Bellacorrick History, Bangor in Co. Mayo

The name Bellacorick is taken from Gaelic meaning the mouth of the confluence. Arthur Rose, who was postmaster and a merchant in Belmullet owned seven acres here on which was built a general store and a changing station for mail coaches. The horses were housed in a stable just across the road.

The property was leased in 1859 to a Patrick Bourke. Since then it has been in the possession of the Reilly, O'Boyle, Rowland, Ferguson and Gaughan families.

Situated between the public house and the bridge stood a shooting lodge. It was later to become a Post Office, which had been managed by a Mr. Flynn. The Post Office has since moved to Kilsallagh.

The now legendary musical bridge at Corrick was built in 1820 and bears the following inscription: By order of the Grand Jury, Right Hon. Denis Browne, Foreman. This bridge was designed and built by William bald, Civil Engineer, 1820.

The present day road from Castlebar to Belmullet was built around this time. The section from Corrick to Ballina was built at a later stage.

The bridge has four elliptical arches, each thirty feet apart, with battlements nearly 400 ft long. An early 19th century description of the bridge: It is the largest and best-built bridge in Mayo. It was begun in 1820 and finished next season.

The Corrick Bridge, also known as 'The Musical Bridge', has become an object of curiosity. Music is produced from this bridge in two different ways. First, by rolling a stone along the parapet on either side. As the stone drops along, musical notes are produced in rapid succession.

The second method is to hold the stone in your hand and to strike it on the slabs, which form the coping of the parapet hitting each slab as you go along drawing back the hand immediately after striking. Each slab gives forth its own peculiar note and a wonderful musical scale is produced.

Bellacorrick Power Station

In June 1949 Michael Kilroy, a TD representing Erris requested the government of the day to build a turf - fired station for the generation of electricity in Erris. He also pointed out the advantage of reclaiming the cut away bog and introducing a scheme of afforestation.

Within a few years the Electricity Supply Board land two hundred yards from the bridge, as a site for a power station. At the same time Bord na Mona acquired 20,000 acres of bogland around Bellacorrick and the town lands south west of Bangor. Work started on the erection of the power station in May 1958.

The first boiler turbine went into operation in November 1962 with a second being added in January 1963. The total cost of the station and all ancillary buildings was £400,000. The plant burns 300,000 tons of peat and generates 170 million units of electricity annually.

The power produced here is fed into the national grid. The station is easily recognised with its 290-ft cooling tower, which can be seen for miles around. The turf is pulverised and dried during the summer months and stored in piles covered with polythene sheets until required.

It is then transported by eight-ton railway wagons and brought to the generating station by diesel locomotive. When in full production the station employs 111 people and Bord na Mona employ 255.

According to government policy cut away bog is sold to the Dept. of Forestry. Over 1,000 acres of trees have been planted, bringing the total acreage of forestry in the Erris area to well over 16,000 acres. A wind powered generating station has been added to the area in the last few years.

By Brian Hoban

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