Foxford Heritage Trail
Beal Easa, (Foxford) meaning "The Mouth of the Waterfall", was noted in 1839 for the longevity of its inhabitants and was long considered being one of the healthiest spots in Mayo. The town natural amenity, the River Moy, it rises in the Ox Mountain and is world-famous for its Wild Atlantic salmon. It is said that the footprint of a fox at the fjord provided the English name of Foxford for the town, about the time of the plantation of the English and Scottish 🦊
Let's take a walk around Foxford to explore the history it has to offer 🚶
1. Foxford Woollen Mills
Providence Woollen Mills was founded by Mother Morrogh-Bernard of the Sisters of Charity in 1892. Foxford has now become famous internationally for its quality tweeds and woollens.
2. The newly opened Visitor Centre celebrates 100 years of the history of the town in a multi-media thematic exhibition. You will experience how a courageous, and very determined young nun turned a very poverty-stricken area into a self-supportive, industrious, and prosperous community.
3. The Convent Chapel was built in 1925 by Mother Morrogh-Bernard. The design of the Chapel is based on the late Gothic style of the old Irish abbeys, and the architect was Professor R. M. Butler. Some of the stained glass windows were made by Earley's of Dublin, and some were the work of Alfred Earnest Child.
4. The Music School was built by Mother Morrogh-Bernard in 1923, and was home to the town's young musicians and the Foxford Brass Band.
5. The Oratory next door was also built by the Sisters and once housed the public library.
6. The Convent Now a modern building, it was restructured in 1973 to replace the original building which the sisters, occupied since 1891. Most of the training provided by the sisters was carried in the old Convent, and they also had dormitories for the girls who could not travel to school.
7. Providence Road was formerly known as School Street, and most of the houses on this road were built by the Sisters of Charity, and rented out to mill staff, and teachers in the school.
8. Moybrook was built in 1912 to accommodate the mill manager Frank Sherry.
9. Brookside was built in 1852, and was the Parochial School, which gave the name School Street to this road.
10. The Birthplace of Admiral William Brown, founder of the Argentinean Navy, is a small whitewashed cottage on Providence Road. He was born in 1777 and lived here until 1786 when his family immigrated to America.
11. The Admiral Brown Bust was given to the Foxford community by the Argentine Patriotic Association; it was cast in bronze by sculptor Don Julio Caesar Vergottini. The Admiral Brown Bust was unveiled in 1957 when the Argentine Navy visited Ireland for the centenary of his death.
12. St. Michael and Mary Catholic Church was built in 1879, the year of the apparition in Knock. The building stone came from Killasser, and the altar was made by the father of Padraic Pearse. A large white crucifix in the grounds of the church marks the burial plot for the Sisters of Charity, and the grave of Mother Agnes Morrogh-Bernard.
13. The Brown Memorial Hall was built in 1930 to honour Admiral William Brown.
14. The Old Boys School was originally a famine burial ground and the site of the Catholic Church. A new Parish was built in 1879, and a school was built on this site.
15. The Market Square was once the site of the Courthouse and Market. John Bingham was granted the patent for a market and four fairs in 1683, and only one of those fairs, the Foxford Goat Fair still exists and takes place annually.
16. The Church of Ireland was built in 1801, and the tower was added in 1826. The Church and tower were plastered in 1939.
17. The Courthouse was built in the mid 19th century, and it was here the historic meeting to discuss the crisis in the area took place on October 3rd 1890.
18. Frederic Robert Higgins, the famous poet, and theatre director was born in a small cottage next to the Church of Ireland on April 24th, 1896.
19. The Foxford Bridge is situated on one of the ancient fording points of the Moy, a river which is known worldwide for its Salmon fishing. It was named Inver na mBuaidhe meaning the river of power, and it was this power that brought prosperity to Foxford, through the Providence Wollen Mills.
20. The Ball Alley on the West Bank of the river was built by the Sisters of Charity in 1901 for the recreation of the Mill staff, and it has played an important role in sporting activities in the town.
21. The Convent Primary School was built in 1907 to replace the old school, which was damaged by fire. The building is now a social centre for the community.