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Mountbellew is a quiet market town 45 km from Galway City on the N63 to Roscommon. It is situated near the River Shiven, which provides some excellent fly fishing for brown trout. Mountbellew is known in Irish as 'An Creagan', the little rock, or a rocky or stony place. The town owes its name to the Bellew family which originated in Belleau, France and came to Ireland through England at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion but did not achieve prominence until the end of the fourteenth century. They settled in Meath and Louth. The Bellews of Mountbellew are descended from James Bellew of Bellewstown, County Meath. It was once the home of the Grattan-Bellew family, famous Galway parliamentarians during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their demesne is now a delightful wooded area of forest walks and picnic areas, filled with interesting historical items. The village bridge also contains a rare milestone inserted in the middle of its parapet.

Holy Rosary College Mountbellew County Galway

Mountbellew Community Centre County Galway

Holy Rosary College
Holy Rosary College (above left) was established in 1944 as Scoil na Coróine Muire, a Girls' Secondary School. The school was started by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate, an American congregation, who had come in 1934 to Mountbellew where they established St Philip's Convent in "Bellewsgrove", the old dower-house of the Grattan-Bellew estate. This Georgian building housed both a convent and a school for 22 years. Many of the girls joined the congregation and moved to the Novitiate in San Antonio, Texas. The number of students in the school ranged from 45 - 55. In 1965, Archbishop Walsh, in response to requests from the people of Mountbellew, asked the Sisters to admit boys to the school. However, the Congregation was not interested in developing a co-ed school and decided to withdraw from Ireland. A memorial plaque at the entrance to Holy Rosary Convent commemorates "the many women who went from here to serve the poor and marginated in the USA, Mexico and Zambia".
Agricultural College
The College (below left) in Mountbellew is owned and managed by the Franciscan Brothers. The programmes offered at the College have the maintenance and enhancement of the environment, countryside and rural communities as their major priorities. The college is a private college but joins with Teagasc, GMIT, VEC and FAS in delivering courses. The Brothers came to Mountbellew, Co Galway in 1818. They taught a free primary school in Mountbellew until 1884 and in 1875 they opened a secondary boarding school. Later the Brothers changed from Secondary education to Agricultural Education and in 1904 opened the first Agricultural College in Ireland.
Mountbellew Agricultural College County Galway Ireland Bobbyjo - Aintree Grand National winner 1999
Bobbyjo - Aintree Grand National Winner
Bobbyjo (above right) who won the Grand National at Aintree in 1999 to become the first Irish winner of the race in 24 years. The 10-1 shot and winner owned by Mountbellew native Bobby Burke was ridden by Paul Carberry, and trained by his father Tommy.

Mountbellew Agricultural Show
One of the biggest events in the Mountbellew calendar is the annual Agricultural Show. This takes place every year on the second Saturday of September from as far back as 1904 to the present day. Entries to the show come from all over Ireland. There are sections for livestock, dogs, farm produce, cookery and handcrafts. There are junior sections for people under 16, and everyone is very welcome. On show weekend Mountbellew has a Harvest Festival and the town comes alive with activity. There is traditional music in the local pubs, competitions and amusements in the Square.

Mountbellew House County Galway Ireland



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