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Ballytore - Kildare - Main St

circa 1910

Ballytore is a village near Athy. Athy – (Baile Átha Í in Irish) is a market town situated at the convergence of the River Barrow and the Grand Canal in County Kildare, Ireland, 72 kilometers southwest of Dublin. The town is named after a second century AD chieftain Ae who was killed on the river crossing thus giving the town its name meaning 'the town by Ae's ford'.

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Photo Details

  • County: Kildare
  • Town: Ballytore (near Athy)
  • Scene: Main St
  • Date: 1910 (estimate)
  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper
  • Also available mounted & framed, ask for details
  • Colour images can be printed in black & white if preferred.
  • Ballytore is a village near Athy.

Athy

Athy – (Baile Átha Í in Irish) is a market town situated at the convergence of the River Barrow and the Grand Canal in County Kildare, Ireland, 72 kilometers southwest of Dublin.

The town is named after a second century AD chieftain Ae who was killed on the river crossing thus giving the town its name meaning 'the town by Ae's ford'.

History

The town developed from a 12th century Anglo-Norman settlement to an important military outpost on the border of the Pale. The first town charter dates from the 16th century and the town hall was constructed in the early 18th century. The completion of the Grand Canal in 1791 linking here with the River Barrow and arrival of the railway in 1846 illustrates the importance of the town as a commercial centre.

Of the many church ruins in Athy, St. Michael's is perhaps the most ancient. It was built in the fourteenth century. Some of the vestry and sidewalls have disappeared, but there is still some of the original church remaining. The dedication to St. Michael is derived from the St. Michael family who were lords of Athy and it is quite probable that it was this family who were the founders of the church.

The 15th century White Castle, long a private residence, and is said to be opening soon for public visits under its new owner.

Athy hosted the Gordon Bennet Cup race in 1903. This has also lead to the popular but unproven belief that it was the origin of British Racing Green colour for racecars.

Transport

Athy is connected to the Irish rail network via the Dublin–Waterford main line. There is a disused siding to the Tegral Slate factory. This is all that is left of the former branch to Wolfhill colliery. The line was built by the United Kingdom Government in 1918 due to wartime shortage of coal in Ireland. The concrete bridge over the River Barrow on this branch is one of the earliest concrete railway under bridges in Ireland.

Communications

Despite being a booming town, Athy has few local media outlets to speak of, and local news can only be found in county-wide publications and radio stations. However, serious attempts are under way to establish a network of local programme makers and podcasters at http://AthyRadio.com

People

  • John Minihan who was Samuel Beckett's official photographer, and was originally from Athy, took a series of world famous photographs of the town. Beginning in the early sixties this body of work showed the changes in the town from that time.
  • Robert Redmond who is considered by many to be the great local photographer. Famed for his international portraits for Hello! and OK! magazines, Robert has become a prolific writer. His collections of photographs are published by Nonsuch Publishing.
  • Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh famously referred to Athy in his poem 'Lines written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin', as a 'far-flung town'. The town is also recalled in the well-known folk songs 'Johnny I Hardly Knew', 'Lannigans Ball' and 'We're on the Road to Sweet Athy'. Among Athy's many famous inhabitants are Liam O'Flynn of Planxty, the award winning writer John MacKenna, the singer Jack L, You're A Star finalists The Sullivan Brothers and legendary musician Robbie Robinson .
  • World Champions Frances Dalton and Stephen Roche who both won gold medals for Ireland in gymnastics and basketball also hail from Athy.
  • Newstalk 106 host Ger Gilroy is an Athy native.

Amenities

Places to stay include the many B&Bs around the town, Forest Farm, Ballindrum House and Kanes located in the town centre are but three of those available.

Rehabilitation

Athy also has Cuan Mhuire one of the biggest alcohol, drug and gambling recovery centres in the country near the town. This Charity was started here in 1965 by Sr Consilio who came to join the Sisters of Mercy in 1959. The Cuan Mhuire charity has since spread from Athy to elsewhere in Ireland.

Athy Heritage Centre

Athy contains the only permanent exhibition on Ernest Shackleton, who was born not far from Athy in Kilkea House. The exhibit is housed in the Athy Heritage Centre, which has a collection of artifacts from Athy's past as well as some interesting articles from Shackleton's expeditions. Among the most impressive is a scale model of the Endurance. Each year the Center arranges and hosts the Shackleton Autumn School, with speakers from around the world to speak on different aspects of Antarctica and Shackleton's life in particular.

Sport

  • Athy GAA, celebrating a long and proud tradition
  • Athy Golf Club
  • Athy Rugby Club, founded in 1880 and five time winner of the Provincial Towns Cup

Athy also has coarse fishing on the Grand Canal and the River Barrow.