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Barrack Street, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo

In the old days, Ballyhaunis was essentially a western crossroads and a market town. It boasted a railway station, a friary, a parish church and two cinemas, if you count the parochial hall. It is seven miles from Knock, which, in those days was a relatively unassuming site of pilgrimage and the location of a broad array of huxters stalls which sold a wide variety of religious artifacts.

The picture shows a view of Barrack street, a left turn off the main street just before the courthouse, which is seen to right of picture.

Michael O'Dwyer and Margaret O'Reilly raised ten children in this house, in Barrack Street. My father, Luke, was one of those children. In the 1950s I used to stay there for a week at a time while he visited his relations and went to the Galway races. My grandmother Margaret appeared an austere and distant lady. She was looked after by my Aunt Mollie, the youngest in the family and who never married.

My grandfather was an RIC man, which explains my grandparents' residence in Barrack Street; my father's easy access to the Garda station; and my own visit to the cells at a tender age.

The near building is the courthouse and the whitewashed building beside it is the Garda station. Further up the street, and just in shot, is a pub and next is the parish church.

When I stayed there in the 1950s the field out the back was an adventure playground. My cousin Tommy and I played trains using a milk can as a staff, and I was once chased back into the house by a billy goat I had provoked in my youthful enthusiasm to learn a few curse words in his language.

The field is now, obviously the object of some grand project.

This is a view of the Church from the rear of the house.

This is a very preliminary draft of a family tree. I have cut it off at the next generation as the main interest at this stage is really between my granny's generation and mine. It is on a single page to facilitate scrolling. You can zoom in to check entries. You will need adobe reader as it is a pdf document. The reader can be downloaded (free) from here.

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