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Baile an tSratha
Ballintra's main street
Ballintra's main street
Ballintra is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°34′30″N 8°07′24″W / 54.5749°N 8.1234°W / 54.5749; -8.1234Coordinates: 54°34′30″N 8°07′24″W / 54.5749°N 8.1234°W / 54.5749; -8.1234
CountyCounty Donegal
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceG917700

Ballintra (Irish: Baile an tSratha) is a village in the parish of Drumholm in the south of County Donegal, Ireland, just off the N15 between Donegal town and Ballyshannon. Ballintra lies on the northern bank of the Blackwater river. (The river is sometimes referred to as Ballintra River).[2] The river rises in the hills that lie inland from the town, and flows through a number of small lakes before spilling over a small waterfall in a gorge behind the village.[citation needed]

The Irish meaning of Ballintra Baile an tSratha, means town by the low-lying land along a river, the village is situated close to Rossnowlagh and Murvagh beaches.

The village is situated in a limestone area, and there are a number of quarries in the area.[3]


Built heritage[edit]

Evidence of prehistoric settlement in the area include a number of ringforts (for example in nearby Moneymore townland) and a megalithic wedge tomb (in Ballymagrorty townland).[4]

Much of the village itself was laid-out in the late 18th and early 19th century, with the town's bridges dating from the 1780s and 1790s,[5][6] and Ballintra's Anglican, Catholic and Methodist churches dating to 1795, 1845 and 1896 respectively.[7][8][9]

Irish language decline[edit]

The 1911 census records only a handful of people in Ballintra who were Irish speakers. In his paper "Irish Speaking in the Pre-famine Period", Dr. Garret Fitzgerald remarks that "near Ballintra the language seems to have disappeared by the time of the Famine. Around Ballyshannon it also seems to have been almost extinct".[10] As late as 1960, up to a few dozen native Irish speakers remained in Tamhnach a' Mhullaigh (known in English as Townawilly or Tawnawully). The Irish scholar and campaigner Máirtín Ó Cadhain visited the area in 1957 to record folklore stores in Irish from a family in the area.[citation needed]


The 2016 census indicates that approximately 35% of homes in Ballintra were built in the early 20th century or prior, with a further peak in building (20% of homes) built in the 1970s.[1] The latter includes a number of social housing units built by Donegal County Council in the 1970s.[citation needed] Other developments include a bypass road built in the early 1980s.[citation needed]

In the 20 years between the 1996 and the 2016 census, the population of the village decreased by 12%, from 217 to 191 residents.[1][11]


Ballintra Roman Catholic church

Ballintra has one public house, a grocery store, a takeaway, a hairdresser, two primary schools (St. Ernan's NS and The Robertson NS),[12] and three churches (Methodist, Church of Ireland, and Roman Catholic).[9][7][8]


The Ballintra Races is an annual horse race run on a field close to the nearby Murvagh beach.[13] Proceeds from the event go to support amenities in the area.[14]

The local Gaelic Athletic Association club is called Naomh Bríd (a club which also takes players from Laghey).[15] The local association football (soccer) club is called Copany Rovers (and also represents Laghey).[citation needed]


Ballintra railway station opened on 21 September 1905, but finally closed on 1 January 1960.[16] The station was on the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee network.

By road, Ballintra lies just off the N16 national primary route from Lifford to Sligo.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Ballintra". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. April 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Abhainn Bhaile an tSratha / Ballintra River". Irish Placenames Commission. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Report on Ballintra cSAC (candidate Special Area of Conservation)" (PDF). National Parks and Wildlife Service. 2006. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Recorded Monuments Protected under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act - County Donegal" (PDF). National Monuments Service. 1996. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Ballintra Bridge, Ballintra, County Donegal". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Bridge, Ballintra, County Donegal". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Ballintra Church of Ireland, Ballintra, County Donegal". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  8. ^ a b "St. Bridget's Catholic Church, Ballintra, County Donegal". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Ballintra Methodist Church, Main Street, Ballintra, County Donegal". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  10. ^ Fitzgerald, Garret (2003). "Irish-Speaking in the Pre-Famine Period: A Study Based on the 1911 Census Data for People Born before 1851 and Still Alive in 1911". Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature. 103C (5): 191–283. doi:10.3318/PRIC.2003.103.1.191. JSTOR 25506198.
  11. ^ "Ballintra (Ireland) Census Town". Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Robertson National School website". Robertson NS. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Fantastic day of racing on the cards at the Ballintra Races". Donegal Democrat. 6 August 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  14. ^ "Ballintra / Laghey Notes". Donegal Democrat. 23 July 2009. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Naomh Bríd Club Location". Naomh Bríd GAA Club. Archived from the original on 16 September 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  16. ^ "Ballintra station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2007.
  17. ^ "St Asicus". Elphin Diocese. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Obituary: The Rev Leonard Boyle". The Independent. 2 November 1999. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Gallagher, Matt". Hogan Stand. 17 July 1992. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Mr Thomas Howard Morrow (1888-1971)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Donegal Players Profile". The Kerryman. Independent News & Media. 17 September 2014 – via David Walsh [,] The Ballintra native, who was once on Luton Town's books, first appeared for Donegal as a 25-year-old