Buiríos Ó Luigheach
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Borrisoleigh (Irish: Buiríos Ó Luigheach, meaning "O'Lea's Borough") is a village/small town in County Tipperary, Republic of Ireland. According to the 2011 census, the village has a population of 708, an increase of 82 people on the 2006 census. In recent years the population has exceeded 1,000 and historically the population has been around 8,000. It is in the ecclesiastical parish of Borrisoleigh and Ileigh in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly.
Location and access
The town is part of the civil parish of Glenkeen in the historic barony of Kilnamanagh Upper. It is situated on the R498 Nenagh-Thurles road. To the east, the R501 goes to Templemore with fine views of the Devil's Bit mountain on the left hand side near Drom and Barnane.
Borrisoleigh derives its name from the ancient territory of Uí Luighdheach in which it was situated. An annual cattle fair was held here every 27 November until the 1960s.
The first recorded settlement here was an abbey established by St. Cualan at Glean Caoin, anglicised as "Glankeen Abbey." Kilcuilan (St. Cualan's Church) was dedicated to him at a nearby holy well. A bell attributed to this saint, known as the "Bearnan Culan" or "Glankeen Bell" is now housed at the British Museum in London. A replica may be seen in the sanctuary of the parish church in Borrisoleigh.
After the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century, the O'Dwyer and DeBurgo clans established a fortress on the River Camoge as a defence against the native settlement at Ileigh. Its ruins may still be seen as you leave Borrisoleigh on the Templemore Road.
In October 1846, absentee landlord Lord Portarlington threw a banquet at the Temperance Hall in Borrisoleigh while the surrounding parish was suffering through the Potato Famine. He left a meager one hundred pound donation to the local Poor Relief Committee when he returned to England.
The parish priest Michael Slattery was appointed as Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly in 1833. Slattery was succeeded by Father William Morris, who led 118 local men in signing the Cormack Petition in 1858. This document provides a vital snapshot of the town's population, including its largest families (in this order): Ryan, Bourke, Kennedy, Dwyer, Maher, Gleeson, Harrington, and Patterson. It also shows the top 10 male given names were: John, James, Patrick, William, Michael, Daniel, Martin, Philip, Thomas, Edmond (tie), and Jeremiah (tie).
Borrisoleigh has produced two well-known Catholic bishops: Joseph Shanahan (1871–1943) and Thomas Quinlan (1896–1970).
Church of Ireland
In 1785, a parish church for the Church of Ireland parish of Glenkeen was built in Borrisoleigh, on the site where St. Brigid's Cemetery is today. The glebe-house, which had a glebe of 11 acres (4.5 ha), was in the townland of Glenkeen. When the parish church was closed, the glebe house was sold in 1870.
- John Ryan, recipient of the Victoria Cross
- John H. Gleason, U.S. Civil War Hero and officer in Meagher's Brigade
Among its attractions are some traditional shop fronts, and a 15th-century tower house. An inscribed slab inserted into the gable of one of a pair of red sandstone houses are engraved the names Richard Burke and Ellis Hurley, 1643. Walter Doolin was the architect of the church in the main street. The window and door surrounds were quarried at Drombane, 12 miles (19 km) away. It is similar to the stone used in Cormac's Chapel, Cashel. Borrisoleigh has a number of small shops and a small supermarket, petrol stations, pubs, a post office, hair salons, schools, a church, a community hall and GAA sporting facilities.
The best known sporting club in the area is Borris-Ileigh GAA. The club's name is distinctive and is not to be confused with the place name Borrisoleigh. Famous All-Ireland champion hurlers with the club were Liam Devaney, Paddy Kenny, Seán Kenny and Jimmy Finn whose years of glory were in the period 1949–1965.Noel O'Dwyer was an all Ireland medal winner in 1971. In 1987, Richard Stakelum captained Tipperary to their first Munster championship in 17 years. Also in that era, brothers Bobby and Aidan Ryan were victorious in the 1989 and 1991 All-Ireland Championships, Bobby being the victorious captain in 1989. In 2001, Philip Maher was full back on the Tipperary Team that won the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship. 2010 saw two further all Ireland medal winners Paddy Stapleton and Brendan Maher. The Borris-Ileigh club were All Ireland senior club champions in 1988.
Putting the barony in its historico-geographical context.
- Placenames Database of Ireland – town of Borrisoleigh.
- CSO Census 2011 "CD121: Population by Sex, Alphabetical List of Towns, CensusYear and Statistic".
- Official website of the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly – parish of Borrisoleigh & Ileigh.
- Faces and Places