Staball Hill c1900 Courtesy of the Wynne Collection
According to folklore, Staball Hill got its name from the ‘Races of Castlebar’ during the Rebellion of 1798. General Humbert, with an army of 1000 French soldiers, landed at Killala and fought his way to Castlebar with the help of some Irish recruits where an army of British soldiers were waiting for him. After the battle, the British contingent fled so fast that the episode became known as the ‘Races of Castlebar’ and is often described as one of the most ignominious defeats in British military history. During the battle a blockade was erected by the British in one last stand at Bridge Street. As the Irish soldiers, armed only with pikes charged the British the residents of the street are said to have shouted ‘Stab them all’. This was shortened to ‘Staball’. On the Ordnance Survey Map c1900 the hill is called ‘Stab all’; the words separated. The street was also known as ’98 street to some residents of the town. However, before Staball got its name this street was known as ‘Poorhouse Hill’. The Workhouse was located at the bottom of this hill and people had to walk this way to get to it. Furthermore, the street was a poor part of the town as is apparent from examination of the Castlebar House Survey that shows that all 71 houses were exempt from the housing tax as they were all valued beneath the threshold of £5. Additional notes by the assessor include the presence of broken walls and gaps between the houses.