By Jim McCarthy
Ballyadam lies just less than a quarter of a mile from Churchtown Village on the road leading south to Buttevant. Here around the year 1947 the new national school was erected and here also in recent years a new parochial house for the Parish Priest.
In the year 1642 Ballyadam was occupied by a family named Damper. I have here a letter written by William Damper to Sir Philip Percival, dated September 21, 1642.
By reason of the great troubles I cannot sell my wool, or get any of by debts and I have here lost seventeen hundred fat weathers, three hundred beasts and 25 good horses and have not saved a sheaf of my corn here at Ballyadam.
Recently I was looking through a copy of the old Egmont MSS and I saw a list of tenants who held Ballyadam at different times. The Barry’s held the place before the rebellion of 1641 but were later dispossessed. It was then granted to Damper, then to Bowes, then to John Fisher and later to William Young. Ballyadam then came into the possession of a family named Magrath.
James Magrath was living there in the year 1814. In 1890 his son also James Magrath was living there.
Around 1895 Mr Henry Brasier-Creagh of Ballyhoura leased the house. As a schoolboy I remember Ballyadam as an old single story thatched house with a two story slated house at the rear. Looking through an old Church of Ireland Parish Register I noticed an entry for the year 1857. William Philip Glover of Mountcorbett married Isabella, daughter of James Magrath of Ballyadam.
The Magraths were a very old family in the Churchtown district. The family originally came from Co Tipperary and were in Churchtown for more than two hundred years. They were recorded as being the oldest tenants on the Egmont Estate. James Magrath lived at Ballyadam in 1875. He had two sons, James and Jerome and two daughters, Catherine and Mary. Mary Magrath was the last of the family to reside in the district. She owned Ballyadam and Cregane near Buttevant. She married William Bernard Guinea and they lived in Buttevant Castle.
TALES OF BALLYADAM
When I was a young lad many were the tales we were told of Ballyadam and I have here a copy of a note written by the late Mrs Guinee to Col Grove White, the historian of Doneraile when he was writing his famous notes. Mrs Guinee writes, Ballyadam has quite a wealth of folk and fairy lore. Every field its own history. Many weird and amusing traditions of the little people who on moonlight nights held revels in the orchard field. I can speak of my own experience of the Ballyadam Banshee and other strange visitants to the place.
Ballyadam contains 136 acres and one field in my youth was planted all over in daffodils.