Co. Laois

Ballyadams Castle


According to

A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland

by Samuel Lewis

BALLYADAMS, a parish, partly in the barony of STRABALLY, but chiefly in that of BALLYADAMS, QUEEN'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 31/2 miles (S. W.) from Athy; containing, with the parish of Baltintubber, 2165 inhabitants. This parish, which gives name to the barony within which it is chiefly included, and is also called Kilmakedy, is situated on the road from Carlow to Maryborough; and comprises 6811 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, of which about 30 are woodland, 260 bog, and the remainder good arable land. The state of agriculture is improving; limestone is quarried for building and burning; there are some quarries of good flag-stone, and coal is found in the parish.

Ballyadams Castle is the seat of Capt. Butler; Gracefield, of Mrs. Kavanagh; and Popefield, of Capt. Pope. To the north of the old castle is Southville, formerly a residence of the late Richard Grace, of Boley, Esq. The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Leighlin, with the rectory and vicarage of Ballintubber united from time immemorial; the patronage is disputed, and in the mean time the Bishop presents. The tithes of the united parishes amount to 553. 16. 11. The church of the union is at Ballintubber; the old parish church is a ruin situated on an eminence, and containing a monument with the recumbent effigies of Sir Robert Bowen, of Ballyadams Castle, and his lady, and one to the memory of the late Major-Gen. Sir Edward Butler.

There is neither glebe or glebe-house. In the R. C. divisions the parish is the head of a union or district which comprises also the parishes of Ballintubber, Tullowmoy, Kilclonbrook, Rathaspeck, and Tecolme, and contains three chapels, one of which is in this parish. There is a school of about 80 boys and 50 girls. A school at Ballintubber was founded towards the close of the last century by Bowen Southwell, Esq., who endowed it with 20 per annum; and there are three pay schools.

On a hill opposite to that on which are the remains of the church, are the ruins of the old castle of Ballyadams, which was besieged in 1641; they consist of embattled walls with projecting towers, and a lofty keep, and present a very interesting appearance. Near the castle are two very ancient wells sunk a few feet in the solid limestone rock, the water of which is supposed to have had medicinal properties imparted to it by St. Patrick. Cobler's Castle, bordering on the barony of Stradbally, was built on the summit of a lofty hill, to give employment to the neighbouring poor in a season of scarcity.

Source: Irish Midlands Ancestry

Ballyadams Castle

Ballyadams Castle 2014

Ballyadams Castle

Ballyadams Castle, Laois

The following diary entry was made by Austin Cooper in 1782: "At Ballyadams is a large Castle, the front consists of two large round towers, between which is an entrance and over it a wall is carried in a line with the exterior limits of these towers, so as to form a machicolation over the door. Adjoining these towers on each side are two large modern wings, one of which is kept in repair as a lodge by Mr Butler, the present proprietor, the other never was finished. The inside of the castle exhibits a scene sufficient to excite compassion from every lover of ancient grandeur - the boarded floors all torn up, the plastered wall and ceilings threatening the observer with destruction and to complete this grand scene of desolation, the great state room still remains hung with elegant tapestrys now left to rot away."


Image source: National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

Ballyadams House

Detached five-bay single-storey house with dormer attic, c.1865, possibly incorporating fabric of earlier building with advanced entrance bay and gable.

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The information contained in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in County Laois.
Michael Brennan July 2001. All Rights reserved

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