The History


The correct name in Gaelic is Coillte Maghach (or Coillte Mach) – The Woods of Maghach.

Maghach was a chieftain of the Fir Bolg, the earliest Celtic people to colonize Bronze Age Ireland. The Celts were an Iron Age race and Irish mythology tells of three Celtic invasions – effectively replacing a Bronze Age culture with that of the superior Iron Age.

The Fir Bolg were defeated by the Tuatha e Danaan (the second wave of Iron Age Celts) at the Battle of Moytura, southwest of present Kiltimagh. Maghach, one of the defeated chieftains sought refuge on Sliabh Cairn mountain which was then wooded, i.e. Coillte Maghach. Subsequently, after his death he was buried on the mountain, and the area came to be called after him.

This legend is typical of invasion myths. The story locates the burials of a celtic chieftain in an area that would have been ritually important to the previous culture – i.e. a Bronze Age cemetery. In this way, the ancient sacred site was subsumed into the new and dominant culture.

Kiltimagh, a picturesque town in the heart of the county is centrally located for touring the West. Kiltimagh is much admired by visitors for its beautiful 19th century artisan village theme evident in the shop facades and the Market Square, as well as for the many wonderful attractions and amenities it offers to visitors.

Kiltimagh, with its central location, excellent accommodation sector, wonderful attractions and amenities, provides an ideal base for touring the West. Just one hour from Sligo, Galway, Westport and Achill, 20 minutes from Ireland West Airport Knock and Foxford Woollen Mills and just 10 minutes from Knock Marian Shrine.

Kiltimagh is rich in history and was the birthplace of Raifteirí – the blind poet. There are many historical sites and places of interest to visit, traditional pubs, ceol agus craic, excellent food and accommodation in hotels, bed & breakfast and self catering.

There are many holiday activities on offer also, – country walks with maps supplied, that will satisfy everyone from the Sunday stroller to the experienced hiker, mountain biking, fishing, pitch & putt, a fully supervised childrens venture fun park, fishing, golf, walking, cycling, horse-riding/trekking.

You don’t want an activity holiday? Avail of a relaxing break, enjoying the breathtaking landscapes and the rich cultural heritage.

So, what are you waiting for? Come to Kiltimagh and experience for yourself all that is wonderful about Irish tradition and culture.

Visitor attractions include, the Town Museum, Station Master’s Exhibition Centre and Sculpture Park, all located in the tastefully restored area of the Old Railway Station.

The high quality and personal service in our excellent accommodation bases will assure you of Irish friendship and hospitality at their best. Kiltimagh with its central location boasts an excellent accommodation sector (B&Bs, hotel, self-catering and camper park) angling facilities, trekking tours, mapped walking routes museums, sculpture park, Venture Fun Park for children, cosy pubs, restaurants and much more.

The town hosts a major festival each year – St. Patrick’s Day Pageant and Parade in Kiltimagh is a seven day celebration of Irish tradition and culture with visitors from home and abroad descending on the town for the festivities.

Kiltimagh as it is today is the product of the hard work, initiative and imagination of Fr. Denis O’Hara, Parish Priest. His first task was building a new Church and 8 national schools in the area. Then, with the help of the St. Louis Sisters, primary and technical schools were set up to provide instruction in household management, sewing, carpentry and horticulture, to foster a sense of self-sufficiency and well being. He was responsible for the town’s comprehensive circular roads, the town sewage and gas system, the Town Hall, the Cottage Hospital, ‘People’s Park’ and Factory Field.

Killedan Churchyard

The name derives from Cill Liadain, the Church of Liadan, and not, as Douglas Hyde translated it, Cill Aodain. (O Donovans Letters: 1838). At some time in the 19th century, Franciscan monks, known as the Grey friars, were said to have used this church.

1239 – Kiltimagh part of the Barony of Gallen

1500’s – Parish church at Killedan is destroyed by fire and rebuilt

1608 – Fransiscan Friary at Killedan has its lands seized

1646 – Fransiscans return to Killedan

1650’s – Ormsby family arrive

1731 – “Report on the state of Popery in Ireland” records one priest ministering in Killedan and there is one mass house.

1798 – Two local men, Browne and Gill of Garryroe join French forces and are captured aster defeat at Ballinamuck, Co Longford.

1799 – Thomas Ormsby, Ballinamore compensated for losses suffered during 1798 disturbances

1799 – Rastery born at Killedan

1825 – Handball Court built in Kiltimagh

1829 – Only three Kiltimagh people quali﬌ to vote – Richard NcNicholas, John Mimey, and Patrick Dillon

1831 – Population of parish recorded at 6,162

1835 – Death of Rastery

1835 – Five schools recorded in the parish with enrolment of 532

1837 – First Ordnance Survey map of Kiltimagh published

1839 – Kiltimagh suffers damage in ‘Night of the Big Wind’

1840 – Formation of Swinford Poor Law Union to which Kiltimagh will have two elected members

1846-47 – From October ’46 to April ’47 400 deaths occur in parish due to the famine

1848 – 145 people evicted in Treenagleragh by Earl of Lucan

1851 – Census shows devastation of famine results in population drop of 20% in 10 years

1879 – 20,000 a﬙end land agitation meeting in Kiltimagh. Land League has 700 members in Kiltimagh

1880 – 2,500 in danger of starvation due to famine

1881 – Local woman Kate Byrne shot by RIC during during riot at Treenaglersgh

1885 – First pig fair

1887 – Kiltimagh GAA Club formed

1887 – Many injured when police a﬙ack peaceful land march in the town

1888 – Church of The Holy Family is dedicatedRailway Station

1889 – Land League hut erected by local commi﬙ee for Tom Kelly, Pollagh who was eveicted

1887 – Newtownbrowne school opened

1895 – First train officially stops at Kiltimagh station (picture opposite).

1895 – Names selected for streets of the town

1897 – Arrival of St Louis sisters

1898 – Branch of Gaelic League formed

1901 – 7,000 a﬙end big nationalist meeting in Market Square

1903 – Convent National School opens

1909 – Jim Kelly is World Handball Champion

1914 – Company of Irish Volunteers formed in Kiltimagh

1914 – Kiltimagh GAA Club win their first con﬚ c’ship beating Ballina in the Junior final

1916 – Five men are killed in train crash outside Kiltimagh

1916 – Following Easter Rising Sean Corcoran arrested and deported to prison in England

1917 – Ruane and CorcoranTwo Volunteers from Kiltimagh arrested for drilling, charged with

illegal assembly and with being members of an illegal organisation.

They are Seán Corcoran (Brigade O/C) and Thomas Ruane (Vice Brigadier).

1914-1918 – Eight Kiltimagh men known to have died in World War 1

1920 – Bohola RIC Barracks burned down by Kiltimagh Ba﬙allion of IRA

1921 –

Town terrorised by Black and Tans

Sean Corcoran shot dead by RIC

British troops surround church during mass but local activists escape

Auxillaries occupy business premises on Main St

1922 – Free State Officers Lt. Jack Benson, Capt. Jim Ruane and Serg. John Byrne (picture below).Benson, Ruane, Byrne

1922 –

Death of fr Denis O’Hara

Comdt. Tomas Ruane shot dead by republicans

Republican ambush at Ballinamore results in 26 being captured by Free State Army

1923 –

One innocent man killed in ambush at Kinaffe that goes wrong

A second ambush at Glore leaves an innocent girl seriously injured along with one Free State soldier dead, three injured and six republicans injured

Kiltimagh railway station burned down

1923 (January 15th) – Death takes place of Captain James Higgins, National Army, Kiltimagh, aster aCaptain James Higgins period of illness in the Military Hospital, Claremorris.

1924 – Sean Lavan represents Ireland at the Olympic Games in Paris (picture lest).

1925 – Co﬙age Hospital becomes permanent Garda barracks

1926 – Gene Tunney, whose parents came from Kiltimagh becomes World Heavyweight Champion

1928 – Sean Lavan captains Irish Olympic team in Amsterdam

1933 – Street violence follows results of General Election

1935 – First radio broadcast from Mayo is a concert from St Louis Convent

1938 – Sisters of St John of God purchase Ballinamore House

1943 – William Walsh, the Labour candidate, defeated in General Election

1944 – Opening of Savoy Cinema

1945 – Woman killed by a train at the level crossing

1947 – Catherine Clarke, Aiden St leads INTO during national teachers strike as president

1953 – Irish Spinners factory opened

1955 – Kiltimagh Fire Brigade formed

1956 – Sean Lavan – medical officer for Irish Olympic team.

1961 – Diamond Ballroom opens

1961 – Treenagleragh National School opens

1962 – Opening of new Fire Station

1974 – Ballinamore House handed over to Western Care

1974 – Liam McDonagh provides multi-channel television to the area

1976 – Official opening of Gilmartin GAA Park

1977 – Tom Jordan chosen as Mayo Man of the Year

1983 – Kiltimagh Communi﬚ Radio (KCR) on the air for summer months

1984 – Official opening of Town Hall Theatre

1985 – Farah Manufacturing Company announce plans to set up in Kiltimagh


The history of our Museum in Kiltimagh is inextricably bound up with the change in the town’s fortunes. For generations Kiltimagh was associated with poverty and depression. With no employment locally family ties were ruptured as our young people…

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1916 Rising

The Easter Rising (Irish: Éirí Amach na Cásca),also known as the Easter Rebellion, was an armed insurrection in Ireland during Easter Week, April 1916. The Rising was launched by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish…

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In September, 1897, six Sisters of the St. Louis Order, arrived from their Convent in Monaghan to Kiltimagh, on the invitation of the Parish Priest Fr. Denis O’Hara. They set up a technical school for the children of the Parish, followed by a…

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Fire Tragedy

I suppose you could say that my association with fire fighting in Kiltimagh began when I wasn’t yet two years of age. You see I was, as my late mother always told me, born on the same day as Patrick Ruane, the youngest child of the Ruane…

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St.Louis School

In September, 1897, six Sisters of the St. Louis Order, arrived from their Convent in Monaghan to Kiltimagh, on the invitation of the Parish Priest Fr. Denis O’Hara. They set up a technical school for the children of…

read more