History

Main Street Early 1960's

The village had a population of 772 in 1841. The 2006 figure was 304.

The date of Ballyporeen's birth as a nucleated settlement is unknown, it does not appear in "Penders Census" or the Hearth Money Rolls dating from the mid-1600s but a small earlier settlement may have grown up around the castle at the Newcastle townland just north of the current village (again the castle is of unknown date but likely the 15th or 16th century).The fording point of the River Duag may have also favoured the site with freshwater wells in the vicinity also making the location ideal for settlement.

Ballypooreen (sic) is mentioned in written records of the mid 18th century but at this point Carrigavisteal is the main settlement node in the parish and location of the Catholic church. Ballyporeen's subsequent growth may put down to a number of factors, In the 18th century the village was on the main coach road between Cork and Dublin, this would have led to passing trade and the provision of boarding houses and inns for weary travellers. There was also a mill at lower Main Street, this was known as Kingston's Mills and was said to be a dye works (although there may have been an earlier dye mill in the area), this would have provided employment opportunities, it was operational up until at least 1809.

The biggest single factor for the expansion of the village , was the involvement of the King family (earls of Kingston), the main landlord in the area whose seat was Mitchelstown Castle, they owned the market rights on the estate and by 1810 (at the latest), large open air markets were held in the village three times a year. The fact the mill also bore their name indicates they were also probably influential in its creation.
Robert the 2nd Earl is most likely responsible for the village's planned street design, he and his wife initiated an ambitious building programme across the estate in the late 1700's. Rents were nominal in the village to attract shopkeepers and tradespeople. The first edition Ordnance Survey Map (circa 1840) show the layout of the village pretty much as it is today encompassing an extremely wide, straight main street, except the now demolished Anglican church sat at a focal point at the top of it.

In 1833, the Mitchelstown Caves were discovered by a man called Condon, who was quarrying some stones on a small farm, he noticed small pieces of rock fall through a fissure and dissapear, upon immediate futher investigation the magnificent caverns became apparent.

The Great Famine had devastating effects in the area, although some government sponsored relief works (set up to provide employment ) were carried out such as the building of Araglin Bridge and the 'Line Road" between Ballyporeen and Skeheenarinky, the Westminster government's response was wholly inadequate and hundreds either suffered from malnutrition, were forced to commit themselves to the Workhouse in Clogheen, emigrated or worse of all, died from starvation. The parish's population (excluding Skeheenarinky) fell from 4362 in 1841 to 2944 in 1851. A culture of emigration continued well into the 20th Century.

After the Famine, the Kingstons were forced to sell off vast chunks of their estate including, Ballyporeen due to debts, the village itself became the property of a Henry O'Brien while most of the townlands were purchased by "The Irish Land Company", Galtee Lodge (the Kingston's mountainside hunting lodge) became the new "Big House" of the wider estate. The 1870s would see huge landlord-tenant animosity when a rent review has carried out by its then new sole absentee owner Nathaniel Buckley (A millionaire British cotton mill owner who had been one of the directors of the company), the rent increases were so contentious that many could not or resisted to pay but they were faced with the real threat of eviction. Faced with such an action, one Cooladerry townland tenant; John Ryan carried out two unsuccessfull assassination attempts on Buckley's estate manager; Patten S. Bridge. The later attempt instead resulted in the unintentional death of Bridge's Coach driver ; John Hyland.
Ryan's Uncle; Thomas Crowe was captured at the scene and was later hung for being an assailant in the act, while Ryan's fugitive status meant he fled the country .
When the estate passed to Nathaniel's brother Abel in the 1890s, relations greatly improved with the tenants and he voluntarily sold out to them under the newly introduced Land Acts.

The revolutionary period (1916-1922), saw a groundswell of support for complete independence from the United Kingdom. Many local men joined the Volunteers and took part in armed rebellion, they made up "F" Company of the 6th Battalion; 3rd Tipperary Brigade and numbered approximately 43 men (due to age and training only a fraction of these would have been militarily active). After an attack on the local R.I.C Barracks, a number of buildings around The Square were destroyed. Farrell's Public House and Kearney's Drapery (Lyons') were burnt down as an unofficial reprisal by Crown Forces. The Barrack itself (Community Hall) and the adjoining Griffith's Pub are also seen to be gutted in photos from the 1920s, although it is believed these were a result of actions during the Civil War period.

Ballyporeen native Mick Meaney spent 61 days buried underground and entered the record books for the feat in 1968. The stunt carried out in London garnered world wide media coverage.

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan made a much publicised visit to the village. His Great Grand Father Michael Regan (sic) had emigrated from County Tipperary in the early 1850's. No direct documents linked him to Ballyporeen but a search of county wide church records that were taken and still existed made Michael Regan of the Doolis townland the best fit. One professional U.S. based genealogist points out the Ballyporeen connection may not be conclusive and more research needs to be undertaken however the professional genealogy company employed at the time believe the findings to be almost certainty.

Digital representation as it would appear today of St Mattew's Church of Ireland demolished circa 1911

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