Ballindine 'the townland of the stronghold' is the first village you enter in Mayo as you travel on the N17 from Tuam. It's present population is about 200. In 1841 it was 448 persons but this dropped to 191 by 1851 as a result of the Great Famine of 1846-49. That is not to say that 257 people died of hunger in the period as we have records of large scale emigration in that ten years.
Ballindine is in the middle of a mixed farming region. Farmers are working the land since the Neolithic Age. Some burial tombs from that time are close by.
The village had a monthly fair for cattle and sheep until the 1960's. Indeed the September fair was known all over the West as a very good place to sell sheep. The July fair was also called ' The Gooseberry Fair'.
When Messrs. Payen's factory opened for the manufacture of gaskets it made the name of Ballindine known all over Ireland. But it was really put on the map when the late Martin Donoghue set up the Disabled Drivers Association and the fine building that is now it's headquarters is a worthy memorial to this great gentleman.
While the village is within the civil Parish of Crossboyne it is in the Parish of Kilvine for Church purposes. One of the area's most famous sons was Anthony Blake of Doonmacreena in 1705. He went on to become Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh in 1755. He died in 1787. Another son of the parish was Patrick Brown of Woodstock who was a world famous botanist. He lived most of his life in the West Indies and died on 29th August, 1790 and was buried in Crossboyne.
A feature of old Ballindine was it's wide street, but this was lost when Mayo County Council tiered it, thus we have 'High Street' and 'Low Street' nowadays.
Most of the village was at one time owned by the Browne family of nearby Castlemacgarrett. It was this family who provided the first regular school to teach children, much to the dismay of some Roman Catholic Bishops who did not want the state to educate anybody. The National School Board was set up and a school was opened in the village in 1842.
One of the first written references to Ballindine is in an inquisition of 1302 in which it is referred to as 'Ballindangan'.
Most older residents will recall the lovely avenue of beech trees along the Claremorris road. What a pity they had to be removed for road widening.
Why not replace them?
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