The history of Ireland is one of large families living in rural, close knit settlements mainly on modest farms or at least that was the case up to the time of the great Irish famine. As a result many starved or emigrated from Ballilogue in Kilkenny as from hamlets and villages up and down the country. In the counties of Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford, Ireland's Ancient East, the port of New Ross transported men, women and children to the east coast of the United States and Nova Scotia, the Dunbrody Famine Experience on the quay in New Ross is testament to this mass emigration and often perilous voyage.
At Ballilogue, in the countryside south of Kilkenny, there remains the traditional home dating back to famine times as well as the fine stone farmhouses and barns built in the late 1700's and early 1800's. They form a tranquil and rare example of what those early farmsteds looked like, farming communities nestled close to the meeting point of the rivers Nore and Barrow. These are now restored and preserved, with stunning architect designed interiors, forming the perfect retreat merging this tradition with interiors and artifacts that celebrate those communities.
Mrs. Meaney's traditional cottage features the fireplace, dresser, crane and bellows of an earlier time.
The well, sunk and lined to a great depth with perfect circular stone formations providing water to the hamlet. In the Old Dairy, now a dining hall, the local young men in linen shirts, caps and braces look down holding their mallets and shovels as they dredge the river bed nearby in the early 1900's.
Farming and harvests are just part of what happens at the wider Ballilogue community today. Friends gather at the Ballilogue hamlet to celebrate a wedding, birthday or family event. Groups come for the quiet of this special part of County Kilkenny, close to Inistioge, in order to host yoga retreats and corporate planning. Truly, an Irish oasis deep in the South Kilkenny countryside.