This history is a work in progress...
There is so much to tell, so it will take some time, as history always does!
Val and Laura along with their four children are passionate about their home and its’ history and are happy to share it with you. This isn't just in Ireland's Ancient East - it's truly part of Irish history.
Ballinkeele was built by John Maher, Val's great-great-grandfather in the 1840s. Designed by Daniel Robertson, designer of the teraced gardens at Powerscourt (well worth a visit and is and 1.5 hours from Ballinkeele towards Dublin). He is better known for his neo-tudor & neo-gothic works which became more fashionable at the time. He was apparently quite the soak and reputedly only worked until late morning and had to be wheeled around in a hand cart!!
It is a miniture (!) copy of Castleboro, now in ruins since it was burned during the civil war in the 1920s.
The house is Georgian Italianate but it is on the cusp of the Victorian period, so the interior furnishings reflect this.
The Mahers were very fond of their horses and we still have the most beautiful stables to prove it!
'Frigate' was bred locally and trained here. She was the first Irish mare to win the Grand National at Aintree in 1889. She ran the race 7 times! She placed well, they sold her, she didn't do well for the new owners so they bought her back for a fraction of what they sold her for and the following year she won!
One of our favorite objects on the farm is an old ladder! You can see one in this picture of Frigate. We still have one similar to this in the archway leading out from this yard!
Laura has a terrible weekness for antique maps and the background of this page is a favorite. It was commissioned by John Maher in 1829, shortly after he purchased Ballinkeele from the Hay family. It shows the original house which was built by the Hays, French Hugenots whose connection to the land at Ballinkeele goes back to the time of Cromwell.
The Hay family had a colourful history. The last generation of the Hay family had 3 sons - One was an officer in the British army, another an officer in the French army and the youngest was involved in the 1798 rebellion fighting on the side of the Irish - We can only imagine Sunday dinner being a bit tense!
The youngest son was sadly hung on Wexford Bridge and is commemorated along with the dead of 1798 at the momument on the road into Ballymurn. Their uncle wrote a respected & relatively balanced account of the events of the 1798 rebellion - with much of the action within 6 miles of Ballinkeele.
The Hay family fell on hard times after this and were forced to sell the land to the Mahers. Many of the Hay family are buried at the cemetry of Kilmallock, just around the corner from the current house.