A most extensive bleaching establishment was erected at Lleweni, in 1780, by the Rt. Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice, who, in order to encourage his tenantry in Ireland, and to promote the national manufacture, received his rents in brown linen cloth, which was sent to this place to be bleached; and for this purpose he erected at an expense exceeding £20,000, one of the most complete and elegant structures of that kind in the kingdom, in which, under the immediate superintendence of the proprietor, more than four thousand pieces of Irish linen were bleached annually. After his decease, the works were carried on by some persons from Lancashire, for a few years; but this extensive concern has been discontinued, and the buildings have been taken down.
Lewis, S. (1833) A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, Volume 1
The linen manufacture was introduced into Sligo by the spirited exertions of Lord Shelburne, who, in 1749, brought thither a colony of weavers and settled them on his estate at Ballymote, then a thinly inhabited and almost uncultivated waste, whose population was employed solely in the herding of cattle. The death this nobleman for a time checked the progress of the manufacture, but it revived under the guidance of Mr Fitzmaurice, who, on succeeding to the estate, after having made himself practically acquainted with all the processes of the trade, superintended the establishment in person, and thus powerfully stimulated those engaged in it. Each weaver was provided with a cottage, half a rood ofland for a potato garden,and grass for a cow, thus affording him the means of subsistence for his family without allowing his time or thoughts to be distracted from his main business by the details of a small farm. This well-devised exertion gave a turn to the public mind throughout the country, and led to the establishment of the manufacture on a general scale, which flourished for many years. The manufacture of unions, a mixed fabric of linen and cotton, has been introduced and is carried on extensively. Mr Fitzmaurice also encouraged the erection of bleach-greens upon a large scale, and having built very extensive bleach-works near the town of Denbigh, in North Wales, he purchased the brown linens in every market of Sligo and the adjoining counties, and thus greatly benefited both Wales and Ireland. The linen trade is still the staple of the county, and though by no means so prosperous or extensive as formerly, a brisk trade in it is still carried on: the are four bleach-greens in full operation, finishing nearly 40,000 pieces annually, which are principally shipped for England and generally destined for the American markets. Coarse woolen cloths and friezes are made for domestic use, and a very extensive trade is carried on in the purchase of flannels, druggets, stockings, and other fabrics of Connaught manufacture. Merchants from many parts of Ireland, but particularly from Ulster, come to Sligo to meet the Connaught factors. The only other branches of trade, except as connected with the port of Sligo, are tanning, distilling, and brewing.
Lewis, S. (1837) A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Volume 1, p.566