Linenhall Street c1900 Courtesy of the Wynne Collection
This street is named after the Linenhall, that is now an arts centre in Castlebar. One of the oldest and most prominent buildings in the town, the Linenhall was built in 1790 by the 2nd Earl of Lucan, Richard Bingham. After it was discovered that flax could be grown in the west of Ireland, landlords like the Lucans brought in skilled workers from Ulster, where the linen trade was booming and established the trade here. The Linenhall became the central depot for the storing and selling of linen for all of Mayo (Higgins, 2001). The trade was hugely important as whole families were employed in the growing and harvesting of flax as well as weavingand making the cloths. The industry changed Castlebar from a poor town into a relatively prosperous one. The hall was famously used as a ball room by General Humbert after his military victory here and given to the people of the town after the Great Famine when the linen trade died out.