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Ireland Gazeteer

Ballinasloe in 1835

BALLINASLOE, a town in the county of Galway, in Ireland, on the west side of the river Suck, a tributary to the Shannon. Though a small place, Ballinasloe is one of the most prosperous towns in the county. (Dr. Beaufort's Memoir of Ireland .) It is celebrated for its great wool fair, which is held on the 13th of July. This fair was established by Mr. Trench, in the year 1757, and the town is now the property of his grandson, Viscount Dunlo. In consequence of the great convenience of its situation, being in the centre of the wool country, and the efforts made by Mr. Trench and his successors to afford every accommodation to those who frequented it, Ballinasloe eventually became a place of greater resort and more extensive business than the fair of Mullingar. For some time past the number of bags of wool, each weighing eight hundredweight, brought to this market, has averaged from 1,400 to 1,800; but it is calculated that four or five times this quantity is sold there without being brought to the fair at all.

Ballinasloe has also a large cattle market, which is held in October; it begins on the 5th and ends on the 9th. At the commencement of the present century the number of oxen annually sold at this fair was 10,000, and of sheep 100,000. Owing, however, to the increased cultivation of the soil and other causes, the number of sheep brought to Ballinasloe market is supposed to have diminished of late years. The cattle tolls bring £600 a year.

Ballinasloe is a handsome town. It has two breweries, and a barracks for cavalry and infantry. There are several public schools, two of which are supported by voluntary contributions. A canal was formed a few years ago, which makes a communication between the town and the river Shannon. It is sixteen miles in length, and drains nearly 12,000 acres of bog. This canal was opened for the purposes of commerce in 1828. Ballinasloe is eighty miles west from Dublin in a straight line: by the road the distance is ninety miles. The population, in 1831, was 4,140; in 1821 it was only 1,811.