BALLYRAGGET, or DONOUGHMORE, a post-town and parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

BALLYRAGGET, or DONOUGHMORE, a post-town and parish, in the barony of FASSADINING, county of KILKENNY, and province of LEINSTER, 8 miles (N. by W.) from Kilkenny, and 53 ¾ (S. W. by S.) from Dublin; containing 2609 inhabitants, of which number, 1629 are in the town. This place appears to have derived its origin from a castle belonging to the Butler family, which in 1600 was garrisoned by the forces of Sir George Carew, Lord-President of Munster, when the sons of Lord Mountgarret, to whom it then belonged, were in rebellion against the crown, and had engaged with O'More to arrest the Earl of Ormonde. Previously to this period it had been a favourite residence of the celebrated Lady Margaret Fitzgerald, Countess of Ormonde, who is said to have frequently issued from the castle at the head of her armed retainers, to ravage the property of such of the neighbouring families as she deemed to be her enemies.

In 1619, James I. constituted this place a manor, and granted to its lord, Richard, third Viscount Mountgarret, the privilege of holding two fairs. During the Whiteboy disturbances, the castle was appropriated as a barrack for the use of the military stationed in the district. The town is situated on the road from Kilkenny to Durrow, and on the river Nore, over which is a good stone bridge of 10 arches; it consists of one principal street, with several smaller streets diverging from it, and contains about 300 houses. Fairs are held on Feb. 20th, April 20th, June 22nd, Sept. 4th, Oct. 20th, and Dec. 10th; and additional fairs, recently established, are held on Jan. 11th, March 14th, May 9th, and July 22nd. Here is a station of the constabulary police; a manor court is held occasionally, and petty sessions irregularly. The parish comprises 5268 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act; there is a quarry of hard black limestone.

In the immediate vicinity of the town is Ballyragget Lodge, formerly the seat of the Butlers of Ballyragget, which family became extinct on the demise of the late Rt. Rev. Dr. J. Butler, R. C. Archbishop of Cashel. The mansion is a fine building, and in the demesne are the remains of Ballyragget castle, in a good state of preservation. The parish is in the diocese of Ossory; the rectory is impropriate in the Marquess of Ormonde, and the vicarage is part of the union of Odogh. The tithes amount to £190, of which £120 is payable to the impropriator, and £70 to the vicar. In the R. C. divisions it is the head of a union or district, which comprises the parishes of Ballyragget, Ballyouskill, Rosconnel, and Attanagh, and parts of those of Durrow, Abbeyleix, Freshford, Burnchurch, and Kilmocar;. and contains two chapels, one at Ballyragget and one at Attanagh. There are eight pay schools and a Sunday school in the parish.

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