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Bilboa is located on the boundaries of County Laois, Carlow and Kilkenny.,[1] in a bleak and beautiful and forgotten part of the Castlecomer plateau that forms a sort of no-man’s-land between Kilkenny, Carlow and Laois.

Without coal there would have been little settlement at Bilboa, but at the time of writing[when?] the little cluster of families in this area struggles to maintain its identity, and to survive as a distinct localised community, proud of its individuality and its tradition. Of the early mining village, only the church remains.[2]Coordinates: 52°47′53″N 7°02′24″W / 52.798°N 7.040°W / 52.798; -7.040 Bilboá's Anglican church[3] is a detached three-bay Tudor Revival Church of Ireland church, built 1846, with crenellated entrance tower and granite dressings including clasping buttresses on octagonal plans having pinnacles and hood mouldings to openings. Interior retains original pews.[4]

For anybody who ever wondered where the name Bilboa came from, there are several small extracts on the organ of the village. The passages were taken from the old school house in the village (now Brennens shop). while some of the writings are in the native tongue, the general story goes as follows. One Colonel John Staunton Rochford 1802-1844 returned from fighting in the British army in the Napoleonic wars. He was credited with some act of valour while fighting around the Spanish city of Bilboa.[5] Hence he became known as Rochford of Bilboa, where as his family before him where the Rochfords of Clogrennene. Later members of his family seem to have being involved in some capacity with the building of Bilboa Church 1850. Since then the area has known as Bilboa.


  1. ^ Rootsweb
  2. ^ "Bilboa - The Mining Village". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
  3. ^ Buildings of Ireland
  4. ^ "Bilboa Church of Ireland Church, Bilboa, County Carlow: Buildings of Ireland: National Inventory of Architectural Heritage". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
  5. ^ "Biolbó/Bilboa". Retrieved 2015-09-09.