Number of Members: 8
History of Area:
Ballinakill is a charming Charter town in South Laois. Evidence of its rich heritage is to be seen in its various monuments and placenames. The origins of the town date back to 1570 when the lands of ” Ballenekyll ” were granted to Alexander Cosby and his wife Dorcas Sydney. The town was granted a charter in 1612 by King James 1st.
The main historical features of the town are:
1: Market House – built in the large Market Square in 1780. It is integral part of the built heritage of the town and is still in use today.
2: 1798 Monument – was built to honour 6 men from the 1798 rebellion.
3: Ballinakill Castle – was built between 1606 and 1612 is located at the east end of the Square. It was cannoned by Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1642
4: St Brigid’s Church – was built circa 1700
5: All Saints Church – was built earlier but there is only evidence that it was renovated in 1821. Former residents of Heywood Estate are buried in the church grounds.
6: Toll Gates – one of the most enduring features of the Charter Town are the 2 trees at the entrance to the town from Abbeyleix. They are marked on the Taylor and Skinner map of the late 18th Centuary.
7: Heywood Gardens – located to the north of the town. These form part of the original Heywood Estate which was built in 1690 by the Trench Family. Although the house was burned down the gardens -known locally as the Italian Gardens, the walkways, follies and milestone and icehouse still remain. The gardens were built between 1906 and 1912 by the renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and planted by Gertrude Jeykell.
Place names of historical interest are:
1: Chapel Street gets its name from the site of earliest chapel in the town.
2: Coatch Road links Church Street to Heywood Estate. It was called after Sir Thomas Coatch local landowner who was granted right to hold a market and fair in the town.
3: Castle Lane links the square to Ballinakill Castle to the east of the town.
4: Stanhope Street is named after a major landowner in the parish called Earl Stanhope originally from Seven Oaks in Kent England.
5: Masslough which can be accessed from Chapel Street derived its name from a mass site in Penal times.
6: Brewery Lane gets its name from the location of a brewery there.
Tidy Towns Information:
Tuesday evening clean ups during the Summer months at 7 p.m.