Claremorris (Clar Chlainne Mhuiris) meaning 'the plain of the family of Maurice', derived its name from Maurice de Prendergast, a Norman who came to Ireland in 1169.
The town was established during the 18th century. Denis Browne (1763-1828), MP and High Sheriff for Mayo, lived at Claremont House, now part of the Convent of Mercy since 1877. Claremorris Workhouse was closed in 1918, and after 1930 the building housed the Bacon company until it ceased operations.
The famous 1879 Land League meeting held in Irishtown (which started the land agitation) was planned in Nally's Hotel, James Street. Castlemagarret House near the town to the right of the N17, once the home of Lord Oranmore and Browne, is now a private nursing home. There is a forest walk nearby.
Cardinal John Francis D'Alton, who was Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland from 1946 to 1963, was born in Claremorris.
The town has good sporting facilities, including an equitation centre, a swimming-pool and golf (9 hole). There is an art gallery in the town. Claremorris hosts the annual George Moore extravaganza.
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