Ballinamuck

The historical 98 Bar in Ballinamuck, setting for the Ballinamuck Fair Day.

Location
Ballinamuck is beautifully located in North Longford, near to the borders of Leitim and Cavan. It is a wonderful area for discovering the rugged beauty of Northern County Longford, being dotted with a mass of lakes and low hills as well as areas of pristine bogland habitat.

Name
The Irish version of Ballinamuck is Béal Átha na Muc, which means ‘mouth of the ford of the pig’. According to legend a black pig rooted up a trench, stretching from Armagh, through Ballinamuck until it arrived at the ford of nearby Lough Gowna. This tradition accounts for the archaeological feature ‘The Black Pigs Dyke’, which formed the southern boundary of Ulster.

History & Info
Ballinamuck is one of the most historic villages in north Longford due to the great battle that was fought here in 1798 between the combined Irish and French forces under General Humbert and General Blake and the British under Lord Cornwallis. Along with Vinegar Hill in Co. Wexford and Bantry Bay in Co. Cork, Ballinamuck was party to momentous events during the 1798 Irish rebellion. It was here that General Humberts army, en route from Castlebar to Dublin, a route that is now known as ‘The Humbert Trail’, were defeated by a much larger English force. Despite this defeat, many stories of courage and heroism emerged from the battle, none being more touching than that of Gunner Magee. In charge of a canon he stayed till the very end, using pots and pans as shrapnel and mounting his broken weapon on the backs of his two comrades. His efforts were valiant but fruitless. The recoil broke the backs of his friends and he himself was cut down moments later. Memorials to Gunner Magee and General Blake are erected in the nearby ancient cemetery at Tubberpatrick. The French prisoners were mostly sent home, but over 100 Irish men were taken captive by the British and executed in the village of Ballinalee, at a spot known locally as Bullys Acre. The village of Ballinamuck and its battle became famous in recent years because of the success of Thomas Flanagan’s historic novel ‘The Year of the French’ which was adapted into a widely acclaimed film. A memorial to the insurgents was erected in the village in 1928. This has since being complemented by a further monument on Shanmullagh Hill, the scene of the fighting, as a mark of respect to all – Irish, French, and English – who fell in the fighting.

Things to See & Do
Ballinamuck Heritage Centre houses an interesting exhibition detailing the events of the battle, and provides guidance for the many walks in the area which retrace the steps of those who fought. The village itself is an ideal place for a quiet and relaxing holiday, where angling, walking, cycling and observing nature are the main attractions. There are two local pubs which offer food, drink and entertainment, providing excellent opportunity to engage with the locals.  Near to the village, located en route to Lough Nabelwy in the parish of Dromard, lies the ancient cemetery at Toberpatrick  and behind it the site of a wishing tree and holy well.  This tranquil space offers a fascinating and even magical diversion where the visitor can while a way an hour or two in quiet contemplation, without any thought of war or battle.

For more information on the heritage sites of Ballinamuck visit the Explore Longford App available to download here:

 

 

 

County Longford Tourism Office Market Square, Longford, Ireland    Phone: +353 (0)43 33 42577 +353 (0)85 8888876    Email: info@longfordtourism.ie