Mouse House Toll Bridge on the Ballyfinboy River at Drominagh, Ballinderry. Built in 1776, it is supposedly the oldest toll bridge in the world. Kilbarron-Terryglass Historical Society do not know why it is called so. Photo: Helen Fox

Local historical society goes back to their foundations

Kilbarron-Terryglass Historical Society will host a talk on Thursday, July 25th, with Dr Christy Cunniffe titled ‘An Overview of the Vernacular Architecture of Ireland’.
On the night following the talk there will be a 'Tasting of the Food from our Fields' event. Admission on the night is €5; members €2.

This is part of the society’s weekend of Recording the Field Names of the parish. While looking at the field names, it is also important to take a look at the houses and structures that once adorned the area. This promises to be a very interesting lecture and will appeal to all, but in particular to those who have an interest in our built heritage. Venue is Terryglass hall at 8pm.  

On the Friday and Saturday, July 26th and 27th, the society will bring together all the maps of the fields of our parish in the hope of recording their names.  This is a project that was started some years ago but this year we have decided to dedicate a weekend to it in the hope of progressing what we feel is a huge source of information both on a historical side but also a genealogical side. Every field has a name and most date back to pre-Famine times.

Some are obvious, like the ‘Hill Field or the 'Pond Field' or the 'Nine Acres’; others are a little more obscure, like ‘Slievenamon’ or ‘Canada'. Others, though, hold the names of families, like ‘Hobbs’ Garden’ or 'Cooney’s Grove', 'Moll's Island', etc.

The field names associated with families date back to the early to mid-1800s and of a people who were renting the land at the time and toiled the land but who also planted the flowers, trees and the roses that today seem out of place, but when you take a closer look there is nearly always the remains of some part of a house, which gives an indication of another time when a family lived here. The best time, of course, to see this is in the spring and early summer when the daffodils, lilacs and roses are in full bloom.

The fields have changed in many ways today. Ditches been removed through the years to make room for the advancement in farming and society, machines need to get in through a gateway that was only meant for horse and cart or a young couple needing to build a house, but still, even though fields have been made into one and the old houses gone,  the names still live on.

So, over the next week we hope to get out as many maps as possible, and if anyone hasn’t received one and would like to help out please contact any committee member. This is a big undertaking by the society but will be a very valuable source to the community when completed. We invite all to join us and anyone who has a map may return it on the day, and we will also be available to record any story or history relevant to any of the fields.

For each field holds a name, a history, a story – folklore, myth, true or untrue, so let’s try and preserve a huge part of our parish history.

We are not forgetting those families who left our area and went to the four corners of the Earth taking the names of the parish with them… like Firmount and Ashgove farm in Tasmania, or Kilbarron Road in Ottawa, Canada.

So join us on Saturday from 9.30pm to 5pm at the pavilion in Ballinderry.

Following on from this, on August 3rd, as part of Ballinderry Beo, the society will give a guided walking tour of the village.