Robert Tighe's Cut-stone House on Main Street

Stone Plaque of R. Tighe's of 1851
Averil Staunton
Front elevation of Robert Tighe's
Averil Staunton
1880's image of businesses on east side of Main Street

There is a plaque above the carriage entrance archway, on right of this building, beside downpipe that records Robert Tighe, Justice of the Peace, had erected this large cut stone building dated 1851.


It is ascribed as an eight bay, three storeyed ashlar cut-stone townhouse c. 1850 by Mayo County Council’s protected structure building no 237.

Son of Thomas

Robert was probably the son of Thomas D.L, who appeared in Slater’s Commercial Directory of 1846, and was listed a wholesaler and Spirit and Wine Merchant on Market Street (now Main Street).  He is also listed as a Brewer and a Tallow Chandler.


According to the NUIG, Moore Institute’s Landed Estate records (The Landed Estates Database provides a comprehensive and integrated resource guide to landed estates and historic houses in Connacht and Munster, c. 1700-1914).

Robert Tighe was a prosperous merchant of Ballinrobe, in the mid 19th century who bought lands for sale in the Encumbered Estates’ Court.  At the time of Griffith’s Valuation Robert Tighe held 3 townlands in the parish of Kilmainemore, barony of Kilmaine, County Mayo, previously part of the estate of Arthur Browne of Glencorrib, parish of Shrule and one townland in parish of Crossboyne, barony of Clanmorris, bought from the Blakes of Merlin Park.  Robert Tighe held a townland in the parish of Templetogher, barony of Ballymoe, county Galway, in the mid 1850s.

In 1863 he bought The Heath from the Blakes. His first wife was Catherine daughter of Thomas Kelly and their eldest son Thomas was Member of Parliament for county Mayo in 1874 and married in 1875 Marie Antoinette Dolphin of Danesfort, county Galway.”

By 1876 members of the Tighe family owned more than 2,000 acres in county Mayo and 1,025 acres in county Galway. Part of the Tighe’s county Mayo estate was sold to the Congested Districts’ Board in May 1906.


Catherine was 27 years old when she died and is buried in the old Churchyard of Carnalecca Church.  Thomas died at 87 years of age in 1914 and he is buried in the same graveyard.

Farming methods

Robert was obviously a wealthy man who had great success owing to his hard work and application of modern and efficient methods in which he ran his estates.  He is mentioned in the Saunders’s Newsletter of 1862 as being a man who had “a paternal disposition towards his tenants.

His properties were notable for the neat and clean appearance and “neatly thatched cottages in which his tenants live have no fermenting manure heap before the door to offend passer-by’s”.  He was also mentioned as being responsible for his tenants having a well built wall in front with a neat gate giving entrance to a little flower garden or clean yard.  He supplied his tenants twice a year with whitewash and insisted that the tenant’s cottages be decorated twice a year.  This created a good impression.

It appeared that this man showed respect for his tenants and cared for their well being and health and, as a consequence, he was well regarded in the area.

Distinguished visitors

In May 1887 Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore USA, who spent time as a young man in Ballinrobe, and had lived on Bridge St, visited Thomas Tighe of the Heath.  According to the Ballinrobe Chronicle the pair had been school friends.  The Cardinal also visited in 1895, in the company of Dr. McCormack, Bishop of Galway and both stayed for a night with Thomas Tighe.  Two days later the Cardinal said Mass in the convent Chapel and departed from Ballinrobe Station on the nine o’clock train.

Adjoining building on left (facing)

Inside the original façade of the Credit Union building a modern structure has been constructed.  The Credit Union Office has a exhibition in memory of Felix Waitkus, the American/Lithuanian pilot whose plane – Lituanica II – crash landed in Cloongowla (1 mile outside Ballinrobe town) on 22nd September 1935.  Felix was attempting to fly single handed from the US to Lithuania.  A sculpture in his memory is located at the start of the Bower’s Walk.


Comments about this page

  • Very interesting article found in the Archives Section in Clongowes Wood College, Kildare. Five of the Tighe family attended school at Clongowes with the first son arriving in 1835.   One boy, Joseph, aged 15 died there in 1843.  He is buried in family vault in Ballinrobe graveyard.  Three other cousins from The Heath also attended Clongowes. I think they must have travelled by train.   A lot of the Tighes joined the Connacht Rangers.

    By Margaret Dixon (09/02/2012)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *