Galbally, County Limerick
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
View looking south from the village square
|Elevation||112 m (367 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference||R798278|
Galbally (Irish: An Gallbhaile, meaning "town of the stranger or the foreigner") is a village in southeast County Limerick, Ireland, on the border with County Tipperary. It is located at the foot of the Galtee Mountains and at the western approach to the Glen of Aherlow. The Aherlow River, flowing down from the Galtee mountains, runs by the village, to meet the Suir at Kilmoyler a short distance north of Cahir. Galbally is in quite a picturesque location, in a valley overlooked by the Galtee Mountains.
Galbally is part of the Catholic ecclesiastical parish of Galbally & Lisvernane which straddles the Limerick-Tipperary border. Its sister village is Lisvernane in the Glen of Aherlow in County Tipperary. Although the Gaelic Athletic Association usually has one club in each parish, there are two in this parish (somewhat of a rarity, though not unheard of), Galbally, on the Limerick side, and Aherlow, across the border in Tipperary. While each club plays hurling to some extent, their forte is gaelic football and both clubs have won their respective county senior football championships, Aherlow winning the Tipperary title for the first time in 2006. Galbally were first-time winners of the Limerick Senior Football Championship in 1994 and repeated the feat in 1997.
In 1994, Galbally was selected as the prettiest town in Ireland in the annual Irish Tidy Towns Competition and has won the Limerick competition nine times.
A well known folk song, "The Galbally Farmer", (with a tune also known as "Thank God we're surrounded by water"), tells of the trials suffered by a hired labourer working for the miserly farmer of the title, Darby O'Leary.
Places of interest
The graveyard contains the ruins of a thirteenth-century church, on the end wall of which there are two effigies of odd human figures, one which looks like a couple, the other a single person. The graveyard bears witness to the reason for name of the village, with many of the oldest graves bearing what seem more like English names than native Irish, names including; Sampson, Blackburn, Richardson and Dawson.
It is worth noting that the nearby village of Ballylanders is in fact Baile an Londraigh, or "town of the Londoner", again highlighting, toponymically at least, the immigration of English settlers into the area, while the precise obverse of this toponymic heritage is the case of Anglesborough, a tiny village 6 miles (9.7 km) from Galbally, nestled right up against the foot of the mountains, and which "earned" its present name as a perverse retribution from the English surveyors for the fact that it was one of the last outposts of spoken Irish in the area. That the old Irish names of two villages, now transcribed into an odd English, should bear testimony to immigration and the new English name of a third be testament to a cultural resistance, whether willed or not, is just another metaphor of the split culture that historically occurred in Ireland.
Just outside the village is an historic abbey, the Moor Abbey. It was a Franciscan friary, founded in the thirteenth century by Donach Cairbreach Ua'Briain, but only the church survives, built in 1471. The site had a tumultuous history, matching the ebbs and flows of Irish politics and religious freedoms, and was inhabited until 1748, though with periods of desertion. Present in the church is the remains of a tomb, which is perhaps that of the founder.
On a nearby hill stands "Darby's Bed" a passage tomb, which is quite rare in the south of Ireland. It is cited in Irish legend as one of the places where Diarmuid and Grainne spent a night during their flight from the angry Fionn MacCumhaill.
Bianconi's famous carriages used to drive through the village, and the stables they used still stand on the north side of the village square.
The centre of the square is the site of a statue of a soldier, erected in memory of named local volunteers who lost their lives during the War of Independence in 1921. This area of East Limerick and South Tipperary was indeed the site of many acts of resistance during the period.
The south side of the square was the site of a poor house during famine times.
The Barons Massy of Duntryleague had their original seat in the area and their Charnel house (burial place) is still extant. The Massy's, an English family of Norman descent, received land in county Limerick in the Cromwellian plantation, and settled in Duntryleague, in the parish of Galbally. The family played a prominent role in the Anglo-Irish ascendancy class up to the 20th century. Their Summer house, Massy Lodge, stands near the neighbouring village of Anglesborough.
Also located at Duntryleague are the remains of a Protestant church tower and a graveyard. A considerable number of the graves are occupied by the Bennett family, who had owned the Gleneffy House Estate (also known as Castle Creagh) from the 1680s until it was sold by William H Massy Bennett in 1920. Thomas Westropp Bennett, second Cathoirleach of Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate or second house of parliament) was a relative of this Bennett family. In 1826 the Rev P Fitzgerald referred to Castle Creagh as "a very handsome seat of the Bennet family, now in ruins" in his History of Limerick. The current Gleneffy House was built for George Latham Bennett by the architect Charles Frederick Anderson in the 1850s, it stands on the site of the older castle, mentioned by the Rev Fitzgerald, and is located on the hillside of the Glen of Aherlow to the north of Galbally. It is now a private residence.
Facilities and amenities
Galbally hosts amenities and services for most eventualities: from pubs to carpenters, to undertakers, shops, a chipper, B&Bs, a village museum/gallery, and an equestrian centre. The village has excellent sporting facilities: pitches for most popular field sports, a community field, and one of the first "all weather" astro-turf pitches in the area.
- "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
FITZGERALD, Rev P. & MCGREGOR, J.J. The history, topography and antiquities of the county and city of Limerick. Dublin: 1826, republished Limerick: O'Brien Book Publications,1999: 385