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Ballinasloe Articles: Events

The Ballinasloe October Fair of 1828
Damian Mac Con Uladh
This article on the Fair of 1828 is based on the earliest accounts published in a Ballinasloe newspaper. 1828 was a tense year in national politics and described by the Western Argus and Ballinasloe Independent, a newspaper sympathetic to the Daniel O'Connell and opposed to the Lord Clancarty.
The Ballinasloe October Fair of 1829
Damian Mac Con Uladh
The columns of the Western Argus reveal little excitement in the immediate run-up to the fair. Possibly the editor sensed that 1829 fair would be disastrous. His fears were justified...
The Ballinasloe October Fair of 1898
Damian Mac Con Uladh
In 1898, Ballinasloe seemed to be prospering in general but nevertheless poverty was still common and the Workhouse had 228 inhabitants that fair week, and the average cost of maintaining a 'pauper' was 3s 2˝d.
The Ballinasloe October Fair of 1899
Damian Mac Con Uladh
In 1899, thousands gathered in Ballinasloe for the last great fair of the 19th century. Despite the looming advent of a new century, the Western News and Western Star provided little or no evidence that the fin de sičcle excited the townspeople.
Kings of the Ballinasloe October Fair
Damian Mac Con Uladh
Since 1948, there have been seven elected Kings of the Fair. The kingship was introduced to rejuvenate the fair and proved hugely popular. Kings were crowned in a colourful ceremony and pagent.
Slater's Directory of Ireland (1846): Ballinasloe
Damian Mac Con Uladh
Slater's Directory provided information on the town, its gentry, business people and tradesmen and is a useful genealogical tool.
Destruction of St. John's Parish Church
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
St. John's was built about the year 1790 at an unknown cost, and enlarged in 1825. This structure was destroyed by fire in the early 1840s, and it is likely that the obelisk situated in Garbally was originally the steeple of this structure. In 1899 it was destroyed again in a terrible fire.
Vestry Meeting
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
In 1813, a group of Protestant and Catholic men agreed to establish public and charitable dispensary in Ballinasloe, which was to be funded by a public levy on all property owners in the town and district.
P. K. Egan. Ballinasloe: A Historical Sketch
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
Fr. P. K. Egan's small 1953 booklet was the first major account of the town's history. Published by the Ballinasloe Tóstal Council, it's 35 pages take readers from the time of St Grellan to the 19th century.
Ballinasloe Gaelic Football Street League 1914
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
In June 1914, the Asylum and Culliagh teams competed for the St. Grellan Cup in an famous Ballinasloe Gaelic Football event which survives to the present day as the "Street League". In 1914, the town held its breath in anticipation of that year's contest and according to the following article from the East Galway Democrat, everyone was asking "Who will win the Cup?"
Royal Agricultural Improvement Society of Ireland - Meeting at Ballinasloe - 1845
Damian Mac Con Uladh
At the Ballinasloe October Fair in 1845, the Royal Agricultural Improvement Society of Ireland held its annual meeting and banquet in the new "Agricultural Hall" (now the Town Hall). The following report describes the run up to the event and observes that 10,000 cattle and 100,000 sheep were expected to be sold at the Fair.
The Ballinasloe October Fair of 1795
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
The Ballinasloe October Fair has been in existence for centuries. The Times (of London) newspaper first mentioned it in 1795 in a short report, which is reproduced here. Over the next few weeks, Ballinsloe.org will be reproducing all the articles relating to Ballinsloe from the London Times. Watch this space!
Brief History of Ballinasloe Hurling Club
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
While Gaelic Football is the major GAA sport in Ballinasloe, Ballinasloe also has a hurling history stretching back to the 1930s. This account outlines the major steps in the history of the sport in the town.
War and Peace - Ballinasloe from 1919 to 1923
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
The ratification of the Treaty and the withdrawl of British troops from Ballinasloe was followed by a political void in which the pro- and anti-Treaty factions of the IRA sough to take control. In late April 1922, Ballinasloe was in the hands of the anti-Treatyites, who opposed the establishment of the Free State. This press report provides an account of the violent nature of the period.
War and Peace - Ballinasloe from 1919 to 1923
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
On May 9, 1922, James Keogh of the Ballinasloe anti-Treaty IRA was shot dead in a land dispute near Loughrea. He was a brother of Jack Keogh, leader of the anti-Treaty IRA in East Galway.
War and Peace - Ballinasloe from 1919 to 1923
Damian Mac Con Uladh
In May 1922, the statue of Richard Le Poer Trench, 2nd Earl of Clancarty, was "beheaded" (the statue was located in Cleaghmore where Scott's house now stands), two ex-RIC men where attacted and "shot up" and two brothers were arrested for the shooting dead of an anti-Treaty IRA man.
War and Peace - Ballinasloe from 1919 to 1923
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
In April 1922 as sectarian tensions expoloded in the North of Ireland, particularly Belfast, the authorities in Dublin called on towns across the 26 counties to implement measures to support Northern Catholics. In this letter, Andrew Staunton, chairman of Ballinasloe UDC, lambasted the "non-Catholics" in Ballinasloe for not speaking out against the attacks in Belfast and calls for an exchange of population between the North and South.
Ballinasloe October Fair reports in the London Times
Transcribed and submitted by Damian Mac Con Uladh
Continuing the series on past fairs, this article republishes the accounts of Ballinasloe Fairs (October and May) printed in the columns of the London Times from 1801 to 1828. The October Fair was then primarily a cattle fair, described as the "largest of its kind in Europe" and "the greatest in the British empire". Interestingly, horses are not mentioned at all.
Ballinasloe Workmen's Club
Damian Mac Con Uladh
The columns of Ballinasloe old newspapers are full of accounts of meetings of various committees. Membership of committees enabled people to express their political, social and cultural identities, and was often linked to educational and self-improvement efforts. The following report is of a meeting of the Ballinasloe Workmen's Club in 1898.
1798 centenary in Ballinasloe (1898)
Damian Mac Con Uladh
In 1898, a committee was established to commemorate the centenary of the 1798 United Irishmen Rebellion. Owing to the fractious nature of Irish nationalism at the time (Parnellites vs. Anti-Parnellites), these committees were seen as a way of mending past differences and led to a surge in nationalist feeling across the country.
War and Peace - Ballinasloe from 1919 to 1923
Damian Mac Con Uladh
In early June 1924, Parson's shop on Main Street (now Liam Jordan's) was targetted in a bomb attack. It is highly likely that the premises was selected because it was Protestant owned and that the incident was part of a wider campaign of intimidation against Protestants in the town.
War and Peace - Ballinasloe from 1919 to 1923
Damian Mac Con Uladh
IN this week's issue, the East Galway Democrat reports that many members of the town's Protestant community were ordered to leave town, that Free State troops took possession of Garbally, and that a charge was made in the James Keogh case.
War and Peace - Ballinasloe from 1919 to 1923
Damian Mac Con Uladh
This week's edition reported on a large land agitation case in Pollboy (or, incorrectly, Poolboy). The existence of land disputes and the extreme measures taken by some to take possession of land and puts the threat issued to local Protestants to leave the town into perspective. Importantly, the land owner involved in this case, John Jennings, was a Catholic.
Clancarty's sectarianism in the 1820s
Damian Mac Con Uladh
The October Fair was not just an agricultural event; as it represented a massive gathering of the rich, powerful, and not so prominent, it was the scene of major political meetings, especially before the arrival of mass transportation. These articles, taken from 1826 and 1828, report on the sectarian activities of Lord Clancarty and the attempts by the restless Catholic gentry and emerging middle class to counter them.

Ballinasloe Articles: Events