This church was demolished after the construction of the Church of the Holy Rosary in 1901. Known as the 'old barn' it was called a chapel as during the Penal Laws the Anglican Church was dominant and Catholic Churches were known as chapels. Hence, the Catholic Church is located on Chapel Street and the Anglican Church is located on what was known as Church Street.
The Penal Laws
After Cromwell’s campaign in 1641 and the defeat of James I by William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 Ireland was fully under the control of an occupying force. This turning point sparked the era of the Protestant Ascendency in Ireland and the age of the Penal Laws. The ordinary Catholic Irish would be subservient to their Protestant landlords, divided by religion, race and language. Catholics were driven from their land, had to pay rents to their landlords and a tithe to a foreign church. Castlebar was made a garrison town in 1691 with a permanent station of troops at a barracks, the site of the first deBarrie castle. Richard Pocoche noticed that Sir Charles Bingham had built a house on the site of a ruined castle, while he travelled in 1752. The landlord and the army were now both housed on the grounds of the Lawn where the present barracks was built in 1834 and Lawn House, the seat of the Binghams, now part of St Joseph’s Secondary School still stand. Conditions during the eighteenth century in the town were difficult for the peasant. Arthur Young writing in the 1770s described the cabins of the poor outside Castlebar as ‘the most miserable that can be imagined…one room…no chimney…the smoke warms them…no beds…people sleep on rushes on the floor’. However, during the latter part of that century it was discovered that flax could be grown and the 1st Earl of Lucan, Charles Bingham, quickly developed the linen industry, creating employment and bringing prosperity to the town.