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Béal an Átha Móir
Main Street-High Street, Ballinamore
Main Street-High Street, Ballinamore
Ballinamore is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°03′07″N 7°48′07″W / 54.052°N 7.802°W / 54.052; -7.802Coordinates: 54°03′07″N 7°48′07″W / 54.052°N 7.802°W / 54.052; -7.802
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Leitrim
Elevation 74 m (243 ft)
Population (2016)[1]
 • Total 914
Irish Grid Reference H131112

Ballinamore (historically Bellanamore, from Irish: Béal an Átha Móir, meaning "mouth of the big ford")[2] is a small town in County Leitrim, Ireland, 19 km (12 mi) from the border with Northern Ireland. It is located on the R202 regional road where it is joined by the R199 and R204. Béal an Átha Móir means "mouth of the big ford", and the town is so named because it was the main crossing point of the Yellow River, which flows past the town. This waterway become known as the Ballinamore-Ballyconnell canal, built to link the Rivers Erne and Shannon in the 1840s. It reopened as the Shannon–Erne Waterway in 1994.


The history of Ballinamore has enabled it to grow through the centuries as a town with a large variety of trades and tradesmen. The first mention was under the plantation of Leitrim in 1621 when the Manor of Ballinamore was granted to Sir Fenton Parsons with 600 acres (2.4 km2) of arable land.[3] In the 18th century, settlers from County Down who were dispossessed by landowners travelled to the west of Ireland looking for new places to live.[citation needed] They stopped in an area of land they found suitable notably for its location near the rivers Shannon and Erne. This was the origins of Ballinamore. These dispossessed people brought with them numerous skills such as blacksmiths, tinsmiths, skilled craftsmen and farmers. Between 1695 and 1750 there was a flourishing ironworks.[3] Throughout at least the 19th and 20th centurys, two annual fairs were held at Ballinamore on- May 12, and November 12.[4][5] Back in 1925, Ballinamore town comprised 163 houses, up to 28 houses licensed to sell alcohol.[6]

The Great Battle

In 1256, a great battle was fought between the O'Rourkes and the O'Reillys near Ballinamore This led to the division of Breifne between the O'Rourkes and O'Reillys of Cavan


Ballinamore railway station opened on 24 October 1887, but finally closed on 1 April 1959.[7] It was part of the narrow gauge Cavan and Leitrim Railway and was the hub of the line, with the locomotive depot and works. It was the point where the line from Dromod through Mohill and Ballinamore to Belturbet branched to Kiltubrid, Drumshanbo and Arigna.[8]

The Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Canal was opened in 1860 but was not a success and fell into disrepair. It was restored in 1994 as the Shannon-Erne Waterway and now brings more tourists into the town.

Ballinamore has daily Locallink bus services to Carrick on Shannon and Dromod railway station Monday to Saturday.

Notable features

  • The local Church of Ireland church is the oldest building in Ballinamore in the 1780s from the ruins of the local Roman Catholic Church (St Patrick's) demolished during the reformation and penal laws.
  • The Ballinamore Estate was granted to the Ormsby family in 1677.[9] Elizabethan settlers located at first in County Sligo, from where they spread into Counties Mayo, Roscommon and Galway. The Ballinamore branch were descended from the Ormsby of Comyn or Cummin in county Sligo.
  • A monument to the IRA Chief of Staff, TD, and local councillor John Joe McGirl is located on the bridge crossing the Shannon-Erne Waterway. The monument bears the phrase: "An Unbroken and Unbreakable Fenian".

See also


Primary sources

  1. ^ "Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Apr 2012. p. 47. Retrieved 25 Oct 2016. 
  2. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland (see archival records)
  3. ^ a b Fr Dan Gallogly (1991). Sliabh an Iarainn Slopes, History of the Town and Parish of Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim. 
  4. ^ Longman 1819, pp. 405.
  5. ^ Watsons 1830.
  6. ^ Irish Free State 1925, pp. 31.
  7. ^ "Ballinamore station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  8. ^ Baker, Michael HC (1999). Irish Narrow Gauge Railways. A View from the Past. Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 0-7110-2680-7. 
  9. ^ "Estate Record: Ormsby (Ballinamore)". Landed Estates Database. NUI Galway. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 

Secondary sources


  • Longman (2011) [1819]. Traveller's New Guide Through Ireland, Containing a New and Accurate Description of the Roads (digitized from original in Lyon Public Library ed.). Longman. 
  • Watsons (1830). The Gentleman's and citizen's almanack ... for the year (PDF). Dublin, Printed for S. Watson [etc.] 
  • Irish Free State (1925). Intoxicating Liquor Commission Report (Report). Reports of Committees. The Stationery Office. Retrieved 21 May 2017. 

External links

  • Official website
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