Compiled by Irene McGoldrick
Irish name: Baile Uí Laoigh
English name: Ballylee
Meaning: townland, town, homestead Ó Laoigh – surname the town of Ó Laoigh
Area: 71 acres, 0 roods and 22 perches
Field names in this townland: None recorded.
Information from O’Donovan’s Field Name Books
Baile Ui Lighe, Birmingham [Unable to read.] [Unable to read.] of the Estate, Ballylee (B. S. Sketch Map), Ballyleagh (County Book), Ballyley (Inq. Temp. Car. I), Ballilee (Inq. Temp. Gal. III), Ballylee (Inq. Temp. Iac. I), Baile Ui Lighe (Local Authority and pronunciation), Ballylee (Orthography), Ballinlee or grey park (Rector of Annaghdown).
Description: Townland. It is the property of Staunton Esq. All under tillage – excepting a portion of rocks to the South end.Named from having been the residence and property of a family called Lee. Is sometimes called Birmingham from same cause.
Situation: It is situated 4 1/2 miles West of Annaghdown Church. Bounded N. by Lough Corrib. South by Rinnaharny. East by Woodpark, and West by Lough Corrib.
The below archaeological sites appear in ‘Archaeological Inventory of County Galway Vol. II – North Galway’; compiled by Olive Alcock, Kathy de hÓra and Paul Gosling (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1999).
Holy well. Indicated ‘Cormac’s Well’ (page 339). Probably associated with the monastic complex at Annaghdown; it lies on the lakeshore on S side of the bay, 450m S of the Augustinian abbey. Marked on 3rd ed. Of OS map (1934) but mentioned previously by Fahey (1904, 135). Not located: however, an old estate well has collapsed in the area and its rubble may obscure it. (Killanin and Duignan 1967, 57)
1841: 25 houses, 140 people (69 male, 71 female)
1851: 7 houses, 39 people (19 male, 20 female)
1861: 1 houses, 7 people (5 male, 2 female)
1871: 1 houses, 8 people (6 male, 2 female)
1881: 1 houses, 10 people (7 male, 3 female)
1891: 1 houses, 7 people ( 4 male, 3 female)
1901: 1 houses, 9 people (6 male, 3 female)
1911: 1 houses, 11 people (6 male, 5 female)
2011: 17 houses (2 vacant), 46 people (25 male, 21 female)
1821 Tithe Applotment Books
The Tithe Applotment Books do not record the names of any tenants in Ballylee. John French Esq held 44 acres, 40 acres of bog; the Rector R Marley received £4-2s-0d.
1840s Griffith’s House Books & 1855 Griffith’s Valuation
Griffith’s Valuation shows a house, office and land held by Peter, Thomas and Michael Newell from immediate lessors Mary Woodcock and George Stamford, and a garden held by James Ford from immediate lessor Charles D. O’Rourke.
Sale in Encumbered Estates Court, 1879
The townland of Ballylee was offered for sale by auction at the Land Judges Court on 25 November 1879, alongside the lands of Muckrush, Barranny, Shankill, and Woodpark, all then in the possession of Mary Hall and several others. Ballylee, Woodpark, and part of Barranny were purchased by Peter Newell of Woodpark, and Muckrush and Shankill were eventually purchased by John Byrne.
The accompanying sale catalogue records Michael Newell (representative of Peter Newell) as occupier of 27 acres, 1 roods and 2 perches in Ballylee held under a lease dated 1st November 1853 between Elizabeth Woodcock and others to Peter Newell of parts of the land known as Turrett’s Park and Ballylee for the term of 31 years.
The 1901 Census of Ireland records the following household in Ballylee.
John O’Flynn, National Teacher, lived with his wife Mary, son Michael Patrick, daughter Kathleen and boarders Mary Nalty, National Teacher; Thomas Nee, building contractor; John Nee, carpenter; Bernard Fitzpatrick, Stone Cutter; and James Howley, Mason.
This house was of the second class with stone walls, thatched roof, three front windows and three rooms, a stable, cow house, piggery, fowl house, barn and cart house.
Note: It should be noted that the boarders were involved in the construction of St. Brendan’s Church by the Lake which was dedicated by Most Rev. Dr John Healy, Archbishop of Tuam in 1903.
In 1911 the same house remained:
John O’Flynn, head of family, his wife Mary, sons Michael Patrick, Bernard Joseph, Brendan Gerard, John Anthony and Patrick Gabriel, daughters Kathleen, Mary and Nora Agnes; and servant Norah Kavanagh.
The house was of the second class with stone walls and thatched roof remaining. On this census return, the number of windows in the front of the house is listed as 6.