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Letterfrack

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Letterfrack or Letterfrac is a small village in the Connemara area of County Galway, Ireland. It was founded by Quakers in the mid-19th century. The village is 15km north-east of Clifden on Barnaderg Bay and lies at the head of Ballinakill harbour. Letterfrack contains the visitors centre for Connemara National Park.Quaker Famine ReliefJames and Mary Ellis, a Quaker couple from Bradford in England, moved to Letterfrack, during the Great Famine, Ellis becoming the resident landlord in Letterfrack in 1849. As Quakers the Ellises wanted to help with the post-Famine relief effort. They leased nearly 1000acres of rough land and set about reclaiming it, farming it and planting it with woodland. They built a schoolhouse, housing for tradesmen, a shop, a dispensary, and a temperance hotel. In 1857 the property was sold to John Hall, a staunch Protestant and supporter of the Irish Church Mission to Roman Catholics. The ICM used the building with the aim of converting Catholics to Protestantism. After 25 years without much success, Hall sold it in 1882, under the impression he was selling it to a Protestant buyer, for £3000 for 1000acres.St Joseph's Industrial School, LetterfrackUnder a false name the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr John McEvilly, bought in 1882 the former Ellis property, which at the time was being used by the Protestant Irish Church Missions to Roman Catholics and established in 1885 St Joseph's Industrial School, Letterfrack which opened in 1887, Letterfrack Industrial School became notorious for neglect and abuse, the school closed in 1974.
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