Castlebar, co. Mayo, Ireland
10 Feb 1877

[...Sanitary Inspection results Louisburgh, Co. Mayo]

1. Bridge Street, South side: The sewer under the floor of the house
belonging to Patrick LYONS must be reopened, in order to drain the yard of
the adjoining house, which is overflowing with the sewage and nuisance of
the worst description, and cannot possibly be drained otherwise unless by
cutting and blasting through a stratum of rock in rear of the premises
towards the river. To cut through such a rock would cost more that the house
is worth; whereas, by placing a 6-inch earthen pipe to and through LYONS'
house, to connect with the public sewer in front of thereof, the whole thing
can be well, safely and permanently done at an expense of about 3, which
the owner of the house should pay. LYONS cannot object to this; the sewer
existed under the house before his ownership of it, and the laying of a
sewer pipe, with properly-executed joints, will of course, prevent any
nuisance hereafter in the house.

2. Dr. KEAY's suggestion to make a sewer in rear of the houses all along
from LYONS's house to the bridge, in this street, was considered, on
examination of the place not quite practicable, owing to the difficulty and
expense of cutting or blasting through a continuous solid rock, in one
prolonged stratum, which intervenes for more that half the distance, and is
of an exceedingly hard formation, like quartz. The owners or occupiers of
every house in this street have a good-sized plot of ground extending the
whole way from the yard in the rear of the house to the river, and they all
can drain their premises in that direction, and if not willing (which I
think they are) they can be compelled to do it.
This is a very easy matter, if the premises are periodically inspected by
the Sanitary Sub-Officer. The fall is good, and if, by letting the sewage
flow midway to the river in their own gardens, the people occupying the
houses can readily and frequently mix the sewage with the soil, which is the
best disinfectant. The sewage, etc. of this street, by this means, becomes
absorbed as manure in the earth, and can never reach or pollute the river.
If these leaseholders neglect this simple sanitary practice they should be
dealt with at Petty Sessions, as they have no excuse whatever. I must say
that some of the back yards-Mr. McEVILLY's and others-are clean and orderly,
but others are abominable.

3. Bridge-street, North Side: No complaints can at present be reasonably
made of want of cleanliness in the back premises on this side of the street.
There is an evident attempt at sanitary improvements throughout.

4. Chapel-street, West side, is in a bad way from the top of it down to the
old Police Barrack; every yard in rear is pervaded with hollows brimful of
stinking filth, which overflows into the adjoining and lower leveled houses.
Amongst the owners of these houses, Mr. Patrick HASTINGS and Mr. Thomas
DUNBAR should at once be compelled to divert the streams of filth from the
yards to the center of their plots for manure and absorption purposes
instead of dropping such fetid matter into their neighbours; houses where
foul gases must, to a certainty, be generated thereby. Nearly at the lower
end of the street is:

5. The old Police Barrack, of very unwholesome repute, now let as a
lodging-house, and in which there are at present 5 or 6 patients in typhus
fever (up to last Monday 2 others had died there within the previous few
days). After a rather minute examination of the surroundings of this
illomened building I discovered that on three sides it must necessarily
receive fever-breeding malaria, viz.:-North side the tow large windows must
let in (whenever open) the horrid stench from the rear of DUNBAR's house
above described, in which there is moreover a pile of dung rearing up to the
wall. Next, West side the stream of fetid filth from DUNBAR's yard get into
the foundation, and long the base of this house penetrating all through, and
here there is a privy too close to the house; from the privy there is a
covered drain leading for about 30 years into the garden in rear, where
there is a covered tank, without any outlet whatever; consequently the foul
gases generated in the covered drain and covered tank must rush back to the
privy and thereby get into the old barracks, which has on that side abundant
aperatures, doors and windows to admit them. Then, again on the East side of
that building, in rear of 3 or 4 thatched dwellings, there is a permanent
sort of tank of most abominable nuisances, and in one of these cabins fever
prevails at present, and no wonder.

Your board will then understand why that old police barrack must,
necessarily under existing circumstances, be in a polluted atmosphere as it
must admit on three sides at least putrid gases sufficient to sicken a whole
town. Mr. NICHOLSON, the present owner of the premises, was sent for by Mr.
WILBRAHAM, and came to the meeting of the Dispensary Committee. On my
explaining to him his responsibility in the matter he at once promised very
promptly and fairly to do all necessary acts, to put the premises into a
sanitary state, viz., to knock down the privy and erect a new one further
back in the garden-to collect by air runs and down pipes all the water of
the roof, which (it being a double house) will be considerable, and by means
of a sewer which he promises to construct to flush the privy, and with an
occasional mixture of earth use its contents for manure and keep it out of
the river. The sources of pollution from DUNBAR's yard-on the South, and
from rear of the three or four thatched houses on the East side of the old
barracks should at once be stopped and is quite easy of accomplishment by
service of notice on the owners summonses if necessary.

6. Chapel street, north and Long street- The sewarage of the greater part of
these two street become confluent in nearly flat gardens on the Toreen side
of the town, and work sluggishly into the river, passing within eight feet
of a good spring well, the only one in Louisburgh. Whether the sewarage can
be kept out of the river (from which the people drink the water) or whether
the well can be amplified for public use and a public passage got to it, or
whether a pump shall be erected in Louisburgh are matters which I heard very
much discussed, but say nothing more about it these matters for the special
consideration of the sanitary authority.

7. Long Street, South side:-The yards in rear abound in filth and
abominations, there is no sewer in front. The yards are narrow with a
continuous bank in rear, this rendering drainage in front or rear
impossible, the yards being lower than the street. To make a sewer or drain
along the houses in rear, and thereby cut or blast through the solid
continuous mass of rocks that prevails all through is out of the question,
so that all that can be done is to get the sanitary sub-officer to visit the
premises of three-fourths of the streets (East end) one a week or so and get
the occupiers to keep the manure, etc. thrown into their garden plots in
rear, and at once to compel the owners to level up the yards, and close the
hollows in them so as to keep stagnant pools from putrefaction. A covered
sewer, about four perches, can be made along the yards in rear of four
houses eastward from a National Schoolhouse wall (at the expense of the
owners) and thence one and a half perches through the school yard into the
street, into the public sewer which can be extended about two perches in
that direction for the purpose.

The public sewer referred to in this paragraph crosses the road south to
north in Long street, and through the house  of a man named BOURKE into his
yard, where it forms a pool of horrid nuisance, and its overflow passes
through moory plots, 8 perches long, into a very deep ditch forming the
mearing between the gardens and Mr. McGIRR's meadows on the north side of
town. To convey this mass of sewage under cover from BOURKE's house, and
from that very populous part of the town away to the big ditch werhe its
exhalation will be comparatively harmless to the public health is most
A 9-inch bore sewer pipe should be laid through from the street through
BOURKE's house, thence through his yard and for 7 perches through the plot
in rear into the big open ditch referred to, including a branch pipe to be
laid at right angles to cover and carry away the sewage from the new Police
Barrack and buildings about the Courthouse.
With these improvements and a fair share of continued vigilance, requiring
the periodical removal of nuisances out of back premises, much good will be
done in a sanitary way. With scarcely an exception, the houses in Louisburgh
are entirely without privies. I beg leave to suggest that an enlarged map of
the town-say 60 inches to the mile-be provided from the General Valuation
Office; the cost will be about 30/-. The map of Westport on that scale is
found useful as would one be for Louisburgh. I may add, without
transgressing my sphere of duty, that Mr. WILBRAHAM deserves the best thanks
of your Board and of the public, for his ready sacrifice of time, and
dangerous exposure to the contagion of fever, during the five hours
exhaustive examination of the sanitary condition of Louisburgh above
referred to-I remain my Lord and Gentlemen, your very obedient, faithful
John EGAN, Clerk of Union, Executive Sanitary Officer.

Submitted by #I000525


Ireland Home Page
County Mayo

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All rights to the pages found within this site are retained by the original submitter of the information. Pages may be printed or copied for personal use only. They may NOT be reproduced in any form in whole or in part by any individual or organization for profit.