Monday, May 6, 2013

16. Pinpointed: Kyleballynamoe

Found! Maps and histories, together with some minute details from the Freshford parish records, locate Kile as a townland a couple miles north-northwest of Freshford.

Two baptism records provide the clues that solve the problem of where to find Kile in Freshford parish.  One is Dennis Buggy’s older sister’s baptism:[1]

male sponsor
female sponsor
7 Feb 1825
Richd Buggy
Mary Branagan
Margt Buggy
2-6 Kile St G[___] 

Notice that her residence is not simply Kile, as for all the other Buggy children’s baptisms.  The meaning of 2-6 is unknown, but “Kile St G[___]” is intriguing, even though a smudge obliterates the rest of the word.  It takes on meaning when another baptism a few pages later specifies a residence of “Kile Tulleroan.” [2]

Two Kiles in the Parish?  That’s what it looks like.  Tullaroan Parish was separated from Freshford parish in 1843, well after these baptisms.  It’s to the west of Freshford parish, on the western border of County Kilkenny.[3]  It appears, from the baptism records, to have been somewhat distinct even some twenty years before the separation.

Searching for Kile (or Kyle) and St. G___ and Freshford   A Google search for
“Kyle” and “St. G ” and “Freshford” brings up an eighteenth-century travelogue.  The book describes the natural and man-made features of Ireland, including castles, “Noblemen & Gentlemen’s Seats,” and ruins.  It follows the roads, pointing out interesting sites and the mile markers where they would be found.  One ride runs from the town of Kilkenny west to Urlingford via Freshford.  Of a two-mile area northwest of Freshford, the author writes (emphasis added):

A mile beyond Freshford, on the L. is Kilrush, the seat of Mr. St. George; and farther on is Kyle, the seat of Mr. Colclough; and a little farther are the ruins of four castles, all within the distance of a mile.[4]

Urlingford is about 9 miles west of Freshford along present route R693.[5]  The Kyle that was somehow related to St. George lay between one and two miles west of Freshford, in the vicinity of Kilrush.  Happily, this is in Freshford Catholic parish and very likely the Kile/Kyle of the Buggys.

On this hand-drawn map based on the travelogue, Kile lies at about the two-mile mark west of Freshford, a mile beyond Kilrush.  Note Johnstown, home of Catherine (Phelan) Buggy, and Tullaroan Townland to the south of Kilrush, the name known from the Kile Tullaroan baptism.

Location of Kile, about two miles west of Freshford (left, unlabeled, dot)
© OpenStreetMap contributors, whose map data is available under Open Database License
adapted by Judy Kellar Fox

The Freshford Catholic Parish registers indicate a number of people who resided in “Three Castles.”[6]  Could this relate to the travelogue’s “ruins of four castles”?  An 1862 publication suggests it may be, and gives a name: Balleen Castle:

ABOUT two miles north west from the little town of Freshford, county Kilkenny, stand the imposing ruins of Balleen Castle. Situated on ground of considerable elevation, though of rather gradual ascent, they overlook a country of beautifully diversified appearance, in fine cultivation, and interspersed with numerous interesting remains of antiquity. Once a principal strong-hold of the noble house of Ormond, this castle was of considerable importance, as is sufficiently attested by the extent of the ruins, and the elegance of those parts of the building that have escaped destruction. Of the original structure but two towers at present remain.[7]

Balleen Castle, in ruins already before Dennis Buggy was born, lay within a mile of Kile.  It formed part of the landscape he and his family saw every day.  And this is what it looks like today.[8]
Balleen Castle
Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Kilrush The eighteenth-century travelogue also mentions Kilrush, which shows up on current maps.  An early twentieth-century history of the Diocese of Ossory (which includes Freshford Parish) describes Kilrush as part of the civil parish of Clomantagh and of the Catholic parish of Freshford.  Kilrush castle was associated with the Shortall family and then the St. George family.[9]  This is perhaps, then, the origin of the distinction of Kile St. George: the part of Kile in the lands of the St. George family. 

The same diocesan history describes the townlands the Shortalls lost at the time of Cromwell, and they include, besides Kilrush, one called “Kyle[ballynamoe].”[10]  Notice that this is “Kyle,” but with more to the name, and the brackets suggest that the full name was not always used.  Kyleballynamoe lies in the vicnity of Kilrush, just as the eighteenth-century travel guide described Kyle, about two miles west of Freshford.

Kyleballynamoe Although Kile/Kyle doesn’t show up on maps or database searches of townlands, the full name, Kyleballynamoe, does.  Here it is, about two miles west of Freshford, in the lower left part of this map:
Kyleballynamoe in relation to Freshford and Kilrush
© OpenStreetMap contributors, whose map data is available under Open Database License
adapted by Judy Kellar Fox

Like Kilrush, Kyleballynamoe belongs to Freshford Catholic Parish, but it is in the civil parish of Tubbridbritain.  It would not be found in lists of the townlands in Freshford civil parish.  The name means Church of the Ford-Mouth of the Cows, perhaps derived from a cow trail, as the church itself sat about twenty yards from the Nuenna River (north of Rte. 693).[11]

The 1901 census of Ireland shows the townland comprising just over 595 acres.  The number of residents of Kyleballynamoe had decreased from eighty-four in 1881 to thirty-eight in 1901, the dwellings from eighteen to twelve.[12]  Perhaps there were more families residing in the area when Dennis Buggy and his family lived there.  A wonderful map from 1794 at the National Library of Ireland describes the fields and acreages in a portion of Kile.  They include turnip fields, clover fields, tenant gardens, orchards, lawns, and a field called “Limekiln,” giving an idea of the variety of crops and sizes of fields in the decades before the Buggy children’s baptisms.[13]

So there we have it: Dennis Buggy’s birth townland, narrowed down to an area of 595 acres in the vicinity of lovely Balleen Castle ruins.  I’ve stuck the map tack in Kyleballynamoe, Tubbridbritain, County Kilkenny, Ireland, and I’m counting on my friend to bring me a photo of her ancestral Irish townland!

Next Time: A Wrap-Up

© 2013 Judy Kellar Fox, CG,

[1] Catholic Church, Freshford Parish (Kilkenny, Ireland), Parochial Registers, 1773-1881, Baptisms, 1825-1847, p. 1, Eliza Buggy baptism (1825); FHL microfilm 926,192, item 3.
[2] Catholic Church, Freshford Parish (Kilkenny), Baptisms, 1825-1847, p. 4, Eleanor Stapleton baptism (3 April 1825).
[3] “Diocese of Ossory,” County Kilkenny Ireland Genealogy and History ( : accessed 4 May 2013), map, no. 41, and “Historical Reference.”
[4] The Post Chaise Companion: or Travellers Directory through Ireland, Containing a New & Accurate Description of the Direct and principal Cross Roads, with particulars of the Noblemen & Gentlemen’s Seats, Cities, Towns, Parks, natural Curiosities, Antiquities, Castles, Ruins, Manufactures, Loughs, Glens, Harbours, &c. &c., Forming An Historical & Descriptive Account of the Kingdom, To which is added, A Travelling Dictionary, or Alphabetical Tables, Shewing the distances of all the Principal Cities, Boroughs, Market & Seaport Towns in Ireland from each other, 4th ed. (Dublin: J. Fleming [1786]), col. 476; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 4 May 2013).
[5] “Search,” Google Maps ( : accessed 4 May 2013), “Get Directions,” Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, to Freshford, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.
[6] Catholic Church, Freshford Parish (Kilkenny), Parochial Registers, 1773-1881, passim.
[7] The Illustrated Dublin Journal, A Miscellany of Amusement and Popular Information by the Most Eminent Writers (Dublin: James Duffy, 1862), 489; digital image, Google Books ( : accessed 5 May 2013).
[8] Mike Searle, “S3766: Castles of Leinster: Balleen, Kilkenny,” Geograph ( : accessed 5 May 2013). 
[9] William Carrigan, The History and Antiquities of the Diocese of Ossory, 2 vols. , Vol. 2 (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker, 1905), 257; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 3 May 2013).
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Accounts and Papers: Seventy-Seven Volumes, Population (Ireland): Province of Leinster, Session 16 January 1902—18 December 1902, Vol. CXXII, Vol. 68, Census of Ireland for the Year 1901. Part I, Area, Houses, and Population, Vol. 1, Province of Leinster, No. 4, County of Kilkenny (Dublin: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1901), p. 52 for Urlingford Union; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 3 May 2013).
[13] John O’Brien, “A map of Mr. Lawlers part of Kile [Kyleballynamoe] in the barony of Crannagh and County of Kilkenny,” 1794; digital image, National Library of Ireland, Catalogue ( : accessed 6 May 2013).

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