Snippets of ‘gossip’ not lending themselves to a separate page or fitting into standard pages:





The 2023 edition is now available through the local shops, and congratulations to Breeda McDonald and Fidema Joyce for another high-quality publication. Well done to all the contributors, too.

Most striking is the energy given to all the clubs, groups and schools. The parish abounds with opportunities for social integration, and no child is neglected.

Review by Michael Dawson

Ballon/Rathoe magazine brimful of News and Views
The sixth edition of the Ballon/Rathoe Community magazine ‘Connected’ has just
been launched and the 44-page high gloss production is full of news and views from
the area on the happenings of 2023 with a little bit of history thrown in.
Produced by Fidelma Joyce and Breeda McDonald and with an introduction by Rev
James O’Connell and Rev Lester Scott, full reports of the happenings in all our
organisations and clubs, whether it be sporting or cultural are there as are all the
details of the extracurricular activities at both Ballon and Rathoe national schools.
This year’s main article, written by Fidelma Joyce is an interview with Bernie Mullins,
who retired in October as deputy principal of Ballon National School following 41
incredible years of engaging the hearts, minds and hands of the children from the
area. Arthur Kennedy takes readers on a stroll down memory lane on the L6063 and
recalls many who lived on the road from Laragh to Ballaghmore during his
schooldays and before.
All the sporting activities of the year are covered by articles by various PRO’s and
Olive O’Byrne writes extensively on Community Games
highlighting the successes at national, provincial and county level which were many.
Other contributors are Cathy Reddy, Máire George, Michael Dawson, Mary Jordan,
John Donohoe, Niamh Doyle, Cathal Shanahan, Emmet Moran, Emma Byrne,
Padraic Lalor, Alan Reamsbottom, John Kinsella, Louise Nolan, Breeda McDonald,
Paddy Byrne, David O’Connor, Shona Nugent and Michael Martin and, as usual, Fr
Jim has the last word. There is also a ‘down memory lane’ photo gallery with
contributions by Pat Bermingham and Seamus Hogan among others. The design is
by Carol Ann Treacy.
The magazine costs just €5 and is on sale in all the shops in Ballon, at Joe O’Toole’s
and Conor Ward’s in Tullow and from Anne O’Connor in Rathoe or Breeda
McDonald, Graiguealug.



Two locals received due recognition at the Pride of Place presentation last week.





My name is Aine Doyle.  I’m from Naas Co Kildare. email:

I’ve been researching my family history.  Long story short. My great-grandmother was Johanna (Hanna) Lawless from Connaberry.
I have not managed to trace any of her siblings. She did have a brother Martin who married a local widow woman. She had children from her husband. I believe Martin is buried there with a young nephew by the name of Edward Donahue.?
Anyhow Johanna married Tullow Baker John Doyle. She was the local midwife in Tullow for about 50 years.  She had two sons Thomas and my granddad Edwared.
I’m looking for her grave.  I’m told she is Buried in Ballon graveyard, the new one. But it would appear her grave was never marked.
Johanna died on 28th December 1959.  Would there be anybody in Ballon who would know ???
It’s a long shot. Are there any relatives still around?
Or what happened to them.  Johanna’s mother was a Flynn from Connaberry.


See local artist Ciara Chapman in the link below




I came on this 1/12/22 at the new parish house recently purchased by the community. Sent in by Maire.
The tree is going to be trimmed only and kept. 
The fruits can be eaten and used in tarts etc. 
This tree is prolific at Killarney National Park. It’s a great Specimen Tree. Thrilled by this.  There is also right near it a lovely Acer.





Purchase of site and bungalow for Parking and the Parish Office.
Ballon has been searching for a much-needed car park for the village for a long time and when a car parking space for 50 –
60 cars with a house which will be used for the parish office came up for sale we seized the opportunity.
This is an essential asset for everyone in Ballon; it is opposite the Community Centre and within walking distance of the
church, school and village. The purchase cost is €250,000. We have secured between €150,000 to €200,000
in support already from groups within the village, but to secure the remainder of the funds for the purchase of the house and
site we are asking the people of the parish to help us raise the additional finance. We are appealing to your generosity to
make available a €1,000 interest-free loan which will be fully repaid within five years.
We are also putting together a committee to apply for grants which we hope will substantially cover the development works
required on site. The Parish is extremely grateful for your assistance in this hugely significant purchase. Should you wish
to give a loan of €1000, please contact Fr. Jim O’Connell or the parish office in confidence.







Hello, my name is Anne Brennan and I’m just wondering if anyone has school photos of my father Michael Bermingham from Rathrush, he went to school in Ballon and very proud of that fact. I do have photos of his brother and sister, Gerry and Maura, my father was born in 1937 so maybe any school photos after that time frame . I don’t have any photos of dad as a child /student so it would be amazing to find one,thank you so much.



Dear Michael, 
I’m wondering if you might be able to direct me. My name is Stephanie SanHamel Hamman, and I am a direct descendant of the Nolan family in that area. I came to Bagenalstown in 2011 to visit family. We did a great deal of research, but I only recently had a breakthrough with my 5x great grandfather, Laurence Nolan (from Lisgarvin), father of Captain James Nolan. Laurence’s son Edmond is my direct ancestor (he had a house at Ballinrush which still stands and was occupied by a Peter Fox in the 1970s). According to an article written by Fr. PJ Kavanagh in 1997, Laurence’s father was John Nolan, and his grandfather was James Nolan. I have a good deal of information regarding dates of birth and death for Laurence Nolan and his wife, Anna Wright, but I’d love to dig deeper into John and James Nolan. To which parish or library should I write to see if there are any records available? Any information you could give me would be helpful and I’d be so very grateful! 

Ancestors and locations if helpful: 

James Nolan (Lisgarvin?)

John Nolan (Lisgarvin?) 

Laurence Nolan (Lisgarvin, b.1713, m. Anna Wright before 1754, d. 1785)
Edmond Nolan (Knockindrane? b. 1755, m. Elizabeth Doyle, d. 15 February 1847, Ballinrush) 

Johanna Nolan Byrne (Ballinrush, b. 1797, m. Charles Byrne, d. 25 Dec 1822, Ballyloughan)
Thomas Byrne (Burns) (Ballyloughan, b.1822, moved to America 1848, m. Eliza Gallagher, d. 1 June 1907 in Ashkum, Illinois) [this was my 2x great grandfather] 

Thank you so much and have a wonderful day, 
Stephanie H. 


Pharmacy opens in Ballon – Click the link for the full story


Calender front page by Will O’Toole



There was a partial eclipse of the sun this morning. Most of the time the sun was playing hide and seek but we got some photos.



















Two very welcome shops due in the village.








“Holy Thursday” a different focus. Sent in by Sean Doyle




John Dowling aka Mr Bump dresses up for World Book Day


Ballon Picture House/ Cinema. Does anyone have any photos of the cinema. It closed around the 1960s.

Send to please


Duchas share info on Ballon


From Healthy Ireland/ Healthy Carlow

Mood swings are likely and to acknowledge this is to help manage them.





First to go ?  sent in by Joe Donoghoe


This charming picture is of the first to participate in the Community Games from Ballon and Rathoe in the under 10s around the early eighties. They are:-

Karen Nolan – Rathoe. Mary Boylan – Rathoe. Sharon Kelly – Ballon. John Corrigan – Ballon


The Pope John Paul II Award is a faith achievement award for young people between the age of 16 and 18. The Award enables participants to take an active part in the life of their Church – in the life of their community and society. It enables young people become more aware of the teaching and role of the Catholic Church in the world and to engage at a deep level with Christ.

The Award was created to commemorate the late Pope Saint John Paul II who was so committed to young people and who had such belief and confidence in them. The Award was launched by the Papal Nuncio to Ireland, His Excellency Most Rev Dr Giuseppe Lazzarotto on 7th November 2006 in the Diocese of Derry, Ireland. There are 3 Award levels – Gold, Silver & Bronze. Those that have completed the Gold Award have a further option of completing the Papal Cross Award.

See: http://ballonvillage.comachievers-2020/


As per recent announcements from the Taoiseach, we will be closed from 5pm this evening, Wednesday 21st October for 6 weeks..

We will however be working from home, you can contact us on for any work which is needed to be done and a click and collect service will be in operation.


Online classes will continue.

If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to E-mail:

Sorry for any inconvenience caused.



Ballon Business & Training Service
The Old School
Co. CarlowTel: 059-915-9447


Happy Friday Michael!

As a Mom I’m reaching out to thank Ballon Village for putting together your grief support links page. I hope you don’t mind me contacting you …but I figured everyone could use a nice message these days! 🙂

My daughter MaryAnne is a Girl Scout and she’s currently working on her Good Neighbor badge. With all the uncertainty happening with COVID, her troop has decided to continue postponing all in-person meetings, just to be safe! That being said, they still encouraged the parents to work with our girls at home to ensure we don’t fall too far behind!

This pandemic has really uprooted everyone’s lives; my children’s school moved to a virtual, online curriculum and most of their after school activities have been cancelled. It’s been rough not being able to socialize like normal. MaryAnne’s troop leader wanted the girls to learn about helping those in times of sadness and grief, and to teach them how to deal with these tough emotions they might be having. Your page led MaryAnne and I to some wonderful websites to explore. Thank you for putting it all together!

I was also wondering if you could add another link to your page?

MaryAnne found this guide on dealing with grief last night which I was very impressed with! I thought it was perfect to share!

This is it…

I’d love to show MaryAnne and her troop leader if you incorporate it on your page! I think encouragement does wonders in children and I know MaryAnne would be delighted to see her contribution included. (It’s nice to feel connected to people, even if we’re practicing social distancing right now!)

This is the page I thought it would fit best on, unless you have a better spot for it…  http://ballonvillage.comlinks-that-might-help-with-your-grief/

Let me know if you get a chance to update! Our Troop actually has a Zoom call tomorrow evening if you get a free moment to include it at some point by then! …but if not, whenever you get a chance to add it is great!
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Amelia and MaryAnne Johnson

(The link has been added to the Death Notice page)



The Arts Council of Ireland commissioned several artists, poets, musicians and actors to create art during the COVID-19 pandemic as a record of the time for future posterity. Local artist Cathy Reddy, Templepeter was commissioned to make a series of landscape lino prints of Irelands most Iconic landscapes. For her project she chose, amongst others, the Rock of Cashel, the Hook Head lighthouse, Kilkenny Castle and Mount Leinster, landscapes that have stood for hundreds if not thousands of years and have existed through famines, wars, natural disasters, pandemic before and will exist long after COVID-19 leaves us. Cathy’s hope is that looking at her prints would give people hope and help through COVID-19 to prosper again. Last year Cathy reached the semi-finals of SKY arts landscape artist of the year on Sky Arts Chanel.    


Rock of Cashel viewed  through Hore Abbey


Brownshill Dolmen


Video by Martin Cummins of the Millennium Garden – such foxgloves



Ballon Fire

I wonder if you or anyone you know have any record of a big fire that burned all across Ballon Hill from Blanches to McGraths around 1950. all the trees on the hill were cut down around that time for commercial use. I remember the logs being dragged down by horses and loaded from the field opposite my house onto lorries to be taken to the mill.  As far as I remember the name SHARKEY were the people involved  around the same time this fire took place and I remember 3 or 4 fire brigades pumping water from the river to fight the blaze.   
I also remember the hill been replanted with trees and fenced in but nothing much ever developed from this.  I am not sure if this was in Lecky family time or after the land commission took it over. They eventually divided up the plantation between different farmers  and I would be interested to hear anything more about this.

Regards:   John Doyle,  Ballon Hill



Tom Murphy did a drone’s eye view of the village.



Zerafa’s Centra & Ballon GAA want to support those Cocooning, in Isolation and the Vulnerable in our Community.
Our team are on hand to get you your essential shopping.
Please ring us 059 9159847 for more details.



Altamont has a new Facebook page


Good day Michael. I sent the following nessage  to the Clonegal Community Center and they referred me to Frank Donoghue. Unfortunately the Home does not have a website or a FACEBOOK page.  I am hoping you might know a way I can connect with Frank without using the telephone.  
“What a surprise to find this facebook page. I was looking up cemetery stones in St.Brigid’s Church lot and one struck my notice. John Donahue who died in 1916.  My grandmother was Elizabeth Donahue who came from somewhere in Carlow co. I know her parents were John Donahoe and Elizabeth Murphy. I am hoping that  she is from this same family mentioned on the stone in Clonegal.  My Elizabeth emigrated to Canada probably in the 1840’s. If anyone from Clonegal knows their Donahoe or Murphy geneology and could help me  with my search I’d be deeply grateful.”

Michel David

Michel David 5/3/20


A public meeting held in Kavanaghs Lounge on Tuesday night 25 February decided that, after a lapse of one year, the Ballon St Patrick’s Day Parade would be revived.

The meeting elected the following officers and committee to organise and oversee the event: chairperson, Martin Barry; vice-chairperson, Noel Curry; secretary, Paul Kavanagh; assistant secretary and treasurer, Raymond Nolan; PRO, John Blanche. Elected to the committee were Billy Nolan. Eamon Brennan, Cormac Maher, Garry Ryan and Dick Fitzgerald. The parade, which will be the village’s 33rd, will be held on the National Feast day starting at the Land League gates at 3.45pm. Businesses and Community groups are encouraged to enter floats and there will be prizes for the most comical,  best community, best walking , best industrial entry, funniest, most topical and vintage car entry. The Carlow Stone Perpetual Cup will go to the overall winner


Ballon Rathoe Area 10 Athletics qualifiers at St Patrick’s College, Carlow c. 81/82. Names would be welcomed.


Click on the following link to get a larger view

Athletics 81.82






This photo was found in the back of an old frame that was being renovated in Ballon. But who are they? It could be from the 1920’s and local knowledge suggests from the Kilbride area. Pass you ideas to the WebGuy














I am wondering can you help us- there is a stray cat at Riverdale Nursing Home, picture attached. The cat has a red collar and appears a pet but it is tormenting our nursing home pet dog. Could you perhaps add the poster to your website or advise me of who else could help. 

With thanks,




Karen-Blick-2-002-copyAccording to Emmerdale Wike, Karen Blick is an English actress who has appeared in Emmerdale in two roles: An unnamed nurse who worked at a clinic Viv Hope visited in August 2006 and the role of  Lydia Hart since September 2016. It is the latter role that has made her a household name and a firm favourite with viewers. In recent times she has been involved in a major storyline about her true identity and is currently engaged to Sam Dingle, a member of the soap’s best known family.

And Karen’s connection with Ballon? Her mother is the former Kathleen Lawler, Sraugh and as such is granddaughter of Johnny Lawler of Carlow 1944 GAA fame. She is married with one daughter. Her other television credits include No Angels, Jumpin the Sharks, World Astonishing News and Nomads. She has also appeared in several short films and numerous plays.


On the 12th October, Zerafa’s Top Shop held their annual walk for breast cancer. There was a full turn out and all enjoyed a warm sunny day.

Details to follow on money raised and raffle winners.






Pat Guilfoyle, Castlegrace, retired from his position as postman with An Post on Friday 26 July following 13 years service. Pat covered the areas of Connaberry, Sandbrook, Ballykealey, Ballinadrum and Ardristan and his cheerful smile will be missed by the householders in these areas. He joined An Post following 31 years in Lapple. Ms Marie Comerford, Manager Carlow and District Postal Areas presented Pat with a Cuchulainn statuette and a scroll to mark his retirement.    







Anne-OConnor-002-copyIt was the end of an era in Rathoe on Friday 3 May as Anne O’Connor closed the doors of her shop for the last time. It comes just three months after the village lost its post office and the double closure is a huge blow to the small village which now has no commercial outlet. The shop was established by Anne and her late husband, Jack, in 1970 and was extended about ten years ago. A thriving business selling groceries, fuel, newspapers and gas it offered home deliveries of fuel twice weekly. Over the years Anne has worked long hours seven days a week, opening at 8am and at times not closing until 10pm in the early days. The shop doubled as the local post office from 1994 until earlier this year. Anne and her family have served the village of Rathoe and its people well for close on 50 years and she is wished well in her retirement. She will be sadly missed.


Daffodil Day at the late Rita Nolan’s house managed by her Daughter Valerie each year with great support from the community.

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Sandie Coakley, Kathleen Abbey, Valerie Nolan/O’Toole, Kerry Nolan with Buddy, Danielle Dillon,
Maria Hempestall, Kathy Kennedy, Mabel Brennan.

Daffodil Day 2019: A sincere thank you to all who donated so much, helped on the day, gave daffodils, cakes and raffle prizes. We have donated €3,300.00 in total. Carlow Kilkenny Homecare: €1400Irish Cancer Society: €1100. Éist €500. Lollipop Day €300Hope to see you all next year. “Bring a friend” Valerie


Ballon/Rathoe Goose Club

The goose Club is an annual event staged as a fundraiser for the parish last night. Prizes are donated for the occasion ranging from Christmas cakes to bags of coal with turkeys, hams, hampers and all sorts in between. Starting at 7 and finishing at 9pm its just one non stop draw. Its very labour intensive for the myriad of volunteers involved and making up the hampers is a long job skilfully and cheerfully assembled.

Beware though, as its very addictive and you easily spend your Christmas Bonus. Fr. Jim was selling tickets blessed by the Pope but his influence didn’t cover Ballon.

Its not just a local event as its practised in many countries, check it out on Google.

4/10/18 Launch of Innovate Hub and programme 3/10/18

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Pictured Maire George, Anna May Mc Hugh who Spoke and launched the programme, Rose Byrne, Margaret Buggy,
Gay o Toole and Mary Jordan.

15/8/18 Colour is everything

Once again the green fingered Kathleen and Sinead gave the village a colourful pageant on Ballon Hill. Pictures captured by Maire.

3/8/18 Nolan Help required.

Hi, Michael,
I know there are many, many Nolan’s in your area and hopefully someone may recognize our Nolan’s and help us to get through the brick wall we have struggled with for many years

We have been searching for many years for our Nolan (Nowlan) ancestors in Ireland.  
Our 3x great grandfather was William Nowlan and his wife was Bridget Kenna (McKenna).

RC Church records show a William Nowlan baptized on February 20, 1793 in Ballon Parish, Carlow, Ireland. William’s parents were Patrick and Rose Nowlan.

An RC marriage record exists for William and Bridget on June 16, 1820 in  Booterstown, Blackrock and Dundrum Parish, County Dublin.

We cannot find early information for our 2x great grandfather Patrick Francis Nolan. We believe he was born in about 1821, possibly in Dublin County.

Patrick emigrated from County Mayo in 1842 to Quebec, Canada and then to the USA, where he settled, raised a family, and farmed in Chickasaw County, Iowa. We would appreciate any information that the Nolan’s of Carlow County might have about our Nolan ancestors.

Kathleen Nolan-Lee
Minneapolis, MN USA



At the “Fun Day” for Burrin Celtic the Fiach O’Byrne trophy was played for by Burrin Celtic and St. Joseph’s, Tinryland. St Joseph’s won and pictured are some at the presentation.


Gordon Bennet Classic Annual Run

Friday June 1st – Monday 4th

See Link

Pictures by Helen McGagh Castle in Ballon



Local man Michael Neill from Fighting Cocks emigrated to America in 1965. He was a pupil in Rathoe NS.

He wanted to make contact with one of his cousins, Joe Donoghue but had no number. He found the Village Website when surfing and found Joe’s picture so he asked me for his phone number.

He visited Carlow this week and in spite of the long absence he recognised him immediately. Joe arranged for all the cousins to meet in the Carlton Hotel, Carlow. Michael was amazed when he met cousins and family members he didn’t know existed. It was an emotional time for all. Cousins came from Tullow, Bunclody, Kiltealey, Carnew, Rathdrum and Clonegal.

Some more came after this picture was taken but the camera man had gone home.

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Seamus Tobin, John Tobin, PJ Haskins, Philip Tobin

John Curran, Anne Marie Brennan, Kate, Ciaran Haskins, Nicky Curran

Ross Neill, Kay Donoghue, Angela Haskins, Michael Neill, Joe Donoghue


From: Pat Cleary <>
Date: Wed, Mar 14, 2018 at 6:35 PM
Subject: Philip Martin, RIP

Good evening to you all.

I travelled down from Dublin this morning for the funeral of the late Philip Martin, son of my dear friend and former work colleague, Michael. I want to express my appreciation to all of the wonderful people who provided the food and service in the community hall afterwards.
To come in from the torrential rain and wind to the spread that was laid on was just the tonic. Thank you all so much.
It is not the first time I have experienced the welcome and warmth of the people of Ballon. You are truly an amazing community.

Pat Cleary


                                                                                                2017 Carlow Business Awards

The ForgeBest Presented Premises/Shop Front
The Forge Kilbride
Sponsored by Carlow County Council.


Pictured is Mary Jorden, proprietor.














National ICA Brown Bread finalist Sheila Nolan, Connaberry, pictured with her husband Paddy, daughter Julie and son Karl at the finals which were held at the Ploughing Championships. Sheila extends her thanks to all her well wishers and supporters

8/8/17 – continuation of the ‘message in a balloon’


Thank you so much for the article in your village web site;

I would like to tell you a lot of thinks but my english is not very good…that’s why i took a long time to answer.

Cian seems really happy and it would be nice to know a bit more about him:his age,his hobbies ect…

I am working in a library so i works a lot with school’s children.

It was a real pleasure to find this baloon and i hope to carry on this beautiful story with your village

Very best wishes




To whom it may concern

My name is Tracey Brophy I’m writing this to see how I would be able to obtain a copy of the ballon confirmation 1963 my father was Laurence brophy also known as Larry or lar my dad passed away when I was 6 years old I would love photos of him to have for me and my brothers we moved from nurney over 20 years ago we moved to Tipperary Yours sincerely Tracey Brophy


Picture has been sent by web guy as requested


Maeve Lalor completes her year as the Lalor Clan Chief.

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Click this link for full size picture of the group

The clan




Message in a balloon

On the 1st April Cian Abbey tied this message to a helium balloon and released it from Ballon Hill.

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On the 12th April Breda Wray, on holiday in Spain got a telephone call from the couple who found the message’

Cian subsequently got a postcard from the Anne Mourrut who was on holiday with her husband at Vielle Saint Girons just above the Spanish border.

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The distance travelled as the crow flies is about 1000 km. By road and ferry 1900 km.

Here is Cian on Ballon Hill and thrilled to get the card and feedback from Anne.


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Hi Michael

I am writing in regards to my family history, I have been researching it for some time, it was known that we had Irish heritage from my grandfathers side and I now know that my 2nd Great Grandfather, Thomas Reddy was born in Ballon in 1881 before moving to Northumberland and then onto Doncaster, presumably for the work in the mines.

I will be visiting Ballon in February 18 and wondered if you were aware of any Reddys, possibly in the local graveyards that could possibly be related? I have got a block and can’t seem to identity any other family members, it’s hard to access the records from over here.

Any help/ advice you could give would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards
Tony Richardson  email



Daffodil Day in Ballon. A now annual event hosted by Valerie O’Toole

Daffodil group copy

Valerie O’Toole, Stacia Murphy, Daiva Paulauskaite, Marie Hempenstall, Patsy Kelly, Sandra Corkeley, Elaine Lalor

Daffodil Day 2017. A sincere thank you to all who donated so much, helped on the day, gave daffodils, cakes and raffle prizes.  We have donated €3165.00 so far to Carlow  Kilkenny Homecare €1615.00,  to Irish Cancer Society €850.00, Eist €500.00, Lollipop Day €200.00.  Hope to see you all next year. P.S. Please try and “Bring A Friend” we would love to see some more new people. 


 P: Valerie: 087 – 9180310


These submitted by Marty Barry – any names?

Ballon Boys School 1928

A poem by Christy Ryan

Sports sports result 1958



Local entrepreneur launches a Ballon designed running light of excellent design and functionality. Full details on




Local Councillor John Murphy is now Chairman of Carlow County Council. Congratulations John.

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27/4/16 – Walsh family Ballymogue

I am a genealogy researcher, currently researching a family named Walsh of Fairview, Co Dublin. There is a possibility that they may be related to a family named Walsh recorded in Ballymogue, Ballon, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, descendants of Denis Walsh and Margaret Lawless (whose children were baptised in Ballon in the 1820s).
Do you have any local-history contact who might be able to help in connection with this research?
Adrian Stevenson, Genealogy Research in Ireland
49 Gainsborough Park, Malahide, Co Dublin  K36 FK58


24/3/16 – Nolan Clan Newsletter




Help Fight Cancer Support Daffodil Day Coffee day at the home of the late Rita Nolan in Ballon Village on Wednesday 9th March 2016: 9am till late.

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Valerie-4 copy


All monies raised going to Carlow/Kilkenny Home Care Team, Éist & Irish Cancer Society. P: Valerie: 087 – 9180310



Anne And Garry Ryan


Pictured above are Anne and Garry Ryan, Ballon, with a gallon whiskey bottle full of notes and coins filled by the patrons of Kavanagh’s Pub in Ballon. The collection was made for Brú Columbanus, a ‘Home Away from Home’ in Wilton in Cork for families of long distance patients. Garry and other family members availed of the facility when Anne was a long-term patient in Cork University Hospital. The amount collected was €1,520 and Garry and Anne wish to thank all those who supported the venture.


Attached are photos of some of the men doing part of their practical work on the Carlow Road.   They are doing a QQI Level 4 Horticulture Course in BBTC, the course is being run in conjunction with Kilkenny/Carlow ETB.  Photos courtesy of Máire George

Horticulture Course

Hort course


New walkway

A start has been made on linking the Village to the Soccer Field on the Fenagh Rd.
On completion the safety of pedestrians walking the BALLON Hill circuit will be enhanced.   Children will get a safe walkway to the sport practice and games. Further details being sought.


Work now going  on over four weeks linking Ballon to the Soccer Field on the Fenagh Rd.   Carlow County Council are doing the work and on competition of the Footpath BIG will receive some funding to do the landscaping.
















Making Progress



Slowly but Surely

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Path on Fenagh Rd nearing completion.  Thanks to Carlow County Council and to all who worked or helped in any way to complete this project.
A native hedgerow is to be planted here very soon.

We appeal to Dog walkers to clean up after their dog poos.   Dog fouling  mess is happening in loads of areas around the village.


6/10/15 – Crochet class

At a chance encounter today a class was visited that taught crochet.

Crochet class

Crochet class with teacher Pamela Williamson

This takes place every Tuesday at Ballon Business and Training Service between 3.10 and 4.40.

It’s ideal for children leaving day school and a real opportunity to learn and pass on the skills of teacher Pamela Williamson from Mullaunmore.

Details from BBTS at 059 9159447



Ballon National School received their copy of the 1916 proclamation and a National flag on Wednesday 23 September as part of the Centenary Programme to celebrate the events of 100 years ago.  A member of the defence forces read the proclamation and Orla Deacon read an extract. The flag was accepted on behalf of the school by Leah Walshe and the pupils were shown how the flag should be treated and the significance of the green, white and orange colours. Members of the Defence Forces visited Rathoe NS on Monday afternoon September 28 and formally presented them with their National Flag and copy of the Proclamation. Thanks to Billy Kirwan for sound and music and parents for joining in on the day. All schools in the country are being presented with the copy of the proclamation and flag and next year on Proclamation Day, 15 March, they will raise the flag at an appointed time.

1916 Ballon

BALLON 1916 – Leah Walshe and Orla Deacon with a member of the Defence Forces at the presentation of a copy of the 1916 proclamation and a National flag to Ballon National School.

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RATHOE 1916 – Darragh Kelly receiving the Proclamation on behalf of Rathoe National School.

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RATHOE 1916  – Clare O’Shea reading a section from the Proclamation at Rathoe National School.


On the 29th August at Altamont Gardens and in connection with National Heritage Week a talk and demonstration was given by The Carlow Bee Keepers Association  followed by a tour of the garden flowers and how they adapt to attract specific pollinators.

John Blanche of Ballon is the Chairman of the Carlow  Bee Keepers Association

Paul Butler of Ballon is the Head Gardener at Altamont

The life cycle of the bees belies belief and the symbiotic relationship between them and the flowers is another.

Invalid Displayed Gallery



Ballon Meggers Club took part in an inter County Meggers Competition on Sat. 30th July at the Fighting Cocks Club Grounds.


Burrin Celtic Fun Day

Burrin Fun Day.jpg


Go to their web site for plenty of pictures


Horse Shoe Pitching

John Dowling, P. Abbey and Joey Abbey practice the ancient game of Horse Shoe Pitching against the panoramic background of Ballon Hill. They and a few others are honing their skills for an upcoming demonstration.

The history is unclear but a  likely explanation  is that horseshoes evolved from the sport of quoits, which in turn has its origins in ancient Greece.

Irish Sports Council


I’d like to know how all the rooks and starlings become aware that as the silage is gathered juicy insects will be exposed.

Seen today on a local farm.


An Post Rás

An Post Rás
The opening stage in the 2015 renewal of the An Post Rás passed through  Ballon on Sunday 17 May en route to its finish in Carlow Town having started in Dunboyne, County Meath. It passed through 3.45 and 4 pm. Over 180 cyclists from countries as far apart as New Zealand, USA, Australia, England and Azerbaijan as well as Ireland are taking part and the competition is sure to be keen up front on this opening stage as all participants will be keen to collect the first Yellow Jersey of the race. Local man Edward Dawson is the assistant Race Director



Parents Assocation of Rathoe National School


Our cheque Presentation night for Rathoe Does Strictly 2015 in aid of an All Weather Pitch for Rathoe National School. Could you please organise to put it in the Ballon/Rathoe notes of the Nationalist as soon as you can. The picture contains some of the dancers that took part, the winners Patrick O’Gorman and Sharon O’Byrne are holding the cheque. We have still to finalise the figure currently standing at €13,365.

April Eustace


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Five Presidents Five codes. 28/3/15
Willie and Joe still in office.
Aileen, Pat and Liam just finished office.
L:R Willie Roche Handball, Aileen Lawlor Camogie, Pat Quill Ladies Gaelic Football, Joe Donoghue Rounders, Liam O Neill GAA


Thursday the 2ndApril at 11am

Siopa Glas on high alert while awaiting a visit from a TV Crew from Hedgehog Productions, Carlow. Siopa Glas is going to feature on Irish TV on Channel 191 at 8pm on Wednesday the 15th April. Happenings around Co. Carlow are featured on this Channel at the same time every month..

But before the crew arrived at Siopa Glas they went to the Lourdes Grotto at Church St. Fr Brendan Howard PP., Kathleen Condron, and Gerry Maher gave the story of the Grotto.

Eddie Nolan, a Ballon native was behind the camera and Clare Mc Neill the lady with the microphone who hails from Tinryland just a few miles away.

It transpired that Eddie’s Mum Breda has donated the couch on which sat our three volunteers waiting to be interviewed. It was a rare coincidence as Eddie had spent many a night sitting on that same couch!!

Breda Wray, Kathleen Percy and Marion Doyle gave a brief account of what life was like as a volunteer at Siopa Glas.   Kathleen Abbey gave an account of what it meant to have on the doorstep a facility of its type. Seosamh Watson told Claire what he thought of Siopa Glas.   It was all just magic.

The shop buzzed and a cuppa from the vintage tea sets was enjoyed by all.

Míle bhuíchios do gach éinne a bhí pairteach ar an ocáid speicéalta seo.

Ps This TV Crew had already visited the school a week ago and filmed the
School Children planting in the Organic School Garden and working in the School Pollytunell   The 6th class business project also featured as did the KHA School Choir.

We look forward to 8pm on Wed 15th April – Irish TV Channel 191


 Some pictures by Máire G.


Hello Michael,

My Name is Richard Chad Nolan(d).  My Forefather came to America in about 1685 from Ballon.  His name was Pierce Nolan(d).  I will be visiting Ballon on May 6th. and would love to talk to someone who is familiar with the local History.  If you can help me I would appreciate it.

Thank you,

Chad Noland  – Email  Chad Noland <>



Just a few weeks ago Bus Eireann announced that it was to discontinue its Route 5 which connects Dublin and Waterford via Tullow and Bunclody. Now following the intervention of Pat Deering TD and other interested parties these local towns are to remain connected through the reconfiguration of Route 132. Not only that but Ballon Village will become a new stop on the route having previously been omitted on Route 5 which passed by The Bang-Ups and Closh Cross just a mile on the eastern side of the village. It will make easy access to Dublin City centre for those who preferred not to drive in the capital.


Easter Services in the Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Ballon are: Holy Thursday, 7.30pm; Good Friday, 3pm; Holy Saturday, 7.30pm and Easter Sunday, 11am. All Masses and Services from St Peter and Paul’s Church, Ballon can be heard on 107.6 FM.

Services in St. Patrick’s Church, Rathoe are: Holy Thursday, 7.30pm; Good Friday, 3pm; Holy Saturday, 7.30pm and Easter Sunday 9.30am.

A Holy Week Service will be held in Aghade Church on Wednesday at 8pm with a Holy Communion Service in Ardoyne on Good Friday at 8pm. On Easter morning Holy Communion in Aghade at 9.30am.

DAFFODIL DAY: Coffee day at the home of the late Rita Nolan in Ballon Village on Wednesday 25th March 2015, 9am until late. All monies raised will go to the Irish Cancer Society and Carlow/Kilkenny Homecare Team. Donations of cakes/daffodils gratefully accepted.
Please contact Valerie on 087 918 0310

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 Valerie with supporters

This year it spread to the pavements


Local Nolans

I am still maintaining my “” website in support of the worldwide Nolan diaspora and the Nolan Clan family organization which sprang up in 1995 involving several Nolan locals from the Ballon area including Billy Nolan at the hardware store.

I am also still editor for the Nolan Clan Newsletter which comes out every year just in time for St. Patrick’s day which is available at this link.

I would be grateful if you could,  via the BallonVillage website, make local area people, especially Nolans, aware of the newsletter’s availability online.

With best regards,
Roger Nowlan


Subject: Genealogy service at Carlow Library

Carlow County Library Service are delighted to welcome Bernie Walsh, genealogist who will be based in Library Headquarters every Monday and Tuesday from 9:30am  – 1pm,  2pm-5:30pm. In partnership with the Irish Family History Foundation who are an all Ireland network of local genealogy centres, the genealogist will be available to  guide, assist and facilitate the public with their Carlow  genealogy queries both in person, online and by phone.

The records of the Roman Catholic parishes of Co. Carlow have also been added to the database . This is a subscription based service . Those wishing to trace their Irish ancestry can now access this central website dedicated to providing access to all the available Irish genealogical records on the island of Ireland.

Bernie’s email address is and phone number (059) 9129709


Hello Michael
A general inquiry I think.  I have just found out that my great, great grandmother Ellen Lawlor came from Carlow, her parents for Michael Lawlor and Esther Nolan, they were married in Castledermot but lived at Ballon Hill.

Are there any Nolan’s or Lawlors still in Ballon?    I am thinking of moving the Ireland when I retire, to the Republic but would like to visit before that, in particular, the home of my ancestors.

Very kind regards and I hope the weather is treating you kindly in Ireland.

Thank you
Carole  email


Hi Carol. There are no shortages of Nolans or Lalors in the community.  I’ve posted your request on the web site and included your email address. Should you get any info please let me know.



Ballon ICA guild summer outing

At Clashganny, near Borris



Today, in the pleasant grounds of Ballykealey Manor Hotel the Irish Great Dane Club held their annual judging day. Dog owners from all over Ireland including the north gather to compete for the many prizes. But, its not just about looks its also about temperament, obedience, health, breed and gender.




Kathleen, Sinead, Cian, Kyle, Ryan and Tadgh Abbey. 

The Abbey’s on Ballon Hill enjoying the summer sunshine. This area is out of the way but well worth a visit for the upkeep of the gardens and the green. Keep up the good work. Picture by Máire George.



Re-election of John Murphy

The re-election john-murphy-fine-gael-electedof John Murphy at the recent County Council election ensures that the Ballon-Rathoe area will continue to enjoy the services of a local public representative. Now a Councillor for the new Bagenalstown Municipal District, John is delighted to be in a position to represent the entire Ballon-Rathoe area.

John polled 564 first preference votes and, benefiting from transfers, reached a total of 827 on the 12th count when he was declared elected. Following the announcement – which came sometime after 4 am on the morning of Sunday May 25 – John was congratulated by family, friends and members of Ballon Fine Gael branch who had been observing the count since the boxes were opened on Saturday morning.

In what was a spectacular result for the party, John Murphy was one of four Fine Gael Councillors elected for the Bagenalstown area. The other four seats were divided evenly between Labour, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and an independent candidate.

Chess Win

Ballon/Rathoe chess team representing Co. Carlow defeated Dicksboro, Co. Kilkenny in the U 16 chess championship.. The games were played on the 24th May 2014 is St. Canices school, Kilkenny and the Carlow team won by 3 points to 2. The players were Sarah Bermingham (Capt), Anna Tracy, John Cummins, John Kinsella and Sean Tracey. Subs. were Marie O’Neill and Lorcan Doyle.

The opponents in the next round, Wexford, have withdrawn and allow Carlow to qualify for the semi-final to be played in Longford on Sunday 24th June.


Mick Lacey, the head barman at Ballykealey Manor Hotel, took these pictures at the dog show there yesterday.


Greetings and best wishes for a Happy St. Patrick’s Day from  the Nolan Clan,

As of this year the Nolan Clan family organization (registered with the CLANNs organization of Ireland in 1996) is making available, free of charge, the electronic version of its newsletter to anyone requesting a copy.

You are also invited to view the worldwide website .
Please note, however, that this website, a personal and not-for-profit effort, is due for an update and major revisions to add new functionality (blog, removal of dead links, etc.) in the coming months.

With kind regards and again best wishes for St. Patrick’s day.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit!

Roger Nowlan,
Nolan Clan Newsletter Editor

TheNolan Clan Newsletter


12/3/14 Fighting Cocks Awards Night




Joe Donohoe with Hector and players during filming for Hector’s show 24th March at Semple Stadium, Co. Tipp.


Hector gets a bat from Joe and they are looking for the ‘sweet spot’



A team of work colleagues and some friends, competing under the banner of Nolan Tyres, Ballon won the annual Bunclody AFC five-a-side indoor soccer tournament on Monday night 24 February. Using a panel of nine they played fourteen league games to emerge to the knock-out stages and having come through their semi-final successfully defeated The Halfway-House, Bunclody by 14 goals to 10 in a thrilling decider. The trophy was presented to Keith Butler, captain of the successful side. It is the second year in a row that the trophy has come to Ballon – Burrin Celtic taking the  honours in 2013.


Soccer Tournament Winners:

Back (l-r) Szczepan Cieciwa, Eoin Carton, Seamus Hegarty, Adam Drozdz and Mariusz Krol.
Front (l-r) Dawid Jawor, Keith Butler, Pawel Furtek and Pat Doyle.



Green Dog Walkers

Attached is a pledge leaflet on a new initiative to tackle dog fouling. The Green Dog Walkers campaign encourages dog owners to sign up to a pledge whereby, they agree to comply with certain criteria such as the wearing of a green armband/bag dispenser when walking their dog, cleaning up after their dog, be happy to be approached to ‘lend’ a dog waste bag to those without and be a friendly reminder to other dog walkers to clean up after their dogs.

 Green Dog Walkers Carlow County Council pledge leaflet

To find out more please contact Fionnghuala Ryan, Environmental Awareness Officer, Tel: 059 9136240 or email:


Yesterday storm Darwin created havoc across the country and locally many trees succumbed to the rule of gravity.

Most sad though were the trees lining the entrance to Ballykealey Manor Hotel. Some say they could be up to 400 years old.






A web site to entertain with some remarkable pictures and stories

8/2/14 History isn’t  boring – maybe a bit crude though.


*The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.
Here are some facts about the 1500s:*

*They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery…….if you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”* *But worse than that were the really poor  folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot………..they “didnt have a pot to piss in” and were the lowest
of the low.*

*Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell . .. . brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.*

* Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”*

* Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.. Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”*

* There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the
top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.*

* The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.*

*(Getting quite an education, aren’t you?)*
*In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.*

*Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.” They would cut off
a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.*

*Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or
so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.*

* Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.*

* Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They
were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.*

* England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer…*

* And that’s the truth…Now, whoever said History was boring ! ! !*



Heather Zerafa, Desmond Byrne and Michael McAssey travelled up to the National Lottery HQ today to collect a cheque for €25,000 on behalf of the Ballon Group syndicate, a group of 15 friends who play Lotto together. The happy group won their prize in the Lotto draw on Saturday 25 January 2014! Enjoy it guys!




Local man Joe Donoghue with officers of Connacht GAA council on 19/1/14.

Joe, as president of the Rounders, launched the Rounders Strategic Plan at the GAA School of Excellence in Ballyhaunis

Read full report – GAA Rounders 2014