22 Bridie Mulloy, Ballinrobe

Ballinrobe's Bridie Mulloy

Bridie Mulloy (nee Gunning) who lived in Ballinrobe for many years was a native of Ballindoon, County Sligo where she was born c 1919. While growing up there she first became interested in folklore while listening to stories around the fire. Following her attendance at Ballymote Vocational School, her schoolgirl hobby became a career when she took it upon herself to collect the folklore of her home county Sligo, followed later by Mayo and Waterford.

In the 1930’s there was a national competition for school teachers, inviting entrants to submit an example of their work to the National Folklore Commission. While there is no record of her entry Bridie obviously submitted work as 21 of the manuscripts in the Irish Folklore Department in University College, Dublin, are from her collection.


Destiny played a part when Bridie met her future husband Tony Mulloy, a Keel man on Achill Island. Tony was a school teacher whose family owned the local Village Inn. He was very knowledgeable in the local folklore and stories of Achill, so it is no wonder these two souls met up!  Tony who died in 2008 was later the Principal of Ballinrobe Vocational School until his retirement in 1981. He acted in a voluntary capacity as Secretary of the Ballinrobe Racecourse Committee for some time in the 1980s and had a keen interest in greyhounds.

Guesthouse Advisor

In 1963 Bridie was offered a position as Irish Farm Guesthouse Advisor and travelled all over Ireland for three years. She has been described as the pioneer of the farm guesthouse movement.


Bridie became a regular contributor to local and national newspapers and magazines when she took up journalism as a hobby. Her contributions included projects for the Farmer’s Journal, Woman’s Way, and the Irish Countrywoman, in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Her monologues have featured on RTE and Mid-West Radio.


Bridie died on 10th October 2009 and her body, like her husband’s Tony was donated for Medical Research.


Her book, ‘Itchy Feet and Thirsty Work’ is a social history of the Ballinrobe area and her meticulously researched history of Ballinrobe’s Augustinian Abbey in conjunction with the Lough Mask and Lough Carra Tourist Development Association and FÁS, was marked by the visit of President Mary Robinson to Ballinrobe on July 28, 1994.

Another of her lasting legacies to the Ballinrobe people is her poem…

This grand old Mayo town by Bridie Mulloy

There is a wealth of history within our ancient town

Ballinrobe in by-gone days was a seal of high renown

It’s story’s told in walls of stone some ruined and ivy green

But graceful arch and fine façade stand proudly to be seen

By those who cherish craft and skill and customs handed down

By the forbearers of the folk who live in this grand old Mayo town


The poor and old are cared for now just as in days of yore

When the friars at their Abbey kept for all an open door

And old friends who come to fish on island studded Mask

Throw care away as day by day in beauteous peace they bask

The Europeans as can be seen we welcome as our own

And the yanks all love to linger in this grand old Mayo town.

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