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BUILT HERITAGE  - Towns and Villages - Maum (Maam)

Maum Bridge (Droichead an Mháma) is a small village located in the Joyce Country at the junction of the R336 and the R345. It is located at the eastern entrance to the Maam Valley which stretches west from there almost to Leenane. The Maam Valley contains the townlands Teernakill North, Cur, Breenaun, Raith (Raithe) and Kilmeelickin and Mounterown. Maum is on the north bank of the Bealanabrack River which eventually flows into Lough Corrib. The source of the Bealanabrack River is deep in the Maam Turk mountains. Joyce’s River which flows along the R336 joins it near Breenaun. Ionad Pobal an Mháma have authored a website which cover many aspects of Maam Valley and has some spectacular pictures of the valley.

History

The Maam website has a brief history of Maam, sadly with no links and some errors.

Joyce Country

The Joyce Country Mountain and Lake District incorporates the communities of Maam, Corr na Móna, Clonbur, Cloghbrack, Finney, Tourmakeady, Cong, Cross and The Neale (see Discovery Series 38). The area is called "Joyce Country" after the colony of Joyce who came to live in the barony of Ross. Thomas Joyce emigrated to Ireland from Wales at the beginning of the 14th century and settled here. His son married an O’Flaherty and thus the Joyce clan took control of the whole barony of Ross.

Excellence appears to be the great challenge to the Joyces. The Joyce motto exhibits this life long desire: "Mors aut honorabilis vita"-"Death before dishonour".

Alexander Nimmo (1783-1832)

The renowned engineer Alexander Nimmo lived for some time in Maam Valley in a house he built there and which is now known as Keanes Bar. The house was on the carriage road that he later built from Maam Cross to Leenane. He was also responsible for building the original Maam Bridge which was replaced some years ago by the current structure.

The Quiet Man

The Quiet Man film (1952) starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond and Victor McLaglen  was shot in 1952. Many of the outdoor scenes were shot around Maam. Sadly, the cottage where many of these scenes were shot is a total ruin today although there are moves afoot to rebuild it. The cast were staying in Ashford Castle and as a then ten-year old, I remember the big vans passing our door every monring on their way to Maam.

War of Independence

Padraig Ó Máille (a Sinn Féin member of the first Dáil) lived in Mounterown  in the Maam Valley and was an avid republican and commanded an active flying column. The column was involved in an action on 23rd April 1921, the Mounterown ambush in which an RIC constable from Oughterard was killed. This action is sometimes referred to as the Kilmilkin ambush.

Maam Courthouse

It was builit ca. 1870. This rural courthouse with its temple front is a fine example of late nineteenth-century Neo-Classical architecture which is very rare in Connemara. The use of tooled limestone enlivens the building and the retention of original features to the interior and exterior increases its architectural heritage value. The courthouse closed after 150 years in Novembr 2004. It is in a delapidated state, however a restoration group are now working to restore it.

Commerce

Maam Bridge was the terminus for the Corrib steamers. There was a pier there, however this was extended by the IWAI Corrib branch in 1993 and was formally opened and handed over to Galway Country Council by President Mary Robinson  on 3rd July 1993. However, going on the fact that there are more than 15 lime kilns in Cor, there must have been very substantial traffic to Maam by boats carrying limstone as there is no limstone in the area.

Additional information on townlands etc

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