A BRIEF HISTORY OF BALLYHACK AND ARTHURSTOWN
Ballyhack (Irish: Baile Hac or Baile Each) is a small village located in the south-west of County Wexford, in Ireland, on the eastern shore of the Waterford Harbour, which is the estuary of The Three Sisters.
The village contains a 15th-century Norman castle or tower house, which belonged to the Knights Hospitallers and was built around 1480, though it is thought the site’s use was initially as a Preceptory, as far back as the 12th-century The castle was occupied by Cromwellian forces during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, and was later used as a transportation point for those displaced by the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652. It is from this association that the phrase “Go to Ballyhack” was coined.
The castle is open to the public, having been partially restored, and displays objects relating to the Crusades, the Normans, and medieval monks. Some the features of the castle that are on view are its dungeon, murder-hole, effigies and oratory. The castle is an Irish National Monument, in state care, number 516.
Ballyhack has been represented in Irish as Baile Hac and Baile Each. The derivation is believed to be from the Irish word for stable, “Seasmhach”, and “Baile” meaning town, village, home or settlement. Thus Ballyhack would mean the place or town of the stable.
There is a cemetery located on a height near the edge of the village, which is located on the site of the former Ballyhack Church (Saint James’s). The church was closed in the late 1800s, and demolished at some point before 1902. A point of interest in the graveyard includes a record of a Laurence Power, who supposedly died in 1836 at age 170.
The school in the village is called St. Catherine’s NS and is located on top of Ballyhack Hill. It opened in 1959