Although a small place in its early years, Mountbellew appears in the directories of the latter part of the nineteenth century. In Slater's Directory of 1870 (and also 1881) it is included with the Ballinasloe entry under the name of Mount Bellew Bridge. It is a market and fair town in the parish of Moylough with a Catholic chapel and monastery, a workhouse, a Tuesday market and petty sessions on alternate Tuesdays .
According to this book, the Rev. Eugene Coyne was the parish priest, the postmistress was Mary Ann Burke and the town supported several linen and wool drapers and haberdashers: John Byrne, Patrick Kelly, Hugh Mullarkey, Hugh Ward. Public houses were run by Thomas Blackall, Mary Ann Burke and Martin Gilmore. Lord Clonbrock was the chairman of the Poor Law Union and the master of the workhouse was James Tully, the matron Maria Larkin. Thomas W.B. Greaves was the medical officer.
In the Directory for 1881, the Rev. Thomas Ronayne is the parish priest and Mary Ann Burke is still the postmistress.
The Directory for 1894, although it has separate entries for places such as Caltra, Castleblakeney, Mountbellew and Moylough, has less detail about the inhabitants of these towns than the earlier books. Mary Ann Burke is still the postmistress. The chairman of the Union workhouse is now Thomas Kenny but the Bruens are still the master and matron. Canon Thomas Ronayne is still the parish priest and Joseph O'Kelly the medical officer Mary Ann Coen runs the National School for girls and Brother Francis Kelly of the Franciscan Monastery is head of the school for boys. The Bank of Ireland is run by William Hy Irwin and there are several commercial establishments mostly listed as grocers: Thomas Burke, John Byrne, Mark Cunningham, James Donoghue, Michael Flemming, John Gilmore, Bridget Kelly, Patrick Kelly, John Kennedy, William Kitt, John Loughlin and Michael Monaghan.
The Griffith's Valuation book that was compiled for the Union of Mountbellew and published in 1855 also contains the names of several of these people, eg. on page 68 the Town of Mountbellew, Market Street, mentions Martin Gilmore, Thomas Blackall, Mary Ann Burke and Hugh Mullarkey. The Rev. Frederick Waldron named there died in that year aged 45 and is buried in St. Mary's cemetery.