Baile Mhic Shamhráin
The Ballymac Inn, Ballymagauran
|Elevation||78 m (256 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Ballymagauran (Irish: Baile Mhic Shamhráin, meaning "The Town of Mac Shamhráin", historically Ballymagowran) is a village and townland in County Cavan, Ireland. It lies on the border with County Leitrim, within the parish of Templeport and barony of Tullyhaw on the Ballinamore to Ballyconnell road.
After 1400 A.D., Ballymagauran became the chief seat of the McGovern (name) clan, who were lords of Tullyhaw. Their previous seats were in Coologe and Killywillin. A medieval Duanaire or Poembook belonging to them is the oldest such surviving book in Ireland and describes various incidents at Ballymagauran. The Vikings may also have been in the area as the pommel of an inlaid Viking sword (Petersen Type H) dating from c.900 A.D. has been excavated from a fort on the shore of Ballymagauran Lake.
The earliest surviving mention of the placename is in the Annals of the Four Masters under the year 1431 A.D., which states that "Thomas, proceeded with a great host into Teallach Eachdhach, to take vengeance on the inhabitants for the death of his kinsman. He plundered, spoiled, and ravaged the territory, and slew many of the chiefs of it. He also burned Ballymagauran, and then he returned home in triumph."
In 1455, the Annals state that a war broke out between Philip, the son of Thomas Maguire, heir to the lordship of Fermanagh, and Magauran. Philip pitched his camp at Beann-Eachlabhra and Brian and Tuathal, Philip's sons, "went forth with twelve horsemen and thirty-seven infantry, burned Magauran's town (Ballymagauran), and the greater part of his territory, and killed Melaghlin Duv Magauran and a great number of his people; after which he returned home triumphantly."
In 1459, the village was burnt down by Thomas Oge Maguire, after seizing the area. The Annals of the Four Masters state- The spoils of Magh Slecht were seized on by Maguire (Thomas Oge); and Ballymagauran was burned by him on this occasion.
It was burnt again on Tuesday 27 September 1485 by Turlough O'Reilly, son of John. On the following day Magauran "with his kinsmen, went in pursuit of the army, and deprived them of sixteen men, who were killed or taken prisoners, and two hundred horses."
On 28 September 1498 Ballymagauran was raided by the Maguire clan.
The Annals of Ulster for 1498 state-
Philip, son of Toirdelbach, son of Philip Mag Uidhir, went on an inroad into Tellach-Eathach (Tullyhaw) and the sons of Edmond Mag Uidhir and the sons of Gilla-Padraig Mag Uidhir went with him thither and the country was traversed by them to Snam-na-neach. And the town of Mag Samradhain (Ballymagauran) was burned by them and they turned back and came not on cattle-spoils or chattels. And the worthies of the country overtook them on that retreat with a very large pursuing party and those nobles turned on the pursuing party and defeated them spiritedly, successfully then and slew three and twenty of the pursuing party in that rout, two sons of Aedh, son of Eogan Mag Samradhain, namely, Tadhg and Maghnus (that is, the cleric). And the other portion of them slain were of the Clann-Imair and of the Clan of Mac-in-taisigh and of the muster of Tellach-Eathach also. And there was slain also by the Fir-Manach in the heat of that rout Flaithbertach, son of Donn, son of Edmond Mag Uidhir. And on the vigil of Michaelmas precisely those deeds were done.
In 1512 the Annals of the Four Masters state- Philip, the son of Turlough Maguire and Thomas, son of Manus Magauran went to Teallach Eachdhach and killed Turlough. They then proceeded to the Crannog of Magauran and took Magauran prisoner, only to set him free and leave him behind as he had become sick, making transport inconvenient. The son of O'Reilly, Edmond Roe then "came up with these men of Fermanagh, and with the son recte grandsons of Manus, defeated them, and slew Donough, the son of Redmond, son of Philip Maguire; Philip, the son of Owen, son of Donnell Ballagh Maguire; Hugh, the son of Owen, son of Turlough Maguire; Murtough Roe, son of Murrough; and James, the son of Magrath Maguire, besides many others; and many horses were taken from them on that day."
In the Plantation of Ulster in 1609 the lands of the McGoverns were confiscated, but some were later regranted to them. The Manor of Ballymagauran was regranted to the chief of the clan, Felim McGovern. The name of the townland in which the village was situated was called Drumcork or Drumhirk at that time and was only renamed as Ballymagauran in the Ordnance Survey of 1836. The grant to Felim McGovern included "Dromcorck, 1 poll". In a visitation by George Carew, 1st Earl of Totnes in autumn 1611 he states that "Magauran had his own land given him on this division".
By 1613 Magauran had progressed with building work. Sir Josias Bodley reported on 6 February 1613-"Proportion No. 31: 1,000 acres. Magauran is strongly seated, and near to his Irish house by a lough's side hath begun an English building of lime and stone of 40 feet long and 20 broad, not yet raised above the first story, but with this season intendeth to set it forward: There is round about it a trench and dike of earth and sod, which with little labour may be made of good strength, and that, it seemeth, by his beginning, he hath a purpose to do."
By 1619 Pynnar's Survey of Land Holders found that Magauran had built a castle on his holdings. Felim died on 20 January 1622 and the estate went to his son and heir Brian McGawran. A survey taken in August 1622 stated that- "Brian Magauran hath 1,000 acres in which is a bawn of sodds and within it a stone howse thatched, with chymneys and a part of it lofted. He setts his land from yeare to yeare to ye Irish, who plowgh by ye taile." Brian was married to Mary O'Brien and he died in 1631 leaving the estate to his son and heir Edward Magauran who was born in 1616.
The castle that Felim Magauran erected after 1611 was besieged and destroyed by Oliver Cromwell's army in 1649. Sir William Petty’s Down Survey map of 1659 shows the castle in the townland of Dromkirke with inscription "Stone house in repair". In the Hearth Money Rolls of 1664 there were only two houses in Templeport with two hearths at Munlough and Sruagh, indicating that the castle had been abandoned by that time. On 29 September 1663 the only person paying the Hearth tax in the townland was John Forman of Ballimagowran.
After the Irish Rebellion, Ballymagauran was confiscated from the Magaurans and was granted to Sir Tristram Beresford, 1st Baronet under the Act of Settlement by patent on 3 November 1666. The grant included "Ballymagowran alias Drumherke". On 11 September 1670, King Charles II created the 'Manor of Beresford' out of lands in Tullyhaw which Beresford acquired, at a rent of £0-6s-8d per annum for each fair & market held there. Beresford died on 15 January 1673 and was succeeded by his son Sir Randal Beresford.
Major Edward Magauran was born in Ballymagauran on 16 April 1746, the grandson of Colonel Bryan Magauran, the Chief of the Clan McGovern who fought in the Battle of the Boyne for King James II against William III of Orange. In his autobiography he states "I was born in 1746 at the residence of the M'Gauran family, called from them Balli M’Gauran. It is a market town of some note, wherein four considerable fairs are annually held. During their prosperous days, a stately castle reared its head, adjoining to the town, and was the abode of the Barons, but it was dismantled by order of Oliver Cromwell, and now lies in ruins."
The ruined castle is described and pictured as 'Site No.1846, Tower House, Ballymagauran townland' in "Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan" and in "The Castles of County Cavan", page 94. An earthen ringfort in the townland may have been the previous residence before the castle was built (Site No. 243 in aforesaid Inventory book).
By deed dated 19 October 1749 Frederick Lawder of Ballymagauran sold his leasehold estate of six poles of the lands of Ballymagauran and a half pole in Derryragh (which he held on lease from Marcus Beresford, 1st Earl of Tyrone) to Randal Slack, of Dublin and Lakefield, County Leitrim, gentleman, for the sum of £504-3s-3d. Slack then sold part of the estate to Arthur Ellis of Ballyheady. A deed dated 27 October 1750 now in the Cavan Archives Service (ref P017/0014) is described as-
Document which relates to the division of the lands of Ballymagauran between Randal Slack and Arthur Ellis. Ballymagauran was divided into two sections, one westward and the other eastward of the great road. Lots were cast to decide who was to acquire which section. Ellis won the casting of lots and chose the eastward division. In consideration of the privilege of choice, Ellis paid £10 to Slack, over and above half of the rents, fees and duties payable to the Early of Tyrone and subject to Slack's agreement made with Frederick Lawder. On verso of document is information relating to the rental and use of land in the two sections of Ballymagauran with the names of land occupiers present.
Administration of Slack's will dated 23 March 1763 was granted to his widow Anne after his death.
In the Templeport Poll Book of 1761 there were six people registered to vote in Ballymagauran in the Irish general election, 1761 - Michael Banagher who lived in Corran but who also had a freehold in Ballymagauran; Thomas Blashford who lived in Ballymagauran but who also owned a freehold in Lissanover; Edward Ellis, Thomas Finlay, William Johnston and James Thompson who all lived in Ballymagauran. They were entitled to cast two votes each. The four election candidates were Charles Coote, 1st Earl of Bellomont and Lord Newtownbutler (later Brinsley Butler, 2nd Earl of Lanesborough), both of whom were then elected Member of Parliament for Cavan County. The losing candidates were George Montgomery (MP) of Ballyconnell and Barry Maxwell, 1st Earl of Farnham. Banagher, Finlay and Johnston all voted for Maxwell and Coote. Blashford voted for Newtownbutler and Coote. Ellis voted for Newtownbutler and Montgomery. Thompson voted for Coote and Montgomery. Absence from the poll book either meant a resident did not vote or more likely was not a freeholder entitled to vote, which would mean most of the inhabitants of Ballymagauran.
In the book Alwyn: or the gentleman comedian' written in 1780 by Thomas Holcroft, a character therein states- "You know I had £500 left me by my old aunt Phabe Tullaghan of Ballimagowran in the county of Cavan, and the province of Ulster, about two years before her death.
In 1810 Nicholas Carlisle stated that "Ballymagauran, in the Barony of Tullaghagh, Co. of CAVAN, and Province of Ulster. It is 4 in. N. E. from Ballynamore. The Fairs are holden on the 93d of May, 12 August, and 23d of November."
The Newry Magazine for 1816 reported that- "Some time ago, a young man, we lament to state, was killed, leaving the town of Ballymagaurin, in the county of Cavan. During the day some persons had manifested a disposition to violence and riot, and a desperate quarrel ensued, in which, however, the unfortunate victim, we learn, took no part or concern. On his way out of the fair he was attacked, and beaten so inhumanly that he survived but a short time." 
The 1821 Census of Ireland states that the population of the village was 195.
In the 1825 Registry of Freeholders for County Cavan there were three freeholders registered in Ballymagauran- John Brooke, Thomas Finley and Fred M'Dermott. They were all Forty-shilling freeholders holding a lease for lives from their landlords. Brooke's freehold was in Killyran and his landlord was Lord John Beresford, the Archbishop of Armagh (Church of Ireland). Finley's landlord was Arthur Ellis and M'Dermott's landlord was Thomas Slack.
The Tithe Applotment Books for 1827 list the following tithepayers in the townland- Alexton, Stocks, Brookes, Dermott, Donachy, Hunnan, McGauran, Reynolds, Whelan, Collins, Roycroft, Costello.
The 1831 Census of Ireland states that there were 20 houses in the village, of which 3 were unoccupied. The population was 89, of which 38 were males and 51 females, so the population had dropped by 106 since 1821. The occupations were 3 female servants, 3 male servants, 3 retailers or craftsmen, 5 agricultural labourers, 7 farmers.
The Ordnance Survey Namebooks for 1836 state- "The small village of Ballymaguaran is situated near the centre of the townland...also the ruins of an old building said to have been a distillery".
In 1840 Samuel Lewis described it as "Ballymagauran, a village, in the parish of TEMPLEPORT, barony of TALLAGHAGH, county of CAVAN, and province of ULSTER, 4 miles (N. E.) from Ballinamore, on the road to Killesandra; containing 20 houses and 89 inhabitants. Fairs are held on May 23, Aug. 12th, and Nov. 23rd, of which the last is a good fair for cattle. Some remains of the old castle, which was destroyed by Cromwell, yet exist."
The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland for 1845 noted that Ballymagauran was "A hamlet in the parish of Templeport, barony of Tullaghagh. Co.Cavan, Ulster" and that "It stands on the western frontier of the county, four miles north-east of Ballinamore. Fairs are held on May 23, Aug. 12 and Nov.23. Population in 1831 was 89."
A deed dated 20 July 1865 now in the Cavan Archives Service (ref P017/0077) is described as-
Draft reconveyance of mortgage made between Francis Armstrong, esquire, of the first part, Reverend Thomas Crawford, clerk, Rector of Drumcliffe, County Sligo, and Anne Crawford otherwise Armstrong, his wife, of the second part, [Adan] Crawford, Cockspin Street, Middlesex, esquire, medical doctor, and George Kenny Sawtell, John Street, Bedford Row, London, gentleman, of the third part, Thomas Slack, esquire, and Susanna Slack, his wife, Marshwood, Newtowngore, County Cavan, of the fourth part, and John Ouseley Bansale, 1 Eldon terrace, South Circular Road, City of Dublin, esquire, and Arthur John Vesey Lindsay Birchall, esquire, Blackrock, County Leitrim, esquire, of the fifth part. Relates to reconveyance of lands secured by mortgage dated 12 July 1823. Lands affected are the six poles of Ballymcgouran otherwise Ballymagouran otherwise Ballymagauran containing around 64 acres and 3 roods; the halfpole of Derryragh otherwise Derrinagh with the subdenominations of Killywilly containing 111 acres; Cappy containing around 20 acres; and the Common containing around 4 acres and 36 perches, all in the parish of Templeport, barony of Tullyhaw, County Cavan. Principal, interest and costs on the mortgage amount to £461.10.9. Details of other relevant deeds are recited.
The Second Report from the Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry dated 1826 stated that James Lynch, a Catholic, was the headmaster of the school which was a pay school with a salary of £5 per annum. The schoolhouse was built of stone & lime. There were 39 pupils of which all were Roman Catholics. 26 were boys and 13 were girls.  It was closed before 1900.
- "Baile Mhic Shamhráin/Ballymagauran | logainm.ie | Placenames Database of Ireland". logainm.ie. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
- L. McKenna (1947), The Book of Magauran
- Margo R. Griffin-Wilson (1982), Sidelights on History: The Book of Magauran and the Annals
- National Archives Dublin
- Survey of Undertakers in Co. of Cavan 6 Feb. 1613- Tullaghagh Servitors, in Report of Manuscripts of Reginald Rawdon Hastings, Historical Manuscripts Commission, London 1947, vol. IV, p. 164.
- A Special Census of Northern Ireland, Pynnars Survey of Land Holders.
- Trinity College Dublin: The Down Survey of Ireland.
- Patrick O'Donovan (1995), Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan
- O.Davies (1947), The Castles of County Cavan
- Nicholas Carlisle (1810), Topographical Dictionary of Ireland
-  and Tithe Applotment Books 1827
- Lewis, S. (1840). A topographical dictionary of Ireland: comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs corporate, market, and post towns, parishes and villages ... : With an appendix describing the electoral boundaries of the several bouroughs as defined by the act of the 2d. and 3d. of William IV. Lewis. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
- Griffith’s Valuation 1857
- Census of Ireland 1901
- Census of Ireland 1911