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Béal Átha Beithe
Motto: Bheith i Lár Báire
"be at the centre"
Ballybay is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°12′00″N 6°50′00″W / 54.2°N 6.833333°W / 54.2; -6.833333Coordinates: 54°12′00″N 6°50′00″W / 54.2°N 6.833333°W / 54.2; -6.833333
Country Ireland
Province Ulster
County County Monaghan
Elevation 61 m (200 ft)
 • Urban 1,461
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference H743188

Ballybay (Irish: Béal Átha Beithe, meaning "mouth of the ford of the birch") is a town in County Monaghan in Ireland, centered on the crossroads of the R183 and R162 regional roads. The name in English means "The Mouth of the Ford of the Birches".

Town layout[edit]

The town is the meeting point for roads going to Monaghan, Castleblayney, Carrickmacross and Clones. The town grew up from the convergence of the roads. The town is built beside a large lake, Lough Major (In Irish "Lough Mór") and the smaller Lough Minor. The Dromore River also runs through the south of the town, past Pearse Brother]s Football Grounds, and past the Riverdale Hotel.


The town grew up in the 18th century, gaining its prosperity from the linen industry founded by the Jackson family. The Town council (Ballybay Development Committee) was established around 1870. Later, on 1 January 1921, an Irish Republican Army ambush led by Stephen Wise killed one Royal Irish Constabulary man, one civilian and three Auxiliaries were wounded during the Irish War of Independence

People of note[edit]

  • Kevin 'Big Bad' Barry McSkeane born 15 April 1974. Ulster Straw-Weight Boxing Champion 1985.

John Cummins, B March 12, 1948. Successful racing car driver in America and after retiring is now Host of a motor racing radio show.

Buildings of note[edit]

  • Ballybay Market House is a four-bay two-storey building built in 1848.


Rail transport[edit]

Ballybay railway station opened on 17 July 1854, was closed to passenger traffic on 14 October 1957 and finally closed altogether on 1 January 1960.[1]

Coach/bus transport[edit]

Collins Coaches provide a daily service from the town to Dublin via Carrickmacross, Ardee and Slane.[2] Bus Éireann route 162 serves the town on schooldays linking Ballybay to Doohamlet, Castleblayney, Newbliss, Clones and Monaghan.[3]


Today the town welcomes a large number of tourists a large proportion of whom are bird watchers who frequent the town to make use of the newly renovated lake district built around the local Lough Major. The town is also a popular destination for fishermen who travel to the town to take part in various fishing competitions.


The town has a strong GAA presence. It is home to Ballybay Pearse Brothers GAA. The club's home ground is Pearse Park, located on the outskirts of the town. Since 1935, the club has won the Monaghan Senior Football Championship on 8 occasions, most recently in 2012. They have recently almalgamated with Drumhowan GAA to form St. Pats at Minor and u16 level. Ballybay currently have 5 players on the Monaghan senior football panel. These are Paul Finlay, Christopher McGuinness, Drew Wylie, Ryan Wylie and Thomas Kerr. Finlay has gone on to represent his country.

John Cummins, a successful racing car driver in America, was born in Ballybay.


The Irish singer / songwriter Tommy Makem wrote a lighthearted song about the town, "In the Town of Ballybay." The prominent Jackson family in Ballybay were also involved with and married into other members of the United Irishmen movement such as Oliver Bond.[4][5] One Ballybay Jackson and United Irishman, James Jackson, fled to the United States where he became a prominent politician, horseman, and owner of the Forks of Cypress Plantation. He is also a white ancestor of author Alex Haley and is a character and subject of his book Queen: The Story of an American Family and miniseries Alex Haley's Queen portrayed by Martin Sheen.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

On 4 November 2008 an informal reception was held in Ballybay Town Council chambers for a visiting group from Osterhofen / Bavaria who were dressed in traditional Bavarian costume. The visit was organised in celebration of the 50th visit to the town by Karl Heinz Herzegger.

Karl Heinz had been instrumental in the setting up of the twinning agreement between Ballybay and Osterhofen, had visited Ballybay on a regular basis and had brought friends with him and introduced them to Ballybay.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Ballybay station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
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