Béal Átha Ragad
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Ballyragget (Irish: Béal Átha Ragad meaning Mouth of Ragget's Ford) is a small town in County Kilkenny in Ireland. It is situated along the river Nore in the north of the county. It is located in the province of Leinster in the south-east of the island of Ireland. Ballyragget situated on the N77 18 km (11 mi) north of Kilkenny and has a population of 1,451 people. The name 'Ragget' is Anglo-Norman in origin, and denotes a once-prominent Norman landowner Richard le Ragget who held these lands in the early part of the 13th century.
Ballyragget is a Local Electoral Area of County Kilkenny, run by Mayor Declan Purcell, and includes the electoral divisions of Attanagh, Balleen, Ballyconra, Ballyragget, Baunmore, Castlecomer, Clogh, Clogharinka, Clomantagh, Coolcraheen, Freshford, Galmoy, Glashare, Johnstown, Kilkieran, Kilmacar, Lisdowney, Moneenroe, Mothell, Muckalee, Odagh, Rathbeagh, Rathcoole, Rathealy, Tiscoffin, Tubbridbrittain and Urlingford.
Older names of the settlement include 'Donoughmore' (Irish: Domhnach Mór 'Large Church') and an even more ancient 'Tullabarry' (Irish: Tualach Bare) - the na  me of a Celtic or possibly pre-Celtic tribe which held their seat in the vicinity. There is some debate as to the meaning of Donoughmore. The very first Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society "Old Kilkenny Review, Number 1 (1946–1947). January 1948" has an article about Ballyragget and its environs and states the belief that Domhnach Mór means Big Sunday and relates to the fact that thousands of people congregated at the now ruined church in Donoughmore for its opening on a Sunday and the name stuck.
The River Nore flows beside the town, which nestles in a wide alluvial valley between the Castlecomer Plateau and several hills to the west, including 'Knockmannon' and 'The Ballock'. The Nore passes by one of the most significant ancient sites in North Kilkenny 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Ballyragget at Rathbeagh. The statistical Ballyragget Geographical Area is recorded by the CSO as containing 26.67 square kilometres (10.30 sq mi).
The town itself is dominated by a large medieval keep, fallen into disrepair, and its adjoining walls. This tower dates roughly from the time of Queen Elizabeth I. A large Catholic Church also sits on a rise overlooking the town's central square.
Statistics available from the Central Statistics Office of Ireland show that Ballyragget's population had reached 1,451 persons in the 2006 census. The figures show that there was a 14.1% increase in population from 2002 to 2006. The Ballyragget Electoral Area contained 15,417 people in 2006. These figures correspond to a section of North Kilkenny, including Castlecomer, Freshford and Urlingford.
Agriculture and the Agri-Food industry are the largest employers, with the large Glanbia factory across the river dominating the town's industry for the past forty years. The plant at Ballyragget is the largest multi-purpose integrated dairy plant in Europe, and Glanbia plc can trace its roots to the Avonmore co-operative founded in Ballyragget in the 1960s.
Ballyragget is the birthplace of Mother Teresa Lalor of the Georgetown Nuns of the Visitation.
Mark Bannon, a famous explorer was raised in the town in the fashionable castle gardens estate.
Local politics is dominated by Fine Gael and the Labour Party, with four of the five local authority seats having gone to those parties in both the 2004 and 2009 local elections. Fianna Fáil has in the recent past maintained strong historical support in the region, and local politics is best described as conforming to the 'Civil War' cleavage common to many other rural towns in Ireland.
At national level, Ballyragget, as part of the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency, is represented by five Teachtaí Dála in Dáil Éireann. The current representatives, who were elected on the 25 February 2011 for a five year term, are:
- Ann Phelan (Labour Party)
- John McGuinness (Fianna Fáil)
- John Paul Phelan (Fine Gael)
- Phil Hogan (Fine Gael)
- Pat Deering (Fine Gael)
The town in recent years seen a significant expansion as a large number of new homes, along with shops and other services, have been constructed in its environs.
- Census 2006
- Act of the Oireachtas: County of Kilkenny Local Electoral Areas Order 2008
- "Eyes on watchdog". Irish Independent. 16 August 2008.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ballyragget.|