Lawrencetown Village

Lawrencetown, in the parish of Clonfert, is known in Irish as An Baile Mór Síol Anmchadha. In the 1830s this was a prosperous village with its own penny post to Eyrecourt. It was a chief constabulary station where petty sessions were held each Thursday and a considerable quantity of wooden ware and furniture was manufactured here. Fairs were held on 8 May, 22 August and 15 December, for cattle, sheep and pigs. The Catholic Church was “a good modern building” and the Wesleyan Methodists supported both a church and school in the village.

Lawrencetown VillageThe village of Lawrencetown was first erected by Walter Lawrence about 1700. It was enlarged by Rear Admiral Peter Lawrence in 1750 and rebuilt by Col. Walter Lawrence in 1765, to promote the linen industry in the west of Ireland. Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary (1837) describes it as a village in the parish of Clonfert, six miles from Ballinasloe on the road to Eyrecourt, to which places it has a penny post. He continues, "It has a chief constabulary police station and petty sessions are held weekly on Thursday. A considerable quantity of wooden ware and furniture are manufactured here and fairs are held on May 8th, Aug. 22nd, and Dec, 15th, for cattle sheep and pigs. The Roman Catholic Chapel for this part of the district is a good modern building and the Wesleyan Methodists also have a chapel here and support a school. The seats in the vicinity are Bellevue, or Lisreaghan, the residence of Walter Lawrence Esq., Gortnamona, the elegant seat of P.Blake Esq., Somerset House, of Simeon Seymour Esq. Somerset Glebe, of the Rev. J. Hannigan and Ballymore Castle, of Thomas Seymour Esq. Near the town are the ruins of the castle of O'Hill from which it formerly took the name Oghilmore". It also had a market house, octagonal in shape, supported by arches, through which carts of produce could pass to be weighed.

Lawrencetown       Lawrencetown is sometimes spelled "Laurencetown", but as the village took its name from the family it would seem that the former is the more correct version. Probably even more confusing to people passing through the area is An Baile Mór Síol Anmchadha, the Irish name of the area. John O'Donovan is his "Tribes and Customs of Hy Many" translates Síol Anmchadha as "the descendants of Ambrose", i.e. Ambrose O'Madden, a local Chieftain. The name in full would therefore translate as "the big town of the descendants of Ambrose". Síol Anmchadha referred to a much larger area than just Lawrencetown in the past. It entailed what is now known as Longford Barony. Alas, in some official circles the Irish name has been reduced to just "An Baile Mór", a name devoid of any historical value. Síol Anmchadha would be a far better alternative, and indicator to a history spanning over 1,000 years.