Our Name Ballybar resonated with me when I began exploring names for the business. I am real lover of history and when I was told that there was once a race track over our back field I had to find out more about the history.
The Ballybar (or Carlow) races ran at least from the 1760's. People came from across the country to attend the races, they were the main racing event. The railway that connected Dublin to cork was brought forward in 1846 to accommodate spectators and horses.
The following is an exert from the Carlow Sentinel on September, 14, 1861
"On arriving at the course a very gay scene presented itself. To those unacquainted with the locality, the beauties of the surrounding country – with its hills and dales, and many and richly-tinted foliage – would amply repay a visit. Thousands of spectators occupied the rising ground in the centre of the course, the stand house, and every other available spot from which there was a good view. On the space apposite the winning post, a large number of private cars and carriages were drawn up. Some perches to the rear, a line of tents were erected, facing the stand-house, and on the opposite extremity of the course there was another row of tents, "theatres," and an almost endless number of thimble riggers, roulette tables, "Aunt Sallies" and stands of every description, where vendors of cooked meats, vegetables, fruits, and other eatables, were kept busy attending to the creature wants of their numerous customers." The meeting took place over two days. The event was well conducted and as reported "there was no drunken persons to be seen".
Wouldn't it of been wonderful to experience The Ballybar races.
The story goes that my husbands' Granny was a regular attendee and more often than not came home a winner.
Thanks to the Carlow County Library for the resources.