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Béal Átha na gCarr
Bellanagare is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°50′15″N 8°23′17″W / 53.83740°N 8.38808°W / 53.83740; -8.38808Coordinates: 53°50′15″N 8°23′17″W / 53.83740°N 8.38808°W / 53.83740; -8.38808
CountyCounty Roscommon
60 m (200 ft)
 • Total153
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceM745876

Bellanagare (Irish: Béal Átha na gCarr, meaning "ford-mouth of the carts"[2]) is a village in County Roscommon, Ireland. The N5 national primary road passes through it as of 2008, though a by-pass is planned. The village is located between Tulsk and Frenchpark on the Dublin to Castlebar/Westport road.


O'Conor Don[edit]

The O'Conor Don ancestral lands were in County Roscommon centred on Clonalis House near Castlerea. Alexander O'Conor Don died in 1820 without male heirs and the title was inherited by the O'Conors of Bellanagare. Some members of the O'Conor family of Bellanagare were distinguished antiquarians, see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. In 1828 O'Conor Don of Belanagar was a member of the Grand Panel of county Roscommon. At the time of Griffith's Valuation, Charles Owen O'Conor was one of the principal lessors in the parishes of Kilcorkey and Kilkeevin, barony of Castlereagh. In the 1870s the O'Conor of Clonalis estate amounted to over 12,000 acres (49 km2) in county Roscommon with another 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) in county Sligo. At the same time Dennis O'Connor of Kingstown, county Dublin, brother of the O'Conor Don held 751 acres (3.04 km2) in county Roscommon and 287 in county Meath. In 1879 Charles Owen O'Conor offered for sale lands at Drimina, barony of Lyney, county Sligo. By March 1916 a final offer from the Congested Districts' Board for 1,368 acres (5.54 km2) belonging to Charles W. O'Conor, nephew of Charles Owen O'Conor Don had been accepted. A similar acreage (1,382) the estate of his mother Ellen I. O'Conor was vested in the Congested Districts' Board on 10 Feb 1916. The estate and family records are still held at Clonalis House.

Charles O'Connor[edit]

O'Conor, Charles, of Belanagare, a distinguished Irish scholar and antiquary, was born in 1710. [His family traced its descent from a younger brother of King Roderic O'Conor. His grand-uncle followed Charles II. into exile, was restored to his estates by the Act of Settlement, was a major in the service of James II., and died a prisoner in the Castle of Chester. At great cost, some 800 to 900 acres (324 to 364 ha) of poor land were rescued from the wreck of the family property.] Charles O'Conor being a Catholic, was debarred from the advancement due to his talents. But meagre particulars of his life are preserved. In 1754 he published a tract relative to Irish mining, and in 1766 the work by which he is best known — Dissertations on the History of Ireland.

He is spoken of with uniform respect by Irish scholars. Dr. O'Donovan styles him "this patriotic and venerable gentleman.. who understood the Irish language well," pays a tribute to his exertions for the preservation of Irish manuscripts, and acknowledges that it was his writings which first induced him to devote himself earnestly to the study of the annals of Ireland. Mr. Wyse, in his History of the Catholic Association, says: "The entire object of his long life seems to have been to redeem it [his country] from the self-ignorance, the blind impolicy, the national degradation to which it had been reduced. In this lofty and noble vocation, no man ever put out, with more perfect abandonment of all unworthy motive, the valuable gifts which he had received."

Charles O'Conor died at Belanagare, 1 July 1791, aged 81. His valuable collection of manuscripts (containing the only then known original of the First Part of the Annals of the Four Masters), passed by purchase into the hands of the Marquis of Buckingham, and were later purchased as part of the Stowe manuscript collection by Bertram Ashburnham, 4th Earl of Ashburnham.

Bellanagare Castle[edit]

Bellanagare was the home of the O'Conor family including the well-known historian Charles O'Conor. He later built Hermitage House some distance away and Bellanagare Castle is now in ruins.

Hermitage House[edit]

historic map showing Hermitage and estate

Hermitage 1812 Bog Commission Survey - Photo

Built by Charles O'Conor (1710-1790) the antiquarian and head of the family circa 1760 this was a smaller Georgian house which he call his Hermitage.

Here at Hermitage he would devote the remainder of his life to the collection and study of Irish manuscripts, to the publication of dissertations, and especially to the cause of Irish and Catholic emancipation. He was a co-founder of the first Catholic Committee in 1757, (along with his friend Dr. John Curry and Mr. Wyse of Waterford). In 1788 he became a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

His encyclopaedic knowledge of Irish manuscripts and Gaelic culture dispelled many eroneous theories and suppositions concerning Irish history. His collection (of manuscripts and manuscript copies, annotated with his copious notes and comments) made up the first part of the Annals of the Four Masters which, at that time, were the only copies known to exist.

His great great grandson Charles O'Conor was leasing the property at Ballaghcullia, valued at £10, to Honoria O'Conor at the time of Griffith's Valuation. In 1749 the Census of Elphin records Denis O'Conor as being of "Ballinagar". The house at Hermitage is still extant though not occupied and a modern bungalow has been constructed in front of it.


Ballinagare Horse and Pony Racing Club[edit]

The Ballinagare Horse and Pony Racing club was established in 2012. The first annual race meeting and family day was held on 16 September 2012 in memory of the late Peter Finnerty. The 2013 event took place on Sunday 7 July 2013.[needs update]

Ballinagare Cycling Club[edit]

The Ballinagare cycling club held its first charity leisure cycle of 25 km (16 mi) on 3 June 2012 in aid of Cancer Care west.[citation needed]

Ballinagare FC[edit]

Ballinagare Football Club was established in August 2004. The club colours are orange with a black trim, and the club play home games at Ballinagare Community Pitch. An Astro Turf Pitch was opened in 2012 and situated beside the community centre.

Ballinagare Community Centre[edit]

Ballinagare Community Centre community-run centre for the village and surrounding area. It runs and leisure activities, spinning classes, box exercise classes, walkers and joggers group, pilates, step aerobics, and has a gym, astro turf pitch and personal trainers available.[citation needed] Between 1997 and 2010, a teenage disco ran at the community centre.

Western Gaels GAA Club[edit]

The Western Gaels Club was formed in Fairymount Hall in 1962. Gerry Finneran, John Lavin and Fr. Gerry O'Rourke were the founder members who set up the club following the recommendation of a special committee of the County Board in that year.

The club area consists of the parishes of Frenchpark and Fairymount in West Roscommon, close to the towns of Castlerea and Ballaghaderreen. Prior to that there were clubs in both parishes but due to emigration both of these clubs were very weak. Probably the most famous son of the area is Dr. Douglas Hyde of Tibohone, who was Patron of the GAA from 1902 to 1915, and the first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. Ironically, he was banned from the GAA at Congress in 1939 for attending a soccer match. Another member of the GAA, Pádraig Ó Caoimh, Ard-Rúnaí 1939-1964 was born in the village of Ballinagare.[citation needed] During the 1970s the club won five juvenile titles. The first major title at adult level was the Junior County Championship in 1977.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: Settlements Bellanagare". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  2. ^ A. D. Mills, 2003, A Dictionary of British Place-Names, Oxford University Press

Land Estate Database

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

Library Of Ireland

Ballinagare FC

See also[edit]