Located in South-East Tipperary, in the area known as the Slieveardagh Hills, Ballingarry is a small parish, steeped in History, Heritage and Tradition.
The parish is best known for its historical links to the 1848 Young Irelanders Rebellion. The Irish Flag was first flown in Ballingarry in 1848, a distinction the town quietly marks each day, with a symbolic raising of the flag ceremony. The town also has strong links with the coal mining industry, with coal mining in the area dating back some four hundred years.
Ballingarry nestles between the major tourist centres of Kilkenny and Cashel and has easy access to the major urban centres of Thurles, Cashel, Clonmel and Kilkenny.
Depiction of the 1848 Rebellion outside the Widow McCormack's house.
During the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850, the widow McCormack's farm at Ballingarry, was the scene of the principal action of the Young Irelanders 1848 Rebellion. Here rebels under the leadership of William Smith
OBrien besieged 47 police who had barricaded themselves into the widow McCormack farmhouse taking five our her children hostage. When the Cashel police arrived it was obvious that the police in the house were about to be reinforced and rescued.
The rebels faded away and shortly after the rising Smith O’Brien, Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence Bellew MacManus and Patrick O’Donohue were tried for high teason.Their sentence were later commuted to penal imprisonment in Australia. A young James Stephens, who later went on to found the Irish Republican Brotherhood, evaded capture through a daring escape to France, dressed as a maid. Stephens had tricked the British autorities into believing that he had died.
Since that time the McCormack house (which was owned by a number of other families after 1848) has always been known locally as the Warhouse. In 2004 the State decided on ‘Famine Warhouse 1848’ as the official name of the house, which is now a national heritage attraction.
Another important historical significance of the village, is the fact that Ballingarry is where the Irish Tricolour flag was flown for the first time. The Young Irelanders adobted the flag, being influenced by the design of the French Tricolour.
Cooper Hill, with coal mining Steeple in the distance
Ballingarry, and the Slieveardagh area in general, has a long tradition in coalmining. Although commercial exploitation of the local anthracite resources virtually ceased in the 1980s, evidence of our coal mining heritage still remains.
Ballingarry's medieval past, is in evidence at the old church monument. erected by the Graveyard Committee in 2000, the monument marks the site of the Old Catholic Church, which dated back to the twelvth century.
Ballingarry is a small village full of interest and unique personality, its where history inspires the arts, and arts inspire the people, a place not always known but never forgotten.