From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Baile Shéamais Dhuibh
Market Street, Ballyjamesduff.
Market Street, Ballyjamesduff.
Ballyjamesduff is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°51′51″N 7°12′20″W / 53.86422°N 7.205572°W / 53.86422; -7.205572Coordinates: 53°51′51″N 7°12′20″W / 53.86422°N 7.205572°W / 53.86422; -7.205572
Country Ireland
Province Ulster
County County Cavan
Elevation 104 m (341 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 2,568
Time zone WET (UTC±0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (UTC+1)
Eircode routing key A82
Telephone area code +353(0)49
Irish Grid Reference N520906

Ballyjamesduff (Irish: Baile Shéamais Dhuibh, meaning "Town of Black James") is a small town (population 2,240) in County Cavan, Ireland. A former market town, it was the winner of the 1966 and 1967 Irish Tidy Towns Competition.[2]


The first mention of Ballyjamesduff is found in The Registry of Deeds,[3] Kings Inns, Henrietta Street, Dublin, Deed No.12-294-5122, drawn up on 12/5/1714.

On August 29 2016, a murder-suicide took place close to the town, in Oakdene. A family of five consisting of three young boys and a mother and father were all found dead at approximately 11:00 am. At 10:45 am a person called to the house and contacted Garda Síochána to raise the alarm. The family were identified as the Hawe Family.[4][5][6][7]It was later determined that Alan Hawe, the owner of the home, had committed the murder. He had butchered his wife and three children with various knives. This was met by immediate shock, as Alan was deemed a pillar in the community, a primary school teacher who helped out with the local GAA club.[8]


Between census years 2002 and 2006 the population of Ballyjamesduff rose by 59.9% (ref. data from Central Statistics Office). A major factor in the increase has been immigration from outside Ireland. The 2006 census results showed that more than 25% of people in the town were from overseas.[9]


Anne Street.

The town is located on the R194 regional road.

Bus Éireann Route 187 serves Ballyjamesduff from Monday to Saturday. It provides transport to the neighbouring towns and villages of Oldcastle, Mountnugent, Virginia and Kells. There are four journeys both to and from Ballyjamesduff each weekday. The first journey of the day departs the town (for Kells) at 07:30. Subject to road safety, the bus will stop to pick up and set down passengers at any safe point along the route.[10]

Notable places in Ballyjamesduff[edit]

  • The Tannery has been in Ballyjamesduff for 309 years. In 1983, it was destroyed in a fire, but was rebuilt near a local petrol pump station a year later. The ashes of the old tannery were ceremoniously converted into 2½ bricks, one of which was subsequently stolen. These bricks formed the cornerstone of the new building.
  • Cavan County Museum, located in the former Convent of St Clare, the Museum collects, conserves and displays the material heritage and culture of County Cavan, over its 6000-year history. In August 2014, Cavan County Museum opened Ireland's largest outdoor WW1 replica trench. [11]
  • Ballyjamesduff was once noted for having the largest pub to person ratio in Ireland. There was approximately 1 pub for every 34 persons in the town.[2]
  • The Market House, built in 1815 to commemorate the military achievements at Waterloo of the Duke of Wellington, was designed by Arthur McClean a Cavan-born architect who also designed the Anglican church in Virginia, County Cavan. McClean left Ireland around 1825 and settled in Brockville, Ontario, Canada where he built a number of Anglican churches.
  • St Joseph's Town Hall was built in 1959 and was opened officially in 1968 by showband act Big Tom and The Mainliners.
  • Liffey Meats, a meat processing plant, which gained notoriety when it was revealed they processed equine and porcine meat in beefburgers.[12]

Popular culture[edit]

"The Frolics"[edit]

The Percy French Hotel and Paddy Reilly Bar

Ballyjamesduff annually holds "The Frolics", an eight-night showcase of music and "comedy"[citation needed]. The show was originally held in the nearby town of Mountnugent, where it was known as "The Mountnugent Frolics". The rights to the show were bought by the Ballyjamesduff Frolics Club in 1943, and the show was moved to Ballyjamesduff. In 1957, owing to confusion, the event was renamed from "The Mountnugent Frolics" to "The Ballyjamesduff Frolics". In 1987, Terry Waite famously made a cameo appearance during a sketch.

The show uses special sound recording equipment to measure crowd cheering levels during the entire run of the Frolics. The act that receives the highest cheer wins the "Silver Spuckle Award". This is an award named after Monsignor Sylvester Spuckle, who was a patron of the show. It is made of solid silver and is worth €4,000. A cash award of €1,000 is also given to the winner.

In 2000, a comedy routine featured one of the townsfolk dressed as Chairman Mao Zedong, with his eyes pinned with sellotape, working in a Chinese restaurant. His faux-Chinese voiced jokes about the local Town Diner restaurant led to the restaurant's suing the organizers of the show for libel. The lawsuit was later settled out of court with the organisers paying the restaurant a settlement.

In 2003, to celebrate the show's 60 years, the list of the highest-cheered acts was revealed. The winners were "The Duodenums", a three-piece group playing a version of "Dueling Banjos" on their tracheas. This was a parody of a scene from the film National Lampoon's Animal House, wherein a character did the same with the William Tell Overture. In 2013, an updated list was compiled to celebrate 70 years. The Duodenums still won, only narrowly beating a 2008 performance by "The Holy Joe Show", a group of local priests from the nearby Kilnacrott Abbey singing a musical tribute to the recently deceased Joe Dolan.

The 2007 Frolics was titled the 'Non Stop Frolics' and ran from 16 to 25 November. The 2013 Frolics was titled "70 years of Frolicking", running from 20 to 29 June, with an extra run of special Christmas encore shows on 20-23 December.

The 2017 Frolics, titled "Fro17cs", is planned to run from 17 to 27 May.

In song[edit]

Bronze figure of Percy French in the town square with words and music of "Come back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff".

It is famous for being in the Percy French song "Come back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff", which was written about a man from the area who acted as Jarvy (coach driver) for French and decided to emigrate to Scotland. It is said that he drove his horse and cart to Carrick-on-Shannon, parked the horse and cart outside the railway station and took the train to Dublin. Legend has it that the horse ran all across Ireland looking for Paddy, until Paddy Reilly was said to have returned. Paddy Reilly is now supposedly buried in St Joseph's graveyard in the town of Ballyjamesduff.

The Pork Festival[edit]

This was an annual town festival started in 1994.[13] It celebrates all things pig-like. This is largely due to a nearby pork-rendering factory regularly supplying a large amount of pork for use in the town festival. The festival is one which celebrates the commercial value of the pig to the town.

Highlights of the festival included:[citation needed]

  • Kosher Kraziness: A Kosher food eating contest.
  • The Pig Run: Similar to the Running of the Bulls, but with boars instead of bulls.
  • The Swine & Cheese party: A more cultural Pork and Cheese tasting party.
  • Grills Gone Wild: A pig and pig-farmer beauty pageant. It was largely a joke version of most beauty pageants. It took its name from the popular Girls Gone Wild series.
  • The Olympigs: A day of track and field events for pig farmers. The main event of the Olympigs was the 10-legged race, where each contestant raced with a pig attached to each leg. This was often a source of controversy, with protests taking place each year from animal rights protesters. However, the festival committee always maintained that no pigs (apart from ones eaten) were harmed during the festival.
  • The Speaking in Pig Latin Debate Competition: A competition where people must speak as long as they can in Pig Latin. The current record is over 9 hours, held by a local teacher.
  • Pig Racing: Pigs are raced with knitted jockeys attached to their backs.


  • Percy French poet, songwriter and noted Board of Works Inspector of Drains with Cavan County Council.
  • John Wesley preacher, theologian and founder of the worldwide Methodist Church, preached in Ballyjamesduff and built a church here during the 18th century.
  • Pete Briquette of the Boomtown Rats came from Ballyjamesduff. His real name is Patrick Cusack.
  • Marcus Daly, known as "the Montana Copper King", was born in 1841 near Ballyjamesduff. He died in 1900 in New York.
  • Ronan Lee, former Member of Parliament for Indooroopilly electorate, Queensland, Australia came from Ballyjamesduff.
  • Singer Zach de la Rocha has a maternal grandfather who grew up in the town in the early 1900s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Tidy Towns of Ireland: Celebrating 50 years" (PDF). Tidy Towns. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "PRAI - Property Registration Authority Ireland Home Page". Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  4. ^ Brennan, Colin (2016-08-29). "Gardai treating deaths of 5 family members in Cavan as murder-suicide". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  5. ^ "Anglo Celt - Gardaí investigate deaths of five members of one Ballyjamesduff family". Retrieved 2016-08-29. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Schools pay tribute to Cavan family who died in suspected murder-suicide". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  7. ^ "Murder-suicide suspected after Cavan family are found dead in house". Retrieved 2016-08-29. 
  8. ^ Beattie, Jilly (2016-12-01). "'Clodagh and boys never stood a chance': Clodagh Hawe's mother". irishmirror. Retrieved 2017-04-11. 
  9. ^ [1] Archived March 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  11. ^ "Cavan County Museum". Cavan County Council. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Ed Carty – Updated 22 January 2013 09:06 AM (2013-01-22). "Horse and pig DNA found in some supermarket burgers". Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  13. ^ "Festivals In County Cavan - Ireland View - Ireland's Travel and Accommodation Guide". Ireland View. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 

External links[edit]