Visitor Attractions at Hennigan's Heritage Centre
Killasser, Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland
Enter here to wait for a tour. Tea and coffee are also available. It is a discussion area for before and after tours and can be used for social events.
The cottage and its contents offer the backdrop to hear of life as it was from the 1870s to 1970. The parts of the cottage and how they evolved, all the items stored, the large hearth, the stones on the floor, the bed in the wall ... By the time you leave you will have a richer view of life as it was in passed times.
New Family House
This was built in 1970, much larger than the original cottage, three bedrooms, with no taxes on the windows.
This picturesque, freshwater lake is home to mallard and teal ducks, moor hens, swans and otters, a tranquil setting for visitors to enjoy.
"There are about ten acres. Up till the mid 80's we were farming ten milk cows and feeding 250 pigs. We no longer farm commercially. We feed a few cattle, a few sheep, a few pigs and poultry-ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens-all of which are free range. And we grow our own vegetables without using commercial fertilizers, aiming to be self sufficient for ourselves. Any surplus food is sold off to the visitors going through the center and also at country markets."
The Social Hall is used as a social gathering place for functions, dancing, ceol agus craic. The walls are decorated with murals illustrating the happenings of the year from cutting of the turf, thrashing the oats and barley, digging the spuds, saving the hay, to going to mass on Sunday and not forgetting the Fair Day in the town of Swinford
These, made by local students, are models of housing, farming methods used in this area by historical ancesters, from stone age, to bronze age, to medieval times, as evidenced in areas within the county of Mayo.
Displays: Re-Creation of the Parish Community
This display shows parts of a community dependent on one another for survival through the barter and 'meitheal' system. This display includes: a small room-with details of the story of our clothing - and household articles. As well, there is a cobbler's shop, a collection of artifacts from the area, agricultural implements, and more. Items come from the local area gathered to preserve and illustrate the everyday life here in the west of Ireland. You will even get a glimpse in the distilling of the mountain dew in the sheebeen.
About the Parish Community
After the battle of the diamond in Derry in 1795, many Catholic and Protestant families came and settled in this area. Many of the families were millers, spinners and weavers. They brought with them the ability to process flax on a commercial basis. The linen was taken in and sold in the markets in towns: Ballina, Castlebar and Westport.
The nineteenth century saw many of the girls educated by the nuns, in spinning, weaving, knitting and crochet. Government subsidized that effort, families buying spinning wheels and looms, and by the 1950s, knitting machines. When our clothes became worn, mother cut out the good pieces and made blankets for our beds. Sheets, pillow cases and much of our clothes (shorts and underwear) were made from flour bags, many boys and girls sporting the brand name "Purity" or "Cock of the North" on their behinds.