Mayo Abbey Parish Development in Co. Mayo

Mayo Abbey parish is a rural community of 370, mostly farm families, located in the Plains of Mayo midway between Castlebar and Claremorris.

The history of Mayo Abbey is significant in the development of Irish Christianity as it was the site of St Colman's monastery founded in 608 AD: a university town with an estimated 5,800 inhabitants in the 12th/13th century: the seat of the diocese of Mayo from 1152 to 1631: gave its name to the county in the 16th century: and opened a new church in 1845, now known as the "Famine Church".

Down the years our population has declined and during recent years a conscious effort has been made to help all its inhabitants enjoy a better quality of life and encourage more of its people remain in or return to their native place.

A new church was opened in 1978: a range of sporting facilities have been developed: a multi purpose resource centre was opened in 2000 with facilities including offices, function room with bar, heritage room and childcare services: a new parochial house was built in 2001: the old Famine Church was re-roofed in 2001: and ongoing local improvements are being carried out through a Community Employment Scheme.

Plans for the future include expanding the existing childcare facilities to cope with demand for the services: renovating the old "Famine Church” and develop the heritage potential of the area: renovating the old parochial house and utilise for Community Enterprise: developing a local housing scheme: and generally make Mayo Abbey Parish a better place to live.

Mayo Abbey Community Council

Mayo Abbey Community Council is a voluntary Community Organisation with Charitable status.

The mission and vision of Mayo Abbey Community Council is to provide a community that is welcoming, offers training and employment for its people.

Established in 1993 and have since developed a broad range of Community projects:

St Colman’s Training Centre

A FETAC accredited training centre has been developed at Mayo Abbey. Training is provided at various level - from FETAC Level 3 (catering for early school leavers) right up to FETAC Level 6.

The Centre has a dedicated IT training room with state of the art facilities.

Organic Centre

An Organic Garden Centre has also been developed (known as Mayo Organic Centre). A wide range of organic horticultural courses are provided, including a full time FAS (FETAC Level 4) Organic Horticulture Course for approx 12 students. This Training Course provides employment to 2 full time trainers.

Cookery School

A new purpose built Cookery School has been developed in 2012 and now caters for 16 full time students as well as several part time and evening courses. This employs 1 full time tutor and 3 part time tutors teaching a FETAC Level 5 Professional Food & Cookery course.


Abbey Tots childcare facility caters for 60 children and offers a wide range of services, including childcare, playschool, full day care, and after school service.


A joint Social Housing Project has been developed with Mayo County Council adjacent to the Centre. These houses are available to young families, elderly and people with disabilities. They are supported by other services available at the Centre.

A Respite house is also in place for short term emergencies, in association with the HSE and Mayo County Council.

Active Age

Active Age Members are transported to the Centre every Friday to enjoy a lunch prepared in the Resource Centre kitchen. Meals are delivered out during the week.

Community Transport

The centre owns a minibus which is used for bringing passengers to town, elderly to the centre for Friday lunch, and also used for bringing people to the centre to attend courses.

Meals On Wheels Project

This project allows meals to be delivered to members of the community on Mondays & Wednesdays. Many of these people come into the centre on Friday to avail of the Friday dinner.


Mayo Abbey Heritage group was formed in 1993 and is affiliated to Museums of Mayo and the Tochar Valley Network. The Heritage group has been central in the refurbishment of the old Famine Church and School House.

The Heritage group research the history of the Mayo Abbey area and have compiled numerous booklets and flyers on the subject.

More information can be found on Mayo Abbey website