Crossmolina (in Irish, Crois Mhaoilíona) is a town in northern County Mayo, Ireland, The town sits on the River Deel near the northern shore of Lough Conn. TOURIST INFORMATION Crossmolina Tourist Information office situated on Mullenmore Street is open daily Monday – Thursday 9.30am – 5.30pm and Friday 9.30am – 1pm, There are also a number of nice walks on the Town Trail.
CROSSMOLINA TOWN - A TOWN STEEPED IN HISTORY
Crossmolina town is divided into two almost equal sized sections by the River Deel. The parish of Crossmolina with its ancient cloisters and its old world castles, its scenes of sanctity of destruction and tragedy is an area rich in historical interest. In the dim past when Crossmolina was part of lorrus - Domann inhabited by the fir-boigs, the earliest known settlers of Moyleog (or Moylaw) were the Calry sept of the Fir-Domann. When Fiachra folt-snatnach assumed rule this territory had vastly diminished and came to be known as Hy-Fiachrach, The Kings of Hy-Fiachrach kept a fortress at Inniscoe. And another on Annagh Island in Lough Conn. One of the Fiachra sons Daithi reigned as Ard-Ri for 405 A.D. to 483 A.D. According to tradition Daithi died on sliabh Alp in Ballycroy a short distance from Crossmolina parish and a lake in Dooleeg is called Loch Dhaithi Bhain in his memory.
His brother Amhalghaidh or Awley became ruler of Hy-Fiachrach Moy and this territory became known as Tir-Awley. During Awley's reign St. Patrick brought the faith to Ireland. On completing his sojurn on the Reek he set out for Tirawley following a route known as Tochar Phadraig or Patrick's road. He celebrated mass at Tristia. When he got to the locality now known as Mullaghfarry he found the princes and people converged disputing who would succeed Awley who had died. He baptized 12,000 people. Enda Crom became the first Christian ruler of Tirawley. His descendants settled in Moylaw, as did those of his brothers Aengus, Fionn and Connell.
Errew Abbeys was founded by St. Tiernan the patron saint of Crossmolina in the 6th century. The present ruins are those of a building of the 12th century which was probably erected by Tirawley Burke. St. Tiernan is reputed to have been either a grandson or great grandson of Awley. He is buried at Errew - some authorities give his feast day as August 6th while others give it as April 8th. St. Leogar was at one time Abbot of Errew but no details of his life are available. Another of Errew's monks Fiolle Aeda O'Muingin became Bishop of Cork 1152 A.D. For centuries before the Norman Conquest of Ireland 1169 A.D.
Errew was the ecclesiastical centre of the territory ruled by the dominant Irish chiefs of the neighbourhood. Errew was the centre of activity in the southern side of Tirawley. Nearly acentury after the conquest a native chief Fionn O'Lachtna Lord of Bac (Backs) used Errew as the spiritual capital of his possessions. In 1413 A.D. Henry Barrett was taken prisoner in the monastery by MaeWattin Barrett Lord of the locality. It is said that St. Tiernan appeared nightly to Mac Wattin demanding release of the captive, until he dedicated a quarter of land to St Tiernan's Shrine. Thomas Barrett - Bishop of Elphin for thirty years and one of the most eminent men of his time in Ireland died at Errew in 1404 and was buried in the Abbey.
In 1536 A.D. the Burke's took refuge in Errew but were driven out by their enemies the O'Dowdas, MacDonaghs and O'Connors. In Cromwellian times some monks who remained after the monastery had been dissolved and plundered by the reformers were put to death by the planters by being torn apart by wild horses. Over 100 years ago the Abbey and lands of Errew passed into the possession of lewis O'Donnell and later Granville Knox. Crossmolina Abbey founded in 1300 A.D. by a member of the deBarry family who held estates in Crossmolina at around this time.
Later it passed into the hands of Edmund Albanach Burke of Inniscoe. The last Abbot of St. Mary's was one of the O'Multeeney sept lords of Moyleog, and owners of considerable territory around Crossmolina until they were wantonly despoiled by the Burkes and the Barretts. Flaherty O'Molina chief of one half of Calree until he was stain by O'Gabheachan chief of the other half in 1269. At some stage there was a church at Inniscoe called Killadavarogue; this word seems to suggest something in the nature of a novitiate. Inniscoe owes part of its name to St. Mochna who died on March 30th 637. In Ballinbrinogue there was a church called Rathneogid, which was mentioned by Pope Innocent til in 1198 A.D. in a Papal Epistel to Donnchade O'Becda, Bishop of Killala. In 807 A.D., the Danes were defeated by the men of Hy-Awley and one of their leaders Elair was killed.
After the rout of the Danes, O'Dowdas wielded power. Cosanmhaigh Mor O'Dowda was slain by O'Gloinin in his house at Inniscoe in 1162 A.D. Some of the rulers of Tyrawley were ceremoniously indicted at Mullaghome which has been known as Carn-Awley, as it was made a burial place of his race by Awley. Edmund Albanach Burke a descendant of the deBurgha Settlers of the time of Henry II lived at Inniscoe in the 14th century. He spoke Irish, wore Irish type dress and assumed the name MacWilliam. In 1386 A.D. forces from Sligo Castle devastated the orchards of Inniscoe and Castlehill. In 1526, O'Donnell of Tirconnell captured Crossmolina and Castlehill. in 1570 Richard Burke of Castlehill was hostile to the other Burkes of Tirawley and opposed them in widespread revolt against English misrule.
This rebellion was crushed by 1586. The English were led by Richard Bingham. Bingham won this battle a the windy gap and brought the prisoners to an island on Lough Conn. A relic dating from 1702 exists in this parish, it is an artistically designed silver chalice This chalice was used in penal times and at that time discovery of either the priest or the craftsman would mean instant death. A man named Walshe was hanged on the old bridge which spanned the Deel after the failure of the insurrection of 1798.