RE-IMAGINING AN IRISH HAMLET
Hamlet in the Kilkenny Countryside
The history of the Ballilogue Hamlet is one of a cluster of homes and farms knit together over generations through the cycle of planting, harvesting, thatching, weaving and all the other activities required to make a living, raise a family and provide food for the table. Over 80 people once lived here at one time, the records show and Ballilogue was no different to other Irish rural communities in Kilkenny and elsewhere.
Irish Rural Life
There was once a forge, the inhabitants helping and supporting one another in daily activities such as the milking, making of butter in the dairy and gathering together of an evening for card games and song by the fireside in each others houses and cottages. Perhaps meeting too at the blacksmith's forge located close by! They farmed here, some travelled to New York and Newfoundland from New Ross to work and many emigrated, never to return.
The Ballilogue Hamlet
Such is the brief backstory to the place that is Ballilogue, in the Kilkenny countryside, located between the pretty village of Inistioge and the bustling town of New Ross. Neighbours in the Hamlet still farm there or travel for work further afield but make their homes in the townland. At the heart of Ballilogue is the restored and re-imagined Ballilogue Hamlet. It's a series of fine Kilkenny stone farmhouses and barns which form a cluster of seventeen to nineteenth century dwellings and outbuildings surrounded by gardens and orchards with wildflower and perennial planting.
The gates, original to the Ballilogue forge long gone, now lead to a central courtyard providing a meeting space as it might done of old to the farmyard for laughter and celebration. The big houses of the Farmhouse, Lodge and Barn frame this central space with light filled and double height living spaces accommodating 22 people sharing.
Events at Ballilogue
The event and function areas are ideal for a private 2 or 3 day Wedding of 20 to 80, a friends or family celebration of 22 or a yoga, writers or corporate retreat for 12. The Old Dairy is perfect for a function, yoga or meeting room, the cows and butter churns long gone!
Mrs. Meaney's Cottage, named for Mary Meaney who lived there and raised her family now remains preserved as it was in her time. It's traditional Irish open hearth, settle table, parlour and all the remains of rural life in Ireland's Ancient East like the plate, crockery, furniture and pots are still there. Music is performed here as it might have been in years past, sad to say that bread is no longer baked in the bastible on the hearth but the crane is still in place and the fire provides light and heat as it has for generations past.
Ballilogue Design and Craft Shop
The weaving, throwing and making is remembered with wonderful blankets, cushions, poured candles, glass and ceramics by skilled craftsmen and women commissioned for Ballilogue living. They also form the basis of the Design and Craft Shop within Mrs. Meaney's Cottage and are there for guests to select and adorn their own homes around the world or gift to loved ones.
The Shed Bar
Close by to the Cottage Museum and Old Dairy is the Shed Bar with it's early stone structure and red galvanise roof. A quiet place to retreat to, while away an hour or two, read, gather with friends, perhaps even play a game of cards nestled under the woven, mud encrusted lamps, seated at the worn patina of table tops.
Irish Tradition and Contemporary Living
The Ballilogue Hamlet still echoes with the memory and footprint of those that went before, now enjoyed anew renewed and re-vitalised by those that come to visit and stay in this special part of Ireland.