 19th century and reputed to have been the home a transgressor o... Read more
This house once belonged to a Knox family, of whom Thomas Knox was a coroner for North Mayo before the Great Famine of 1845-1851. It is a detached three-bay two-storey farmhouse, extant 1838, on a rectangular plan. Now disused, this is a fa... Read more
Now no more than grassy outlines in the green fields straddling a small boreen, this used to be a village of 17 small houses in the townland of Fairfield Lower and part of the Florence Knox estate of Greenwood. Local tradition is that Flore... Read more
This structure was built for playing handball by the young men of Fairfield in 1933 in a corner of a field owned by Sonny Forrister. As Bobby Cafferty recalled in an interview in 1995 ' Well, we used to be always mad for ball playing, and... Read more
This house was a typical dwelling of a small farmer in the late 19th and early 20th century, with small farm sheds nearby. The roof was originally thatched and the remains of an orchard may be seen behind the largest shed. John Francis McHa... Read more
According to the plaque, now set in the wall in front of the building, St. Cormac's church was erected in 1846, under the leadership of parish priest Fr. James McNamara, in the midst of the Great Famine. The original church was a small that... Read more


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