Village History

Early History (BC)

The earliest evidence of a continuous human presence in Ballinamallard is provided by burnt mounds (flat areas of charcoal) discovered at more than 20 locations in the area. The oldest at Drumconnis has been carbon-dated to 4500 years old – or roughly the same age as Stonehenge. This supports the belief that the Ballinamallard area was one of the most densely populated parts of Ireland 4,500 years ago. The remains of a henge (ditched enclosure) from about the same period can be seen from the bridge at Magheracross.

The first known reference to the name of Ballinamallard appears in the Annals of Ulster for the year 1500, but there are some references to the area before then.


Descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages, originally from North Connacht, expand into Ulster, establishing bases at Ailech, near Derry, and later at Tullyhogue near Dungannon. Ballinamallard lay in the area known as Airgialla, with its capital at Clogher, peopled by tribes nominally still independent, but gradually coming more under O'Neill influence.

c.450   Magheracross said to have been founded by St Patrick

c.550   Devenish founded by St Molaise. Later legend has it that St Columba made his

            confession to him there before going to exile in Scotland in 563. If that is the case, he

            would probably have passed thorough Ballinamallard on his way to Derry.

749     Monastic site founded at Kilskeery. Around this time too the Culdees were founded, a

            monastic order from whom Killadeas takes its name.

837     All the churches of Lough Erne 'destroyed by the Gentiles' (Norsemen)

924      Norse fleet on Lough Erne. By that time their base in Dublin was one of the wealthiest

            ports in Europe.

1007    Army of Brian Baru passes through on their way to Armagh, and again in 1011 en route

            to North Donegal. From his base in Munster, he finally achieved control over the whole

            of Ireland, breaking the monopoly of the Ui Neill in the North and defeating the Vikings

            of Dublin at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014

1185    Death of Gillacrist MacCathmaoil (Campbell) King of Tirkennedy. The family ruled this

            area until ousted by Maguires 

1212    Normans reach as far north as Belleel and Clones

1302    Death of Donn, first Maguire King of Fermanagh

1379    Northward expansion of Maguires checked by O'Neills at Battle of Dreigh (1 mile north

            of The Fingerpost)

1492    Terence Macgillacossgli (Cosgrave) vicar of Magheracross and Derrybrusk.

            Maghercross was at that time part of Derryvullen parish.

1500   Two Maguire princes ambushed by the O'Neills at Ballinamallard ('Ford of the         

            Horsemen). Ballinamallard was probably one of the last areas in Fermanagh to come

            under Maguire control, but in the sixteenth century it became 'mensal land' devoted

            directly to the support of the Maguire court, such as the Cassidys of Ballycassidy,

            hereditary doctors.

1539    Original Magheracross church destroyed by fire

1585    Elizabeth makes Fermanagh a shire county under Cuchonnacht Maguire.

1593    Start of Hugh O'Neill's Rebellion. O'Neill's mother, Joan Maguire, was sister to


1600    Death of Joan Maguire at Magheracross.


1611    After Flight of the Earls, Henry Folliot of Pyrton, Wiltshire, obtains Manor of Drumchine

            (later Newporton) 1,500 Irish acres (most of Magheracross parish) His agent Captain

            Browne built Castle Murray. Many of his tenants came from the West March of the

            Scottish Borders - the area between Dumfries and Carlisle - then being subdued by

            James the First following the union of England and Scotland.

1619    11 houses in Ballinamallard (Pynnar survey) Folliot created Baron of Ballyshannon.

1622   20 houses in Ballinamallard (Annesley survey) Maghercross Church "standing but not

           repaired within". What Anglican services there were in the area took place in the

           former Catholic church, in

Early History (AD)

1629    what is now the old graveyard at Kilskeery. Magheracross was officially united with

            Kilskeery parish.

1641    Rory Maguire's Rising. Rev. Andrew Hamilton rector of Kilskeery, flees the country.                    Ballinamallard was also abandoned - there is a tradition that the guns from Castle

            Murray were thrown into the Uun Hole' to avoid their capture.

1642    Start of English Civil War

1645    Owen Mac Art with 2000 foot and 200 horse camped near Ballinamallard. Routed at

            Lowtherstown by William Cole.

1649    Oliver Cromwell comes to Ireland

1650    Bishop Heber McMahon captured near Kilskeery and hanged on the Sconce in


1659   Census total of 188 households in Parish. Ballinamallard not mentioned but 8

            households in  'Newporton' Only landholder in the parish John Symerell (Somerville?)

            gentleman of Lettermoney


1660    Andrew Hamilton returns to Kilskeery. First record of a Catholic chapel in Coa.

1688    Enniskillen denied to garrison of King James. One of the leaders in this was William

            Browning 'a gentleman of Ballinamallard' and another the Rev. Andrew Hamilton of

            Kilskeery, nephew of the previous rector of that name.

1689    Rowland Betty (ancestor of the Bettys of Killymitten?) captured and killed near Omagh.

            Duke of Berwick's troops pass through on way from Trillick to the Battle of         


1690    'King Billy's Blacksmith' buried at Magheracross 18th CENTURY Franciscan mission in

            Killee and Coa.

1704    Rev N Browne, Rector of Kilskeery, translates Prayer Book into Irish

1715    Folliot titlee becomes extinct

1723    Manor of Newporton passes to William Conolly, later MP for Ballyshannon, who let the

            land on long and cheap leases.

1740     Lendrums build Magheracross House (Jamestown) c.1740 First Catholic church built in


1744    Hearth Money returns record 151 Protestant households and 41 Papist in the parish.

            Still no church in the village. in the middle of the 18th century (according to the O.S.

             memoirs) woods stretched along the faces of the various hills from Breagho to


1750    Ballinamallard bridge built.

c.1760 Manor of Newporton passes to the Crawford famil

1761  Ballinamallard's Connections with Stanley Baldwin and Rudyard Kipling James

        Macdonald, the great-grandfather of both Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, was

          born at Salty, Ballinamallard in 1761. James Macdonald's grand-daughter was

          married to the famous pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne­Jones. James parents

          moved to the area (circa. 1745) from Scotland because their clan had supported the

           failed rising of Bonny Prince Charlie and therefore found themselves on the 'wrong

          side'. John Macdonald (James's father) worked as a game­keeper at Crocknacrieve just

          outside the village.James was ordained a Methodist Minister by the founder of

          Methodism, John Wesley and this resulted in James entering into an academic

          career. It is reasonable to assume that but for Mcdon­ald's and Wesley's meeting at

         Ballinamallard, education, like most of the population of the area, would not

       have been a priority for James's descendants. It could be argued

       that Baldwin would not have reached the pre­miership of what was then the

         Brit­ish Empire and Kipling would not have achieved the prominence in

         literature that he became renowned for without the scholarly influence of their

           great grandfather.

1766    Magheracross Parish splits from Kilskeery

1769    First visit by John Wesley and the beginning of Methodism in the area arrived at

           Sydare, about one mile from the village, on 2nd May 1769. Wesley also visited

            Sydare on 5 other occasions between 1771 and 1789.

1770    Coa Chapel built

1775    Earliest recorded burial in the village (Anderson crypt) Outbreak of American War of


1778    Castle Archdale built

1779    Lowtherstown and Ballinarnallard Volunteers founded by Archdall and Irvine who in                    1782 chair Dungannon Convention of the Volunteers.

1783    Repeal of Poyning's Law. Birth of Orange Peggy "Queen of Trasna"

1785    Ballinamallard Church of Ireland built

1798    United Irishmen attack Graham's of Knockmanoul (a Methodist meeting house) in         

            search of arms. French land at Killala. Local Volunteers march to oppose them.


1800     Building of Methodist Meeting House (now Methodist Hall) Establishment of

             Ballinamallard Parish School

1812    Proposed canal up Ballinamallard River to Strabane

Early 1800s (as recorded in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of 1834)

illegal distillery on Drumsloe Island "some curious encounters have taken place between the inhabitants of the neighbourhood and the revenue department... attended with loss of life to some parties."

On the 12' of February was the "best horse fair in the county". Road laid out to Tempo abandoned half built "Very considerable improvements ... for the most part confined to the mountain country... Several of the hill were in the memory of man completely covered in heath and are now cultivated."

"The peace of this country has fora considerable length of time been disturbed by the animosity of 2 contending factions, Orange and Ribbonmen, but the government have lately taken measures to prevent both. "(1825 Unlawful Societies Act)

1817-1833 Establishment of ten schools in area

1817    Outbreak of typhus. Crocknacreive built and demense laid out.

1818   Sir Alexander was born at Craghan Lodge he was Surgeon to Queen Victoria and

           later Surgeon and Naturalist on a ship involve in the discovery of the Northwest

          Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He was one of the first men to have circum-

           navigated the entire American continent.

1826    Castle Murray still standing but in ruins. Stone later used in for building in town.

1827    Soldiers of the Cross Hall built as Primitive Methodist meeting house

1831    Knockmanoul chapel built. Census records 323 inhabitants of Ballinamallard. Outbreak

            of Cholera. Gideon Ousely preaches in Ballinamallard "The Chapel at Ballinamallard

            was too small. 60 found mercy at one service" At around this time the use of Irish in the

            area died out.

1834    Bakery established

1837    Jamestown stables built

1844    Present Church of Ireland built

1845    Rally at Killyhevlin celebrating the end of the Party Processions Act Nine lodges and c.

            450 members from Ballinaarallard area

1846    The first Henry Burke appointed Rector of Ballinamallard

1847    Height of Famine. William Betty runs soup kitchen at the Grove. Spade Mill at

            Killymittan ceases to work, wheel transferred to mill at Killee.

1850    Makeney Road "new line to Irvinestown" opened

1853    Navvies building the railway threaten to demolish Church over display on Twelfth.

1854    Railway opened. Apprentice Boys train from Derry derailed

1860-   Continued emigration "Everyone is Australia mad".

1864    Whitehall Church rebuilt

1870    Home Rule Association formed

1882   Archdale Hall built

1888    Death of William Betty, builder of Grove School 1891 Death of Orange Peggy


1900    Creamery started
1904    Present Methodist Church opened. First 'Cooneyite' convention held at Crocknacrieve,

            with baptisms in the Ballinamallard River.

1912    Ballinamailard Light and Power Company starts, providing electricity from Craig's Mill.

1914-18 War

1920    Captain Lendrum murdered in County Clare by the I.R.A.

1921    Newtownbutler Specials raid Clones. Archdall of Ballinamallard wounded in gun battle

            with R.I.C.

1922    Clones massacre IRA seize Belleek and Pettigo

1939 - 45 War. German P.O.W.s in Killadeas worship at Ballinamallard

1947    Year of the Big Snow

1950   Tommy Fisher opens garage and light engineering works on the banks of Ballinamallard

             River  which had been the site of a was a water-powered mill dating back to the 18Th

            century. Fisher Engineering became Ireland's most successful steel fabrication company.

            Fisher Engineering has fabricated steel for such high profile projects as the Waterfront

             Hall and the Odyssey Theatre in Belfast.

1959    Railway closed

1960    Duke of Westminster High School opened.

1962    Swimming Pool closed

1964    Primary School opened

1968    Extensions to High School at a cost of £80,000

1975    Fish Farm opened. Ballinamallard United Football Club re-formed.

1977    Fisher Engineering moves to present site

1982     New pitch and clubhouse for Ballinamallard United 1985 IRA bomb at police station

            causes widespread damage 1989  Archdale Hall and Methodist Hall rebuilt

1996    Ballinamallard Historical Society founded

1999    Railway Station Project on site of former station

2002   Queen's visit to Fisher Engineering and Rascals Playstation.