Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Co. Laois

Source: P.MacSuibhne book 'The Parish of KILLESHIN, Graiguecullen'. 1972.

Ballinakill churchBallinakill is a fine example of a 17th Century market town.  The ruins of Ballinakill Castle areHeywood gardens of a late seventeenth-century castle built by the Dunnes (but never inhabited) on the site of one destroyed by Cormwellian troops under Fairfax. The towns broad main street and large central square reflect Ballinakill's standing in the 17th century as an important centre. The configuration of streets round the large rectangular square is eighteenth-century. The town's entrance from Abbeyleix is marked by two trees known as Toll Trees where a toll was paid by visitors to the town. The town had important fairs, a brewery, woolen and tanning factories. A monument in the square is dedicated to the local men who died in the 1798 rebellion.
This cross is erected by the Ballinakill 98 Club to commemorate the memory of the men who gave their lives for Ireland in 1798
Comerford, Crennan, Geohan, McEvoy, Fagan, Fox.
The above mentioned patriots are interred at Castle Lane. Beannacht Dé le h-anam na marbh.”
(Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2008)
Source: Comerford Family History website.
Italianate gardens at the towns edge were created in 1906 by the famous landscape designer Lutyens for Colonel Poe at a cost of £250,000 and are a rarity in Ireland.

Images from Flickr  (Brien Henderson)

Ballinakill Country House
Ballinakill Country House
Old School House, Ballinakill, Co. Laois built c.1812
Old School House, Ballinakill,
 Co. Laois built c.1812


a market and post-town

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALLINAKILL, a market and post-town (formerly a parliamentary borough), in the parish of DYSART-GALLEN, barony of CULLINAGH, QUEEN'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 10 miles (S. S. E.) from Maryborough, and 50 miles (S. W.) from Dublin; containing 1927 inhabitants. This is a place of some antiquity, but was not made a market-town till the year 1606, when a grant of a market and fair was made to Sir T. Coatch, proprietor of the manor of Galline.

In 1612 it was incorporated by James I., and was invested with considerable privileges, to foster the plantation made here by Sir T. Ridgway, Bart. The castle, of which there are still some remains, fell into the possession of the R. C. party during the insurrection of 1641, and when Cromwell's troops overran the island, being bravely defended by its garrison, it was cannonaded from the Warren-Hill, adjoining Heywood demesne, by General Fairfax, and the garrison was at length compelled to surrender. The town is situated in a fertile district, the soil of which is principally composed of a deep clay adapted both for the dairy and for tillage. To the east is Heywood, the seat of the Trench family, in a richly varied demesne ornamented with plantations and artificial sheets of water.

The manufacture of woollen stuffs, formerly more extensive, is still carried on to a limited degree, and there is a brewery. The market is on Saturday, and has somewhat declined since the establishment of a market on the same day at Abbeyleix, a few years since: the market-house is kept in repair by Earl Stanhope, the lord of the manor. Fairs are held on the 16th of Jan. and Feb., 22nd of March and April, 13th of May, first Thursday after Whit-Sunday, 13th of June and July, 12th of Aug., and 16th of Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.; that in Nov. is a large fair for bullocks. Here is a station of the constabulary police.

Under the charter of James I. the corporation was styled "The Sovereign, Burgesses, and Freemen of the Borough of Ballinakill;" and consisted of a sovereign, twelve burgesses, and an unlimited number of freemen, but is now extinct. The corporation returned two members to the Irish parliament until the Union, when the £15,000 awarded as compensation for the loss of that privilege was paid to Charles, Marquess of Drogheda. Quarter and petty sessions were formerly held in the town, but have been removed to Abbeyleix, about three miles distant. The parish church, a handsome edifice with a tower and spire, is situated in the town; and there is a R. C. chapel. Here is a national school, in which about 330 boys and 350 girls are taught; also a dispensary. The R. C. poor of the town derive benefit from a bequest of £500 by a Mr. Dillon.


Fr Peter Campion (died 21 August 1926)

Peter Campion was a native of Valleymount, Ballinakill, Co. Laois. He was educated at Carlow College between 1870-1875 and was ordained in 1878 for the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin. He was on the staff of Carlow College between 1877-1881 and served as curate in the following parishes: Kilcock, Baltinglass, Goresbridge, Geashill and Clane. He was also parish priest of Kildare, 1901-1926. His died at the age of 73.

Dr John Dunne, (1816-1867)
President, Carlow College, 1856-1864

John Dunne was born at Ballinakill, Queen's County (Laois), in July 1816. He entered Carlow College in 1834 and after four years of studies there went to Maynooth in 1838. He served as President, Carlow College, 1856-1864, after which he was appointed parish priest of Kildare. He died in 1867.


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