Ballaghmore, County Laois

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Irish: an Bealach Mór
County Laois
Ballaghmore Townland - - 848037.jpg
Ballaghmore Townland
Grid reference: S220910
Location: 52°58’9"N, 7°40’22"W
Local Government

Ballaghmore is a small village and a townland of 172 acres, on the western side of County Laois, south-west of Portlaoise.

Historically the townland was known as 'Bellaghmore', from Irish an Bealach Mór.[1] It takes its name from Ballaghmore Castle, which in turn takes its name from the Bealach Mor, the 'Great Passage', the ancient road to Munster on which the castle is located.

The village is in the Barony of Stradbally.[2]

Ballaghmore Village

The main industry in Ballaghmore is farming. The village has a thriving community, with a hurling club, Kyle GAA and a local church. Family names from this area include Keogh, O'Grady, England, Gilmartin, Rigney, Phelan, Delaney and Maher.

Ballaghmore Castle

Main article: Ballaghmore Castle

The town is mainly known for Ballaghmore Castle, which stads by the great road to Munster.

The castle was built in 1480 by Mac Giolla Phádraig (Fitzpatrick) and was damaged by Cromwellian forces in 1647, during the Laois-Offaly Plantation.

A Sheela na Gig is carved in a corner stone of the outer front-facing wall.[3][4] It is depicted as an ugly, half-dead, woman with contorted face and fully exposed private parts: one theory is that the deathlike appearance and prominenty reproductive organs is associated with the cycle of birth and death.

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