Ballinakill Parish

Taoiseach Visit 1
Official Opening
Ballinakill Millennium Amenity Park
An Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D.
Friday 23rd November 2001.

The official opening of Ballinakill Millennium Amenity Park was held on Friday 23rd November 2001. The Ballinakill/Derrybrien Development Association welcomed An Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D. who performed the official opening. The site was originally secured by Fr. Murphy to build a Secondary School in the area, but as this was not feasible, the site was then made available to the Ballinakill community as an Amenity Park. With the aid of government funding and local fundraising, the project was able to begin. The people considered themselves lucky because they had a site available, and were able to call upon skilled local people to take part in the Project. Great credit was due to the participants of the FÁS Schemes, who together with their supervisor contributed greatly to the success of the Project.
Also, sincere thanks was expressed to the County Council, the National Millennium Committee, local County Councillors and FÁS Authorities, who helped in no small way to make the Project a great success. The Amenity Park is now a great asset to the Community as a focus of relaxation, culture and heritage. On Sunday 23rd June 2002 Ballinakill hosted 'A Lark in the Park' here. Families, neighbours and friends gathered together for a wonderful day of fun and entertainment.
Taoiseach Visit 2

Ballinakill (Baile na Cille)
The Parish of Ballinakill is situated high in the Sliabh Aughty Mountains. Here the land varies from boggy marsh to pasture. The area is also densely wooded which enriches the beauty of the area. To the south lies Lough Graney and to the south-west lies Lough Cutra, providing the area with a magical view. From the Sliabh Aughty, a pleasing view of Lough Rea, and its plains can be viewed.

Historical Ballinakill
The old name for Ballinakill which dates back to 1306 is ‘Kenalogn’. Ballinakill is a very large parish and at one time was divided into Abbey, Woodford and Ballinakill. In the village of Kenalogn, there was both rectory and vicarage with Carthusian connections. The monks owned three large tracts of land given to them by the Burkes of Marble Hill who were the landlords at this time. Today, however, there is no evidence of their inhabitancy. The monks had Norman connections and the reason for their extinction was linked with the fall of most Norman institutions in the country. The first traces of human activity in this district are to be found in the Dolmens at Marble Hill. This affords proof that the first inhabitants were there in pre-Celtic Times. The Forts belong to a much later period, as does the primitive Christian Church in Ballinakill Graveyard. Tradition asserts that St. Patrick passed through the district. A stone in Derrybrien is said to bear the impression of his knees as he knelt to pray there. With the coming of the Normans, a castle was erected, and this castle is believed to have been destroyed in 1601 by Redmond Burke.

Ballinakill Church.
Ballinakill Church
Ballinakill Church was built in 1845 on a plot of land (1 acre approx.) a gift from the Burke Family of Marble Hill. It was built by Fr. Laurence Egan PP of Ballinakill and Duniry at that time. It replaced the old church of Ballinakill which is now used as a barn in Master Fahy’s yard.
St. Joseph’s Church, Ballinakill is a Gothic Style Building and is enclosed by a wall, hedge and entrance gates.
The gates were originally belonging to Marble Hill Estate in Ballinakill and were removed from one of the gate lodges to their present position at the church in 1942 by Fr. Larkin PP. The church has been renovated a number of times since 1845, two of which can be identified from the church records. The first renovation took place in 1940 at a cost of £1,036. The second renovation began in March 1977 by Thomas McKeon, a contractor, for £46.983.29. This renovation was by Brendan P Jeffers & Associates, The Crescent, Galway. Work began on 18th March 1977. The last Mass in the ‘old church’ was said on Monday “Holy Week” the 4th April 1977. During the renovation the daily Masses were said in the Priest’s House. Mass on Sundays, Holy Days, and First Fridays were said in the old Parish Hall. The first function in the newly renovated church was held on the 10th December 1977. It was the marriage of Philomena Donohue of Newtown to John Francis Geraghty of Leitrim at 1 pm. The final payment of the renovations was made on 14th May 1979 to Mr. McKeon, contractor, on the contract price of £56,500. In addition, Architects Fees and Quantity Surveyor’s Fees amounting to £9,036 were paid. Total equals £65,536. Little is known about the cost of building the church in 1845. But it is known that the debt on the church in 1928 was £79”10”5. In 1935 it was reduced to £62”10”0. The debt was not cleared until 1938.