Clare County Library
Clare Places: Towns & Villages
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Historical Background

County Clare: A History and Topography 1837 by Samuel Lewis
Parliamentary Gazeteer of Ireland 1845
Guy's Directory 1893
ITA Survey 1942/3

Ballynacally is generally translated as Baile na Cailleadh, the nun's land, because it belonged to the nuns of Killone Convent. The area has been inhabited since the earliest times and there are quite a few forts in the immediate vicinity. Those at Lisduff and Lisheen are the most prominent of the remaining ones but others can be found on the elevated ground overlooking the Fergus Estuary. In 1837 there was a small quay of rude construction here from which corn, butter, pork and other agricultural products were sent to Limerick in boats of 10 or 12 tons burden. Limestone and sea-manure were also landed in Ballynacally for the supply of the neighbourhood. In those days it had a daily penny post to Ennis and Kilrush, as well as a public dispensary. Faction fights were one of the principal sports during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Tradition tells of a man named O'Dell who was killed in a faction fight and buried in Kilchrist. Professor Thomas Rice Henn in his memoirs The Five Arches described Ballynacally as "a straggling village, with its one street and five public houses, crossing a bridge over a lesser stream." He also mentioned the school on the village green, later converted into a community centre, and the R.I.C. barracks, which was destroyed during the Troubles of the 1920's.