Bagenalstown (Muinebheag)

Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


also known as Muine Bheag

Images from Source: Myself & T. Curran

Town Plan of Bagenalstown, 1873
(Part of) A rare hand dawn Ordnance Survey map of the Town Plan of Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, 1873
Source: The National Archives
Sent in by Terry Curran c2008

Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis 1837

Bagenalstown, a post-town, in the parish of DUNLECKNEY, barony of IDRONE EAST, county of CARLOW, and province of LEINSTER, 8 miles (S.) from Carlow, and 49 miles (S. S. W.) from Dublin; containing 1315 inhabitants. This town is beautifully situated on the river Barrow, and on one of the mail coach roads from Dublin to Kilkenny; it is a place of considerable trade, and is rapidly rising into importance; there are some extensive corn-mills. It has a patent for two fairs, and ten other fairs have been lately established by the proprietors. Quarter sessions are held here in Jan., April, July, and October.
Petty sessions are held every Monday; and there is a manorial court, but no seneschal is at present appointed. Here is a station of the constabulary police. The court-house is a handsome building in the Grecian style, in front of which is a portico with four Doric pillars. There is also a large and handsome R. C. chapel, and a dispensary.
Source: Library Ireland

The English name "Bagenalstown" is still often used, but "Muinebheag" is the official name of the town while the variation "Muine Bheag" is more commonly used, and is often used in speech as "Muinebeg". Iarnród Éireann train services always use the written timetable station of "Muine Bheag", whilst the spoken announcements on trains are usually for "Bagenalstown".
The name Muine Bheag comes from the Irish for a small thicket of thorns. The motto on the town's Coat of Arms is "The Irrepressible Number" and its Irish equivalent, Uimhir gan choisc, represent "9", which refers to the number of town counsellors.
Court House
Bagenalstown Court House
Bagenalstown Railway Station c1950
Bagenalstown Railway Station
The Bank
Bagenalstown Railway Station
St. Andrews Church
Bagenalstown 1956 Source: Flicker
Ward's Hotel in Hotel Street, Bagenalstown c.1911

Bagenalstown & Drawbridge c.1950
Bagenalstown Main Street c.1950's

Bank of Ireland

Bagenalstown is sited on a pleasant reach of the River Barrow and derives its name from Walter Bagenal, who founded the town in the 18th century. His original concept for the town was based on Versailles, which had its genesis in the palace of Louis XIV, with fine streetscapes and classical buildings. Shortly after he had made an impressive start by building the imposing courthouse (above) modelled on the Parthenon in Athens - which is all that remains today of his grand plan, his efforts became frustrated.

Bagenalstown also has its own Hillview Museum which has a collection of  Household artefacts and vintage farm machinery.

However, the arrival of the railway in 1846 rejuvenated the town, and its fine neo-classical railway station is almost as impressive as the Courthouse. Fine examples of the Carlow Granite fencing are to be seen at the railway bridge on the Goresbridge Road. Nowadays, one of the finest views of the Courthouse may be had on the approach road from Leighlinbridge which includes the spire of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church.

Main Street c.1900
Main Street, looking west 2008. Source: Google Street Maps.
Main Street c.1890's
Main Street looking east 2008. Source: Google Street Maps.
Kilree Street
Royal Oak
Church Street Bagenalstown
Church Street Bagenalstown
Church Street Bagenalstown

Kilree Street, Bagenalstown
Kilree Street c.1930's
Bagenalstown, Co Carlow
Main Street c.1890's

Upper Kilree St.

Bagenalstown is a pretty town, with riverside walks, picnic tables and a picturesque lock. Dunleckney Manor is situated nearby. One of County Carlow's most magnificent country houses. The present structure dates to the 17th century, although the manor was home to the Bagenal family for almost three centuries from 1585 onwards. Designed in Tudor Gothic style with oriel windows it is now restored to its former glory.

History of St. Andrews Church Bagenalstown.

In 1817 The Church in Dunleckney was closed and the Church in Bagenalstown was opened for Christmas Day 1820. The entrance was from where the window is on the Men's side. It probably went as far as the altar. Some say that part of this was rebuild later.

It was renovated 1893 to what it is today, almost. The Steeple was added. Bernard Deegan, Royal Oak Road Chief Masons were Doyle's. It was opened by the Bishop of Waterford in Oct. 1893 by the then Bishop of Waterford. The Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin blessed the steeple.

1917 -  Porches in side aisles were added . Architect/builder was a man named Foley, a brother of Bishop Foley.

A Mortuary was added in Mgr. Conway's time and Fr. Dowling renovated the Sanctuary in c1978.

(Cobden never mentioned, people were only interested in the local people. The Land for the Church was given by the Newton Family, the successors to the Bagenals. They also gave the land for Newtown Church.)

Source: Bagenalstown Parish.

Fr Michael Donohoe
 (born on 26 May 1882  died 12 October 1927)

Michael Donohoe was born on 26 May 1882 at Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow. He was educated at Carlow College (1898-1900) and D.Ph., Rome. He was ordained in 1905 for the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin; curate, Carlow, 1906-1908; taught at Carlow College, 1909-1920; and then served as Rector, Knockbeg College until his early death in 1927. During his term as Rector a new kitchen wing was built, a new pavilion added in the college grounds, and electric light was installed.

The “Moneybeg” or Bagenalstown Bazaar


1. Coming in to the Bazaar without paying is forbidden, but paying without coming in may be permitted.
2. Those friends who could have improved on this Bazaar, and are willing to do so, must address the undersigned in writing, and enclose a cheque.
3. Persons will be told that if they please come round they will be shown excellent things.
4. If persons don’t see what they want, let them ask for it; if they don’t get it, let them take what there is and say no more about it.
5. All transactions will be for ready money; bank notes will be taken if left lying about.
6. No purchaser is expected to pay twice for any one article, but such payment will not be refused.
7 Change will be given, but will not be pressed upon purchasers.
8. No money will be freely returned unless bad.
9. Any purchaser who is disappointed with his purchases after they are paid for may replace them. on the stall without further charge.
10. No heed will be given to persons grumbling about their purchases.
11. The Bazaar maxim will be strictly observed in all cases — “Buy! Buy! Buy! and when you have bought — bye-bye”.
12. Visitors having spent all their money will be allowed to leave the Bazaar for the purpose of obtaining more.
13. Mr. Ward, Overseer at the Turnstile, is instructed to effectively deal with, and if necessary detain, any persons suspected of leaving the Bazaar with money in their pockets.
14, Each person discharged at the Turnstile is expected to send two in.
15. Everybody coming in to the Bazaar and asking questions will receive prompt attention, provided they bring with them the following letters of recommendation: — £ s. d.
“Asking costs little.”
“No man knows how much he can spend until he tries.”

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