BALLINAKILL, 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.—See DYSARTGALLEN.

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